Look who is back! I have had a busy few months and will no doubt be writing about it all soon. For now, I am here in Taipei, I arrived a week ago tomorrow and am still trying to get myself into a regular sleeping pattern. It seems to get harder as I get older.
Where is Taiwan? A lot of people are confused (it used to happen when I lived in Thailand, tourists would mix up the names even though the two countries are nothing like each other). Taiwan is an island off the east coast of China in what is known as the East China Sea. It is north east of Thailand and comes in the zone known as sub tropical whereas Thailand was tropical, what that means is Taiwan has a “winter” and right now it is cool about 12C and damp, it is always humid here and when it is cool as well it makes it a bit uncomfortable. It is not cool enough for heating, well not in the apartment and when I go out to a cafe where the heating is on I find it too warm. It does get as hot as Thailand in the summer months which start around March. The vegetation is similar to Bangkok with lots of the same plants surviving the cooler temps.
Another problem is with the address, Taiwanese think of their country as being R.O.C. or Republic of China which most people assume means China. It doesn’t. When Chang Kai Shek escaped to this island, after his defeat on the mainland by Mao’s forces, he brought with him many loyal followers and the name they had called China, R.O.C. before it became communist. The name has remained in use on this island which is ruled by a democratically elected govt. China, however has always wanted Taiwan back and is still flexing its muscles, I believe the USA has played a part in keeping Taiwan free of the giant to its west.
Taiwan, then, is essentially Chinese in culture, indeed they have a wonderful museum here which is full of Chang Kai Sheks spoils of war in the form of the ancient emperors possessions. He brought lots of wonderful and expensive things with him when he fled and a massive museum was built to house these treasures which are on display only partially because there is so much of them (Another reason China wants Taiwan back !)