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2005-02-05 18:54:00

Sunday, February 6, 2005 7:05 AM

Made in Taiwan

Probably my only clear concept of Taiwan before coming here, after that I know or knew nothing about Taiwan. I guess I have known they are part of China or fighting with China to separate.

These blog posts are out of order, not in sequence, I have a way of fixing this by adjusting the dates, making everything work, but would I be editing reality to try to make you happy. I talk to myself, and ask,

“Would I alter my diary, if I am the only one reading?”

The answer is no, but I do make an allowance and do a spell check, I would never wait around to do a spell check on my own diary.

Walked out to the Television room to get a glass of hot water, there was a Bolivian man sitting in front of the TV watching football or soccer in America. He probably has not slept the whole night, and I have somehow stumbled onto a Latino hostel in the middle of Taiwan. I really have no idea where I am located in Taipei, I could be way outside the city or inside the city, or somewhere, I am one hour maybe from the Airport by bus, I think I am in the middle of the city. I am on a subway stop I think along a river, I have not seen the river, but I have seen a map. The map means nothing to me; and I really cannot be bothered to study the map until I find a reason to move.


I am lost without a guidebook, I tried to buy a guidebook in Thailand, and however I was not able to find one to buy. I would maybe have paid full price for a new one if I had located one, as I know that without a guidebook of some form I can be lost in China culture. Taiwan people speak or I feel they speak better English than Thai people, so this is a plus. I will try to not make snap judgments of a culture after being in Taiwan for two nights. I probably though have had more meaningful discussions in two day of life in Taiwan with the other travelers than in two weeks of being in Thailand. Therefore, I could say the intelligence or ability to carry on a conversation is maybe ten times better with the traveler inside of Taiwan than in Thailand. I am sad that travelers can be so ignorant in one country and so intelligent in another.

There is a French Canadian here or a Quebecqua as they call them, he was helping me with my computer to try to get connected to the slow broadband connection here in the Hostel. He is a computer science major, he helped, but in the end, strangely I found the problem was an IP and DNS number problem. Broadband here has a username and password.

Nonetheless, I met Philip about 27 years old and has been inside mainland China for the last 6 months. He came to Taiwan for a visa run I think and is just hanging around and not trying to push life around.

His observations about Asian culture are clear, simple, and probably reality like a breath of fresh air after my last month or months in Thailand with travelers that are intent on getting tattoos and dreads, maybe this does something to the brain.


My computer gave me one of them send to Microsoft messages.

Back to my thoughts


A group of people from the Hostel went to a nightclub last night; it was a great time and fun to dance with a Hong Kong girl to Latino Taiwan music, like taking cultures and putting them in a blender and pouring into shoe to drink.

Nothing works right, but the place works ok, the nightclub is a to be seen bar and you have old men dancing with slinking women, and foreigners that could not get a girl in their own country paying too much money to impress a girl that in their own culture would be outside their league.

Not a great type of bar to go to alone, but hilarious as a groups, the band member advertised as Jazz, but really a Taiwan Latino type salsa, with English words sang by a Taiwan women makes for a lack of clarity that is interesting.

Anytime a group of people from a Hostel wants to go to a dance bar together I will join them, I find the experience is interesting as a group and boring alone, you need support to enjoy.

The owner of the Hostel a Taiwan girl married to Mexican man organized the trip; the Mexican man is the reason for the Latino flavor.

I kept asking,

“How much by Taxi to return to the Hostel?”

This was annoying her as it became more obvious that I was not planning to stay the night with the group. However, I have learned on many occasions do not get into a car or with a driver hoping to return home before sunrise. Always make sure you can afford the taxi trip home so you can have a life during the daylight hours.

I would not get into a car with a strange person I met in New York City and drive across New York to a nightclub. The person could get very drunk, I would not know how to get home, the taxi would cost a month’s hostel rent and I would be sitting there while somebody believes life is about drinking until the sun rises.

Fortunately last night was great and nobody in the Hostel was the Thailand type of drink to you drop travelers. I suppose though nobody could afford to drink in the bar. I paid 7 dollar for a one grapefruit juice. It would have cost 50-100 U.S. to get a good buzz on, so I guess. There was a 500 Taiwan dollar cover charge; we luckily circumvented that by sitting at the bar.

I would tell you the name of the bar now, but I forgot to ask or look at the name. I think I forgot the place before I entered.

Philips explanations of China culture and me trying to teach a Hong Kong girl to dance or wiggle acceptable to Taiwan-Latino Music was the highlight of the evening. I was doing pretty well with getting play from the lead Guapa girl singer also, but then again, I was the only blond guy in the bar, and maybe the only one with blue eyes.

Philip was telling me about his friend with blue contact lenses, blue eyes can open doors in countries with black hair.


I am to step one of computer Taiwan science.

I have my computer connected.

I do not have a clue where an internet café is located, there seems to be extremely few.

I have a Sony Mavica Camera with 3.5 floppy disk; I have no place to copy from the disk, so the pictures are captured on the disk still. The hostel has this windows 98 laptop by Acer, which will not accept either of my two type of flash or thumb drives. I had downloaded the drivers and they still will not work on a Chinese computer. Plug and play is some form of nasty joke, and in reality, I have yet to see. Plug and play in a perfect world.

I am on day three of Taiwan, and I think I can upload photos to the internet on the owner’s laptop and then download them to my computer. Therefore, I will make the transfer over the internet. Not a great solution on a slow 56K broadband connection. I have no clue why it is extremely slow.


- A fully decorated meal, lemon, cilantro, cucumber.

- A hip hugger pair of pants on women that coyly walk by lowered eyes and toy like features.

