Actually, not much of one. It’s been go-go-go since February and I haven’t really had time to stop and take it all in. It’s been 11 days now in my new home Taipei but no time to reflect. I think I’ve just been throwing myself into the thick of things. Not that I’ve had much choice. It’s so much better to get everything situated as quickly as possible so that I can go on with a “normalized” life as much as possible.
So far, my schedule consists of waking up by 7am, getting to work by 9am, then leave work around 7pm or so, typical of my NYC lifestyle. Taipei is very much like that, very urban, hip (with a touch of old-world), fast and public transportation friendly. I’ve managed to get a Taipei Metro Card and away I go. Having my cousin (in chinese, she’s my Tang Jie-jie), has helped 1000%. Without her, I wouldn’t have found my nice rental room (yes, it’s about as big as a typical NYC studio) with completely new fixtures and floors. I even got a new fridge, TV, cable and DSL installed. I’m totally plug and play. The neighborhood is quite nice (Zhong He District Taipei). I live next to the Zhong He No4 Park which has a new library (not yet ready), police station, a couple of markets nearby, and lots of stores in a main blvd (called Zhong He Lu). The bus st0p is outside my door and the subway station ( map here) is one block from my apt. I get off the Yung-An Market (Yongan Shichang) subway stop on the NanShiChiao Yellow line. Zhong He Lu has a bookstore, a “Best Buy” type of store, lots of 7-11 types, coffee shops galore, movie theatre across the subway station. Naturally, lots of eats too — it will be a struggle to lay off the calories, but I manage to walk quite a bit every day to-from work so I think I will be successful.
I had a chance this weekend to take the Beitou-Nanshijiao line and stop at at Jiantan stop which is a huge night market area, near Taipei Sea World. So much good food there, it would take me a whole year to just sample it all. It’s gotten hotter here too so the summer dresses are out and the eye-candy is at overdose levels. I’m starting to be able to pick out the ABCs in the crowd vs. the locals. A quickie rule of thumb would be that the ABC/expats guys like myself tend to be a little heavier and taller than the rest. As for the women, I’d have to relate AJ’s observation when he approached a female on the street to ask for directions and he asked her in English. To her astonishment, he relates, it was elementary — she was chunky, makeup-less, and dressed-down vis-a-vis local gals who are almost uniformally always “well-put together” (so to speak).
Well, til next time….