Taipei lessons

January 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’m back, world! From the non-internet friendly depths of Taipei. In case anyone is wondering what I was doing there, some of you may remember that I had a wedding to attend in Malaysia. More on that in the next week or so, but going to Taipei whilst stopping in Malaysia for a couple of days seemed like a good idea at the time. Why do all such bad ideas seemed like such good ideas at the time? I shall have to write a whole separate post on that issue at some stage. Anyway, lessons learnt during my short 5-day stay, which I wish I had known much earlier. It would probably have prevented me from going there.

1. Develop good aim.
Yes, I am talking about the potty. The abundance of very small and narrow hole-in-the-ground type loos in public places mean that if you REALLY need to go, aiming well should be a strong point. Or risk pee-ing all over yourself. Worse, stepping on someone else’s pee. Er, I’m not saying I did any of the former. Otherwise, it would be wise to wait for a ‘normal’ toilet.

2. Develop bad manners.
You’ll fit right in. People do not say excuse me, sorry, or smile. If you are in their way, they will push right through you. They also do not like being asked directions, as the majority of them do not seem to know much about their own city. Also, friendliness does NOT seem to be a virtue here. DO NOT SPEAK TO BUS DRIVERS.

3. Speak Chinese.
With bad signage and directions everywhere, it is just best to learn Chinese. I wish I had continued those damn lessons I took when I was 10, but all I remembered from Chinese lessons was learning how to sing ‘Fat Pig’. Great lot of help that was. Luckily, I brought my mum with me, who did speak the language.

4. Learn to love eating dumplings.
Because that’s just about everywhere. There ain’t much else that’s tastier to eat. There are also soups and tofu-type food, and noodles, but that’s it. So, dumplings for a few days.

5. Take the taxi.
They are the best I have ever seen. Honest, fast, and they even charge less if they accidentally take the wrong route.

What’s the conclusion? I suppose one can tell I absolutely hated it. After hardly 10 days away, I want to go home. How on earth did I manage to travel for so many months last year? Another mystery.

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