Taipei day 1
After a good sleep at Fanny’s dad’s place we are up and about relatively early. Fanny’s parents live in a very desirable area of Taipei the area was originally reserved for military families but has sense then been opened to regular folks.Since there is a new metro station being built very nearby I assume this old neighborhood will be changing soon. Fanny’s dad was a pilot and retired from the Taiwan airforce at the rank of full General I assume that is why they own here. I am impressed at the small differences between here and Shenzhen chief among them would have to be the use of good insulation, the house is nicely warm in spite of the chill weather. In Shenzhen when we left it was actually colder inside the apartment then on the street.
The building style here is similar to the mainland but the quality control makes all the difference. From the outside the buildings show their age but inside things are good. These buildings will soon be taken down to make way for the new style mega complexes ( developers are already pushing ) but for now its still the old way, I am hopeful that Taipei will retain some of its original charm after the inevitable growth…
Fanny tells me this used to be a restaurant but now it is an auto shop specializing in European cars.
Something really cool about Taipei is the convenience, on our walk to the bus stop we can pick up breakfast, grab a coffee and do a little banking. We got what I call a chinese burrito and a rice meat roll thing called ” Fan-Tuan ” for around 2 bucks Yum… A note for Americans I found out at the bank that our travelers checks are not very welcome here. You need to make sure they are from American Express or no one will cash them. Not shocking when you reflect on what the US banks have been pulling but a sad reflection on our current situation…
This same shop may be operated by a different family for the night time crowd. Taiwan is a great place for food, the taste is a bit lighter then in Shenzhen but I think this has to do with the better ingredients quality. In China they over spice the food to cover any shall we say ” Issues ” that being said I also enjoy the food in Shenzhen just need to be a bit careful.
Local flower shop
Just 2 blocks from the family home we find a major street, the buses load in the center of the street, this is also where the MRT will be going in underground when its finished. I think when we move here I can see having a scooter or maybe even a motorcycle but with all the public transport I see no reason for a car.
Something I have never seen in China, a cop actually doing police work, I imagine she is parked illegally. The police also ride scooters here if your wondering.
Unlike Fannys Hula Hoops this girl has a similar style to the ones we have seen in China, I believe its more of a workout thing as the hoop is weighted.
On the main street of Taipei, ” Zhong-Xiao East Road “, this is a great area to walk around and people watch, very fashionable and such. Supposedly the real estate prices here have become incredibly high, a bit like Manhattan or Tokyo. 1 million NT for a ” PING ” or around 30,000 US dollars for 35 square feet.
This is Fanny’s mom’s hairdresser of 20 plus years. Everybody gets done up special for the New Year.
Thats a good look.
Heh Heh Heh
Flapper style cuts are cool… Why is it that all girls want short hair and boys like it long?
Louise Brooks silent film star and the original Flapper
Freshly styled we get back on the bus for a trip across town to see if we can make an appointment to see a knee specialist as mine is still bothering me. I am hoping that since this time I have Fanny with me we can get a better understanding of just what is wrong with it.
Taiwan is full of temples, you find them everywhere side of the roads, in the markets and neighborhoods. They are really ornate and seem to be in much better repair then their counterpoints on the mainland. I still don’t have a strong understanding of what the significance is, there are Buddhist and Taoist with a whole lot of overlap going on. I suppose this makes sense considering just how old Taiwan and China’s cultural history really is.
I have seen a number of these, I think they are power transformer boxes, painted with flowers and trees.
Another temple, you routinely see people walk by and bow to whatever ( Gods ) are in there. I have also noticed a good deal of Christian symbology here on this trip, I suppose its inevitable but I hope the people don’t lose sight of their origins.
Taipei Veterans General Hospital is one of the best facilities in Taiwan. Until very recently they had mandatory military service. Because of this veterans here receive real benefits, not surprising if you consider Taiwan’s history and proximity to communist China.
As I am a foreigner and have never been here before the first step will be to make an appointment to see the doctor on a walk in basis. After this is accomplished we head across to the cafeteria for some lunch.
Inside we find a huge cafeteria with many stalls much like the food courts under malls. The place is clean and the food smells good hard to believe we are in a hospital. We get a full meal soup noodles and dumplings etc. you cant see it here but across from us the man is enjoying some kind of sizzling fajita thing. Both our meals cost us around $8 US and are quite good just can’t beat Taiwan for food.
After lunch we go back to wait for our time to see the doctor. He does surgery in the morning and sees patients in the after noon. To the left you can see the office rooms where doctors treat the patients, as this a public hospital there are many people but our wait is only about half an hour. It is possible because they gave us special treatment as a foreigner.
The doctor is quite nice and spends a good 20 min examining my leg before sending us down to have series of X rays made. This is also a teaching hospital so there are two intern doctors and a few nurses in attendance. He speaks excellent english as he spent time working in hospitals in the states where he went to school. Good news so far is according to him my knee structure is good we just need to find out whats causing the swelling. Not sure what a magnetom is but I liked the sign. I have 3 scans made of my knees and head back up to see what he thinks.
From the X rays the Doctor can see the scaring on my bones but wants an MRI scan done to be sure of whats going on in there. He tells me that I either have injury induced arthritis , a torn meniscus or floating debris any of which can cause the swelling and discomfort I have been experiencing. The appointment for MRI will be in a few days so for now we are done here I am given a prescription for an anti inflammatory med and we head on out. Our total time is under 3 hours including our lunch and the bill comes to a whopping $50 Us dollars for 3 X-rays, doctor consultation and a week’s medication, not bad for no insurance and no appointment.
We take the free shuttle back to the MRT station for a quick subway ride back to downtown. The MRT in Taiwan is very good and using it one can get just about anywhere in the city. The cost is quite reasonable as well, to use it you purchase a debit card type thing the ” Easy Card ” which can be used for any of the public transport and can be recharged at almost any convenience store.
The MRT trains make travel in Taipei very easy, it does get crowded at times but unless you must go outside the city or need to carry a lot of gear a car is just a hinderance here.
Its been a nice productive day and we now its time to meet up with the family for dinner. The shop here on the right is selling various Chinese New Years paraphernalia.
The next few days will be spent visiting with friends and family, eating good food and generally relaxing… Its good to be back in Taiwan. 🙂