- Lying down on a flat wooden pedestal with lot of pyramid type had mattress pillows.

- Walking by a barefoot monk, rice bowl and umbrella in his hand, not being able to communicate with this monk. Brownish orange outfit with shaved head, going to collect alms just after sunrise.

- Cleaning ladies chatter at me, talking, smiling, and both of us playing around without a word of English.

- Thai style is to me lost, I feel thirty years ago it was in existence, now it is just talked and recommended about in the Guidebooks with an endless chain of stories more real than reality.


7:40 AM Friday, February 4, 2005

I am sitting again in no-mans land, I have passed out of Thailand as far as customs goes, and am waiting for the China Air plane to Taipei, Taiwan, maybe part of China, maybe not.

Left the hotel, checked the internet at an all night sloppy style internet café full of lady boys and tattoos dreads. It feels good to leave Thai style or at least the Khao San Road version of Thai style. Every country has a style and Thai style is more or less coined and used by many people.

I caught a Thai style Taxi to the airport, the man asks me if I go to airport, and then tries to snag me outside the meter rate. I say,


He ignore me, I say,


He ignore me until I start to walk away, normally I do not grab a taxi sitting outside a hotel as they are waiting for chumps, where they can say 500 Baht for a 180 Baht fare, and the person does not know about the meters in Bangkok. Meters are great, the air-conditioned taxis are cheap, and surprising maybe half the price of a tuk tuk or three-wheel motorcycle taxi that Thailand is known for.

I get in the Taxi with a man that is advertising Airport, he get into a small accident on the way as he rolls back into the car behind us, I am wondering if he is drinking. He speaks two words of English, and understands less, in normal Thai style. He asks me was we approach the International airport.


I am hoping he is asking which airlines, I say,


No need for two words they just blend together, he does not understand, I start to repeat,

“China Air.”



He My Kow Jai, he no understand, Thai style.

I am ahead of schedule as is normal, and I am looking for the signs, but he suddenly talks like he see China Air, but we pull over and I get to walk to the next terminal. It is OK, I really do not try to control these minute things, I did go instantly for a trolley or free cart, I like to wander around airport and people watch so this is not a problem.

I ask information in English for China Air and she says something in English that I cannot understand. I get her to look at me and say that it is line 12; I deduce that it is the next terminal. Information desk Thai style.

Thailand is cheap, full of cheap things, beaches, places, people, rooms, things to do very cheap. High quality for the money, value that is why I come, not to talk to Thailand.


The line moves very slow and I am nervous, I have two bags to check, this is highly abnormal, the China Air people all speak Thai. No problems and the weight is ok.

Mr. Joe told me that maybe 31 kilos could be in each bag.

So about 60 Kilos in total, I am carrying the extra bag to save on shipping charges, I believe even if I have to pay extra it will be cheaper than paying to ship to the USA.

Both bags enter with no problem; I proceed to pay the 500 Baht airport fee, tax, or whatever you call it. I then find out I am one day over on my visa, I am hoping they take U.S. Dollar. They take me to a desk, I see a sign.

New Late Visa Fees

One- day no charge

Two -day 400 Baht

200 Baht for each day after.

The grunt and groan and tell me to stand in one-spot. This is extremely Thai Style, as they are always giving orders, like,

“Stand here.”

Therefore, as always with customs I play very stupid and stand there, no extra fees and she release me.

I proceed to the gate 54 and take the long walk; there is a duty-free store, which to me translates to pay double and no customs taxi. I only one to get rid of the last 140 Baht in my pocket, so I decide to pay 80 Baht or two dollar for a chocolate bar, the man in front is buying liquor and is paying with a credit card, they want his passport for the duty-free part. Finally being patient I am ready to pay with my 100 Baht bill, she wants my boarding pass and passport to buy a candy bar. I grab the money back and walk away, just too much, too much or same same, just for a candy bar.

I go to a very nice stand that does not have the sign pay double above it, oh, it is a normal pay one and half more than normal. I ask the girl how much Oreos are, and she tells me the coffee is 40 Baht, she is smiling and this is unusual, it is early in the morning and Thai people are not big at smiling to people, giving the blank yes, but this girl is exceptional, although she Thai style speaks three words of English and understand none. I hold up the Oreos, she is smart, she types in the calculator 80 Baht, then I say coffee please and I get rid of 120 Baht or Three dollars U.S. I do not like to look at extra money I would rather throw it away than to think about it. I call this seepage, money lost in translation.

I go to the gate, the I walk up and say, hello pretty girl, many frowns, but they do not understand so I know it is not my comment. I then hand my ticket to her and say,

“Am I in the right place?”

She stalls, and says,

“You want to know if right gate?”


Thai style she says,

“Take a seat.”

No please, no answering question, no good morning. I say, thank you and go sit down, or better yet, I go to a water fountain. I am trying to take my daily allotment of 15-30 photos. Drinking fountains do not exist outside the USA and in Thailand never… However, an airport is a great place to have a drinking fountain if you have one, in fact, this could be maybe one of 10 in the country. It has a water purifier above it; I think this reminds me of home. So I take the Oreos, put on the water fountain, take a photo, and I have created a photo.

Sitting down the come and tell me my carryon bag looks big. I pull out my 7-kilo computer bag, separate and go stuff in the stand, weigh the bag and go through with flying colors. I have rocks in my computer bag.

I go over to the water fountain, try to get a drink, no water pressure and no water Thai style. I need a good German country where the world works for five times the price. Maybe this is why so many Thai bar girls marry so many German boys, they want a lack of Chaos, and the German boys want a lack of rules. There is a balance somewhere.

Now the big question, is Taipei cold? I mean the weather.