The building was standing its ground, but it was still somewhat scary though. A sudden great pressure difference between the inside and outside could easily take out a window, or worse, the entire plate of the ceiling tiles, I reasoned accurately or inaccurately. I spent the night marvelling at the spectacle of invisible power, and watching the news where TV reporters at Hualien were trying to sensationalise the already quite sensational night by standing outdoors and giving exciting and wet field reports. One reporter couldn't even stand properly in the strong winds. Those guys were nuts! (But they're fun to watch!)
The next morning, the news was that central Taipei had fared quite well. Unfortunately, there were six deaths and more injuries in other places caused by floods and falling debris. Talim was blocked by the Central Mountain Range (screenshot from Google Earth) and the hurricane had spilt into two parts. The section at the higher altitudes continued on to mainland China, where she claimed many lives subsequently in the coming days.
Oops, the place was closed.
The following is actually a screenshot from SimCity4.
The 101 skyscraper was beautiful! It's looked like eight huge Chinese takeaway lunch boxes stacked up nicely! (I later learnt that the official account is that it's supposed to represent a tall bamboo. I like my account better.)
Anyway, I hope I can return to Taipei and do interesting things someday. This place is chaotic, but it has its charms. My feeling is that a newcomer here might absolutely hate it. But give yourself one week, and you might not want to leave. Or not. The guidebooks on Taiwan more often than not refer to Taiwanese as the most hospitable and warmest people. Guidebooks sometimes get things wrong, but I believe they are right about this. The funny thing is that in other countries I've visited, there are very nice and beautiful buildings, but not so nice people inside. Taipei seems to me the opposite. Old or quickly worn out new buildings, but relatively beautiful and unaloof people inside. Maybe I'm biased to a certain extent and have lowered expectations; I don't know.
Another fluffball thing is the 'cuteness' of women here speaking through their noses (like how Chinese cartoon characters speak). They don't do this to seduce people, it's really quite natural. LOL That's another thing about the Taiwanese. They're natural. And the service at restaurants, shopping centres is just great. Folks talk to you like they talk to their own grandmothers, informal, but professional, and non-descriminating. No doubt there're plenty of bad people around and things can be very bad in some areas, but the variation is great, so one can find excellent stuff here too. I like the variability here.
We've all heard about the chaotic Taiwanese traffic. It is still happening now, but this time I had a different perspective. Taiwanese drivers are one of a kind. I'd recommend all tourists to sit at least once in the front seat and zoom through Taipei. A health warning for folks with weak hearts is appropriate here. The skill of the driver will certainly impress you, simply because you will not meet with an accident, I hope. It's a little like Formula One; you just can't figure out how anyone would survive in those tough conditions. Anyway, at first I reckon that folks were bad to drive so madly across town, but this time, I realise that sometimes, there's no road rage involved, strangely enough. The taxi driver I had was smiling when someone else cut abruptly into his lane. It's all taken in stride. Ironically, because there're so many scooters zooming around, so motorists need to heighten their senses and not take anything for granted. Still, there are those who won't dare drive in Taiwan; perfectly understandable.
To all tourists, treat the red lights as a guide. The old joke is that to be able to cross the road successfully and safely, just follow a dog that's doing the same thing. No motorist would want to hit a dog. I'm no longer that afraid to cross the road this time. Crossing a road would mean turning cars won't care and might cut across you. But they are so good that they can estimate exactly when you'd be in the car's path, and they would stop accordingly. This is one assurance I didn't have before. Your mileage may vary. Please be careful at all times!
I took the bus and it's now much improved. There's this scrolling display and it tells what the next stop is. Never get lost again! The MRT is also now very convenient. As usual, I continued my usual MRT observations to see whether folks outside trains waited for those inside first to alight first. If there're lots of people in the train going out, those outside would wait. Sometimes, if there's not a lot of people alighting, they won't. But those outside didn't insist their way, so it was still quite good. And people liked to queue up...
Overall, I'm not sure what's going to happen to Taiwan. Despite the oppression from across the Straits, things seem to be still going OK. So I'm still quite optimistic...fingers crossed... Read the entire entry.