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ON being overwhelmed

I don’t know what to write at the moment there is just too much to say… I need to put everything down on paper, make sections, themes, subjects I don’t know…

INspired

Themes to come:

– Tea drinking

– Temples

– Taipei 1O1 and the shops inside

– More on food (fruits and vegies)

– On the new year’s eve

– On people and fashion

– On small alleys

– On religions

and certainely more

And thats only for the past 4 days that I arrived… Jeez’ .. !

ON Taipei’s metropolitain (MRT)

Have you ever dreamd of the perfect subway, clean, easy to use, without loooong junctions? Well there it is! As it was builted in 1996, I think that they had time to observe all the defaults of western metros and literaly erase any of them. Let me explain:

¬†-Basically, few simple rules make the subway ultra clean: no eat, no drink, not even chewing gums are accepted in the sub… We would think of it as a totalitarian regime, but it is actually worth it! And it’s much more a question of respect for the others than just to bother the population (remember that horrendous smell of old kebab or Macdonalds?… ummm)

-No phone calls are neither really accepted , they recommand you to be very quick or to write a text, at least to be quiet.

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(don’t ask me why you are not allowed to birds ant ducks and not other animals! ūüôā )

-They instored a system of waiting line of the platform: you queue to enter the tram! First arrived, first to come in (exept of course if there is old people, pregnant women ect, they pass first).

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-There is also a  safe waiting part for women during night, surrounded by a blue line and with three CCTV pointed on it. If you are scared that a pervert follows you, you can just go there, or even press a security button.

-They have a stric policy on perverts ¬†in the subway: “Stop Sexueal Harrasment“.

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-There is also access to clean free toilets in every stations… ! Isn’t that mad?

-And finally, at night, instead of annoucing that all the metro are gone and that you’re screwed and have to walk back home or take a cab (which is quite sadistic if you think of it), they annouce you that the last train is coming soon and that you should hurry up to the platform…. !!!

As I said, a whole new experience… Also, it is all the stations are translated in Pinyin, the chinese words translated in our alphabet, and the rest is translated in english (exit, lift…) same at the airports and in the streets… Pretty nice isn’t? ūüôā

night

pic1.

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pic2.

ON Taiwanese food and Night Markets

Ok so I like food. And I didn’t knew but Taiwan is known for it’s good, fresh food (and more over, the city I’m going to for the exhange (Tainan), is known ¬†in all the island as the sanctuary of goodness…!)

Here people have a favourite way of eating their food: as it’s really warm during the day, street night food markets¬†(see pic1.) are rising when the sun comes down. Alleys of tiny shops are popping up and smells, shapes and colors are mixing (also, the quality of food is high, there isn’t much cases of indigestions). Here you can get calamari creamy fried ball with fried onions and garlic cream (see pic2.), drinks with frogs eggs (which are actually tapioca beans!), fried whole squids, shrimps, vegies, stinky tofu… everything that you never tried before… a whole new experience for the eyes, the nose and of course, the mouth ūüôā

Sometimes you have to be courageous but I mean if they eat it, why not me?!

You also get to eat a full meal, with vegies, meat and drinks, for 100$ (tawanese dollars), that equal to 2.18 pounds.

Tonight, I might try to eat snake.

link to the video: Arrival to the vibrant district of Ximen

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ON my arrival in Taipei

Coming from Shanghai, arriving in Taipei was a relief: a densly green land was spreading under the plane’s wings, and the sunset was lighting the last blueness of the sky (is that even english?).

When I got out of the subway, that‚Äôs what I saw: Lost in translation bis ( Hey, I’m doing cinema studies, so my life is basically a reference to films). Amazingly alive, warm, active, young, the distric of Ximen appeared in front of me (see the video link on youtube, in HD if possible). Here, a blend of different activites rises: street music, street food shops, cinemas, camera shops, clothes shops (and all relatively cheap), thousands of young people, all more colorful one ¬†from another (as I said in the previous post, ¬†there is a strong Japanese influence, so you uget to see crazy clothes, hair cuts…).

From karaokes to betting games, from feet massages, to food and drinks, everyone and everything has it’s place here!

For more traditional area, you need to get a little bit out, even though I still stepped on few temples and querky streets.

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ON Taipei, Taiwan (Republic of China)

Taipei City¬†(/ňĆta…™ňąpe…™/;¬†Chinese:¬†ŤáļŚĆóŚłā or ŚŹįŚĆóŚłā;¬†pinyin:¬†T√°ibńõi Sh√¨;¬†T√Ęi-pak Chhńę) is the capital of the¬†Republic of China (Taiwan). Situated at the northern tip of the island of Taiwan, Taipei is located on the¬†Tamsui River. The city proper (Taipei City) is home to an estimated 2,618,772 people.¬†Taipei,¬†New Taipei, and¬†Keelung¬†together form the Taipei metropolitan area with a population of 6,900,273…

Tapei 101 (picture) was for long the highest building in the world, and even though the city is hypra developped, it is still surrounded by a very dense jungle, parks and traditional temples.

Taipei is the political, economic, and cultural centre of Taiwan. The National Palace Museum which has one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world is located in there.

Taipei was founded in the early 18th century and became an important center for overseas trade in the 19th century. The Qing Dynasty of China made Taipei the provincial capital of Taiwan in 1886. When the Japanese acquired Taiwan in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War, they retained Taipei as the capital of the island, and also advanced extensive urban planning in Taipei (we can indeed feel a very strong Japanese culture in Taiwan!). The Republic of China took over the island in 1945 following Japanese surrender. After losing Mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) resettled the ROC government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of the Republic of China in December 1949.

The independance of Taiwan is still relative from the point of view of international governments, even though Tawanese people consider themselves as a nation. For instance, during international sports games, they are ask by United Nations to put there flag down not to create conflict with China… !

x

ON Shanghai

(Those are only impressions as I literally crossed it for 30 minutes, but sometimes first impressions are the truests…)

Constantly grey, gigantic city (fact this time!), massive buildings growing from the ground by fields. Some are packed, some are completely empty. When you follow the motorway between the two airports, you can blenty see it’s a really poor area (who would like to live next to a motorway anyway?), but there is still billboards for Rolex and Lexus everywhere, things that people living in those buildings could never dream to offer… A communist country? Really?

Plus a really harsh pollution… Not a dreamland I would say. But then I got some friends who went there and loved it… Maybe because they could offer a prince life… fair?

 

PS: Facebook is censored in China.

 

ON travelling the world in 11 hours

WE all remember this story, Around the World in Eighty days, well I can now say that I went around the world in 11 hours. Indeed, I travelled 6000 miles in this short period of time, and the place I left on monday morning didn’t seem that far away when I stepped out of the plane: you know this thing of airports, motorways or big infrastructures, that are all similar all around the world and make you wonder if you actually went away…? Well that’s how I felt. The sens of travelling is undermined by the easiness of it! But I can’t complain, can I?