Monday, March 26, 2007

Ni hao Taipei

We touched down in Taipei about ten p.m. It's called Chiang Kai Shek airport, or so I thought, but then I noticed a funny thing: on signs and postings, the airport seems to be called the Taoyuan airport. I wondered if this was to disassociate from CKS himself, and it seems this is so.

Driven into Taiwan by an extremely friendly cabbie, we got our first taste of the character of Taiwanese people: chatty, smiley, and eager to converse and help out. He tried to teach us some words and to demonstrate the tones using "wo". Which means "I" and "car" and some other things, I think. We repeated after him, trying to mimic the different intonations, and he just laughed at us. Well. He dropped us off just in front of our obscure hotel. We checked in to the Yo Tong Regency, a small but friendly and standard business hotel with extremely convenient access to Zhongxiao Dunhua station - our elevator was only steps away from the subway entrance. The staff is really nice and helpful, lending ethernet cables and extension cords and otherwise being generally useful. We ventured out into the late night to find a chain of tea shops open right behind the hotel. We fumblingly ordered two ice coffees, which were huge and came, milky and sweet, in half-carafes, filled to the brim. Buzzing with the caffeine and neon, we retreated to our 13th floor room and slept sound til morning.

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