Man. On the road. That is so exciting, time after time, extending your boundaries, both literally and figuratively. I arrived last night and sit in the lobby of my hotel. Even if you travel as much as I do, you still forget things about traveling. Funny, I arrived and only then recalled that the scents that are so different than at home. Spicy but also wet-sock odours hit you the moment you step out of the airplane. People sometimes say you need to change gear but you really need to. “Go with the flow” from the moment you touch down in another country.
It looks surprisingly like Japan while I expected it would be more like China. It is extremely clean and there is an immediate health check, just like in Japan. The flight and suitcases go quickly and are well organized. Marvelous! I decide to test the coffee right away but switch to tea in the end. That just seems better. I notice immediately that there is free WiFi everywhere with no difficult sign-ups or passwords. That is extremely handy for me, especially because I want to stay accessible and to be able to post things without too many problems.
I note that the atmosphere is good in this country. People are friendly and are willing to help. I know immediately again why traveling enriches you. You welcome new things, scents, people, food and traditions. During the taxi ride to my hotel I see a vast number of trees in beautiful colors, a bit of green amongst the industry of the city. You can see “Made in Taiwan” with all of the industry here. Great grey plumes arise from enormous smokestacks.
I have to smile when I arrive at my hotel. It is a marvelously luxurious and businesslike hotel. I am promptly checked in and helped by a sweet little Taiwanese bell boy with an enormous hat on his head. The people here are disarmingly kind. My room is on the 11th floor and has a view of Taipei’s business district. After unpacking my things (yes, that is a lot but, yes, I will also stay long), I go into the city. I couldn’t resist bringing my camera with me, I needed to capture what I saw.
Now it is dark in the original “city that never sleeps.” People are eating everywhere, which makes me hungry as well. I decide to go sit at a very busy “running sushi” where they have sushi on a conveyer belt. I learned the rules in Japan, which is great. As an expert running-sushi user I tap warm water for tea from my table and with a practiced hand fill small containers with ginger, soy sauce and wasabi. I begin eagerly on the plates that go by. Next to me is a man with similar taste. He pinches the tuna every time from right beneath my nose. Running sushi is one of the finest things but if there is a competition element then my day is made! Haha! I pay the bill and it turns out that I have filled my stomach with sushi for only 4 euros. This is a good sign. Affordable AND open 24 hours. I am okay…
I start to get tired after all and decide to go back to my hotel. I will be picked up at 9:00 and then the real adventure begins. On the way back I run into yet another food square. I can’t resist tasting as I walk by. And it is exactly what I already suspected: the Taiwanese cooking style is somewhere in between that of China and Japan. It has clear and definitive flavours; is savory with pleasant textures. Great. I eat a variety of things before finally arriving at my hotel.