Thursday, July 01, 2004

# 11 ..

++ 11. I have never been to Europe, but I was born in Taiwan, but I only lived there for 6 months, but it was the first 6 months of my life.
And so i don't remember it. i have been back to taiwan once since then to visit relatives. it was in 2002. i met relatives i haven't ever met before and it was absolutely great. downtown taipei taiwan is something similar to going to times square during rush hour in the evening when all the lights are on and everywhere, spinning around until you are aboslutely dizzy, then dropping a pin in the midst of all the foot traffic and taxi traffic, closing your eyes for 30 seconds, then trying to find the pin. absolutely insane. of course the bigger you are, the more control you have. so pedestrians have no chance. you avoid everything else. next come the scooters with the 20 and 30 something year olds on them, wearing a cloth or cotton mask over their mouths to keep out the ever-present car fumes. they zip in and out of traffic deftly and narrowly avoiding each other and being hit by 4 wheeled vehicles. sometimes with a passenger on the back. some with helmets. some without. next come the cars driven by mostly middle to older taiwanese who have made it in the financial world (well even some who haven't. but the its just like the US. BMW's. junkers. they're all there.) next come the taxi cabs. oh the taxi cabs. not as many as NYC, but a whole lot more crazy. they are probably by far the worst drivers in the country. they drive fast. they turn fast. they jerk back and forth. apparantly they have a foul mouth. they all smoke. and they all chew betel nuts. which stain your teeth red and contains nicotine in it. actually, taxicab drivers almost rule the road over larger trucks and buses. the one thing i did notice is they do not have any semi-trucks. lots of greyhound buses though. oh, you can take a bus from the top of the island to the bottom of the island in a day. actually in less than a day. taiwan is so small it can fit inside rhode island. the countryside once you get out side of the major cities are very rural. oh and temples everywhere. i didn't quite figure out the whole temple and religious thing, because to me the temples (which i guess are different from shrines) all more or less look the same. at least the buddhist and daoist temples. but in the countryside (well pretty much everywhere outside of the major cities where its banned to burn things) they burn this fake money at temples. i guess at the buddhist temples you pray to three things, the gods, your anscestors, and the heavens. (although i think i just got that wrong. anybody know?) oh yeah and confuscianism is different from buddhism. without getting into a spiritual dialogue, confuscianism is not a religion, its a way of life. buddhism and shintoism and daoism are religions. there is a lot about taiwan. i'll save it though for particulars. ++

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