Longterm plans were to travel to Taiwan and stay for 3 months. My intentions were to check out different cities with the view of staying longterm. Taipei, the capital in the north of the island, was not for me as I like smaller cities and a slower pace of life. The north was too cold and damp, even in spring, though I suspect the summers would be stifling in this densely populated city. So having moved south to escape the misery of the temperature, I arrived in Tianan. It became apparent, this previous capital city was not going to be much better, though on days it was warmer, though even when the sun shone, a rarity due to the pollution filled sky, this also was a grey, gloomy, ugly city.
Taiwan’s population is a mixture of the island’s original inhabitants, the indigenous people, descendants of Han Chinese settlers, nationalist Chinese who arrived after the Chinese civil war in 1949, Japanese from the colonial era (1895 to 1945), and SE Asia culture all blended together making a very interesting combination. The Taiwanese curiously are little like the mainland Chinese, though my opinion of the Chinese can only be based on those loud, culture lacking, swarming tourists I’ve met on my travels. The Taiwanese are kind, generous, thoughtful, unassuming, unpretentious, quiet, almost introverted, though of course they can’t all be.
This grand Memorial Hall was built in memory of President Chiang Kai Shek who died in 1975 making Taiwan what it is today. The Memorial Hall, Taipei, is located at the end of a large square an area of 240,000 square meters. Close to the western entrance is the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.
Taking the MRT on a cloudy damp cold grey drizzly day in March in Taipei, Taiwan. I’d forgotten as it’s been so long since I’ve experienced this type of weather, how it might have an affect on how you approach the day and I chose to roll over and have another hour of sleep! Then I was prepared for whatever was in front of me. It got me thinking about the different countries I’ve been to and how the lack of sun affects the physiology of people and how approachable they are to a stranger. My conclusion is simple; people smile more in the sun. They’re more content. The pace of life is slower. There’s no rushing around. There’s a lack of urgency yes, but things generally tend to get done. That’s not to say they’re less happy but outwardly they appear so.
Taiwanese Tea to tempt the taste buds in Taipei, Taiwan. Tea is a ritual in the many teahouses in Taiwan. We chose Artyard (press here for their link) on Dihua Street, Datong District, which since the latter part of the 19th century has been an important centre for commerce in Taiwanese products such as Chinese medicines and herbs, fabrics, incense and tea. The street is a mixture of old concrete communist Chinese box type buildings and beautiful sculptured Japanese interesting frontage buildings.
I was woken by the shaking of my bed and room and realised it was a tremor after last week’s earthquake north of Taipei. It didn’t really registered and I rolled over to try to get warm inside my duvet but it was so cold. I’d moved from 36°c in Thailand to about 12°c over night in Taipei. The old gloomy concrete Chinese buildings were not built for cold weather so I have no idea what the residents do in mid winter to keep warm.