Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Views From Taipei

Taipei was not for me that good experience. Happens that I've started to feel "funny" the day before leaving Toronto, kind of getting a cold or something like that. Despite stopping in Tokyo for the night and flying to Taipei next day, my body felt the length of the trip and somehow, that was the trigger.

I went to the opening ceremony of the WKC, and I've managed to stay, cheering the Canadian women, up to 1:00 PM or so but, I started to feel feverish so, I went back to the hotel and from there, to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.

I got some medication there, and then, back to the hotel, where I literally spent the rest of that day and the next, just sleeping and sweating away that flu.

So, after regaining some of my strength, I was able to watch the last day of the tournament, yet, not completely composed, I decided to skip the sayonara party and sleep all night again. My big challenge was keiko in Japan, and up to that moment, I was not certain if I would be able to make it.

I've Seen so Little...

That being said, my chances to look around the city were reduced to the minimum but, here you have my 2 cents worth of observations.

The Airport looks new, very clean and fairly big, with some areas under construction or remodelling, which make them a bit noisy. The services there were fast and we went in and out of the country with no problems of any kind.

What I've seen of the city, was a mix of buildings, like a 23th century style super tower/shopping mall (called 101) and luxury super modern hotels, mixed with those 1950's cold-war style apartment buildings. Kind of extreme differences between social classes.

Lots of cars, driving around in a not-too-organized fashion, and then, thousands of scooters (small motorcycles), flowing like water in between the cars, in front, around, on the side.... very noisy too.

Taxis need to be mentioned because, we got nailed a couple of times. There are some bad apples that charge according to the face of the passengers but, we've learnt our lesson quickly and it didn't happened again. For the most, the honest taxi drivers outnumbered the bad ones. One other thing... language could be a problem, particularly with the older drivers so, if you have the chance, try to have cards or something written in Chinese that indicates where you are going. I had to switch taxis once because the driver didn't understand where I was going.

People in general, was polite and the only 2 times I have had the opportunity to walk during the night, we didn't encountered any problem.

Medical attention, well, since I have to experience such unfortunate event, at least I will comment on it. I went first to a nurse, which was part of the services in the hotel. She took my temperature and referred me (with a note written in Chinese) to the hospital. The hospital was also under construction so, it didn't look pretty but, the person who took the note at the entrance, help me right away and got a young person who spoke English, he was from Taipei but studying medicine in California.

The service was super fast, probably because I was a visitor, and also because I was paying for the service which, in total, cost less than $1000 NTW (sort of $30 Canadian Dollars), that included the medicines.

The medical attention for the locals seems that runs at slower peace but, all the treatment was very polite.

Despite all these troubles, I was happy for being there.

Japan is next... stay tuned


At 6:40 AM, Blogger Vivian Yung said...

It was nice to meeting you in Taipei, if only for a little while.

Great read about the reminiscence of Taipei. It triggers a lot of memory of my own Taipei trip too.

Looking forward to reading about your Japan trip.


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