Here are my thoughts after spending 3 weeks (12/10/2007 ~ 1/01/08) vacationing in Taiwan:
1. Foods are still good but no long have the same appeal as before, except for sugar canes. Even when we were visiting Tainan’s eateries, we did not feel they were as tasty as we use to feel. Or perhaps, we ate so many of them at the same time, we couldn’t distinguish the tastes any more.
2. Living in a high-density community like most of Taiwanese does have its pluses and minuses. The pluses are the community resources like pool, KTV, gym, and other facilities. The minuses are the noise level, poor air quality.
3. Transportation (subway and buses) in Taipei is very impressive. The bullet train (Taiwan High-speed Rail) is fast and world-class except for the decor inside the train. The Yoyo card was implemented seamlessly.
4. Lives are hard in southern Taiwan. Things are not cheap (except pastry) relative to USA. Business volumes are way down in Tainan and Kaoshiung (I was told). What’s going on there? Perhaps, the investment money are just flowing out of Taiwan altogether.
5. Taiwan is still beautiful but the tourist attractions are still not world class. Kenting is close but the transportation to get there is still primitive. Maokong Gondola and Yinge and Jiofeng are very nice.
6. Fresh air is hard to come by. Noises from constant marketing promotion (like all the control within a movie theater) fills the air when one enters the department store and movie theater. Compared to Taiwan, USA is a very quiet place with fresh air.
7. Seeing my grandmother. It’s so cool to see my grandmother at 92 years old. She’s still as sharp as ever but is bed ridden – not able to get out of the bed. She was glad to see us family.
8. Seeking out and meeting an old friend after 30 years. Wow! what a bonus to be able to contact an old junior high-school friend by searching on Google. The two families met for a short while and had a wonderful dinner in Kaoshiung. Thanks, Dr. Yeh!
This is by far the longest vacation I’ve even taken that I can remember. It was nice and relaxing – I felt fully charged and was able to tackle the 2000+ emails waiting for me.