Strolling around major Asian cities is one of the things I truly like. Especially in combination with some great beats coming from my headphones. I love taking in the activities on the streets, the architecture and the energy. Taipei is one of those cities where you can truly wander around for hours and see the city in many different perspectives. Stand in front of the Taipei 101 or take the elevator to the 89th floor for an incredible view of the entire region. Join a group of people in the park playing basketball and take in the local life. Or climb Xiangshan for a challenging hike and great view of the city. Either way, I did all and would do it again any given time.
The nicest experience I remember of Taipei is walking the streets around 9PM. Out of the blue this young guy walks up to me and puts his mobile phone in my hands. He gestures me to speak to the person on the phone. “Hello sir?” I hear on the other end. “What are you looking for?” I am baffled. What just happened and whom am I speaking to? It turns out to be the teacher of the young student. He is worried about me because I am walking in an area in Taipei that is not very well lit. The student saw me and called his teacher to check what I was doing. He was concerned I got lost. And I actually did…
I explain the teacher on the phone hat I am looking for a famous tea place and just want to chill out, drink some tea before I leave back home tomorrow. “Ah, you are in the wrong area. I can help you. Just pass the phone back to my student and I make sure you go to the right place.” I hand the student the phone back and he nods after instructions from his teacher. He hangs up the phone, hails a cab and gestures me to get in the cab. He speaks Mandarin to the driver, waves me goodbye and says in his best English “good luck”.
So I am in the cab, thinking what the bleep just happened. If someone in Holland puts his phone in your hand, you start running. Free phone! But in this case the young guy just saw me walking, guessed correctly that I was lost, and helped me out get to the place where I needed to be.
The driver drops me at Taipei 101 area and points out a street I should walk into. I pay the guy and start walking. The tea shop I am seeking is nowhere to be found. But I do spot a massive line of people waiting in front of a club. I ask the bouncer what is going on this Tuesday night. He says something about “Fat Joe and all you can drink”. I don’t get it but I like hiphop. The bouncer lets me in without standing in line and I get my free drinking pass. It doesn’t take long before a group of students chat with me. Result: great evening!
I wake up in my hotel bed the next morning and have a massive hangover. All I can think is “what just happened”? Is this the normal way of the Taiwanese? If yes, I want to live here. I have ran into some interesting experiences in the past two decades, but this stands out. If I wasn’t convinced yet that Taiwan is an amazing place to visit, then by now I am sold. I am definitely Tempted by Taiwan!
Visualize Taiwan in the Tempted by Taiwan gallery.