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Author: salaryguru Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 59856  
Subject: Re: Packing for Taiwan Date: 12/8/2012 2:43 AM
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Oh, dear! In Taiwan, they speak Mandarin or Taiwanese. Not Cantonese.

I never even noticed that I had typed that. It was a brain phart on my part, Vicki. I was studying Mandarin. I wondered why tele had referenced Cantonese software when I was studying Mandarin. Now I know it is because I wrote the wrong thing.

My language work didn't help me too much, as it turns out. I was able occasionally to hear a price or a number that I understood, and managed to make a few people happy to hear me butcher a greeting or thank-you, but mostly, I had a very difficult time understanding anyone and even when I tried, my pronunciation left most people in the dark.

It turns out that we took pictures of various maps of the city with the names of places we wanted to visit using an iPod. The photos could then be used to communicate where we wanted to travel. Taxis were all metered and very affordable in both Kao-hsuing and Taipai. The subways were very easy to use with enough English to get the job done. Buses were more difficult to use, but we managed when we needed to use them.

Our last day in Taiwan started in Kao-hsiung. After breakfast, we took a taxi to the Taiwan High Speed Rail Station, the fast train to Taipai, a bus to the airport where we checked our luggage about 8 hours before our flight. Then we took another bus to northern Taipai, walked about 10 blocks to the metro station, took a metro several stops, and finally a cab to the National Palace Museum (http://www.npm.gov.tw/en/home.htm) where Chiang Kai-shek stored all the loot from China. After about 4 hours in the museum (not nearly enough time) we undid the last part of that to get to the airport and catch our flight back to LAX and then on to Phoenix. It makes for a very long 30 + hours of travel, but because of the magic of the international date line, we got home only a few hours after we started. I can't imagine a region in the US where that kind of public transportation option exists. It is very impressive.
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