Thursday 21st of April 2011
Having just arrived in Taiwan we got off the plane and found a taxi to take us to the 101 building in Taipei's city centre. The cab ride cost us 1257 Taiwanese dollars and took about 40 minutes. We sped down the 6 lane freeways at a less then comforting 120km past graveyards and temples, slums and industrial estates, misty green mountains and Grey sweeping rivers. Upon arriving at the 101 the cab driver taught me my first Taiwanese word (aside form the colloquial and slang jokes exchanged in high school between Kevin Chang and I) Shi Shi , Which I suppose means thankyou. The people have (like Japan) a quiet, polite and deliberate manner; this applies everywhere except on the roads.
We proceeded right through the front door of the 101 building to the reception for some information via the medium of sign language. Over alot of time spent not understanding the local dialects I've developed an uncanny optimism for things working themselves out. Even in Africa after getting mugged or sold things I didn't even want; the optimism remains. To be honest being overly positive with a toothy grin to match pulls me through any moments of misunderstanding. So with a HUGE smiles we began our monologue. We managed to find out that we are that the 101 wasn't open until midday and the mall beneath would be open at 11am. We thanked them and left to explore the streets, streets with no rules, no hours of operation just bizarre smells, noise and a acute awareness and recognition of our alien like presence.