Archive for the 'Taipei' Category

EUPVSEC’08 World Tour Stop #13 & Final Destination: Taipei (x2)

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Seeing as I’m about to come to Canada very, very shortly I think I should finish writing about my last trip, plus bring people up to speed on everything else that happened this term (which there was an awful lot of).

On our first trip through Taipei we all stayed with Stanley and his family. Had our teeth cleaned. Exciting times, as you recall. I was willing to stay in a hostel for my two nights in Taipei en route to Sydney, but Stanley’s family insisted that I stay with them again, even though Stanley wasn’t there this time, and to be polite I agreed. What a wonderful decision!

I had the fun of an adventure on my own by way of getting myself from the airport to their metro stop by public transit. Amazingly, I was exactly on time and as I came up the subway escalator with all my stuff, there was Stan’s dad waiting for me at the entrance. Such a relief! It was ridiculously hot again, and wonderful to get back to their apartment, get some air con, a shower, a nap, clean clothes - heaven! And I had the apartment entirely to myself this time. In the evening Stan’s parents took me to the mountains, and we walked through the dusk and ate fresh fruit that they’d brought with us. We went to an old Chinese market street and bought sweets that I could take back to Sydney (they insisted on purchasing everything for me too, which made me extremely reluctant to get anything at all). Then we went out for a massive Japanese banquet at this beautiful authentic Japanese restaurant overlooking a river.

The next day was just as good. They took me outside the city to the mountains to visit some of their relatives. They have a house up on a mountain and actually own the whole mountain. We picked flowers, and hiked a bit, and ate and ate and ate. Then we sat around and sang karaoke most of the afternoon. The whole day was amazing. Watched the sunset in the mountains.

When I had to leave, Stan’s parents drove me right to the airport. I had such an amazing time with them I simply do not know how I can ever thank them. I have very fond memories of Taipei now. Such friendly, generous, polite people everywhere we went. I love the world.

EUPVSEC’08 World Tour Stop #1: Taipei

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Yes, I’ve been bad at communicating, bad at updating, but it’s all about to be explained. This year I had the chance to attend one of the biggest solar energy conferences in the world, bill footed by UNSW. And since it was all the way over in Spain, we decided we should make a few stops along the way :)

About half of my group, and a good number of researchers from the Centre’s other groups, all went. Roland, Budi, Stanley and I did a bit of a whirl-wind European tour since it was Stan and Rona’s first times there. But Australia’s bloody far from everything, and so we stopped over in Taipei, Taiwan for 5 days on the way to Europe to visit Stanley’s family.

Taipei was AMAZING! No one in Taipei owns a house, space is too restricted, so Stanley’s family has 2 apartments, right across the hall from each other. One for the parents, one for Stanley and his sister Kelly. Kelly’s studying in Sydney as well, so I got her room, and Roland got his choice of the study or sitting room. Stan’s parents were amazing to us the whole time.

We slept in. We went shopping. We went up mountains. Went to the fisherman’s wharf. Old Chinese market streets. Night markets. Art galleries and museums. And ate ate ate. I thought I would explode. Japanese food is hugely popular, so one night Stan’s parents took us to and all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. The next it was teppanyaki. The night before we left is was Mos Burger (Japanese fast food - the burgers have buns made of rice! It was really cool).

The other cool thing is that we had an instant group of friends there, which I didn’t expect. Our friend Stacy, from Sydney, was also back in Taiwan at the time visiting her family, and so she drove Stan to pick us up at the airport when we arrived, and was our chauffeur for most of the trip. A couple of her high school friends joined us too when they could. Then on the weekend one of the engineers from E-Ton who had come to UNSW for training on laser doping from us joined us. Adam and I went to the top of Taipei 101 together. On Sunday his girlfriend Winnie (who is a poet! how cool is that?) got us all to go the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was waaaaaay better for me then shopping (turns out Stan and Rona are waaaaaaay more into shopping than I can handle).

Taipei 101

Another day we went to the National Museum. Taiwan actually calls itself the Republic of China. Back when the communists had a revolution in China, the nationalists (obviously) lost, and they went into exile in Taiwan. They took with them nearly all of the priceless Chinese historical artifacts from dynasty upon dynasty of Chinese rulers. So they have a pretty kick-ass national museum.

Fisherman's Wharf
The other reason I wanted to go to Taipei was because Stan’s dad is a dentist, and they offered to remove my wisdom teeth for free! How can I refuse? So on our second day there, Roland had his first dentist appointment ever, and I got some x-rays done. Turns out my teeth are way too complicated now to remove without minor surgery, and Stan’s dad would only undertake the surgery if I could stay the week. Unfortunately I didn’t have a week, so I couldn’t get my wisdom teeth out after all. But I did get a free clean then. And I got to keep the x-rays too.

So we had an amazing time in Taipei. Friendly people, excellent food, lots to do. Very lively, happening city.