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Subject:  Taiwan: scooters, temples and mollusks Date:  12/1/2012  7:22 AM
Author:  salaryguru Number:  46477 of 133931

I've been here for 4 days now. Here are some initial observations.

There are scooters everywhere. They outnumber cars and trucks on the road. They are parked lining the sidewalks by the thousands. And on the backstreets you might even have to dodge them while walking down the sidewalk.

Start from any street corner and walk in any direction and you are likely to pass one or two temples. The temple density in Kao-hsiung has to rival the pub density in Dublin. Burning incense wafts through the streets in front of them and their brightly colored ceramic figurine architecture is unmistakable.

I would not recommend swimming anywhere near Taiwan. Based on what I've seen in their markets and restaurants, if it wiggles in the ocean, they will catch it, fry it and eat it. I was nervous just walking along the beach for fear I would step in the water, be speared, filleted, and displayed on ice in front of a local restaurant. Although I must say they seem to prefer mollusks . . . spineless creatures that I could not even identify.

It is interesting coming here from my recent trip to New York City. Public transportation here (subways, buses, trains) are all spotless clean. You could eat off the subway floors. There is no graffiti. There is no trash. Subway trains arrive on time every 5 minutes or less. Trains are spotless clean. The system is easy to understand without requiring written explanations. The cost is pennies to go anywhere. Elevators and escalators from the surface to the platforms all work. We took the fast train from Taipai to Kao-hsiung (150 miles in a little over 60 minutes) for about $20. None of these statements is true about the NYC transportation system.

People are incredibly friendly. On the fast train I met someone who gave me his cell phone number and invited me to call him if SGSpouse and I needed a ride somewhere during our visit. Another person I was talking to on the subway invited us to dinner. If we stop on the street to look at a map, people rush over to see if they can help us find what we are looking for.
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