My first trip to Taipei

I arrived last Sunday (21st), and went and had a good look around.

These are my opinions, based on my Living in Beijing for 8 years

  1. Taipei, reminds me of worst of both Hong Kong and Beijing, really overcrowed, nasty traffic, and a quick pace to genral life.

  2. Why did nobody prepare me for the Grandprix of scooters in the early evening, boy, talk about taking your life in your hands crossing the road.

  3. People, like Beijing , were really friendly, my Beijing accent did cause much amusement, in fact, the girl in the Hotel bar wanted to take me home to meet her mum. ( I had no time, and i’m not sure my wife would have approved)

I also thought that the general education of the people I met was much better, awareness of world events outside of China is unusual in even Beijing. But I sat and discussed the Middle east peace problem with a guy in the hotel lobby one night.

I got through the interview, and have been offered a job, I Hope to be back to start work in the middle of May, with my family following soon after.

But the biggest shock was that Irish bar attached to the Western Hotel (Shauns or O’malleys or something), I mean

Glad you weren’t scared off. And whatever you do, DON’T GET A SCOOTER!

A fiver for a pint of the black has been enough to keep me out of Sean’s. But I’d be interested to know how much it costs in, say, central London these days. I know it was as much as 2 quid a pint last time I was there, but that was more than 10 years ago. How much is it now?

Just back from the home of Guiness - and that new Euo thing that they use now. Pints are costing about NT$120 - and that’s pints, not mililitres or any of that new measurement system.

The drunken luddite

I know you think you landed in Taiwan when you got to Taipei, but you’ll be relieved to know that the southern part of this beautiful island, where we leave the ratrace to that special breed that can live in cramped spaces and park their cars in elevator garages, has abundant opportunities of finding uncrowded roads and an unhurried pace where riding a scooter isn’t a death wish. When you read the English newspapers in Taiwan, you may get the impression that Taipei is the only place to enjoy life here, as many ex-pats do, bless their hearts. But having lived up in that crowded, noisy, traffic congested hive of activity for two years, I was extemely relieved to discover the real Taiwan down here in the south.
Now here is a place where it only takes minutes to get across town. Here is a place where we find numerous sports facilities and time to enjoy them. A place where you can’t find Guiness on tap, but the tall cans taste almost as good.
It’s a small sacrifice, but at least there’s no dust on my tennis racket.

After 9 months in Shanghai, I just love Taipei. Skyscrapers might be bigger in Shanghai (not for much longer, I guess). But people here are much nicer towards foreigners, don’t start giggling as soon as you utter a single word in Chinese and don’t point their fingers at you. The city is much smaller, you can walk almost anywhere in the center (only if you have as much time as I still do, of course), and the awareness that an outside world exists is much higher. I am really looking forward to my time in Taipei.