Friday, September 22, 2006

Guanghua Market

This is Taipei's "Gadget District", the place to go for electronics. 196 stalls: 140 for electronics products, 55 for books, and 1 for antiques. Plus 348 surrounding shops that also sell electronics.

Annual revenues = US$706 million.

In the early 197o's this was the place to go for books, then evolved to comic books, cassette tapes, then VHS videos. As Taiwan's economy and standard of living improved it became the premier spot for anything electronic. Unfortunatly, the prices are the same here as in the US... but there is a greater selection.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Taipei 3

Just a few more days and I get to go home and see Natalie! Woo hooo!

From Travel_Taiwan...
Sunday night: Ate many interesting foods at the Keelung night market. I took the train all the way to the northern tip of Taiwan to meet Leo, a guy I work with at T-Win, so he could show me all the crazy foods to eat at the night market. I don't know what they were, I'll just have to show you pictures.
Monday: Had lunch with the president of Malico, our heat sink supplier. Sushi for dinner, work, sleep.
Tuesday: Had a good lunch with Leo; I learned a bit about Buddhism and shared with him what the gospel is all about. Visited the Shilin night market, the largest night market in Taiwan.
From Travel_Taiwan...
Wednesday: Got out of work early and went to the National Palace Museum. Very impressive. Tickets for the museum + an English tour are only $1. I learned that 618611 meant "restraint" in 2000 B.C. The Chung dynasty would mold the number into their wine containers to remind them not to drink too much like the last dynasty did. Met a Kiwi family; there seem to be a lot of people from New Zealand travelling around here.
Thursday: Long day of work with Tatung. Heading to dinner soon.

Some things I've learned this week:
1. A family of 4 can fit on a single scooter.
2. There's no floor 4, bad luck, like our 13.
3. I apparently can speak Chinese without an American accent. Finally the mumbling is appreciated!
4. Everyone says that a smile and a thank you gets you a long way in a foreign country. That's true, but I think you get a little further by standing in front of someone with a dumb, lost, look on your face. That's how I made it through the bus system.
5. There are no good Chinese candies. That's probably why they eat fruit for desert.
6. A carmel frappuccino tastes the same in Taiwan as it does in the US.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bad Candy

I have never met an asian candy that I have liked; that includes the box above. This is a famous holiday cookie from the Keelung area of Taiwan--show this box to anyone from Taiwan and they'll recognise it. I was able to sample many more of their so called "candy" while I was in Taiwan and my hosts always laughed as my face contorted in disgust. I guess that's why they eat fruit for desert, I would too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Taipei 2

Friday night I went to the "Depose Chen" protest at the main train station pictured above. They want the president to resign and everyone is wearing red shirts and giving the thumb's down signal. I'm pretty sure I was on TV a few times because everyone thought it was funny that there was a tall white guy marching with them. Today I walked down to Starbucks for some lunch; there's a Starbucks, 7-11, and Subway on every corner.

I went to Dansui yesterday, a pretty town on the Dansui river at the end of the metro line to the north (see MRT map below). I took a ferry to the other side of the river (pictured above) and walked around some nice parks. Very windy from the typhoon, but it's almost to Japan now so it's calming down. Had a big bowl of beef noodles for lunch for $0.30. Ate dinner at an English pub so I could have a big cheesesteak sandwhich and fries. I noticed that they have "English nights" at the pub where english speakers get in free and locals can come in and practice their english.

Today I'm doing work at the hotel and tonight I'm headed to Kee-Leong to meet one of the guys I work with in his hometown, he wants to show me the "best night market in Taiwan." I'll be taking the train there so hopefully I can figure that out.

Interesting (to me) Taiwan facts:
1. Our hand sign for "hang loose" means "six" here.
2. Instead of saying 'W' "double-u" they say "double-v" like it should be.
3. They can say "how's it going?" without it being a question. Wouldn't it be nice if we could do that?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Taipei 1


Made it in to Taipei last night, good flight, good food, not much jetlag. Had a layover in Japan but didn't see much because it was foggy and rainy out the airport windows. The first day of meetings were successful and I ended the day with a trip up the tallest building (no, the it's not the towers Sean Connery was swinging from in "Entrapment", those are in Kuala lumpur as shown in the picture above) in the world... on the fastest elevator in the world (1010 meters/minute). See elevator ride video here:

The walk and subway trip back to the hotel were also exciting. Typhoon Shanshan hasn't arrived yet, it's been very nice weather so far.

Funny quotes of the day:
Taiwanian: "Wow, you got married really young, I thought American wait until later because you get divorce many times and every time you get divorce you have to give the other person half your money."
Dave: "Many of us prefer to get married once and stay married."
Taiwanian: "But Jessica Simpson just got divorce."

Dave: "How did you like San Francisco when you visited?"
Taiwanian: "There are a lot of homeless people; why does your government pay people when they are not working? Why would they ever get a job?"

Taiwanian: "Why do you pay for all the Mexicans' healthcare?"

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Natalie's 360

Unfortunately, we didn't get a good pic of Natalie's 360 on the wake (she's way better than I am), but here's her jump approach.

And this is one of my many attempts at jumping the wake.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lake Shasta Houseboating

From LakeShasta_Ho...
This picture is beautiful--not because of the sunset, which is ok--but because we're waterskiing on an empty lake at sunset. We definitely got our fill of wakeboarding in this weekend, every morning and afternoon for 3 days. I only use those muscles twice a year so I'm pretty sore. Natalie did a couple more 360s on the wake to rub it in that she's better than me, I finally jumped over the entire wake, and Mike even let us drive his boat!

From LakeShasta_Ho...
We got the Ultimate Cruiser boat so we made full use of the hot tub and waterslide. After enough beers, this football-catching game off the waterslide is quite entertaining.

From LakeShasta_Ho...
Clay provided the relaxation raft. Lisa planned an excellent menu so we never went hungry. The best part was just being with a bunch of other young couples and having the time to have some real conversations.