Goodbye Taipei, Hello Taichung!

Author’s Note: Sometimes busy things happen to good people and sometimes…they happen to your author.  He is not a good person because he was tardy in getting his blog entries posted for the last two weeks.  Also, he sometimes writes about himself in the third person.  He is sorry and would like to be known that, in his defense, it was quite a busy few weeks and he was writing.  He just forgot to post that writing online (whoops).  He will now upload the missing entries.  Please hold…

Goodbye Taipei, Hello Taichung

Since my last entry, I have been quite the busy bee.  I’ve flown all the way from San Francisco to Taipei and have spent the last few days exploring the city with the other Puget Sound students going to the Tunghai University summer program.  In this time, I have sampled some local food, visited the National Palace Museum, gone to the Shilin Night Market, visited my first dragon boat festival, and rode the Maokong Gondola.  Like I said, it’s been a busy few days.

Alleyway Outside of Hostel

View of Taipei 101 from Maokong Gondola

Banner at Dragon Boat Festival

This has been a excellent chance to test out my Chinese skills which are…  Well, let’s just say that something about being in Taipei has really brought home the Chinese language learning curve.  Chinese is hard, y’all. I “knew” it would be going in.  Even though I have studied for the last two years, I am still at “beginning level” Chinese proficiency, so I didn’t expect in-depth conversation.  Still, it can be a shock when ordering coffee is challenging.  What are the characters and tones for hazelnut latte?  Did I ever learn that?  No?  I had better just stick to milk tea then…  Needless to say, every meal is an adventure here.  Fortunately, it is a very delicious adventure.  The food in Taipei is fantastic and I have yet to order something that hasn’t been amazingly good.

In addition to the food adventures, local transportation is another good chance to practice my rusty language skills.  Taiwan’s HSR (high-speed rail) and Taipei’s city transportation are English user-friendly.  Signs are in characters and English, so there is little chance of missing a stop, and I’ve been able to make it a game to stick to reading only characters without fear of getting too lost.  For sheer entertainment value, many of the helpful warning signs here have given me a chuckle.  My personal favorites were posted on the doors of the Maokong Gondola.  I have shown them below with my version of the warning depicted:

“Do NOT Defiantly Place Your Left Foot Outside of the Gondola”

“Nor Shall You Lean Against the Doors With That Look On Your Face, Chad!”

That wraps up my first few days in Taipei.  As I write this, I am sitting in a comfy seat on the HSR and am approaching Taichung with rapid speed.  I am not entirely sure that I am prepared for this adventure, but hey, it’s never stopped me before…

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