purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
[personal profile] purplecat
I was really just in Taiwan for the conference, arriving the evening before it started and going directly to the airport from the venue when it ended so I didn't have any time for sight-seeing. However I did take a couple of photos.

It occurs to me I am easily impressed by hotel rooms. The exciting features of this one included that you entered through the bathroom and there was a sliding door behind the loo which I first thought was a built in wall cupboard but it turned out it opened out into the bedroom so you could, I don't know! reach through and get something off the desk while you were on the toilet? I have no idea.

Looking back from the bedroom area towards the room door.

View from the door of the room.

Close up of the sink so you can admire the soap dish.

View from my hotel window. This seemed fairly typical of Taipei with the rather higgeldy-piggeldy housing. I suspect this is a consequence of loose planning regulations and a lot of people on low wages prepared to live in small rather jury-rigged accommodation. You can't really see any examples in this photo, but it was clear there was a small industry in making extensions so you could turn your apartment's balcony into an extra bit of housing space by enclosing it and then extending outwards.

This is the view of Taipei from the conference banquet venue. You can see the Taipei 101 (second tallest building in the world, I think) rising out of the haze and towering over the surrounding buildings.

My hotel was very western and charged accordingly. But elsewhere we were all amazed how cheap things were. In the "expensive" food court below the Taipei 101 where I had lunch every day, I could get a four course meal for the equivalent of £2.50. Similarly the bus I caught to take me to the airport (roughly a 40 minute drive along motoways) also cost £2.50. The conference banquet was a nine course meal with no rice or noodle dishes. We were told that this was because it was an expensive dinner and to have served rice or noodles would have suggested they couldn't afford to feed us properly.

Most of my other impessions are very fragmentary; glimpses of other people's lives as we were ferried to and from conference events and too brief to really draw conclusions from. Early in the morning you could see the staff in the little workshops the bus drove past, all lined up and standing to attention as their manager gave them their instructions for the day. Everywhere there was evidence of cheap labour, from the fact that all the bus seats had clean antimacassars on them which were presumably replaced and washed regularly. All the hoardings surrounding building works were decorated with hanging baskets of plants which were watered every morning. Every road crossing (at least in the posh business area where the conference was) was accompanied by a traffic policeman who would blow his whistle and direct commuters and traffic. The traffic itself, reminded me most of Italian traffic with hundreds of apparently suicidal moped riders of every kind from businessmen in suits, to teenage boys with their girlfriends riding pillion, through little old ladies going shopping. Almost ubiquitous piped Western classical music seemed to follow us wherever we went. At first I thought this was a particular obsession with Vivaldi's Four Seasons but it turned out to be a little more wide-ranging than that, but I've no idea what this signified beyond that places like westernised hotels, airports, conference centres and prestige shopping malls considered it appropriate muzak.


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

October 2017

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