Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Transportation

As my time here in Taiwan comes to an end, I realize how much I’ve progressed with the transportation system. The public one, that is. I can navigate my way around and through an MRT station. If I can’t find one, I can ask for directions. I’ve learned where my bus stop is and how to get there from a few stops, but not that many. However, compared to the zero knowledge I had when I got here, I consider this a plus. Too bad I will be leaving soon.

I really like the MRT of Taiwan. The system runs smoothly and is very high-tech. If there’s ever a place in Taiwan where you can count on it being clean and contain a bathroom, it’s the MRT Station. No food or drinking is allowed, except for water. Janitors clean the floor all the time, so they’re practically spotless once you’re inside. I’ve learned to start looking at the marquees they have when you are in transit to figure out if I need to run for my train or if I can just walk fast. Signs are all bilingual, and so are the marquees, which makes non-Chinese readers able to get around. There are television screens at the bigger stations with news or commercials running, and on the side they show when the next train to the destination will arrive. Plus, there are designated handicap seats on each car and people do not hesitate to give up their seat if they see a pregnant woman or elderly person. Not to mention that a lot of people are hesitant to sit in the designated seats. Of course, some people still sit in them but they’ll usually get up, which is nice. Otherwise no one sits in them at all until a person who it is designated for sits in it. Nice, huh? I think the Taiwanese do a really good job on their transit system. [the buses are the same, btw.]

Polution in Taiwan still sucks though.

A Different Perspective

I don’t know how much people know of Taiwan, seeing as how I’ve been coming to Taiwan since I was little. I wonder what images Taiwan brings to mind for these people. Do they think of the countless restaurants and food carts? Do they imagine the bright lights of a night market, the pushing and the heat? Here are some of the things that Taiwan has meant to me on this trip.

Beef Noodle Soup: This particular soup is not spicy and is not the one that is normally associated with Taiwan. However, it was the first beef noodle soup I ordered in Taiwan at the Taipei Main Station Underground Mall and it was delicious. Beef noodle soup is incredibly popular in Taiwan, usually braised with soy sauce and tomatoes to make a dark broth and is usually a little spicy, because Taiwanese people like their spicy foods.

Shuang Ho Hospital: I’m interning at Taipei Medical University. The school has three affiliated hospitals. This is one of them. Taiwan’s hospitals are incredibly clean and have great facilities. Of course, I have never been in a hospital in America so I can’t compare, but compared to the rest of Taiwan, they are top notch. Shuang Ho Hospital especially, since it is very new, built back in 2000 something. Their facilities are also quite something. It is such a large hospital, and they’re currently working on building a second building behind what is in the picture, so it will be even bigger!

Raohe Night Market: Though not my favorite, this night market evokes more of an emotional memory for me. Ever since I was little this was the night market we would always go to on a trip back to Taiwan. This market contains more food stalls than some other nearby night markets, and the food is quite delicious. Most Taiwanese delicacies you can find among these food vendors. This one also has small games for children and adults to play, such as fishing! [A favorite among children.]  My most vivid memory of this place is pulling up to the night market in a taxi with my parents and aunt. The whole trip would pass as a blur but once we pulled up everything was brightly lit. Something pungent always hits the nose first when the door opens but the next big thing are the people. Especially as a child, seeing that many people [who are all taller than me] was exciting and yet scary at the same time.

Pavilion of Dreams: The culmination of advanced technology in Taiwan is on exhibition at the Pavilion of Dreams. As you walk into the pavilion you are handed your own personal wristlet. This wristlet allows you to personally interact with the exhibit via RFID [ I believe]. Anyway, after the first big flower show [as pictured] you pick one of five dreams that you want to grow from [I picked career]. Then you capture the flower that is given to you [I was given a leaf…] and proceed through the exhibit! There are different visual displays as well as physical interactions, etc. It’s a little difficult to describe. At the end your flower [leaf] transforms due to your interactions and choices throughout the exhibit. The flower gains some characteristics from some other flowers and then floats away into the “stream of life”. You hand in your wristlet and get a printout of your flower’s end result. Here’s mine:

I kid you not, this started out as a heart-shaped leaf. Look at how it grew!!

