Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Taiwan photo essay part Two...

These are going to be random images from all over, so bear with me...

This is the view from my 11th floor window. It's a really cool little playground between high rises. Next to the playground is a preschool/ kindergarten.


And here is the view of the room itself; my "home" for 10 days.


And here's the lobby... getting ready for Chinese New Year.

These wooden statues, which were amazing, were lined up in front of a building that was little more than a shed that looked like it would fall over in a breeze.


This picture doesn't really do justice to the power of the scooter in Taiwan. They are, literally, everywhere. As our great guide Michael pointed out; Taiwan is a country with a population of about 23 million people and there are 8+ million scooters in Taiwan. That means there is a scooter for every 3rd person in the country! That is an astounding number.

The scooters may outnumber the cars... but the cars still win in a fight. It's like this one exploded... but it didn't.

(More pictures later...)

Taiwan is a series of contradictions and incomprehensible conditions. Taiwan has a reputation for being crowded and busy and dirty and smelly and all kinds of things that are not exactly flattering. However, I can honestly report that the people have been unbelievably warm and friendly and caring. They have been so very eager to share their world with us and to help with anything. I have been floored by the kindness and generosity of the people I have met in the companies and factories I have visited, but also by the average person on the street. I kind of stick out like Godzilla here, being nearly 6'3" tall. I'm a lot bigger than the average Taiwanese person and I get a lot of stares, but I also get as many smiles and waves as I walk around. The people here are amazing and proud of their country. Many of the people I have spoken to know their countries less than pretty reputation of course, but they live with the ugly and the beautiful side by side. Sure, I don't know if I could live here, but I know that visiting isn't a problem. Yes, it's dirty and smelly in places at times, but at the same time the people erase a lot of that perception with their personality. I have been so blown away by the weird amazingness of the country and people- I mean, where else are you going to find the massive industrial/ factory infrastructure with thousands of Buddhist temples sprinkled in and around them?

Ok, time for bed now, since it is after 11:00PM local time and I have another day of 5 visits tomorrow.

I'll be back with many more pictures and stories...

Tim

15 comments:

James said...

Great pictures Tim. Keep them coming. Make sure you get some shots of bikes on the street too.

mindblob said...

Hi Tim,
Great to have your view on Taiwan. Thanks for sharing!

rich said...

OOH OOH, bring me back a Honda Dio scooter!!! Please!!

I will win many races for Masi this year if you do! Doin 100 mph on a 100 pound scooter will really get me ready for the season! Plus Hek needs that 80+ mph for motorpacing.

Rich said...

Also, its funny bc that busted scooter you took a pic of prolly could have those parts resold in the US bc ppl pay top dollar for tiawan imports. Heck i spend hundreds of dollars a year to have scooter parts shipped from Germany. Yes, I am a freak!

Jon Paul Baker said...

Thanks for the photos! I'm looking forward to reading more about your experiences in Taiwan. I am guessing you are in Taipei?

I am quite envious of your hotel room. Either Masi has a much bigger travel budget than I would have thought or Taipei(?) has much larger hotel rooms than Tokyo.

When I was working in Tokyo in 2002, both the hotel rooms I stayed in, while well-equipped, were tiny. Take one of your beds, turn it so the long edge is on the left wall and so the foot is almost against the back wall. Cut the rest of the room in half long-ways, so there is four feet between the bed and the right wall. Put a TV and a tiny desk next to the bed. Immediately behind the bed is the bathroom, and across from the bathroom is a small closet that holds the obligatory robe and sandals. The electricity is only on when your hotel key is in a special slot.

Very functional, but very small. I'm 6'1 and my feet hung off the end of the bed. You would have had even more discomfort.

I enjoyed my time in Tokyo, and my first hotel was next to the Imperial Palace (Kōkyo), but I would have liked a slightly larger room.

T-Guy J said...

WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY SCOOTER?!?!?!

So, will you be bringing back soem frames for all us in the blog-o-sphere

Fritz said...

Cool photos. Glad you're having a good time.

I grew up in Tokyo -- you gotta know where to stay if you want decent size rooms.

> a population of about 23 million people and there are 8+ million scooters in Taiwan. That means there is a scooter for every 3rd person in the country!

*shrug* The United States has a population of 300 million, 200 million of whom have licenses, and 250 million registered automobiles. That more cars than adults in this country. That's five cars for every six people.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim

Marketing guy for a bike co here in Taipei... wanna hook up for a brew?

Chris

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Chris! Hey man, I'd love to but I'm in Taichung...

Anonymous said...

Tim

Bummer, will you be at the Taipei show?

If you need a riding buddy to show you the mountains round Taichung our old product guy lives in the 'Chung.

Chris

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Chris,

Yes, I will be back for Taipei. We'll try to have a beer then?

I wish I'd brought a bike with me here. I'd love to get out out and ride. With all the rain though, I guess it's better that I didn't.

See you in March.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim

Glad you enjoyed possibly the ugliest city in Taiwan. That siad, most of the cities are ugly. But with 24 million people crammed on the island, they have done Ok I reckon. I love it here.

Riding wise this place is a paradise, seriously. For hiking and surfing as well. The east coast of the island has some of the most stunning scenery imaginable.

Check out a site a mate and I developed for riding in Taiwan. www.formosanfattire.com

Come March lets hook up. Anyway to stay in touch off line? Email? Private message?

Chris

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Chris,

Cool site. I'd love to get out and ride. Making me nuts being without a bike.

Yes, send me an email- it's on my profile information here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim

I must be a luddite... I cannot for the life of me find a way to contact you offline via yr profile

Chris

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Chris,

You're no luddite... I couldn't find it either.

tjackson
(AT)
Masibikes
(DOT)
com

(Damn spammers...)