Thursday, January 05, 2006

Taiwan: Taipei 21 - After 4 years

For the holidays, Lance had a nice long vacation off from work. Due to the cost and timing this year, we were not able to go home to the US for Christmas. Instead, we went to Taiwan. Lance was able to meet my extended family and experience Taiwan. The last time I was there myself was about 4 years ago. And it has changed dramatically since.

First day we landed in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. There we stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in their nice condo in downtown. They're place is within walking distance to Taipei 101, which is the tallest building in the world today( 101 had not existed the last time I visited. Along with the construction of this building other shopping plazas, restaurants, clubs, and movie theaters emerged around it. It is amazing. Lance and I were astounded by how many American and European stores, clothing brands and restaurants there were. We got to not only enjoy good Taiwanese/Chinese food, but also enjoyed American restaurants like Macaroni grill, Chili's and Friday's (which we will not have for a while). For Lance, it was also very easy to get around and talk to people in Taiwan. Most everyone could speak and understand English. There is a stark contrast between Taiwan and Japan in regards to how open they are to foreigners.

Cost of items is also roughly the same equivalent as they are in the US. For example, movies are about $8-$10 per person. With the exception that shoes and food are cheaper than the US. Lance and I even went to Costco in Taipei out of curiousity. We love that store and was delighted to find it is bigger than the ones in the US and offered so many American and Asian brands at the same prices.

Taipei has a small subway system that is easy to navigate and there are cheap taxis galore. We were in Taiwan for a total of 10 days. The weather was about mid to high 60s. And Lance happily went on 3 golf outings with my cousin, uncle and their friends. The golf courses were gorgeous, and provided female caddies. Lance said the only English his particular caddy spoke was "bye-bye. bye-bye" whenever someone's ball flew into the trees.