Been working for a multinational company for almost 3 years, I finally got an opportunity to attend a regional meeting in Taiwan. Last month, I finally visited Acer HQ in Taipei, our mother ship.
It was a very short visit, only 5 days and 4 nights with 2 days spent only for the overseas trip. With two-full-days meeting in between, I had only approximately 1 day to explore Taipei and its surrounding area. I had no particular plan in mind thought except to visit Taipei 101 building (once was the tallest building in the world) and to find penis cake at Shilin Night Market hahaha. On top of it, I was totally available and open for any spontaneous and unplanned trip, and lucky me I had pleasant days while in Taiwan.
On my first night, a driver picked me up at Taoyuan International Airport. When I arrived, he was holding a board with my name written on it. He must have waited for quite sometimes because my flight from Hong Kong was delayed about 1 hour. I said sorry, and then he replied that he can’t speak English much. Few days in Taipei, I found most of local people I met randomly on the street, night market, taxi driver, even people who work at my HQ building, don’t speak English. I was surprised since there are many international brands from this country, and the fact that Taiwan is known as one of developed countries in Asia.
It took around >40 minutes driving (mostly on highway) to get to Taipei downtown from Taoyuan airport. Evan Liao, the driver, was trying to open conversation in English even though most of the times he gave up and said, “Sorry, I don’t understand”. So there we were, trying to talk to each other with very limited English vocabulary (him) and none known Chinese/Mandarin words (me). But I really appreciate his effort to break the ice. When we finally arrived at the hotel, he asked me to connect on Facebook.
I was staying at San Want Hotel, located at the heart of Taipei. It’s just few steps from Zhong Xiao Dunhua MRT station (blue line) and few minutes walking from SOGO. The hotel is surrounded by branded stores, cafes, restaurants and public facilities make it a perfect location for business traveler like me. On my way there, I saw a Hello Kitty café. Looking nice, too bad I got no chance to visit the place.
My first impression about Taipei is that everything was so orderly and serious. There was a campaign parade passing in front of the hotel that night. Evan said that Taipei was having major election. Some people –I guess the candidates- stood on an open roof car, waved and gave speech. No convoy of cars or motorcycles with noisy megaphone. Instead, most of the supporters were just walking on sidewalk without making too much noise.
I spent my first night by walking around the hotel area, had beef noodle at a local restaurant for dinner, and bought a Taipei Starbucks tumbler for my colleague then preparing myself for tomorrow’s meeting. I enjoy Taipei since my first night there. In my upcoming blogposts, I’ll tell you why.