Taipei 101: Last but not least [for now], the biggest symbol of Taiwan. Taipei 101 has the world’s fastest elevator, bringing you to the top in an earpopping few seconds [don’t know the amount]. I plan on visiting it soon and watching the sunset from the tippy top but until then here’s a picture of the building [that I took myself from the hospital’s 13th floor!] You can see this building from all over the place in Taipei.

My trip in Taiwan is half over, but that means there’s still more to come!

Just Some Things

I’ve noticed that Taipei 101 is very tall. Okay, that’s putting it lightly. It is one of the tallest buildings in the world. However, in comparison to other tall buildings, It seems taller than normal and I think I have figured out why. Why does the Eiffel Tower seem so tall when you are directly underneath it? Because it is surrounded by a park. When walking throughout New York City, why is it so easy to miss the Empire State Building? Because New York is filled with high-rises and skyscrapers. I admit, the Empire State building may not be as tall as some of the taller buildings of today, however in its time it was pretty tall. However, the way in which Taipei 101 was built was quite something else. In the few kilometers or so [I can’t measure city distances. It’s quite a large area though] surrounded Taipei 101, nothing rises higher than the first notch of Taipei 101.

picture from Google

Taipei 101 is made of one very large base, then ascends up with walls that seem stacked on top of each other. Notice from the picture how the land around the building is very very short in comparison to Taipei 101. This “optical illusion” of sorts makes the building seem even taller than it may actually be [although it is, as I’ve said, quite tall].

Just thought that was pretty interesting.

I’ve taken to not turning on my computer on the weekends, mainly because I don’t want to find out how many ants are crawling on my computer. However, I think the ant problem has gradually gotten slightly better so I may get around to it sometime soon. I need to upload tons of photos and catch up on manga. Haha! So for now, I’ll try to post as often as I can on the weekdays…when I’m at work!

I’m Still Here

No, I haven’t forgotten about this little gem here. I have, however, been extremely busy since leaving the great United Kingdom for the small little state of New Jersey. In the week and a half I had back home I spent all of my days with friends, getting lunch, and more lunch, and more food, and coffee, and going to the beach, and shopping. Then evenings I hung out with my parents, aka watched tv and caught up on my favorite series [NCIS what did you do??] Then I quickly packed my suitcase and then the day after I headed off to Taiwan!

And that is where I am now. That was back in June. Since then I’ve attended a week long orientation session for the program I am attending. And then I started work this week at the Taipei Medical University! I’m working as a student intern in the International Office working on publicity for the university, namely English-related publicity. By English I mean the language, not the nation. I’ve been fixing the grammatical errors of the websites and also questioning the relevance of some of their material. I’m also working more closely with the Shuang Ho Hospital so I helped edit their JCI report for the JCI convention [which is occurring in a couple weeks]. Soon I’m hoping to finish working on their websites and begin learning about the important research they’re doing so that I can write some articles to help more people learn about what a wonderful hospital it is. I am not just saying that. From reading their brochures and things, the hospitals seem pretty cool.

Pictures shall follow soon as well as a more in depth post. I haven’t even finished my Roman journey yet! So many things to do, so little time.

At least there’s good food.

Yours

I wonder what happens to all those people I meet, all the people I have met during my travels. Did those two Norwegian girls make it to Vienna and then to Corfu? Did that American enjoy the rest of her trip in Italy? I wonder if Romanian guy ever made it to Rome. He never contacted me. Did he get coffee with that guy we met in Florence?

I wonder what will happen next year after I leave Norwich? How will Norwich change? How will my friends’ courses go? What drama will happen and what will be averted?

All these wonders.

I wonder if I’ll manage to find places to stay when I do my Southern Europe tour. I’ve only found one place so far, and my trip is happening in a little more than a week. God, I hope these Couchsurfing people answer my requests soon. I hate waiting.


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