Friday, November 15, 2013

Taiwan: The Best Gifts Arrive in Smaller Packages!

View of Taipei at Sunset!
It’s incredible to see two countries with the same history, heritage and culture act so differently. If anything is a true reflection of the terrible effects of Chinese-style communism, it’s the vast difference between China and Taiwan. The “Beautiful Island” has kept in touch with the classic food, conservative, chivalrous values and enterprising, if bureaucratic, nature of the Chinese – while becoming an open, advanced, and civilized society, unlike much of its overflowing, polluted, backward mother-land. Whether it’s the influence of western culture or its smaller size, visitors to Taiwan will find a much more livable place to thrive than across the Strait.

Look at that HUGE space left for
peds to walk in!
I witnessed this difference everywhere. On the streets of Taipei, cars and even motorbikes (!) stopped BEFORE pedestrian walkways. In China – it’s a miracle anyone even obeys traffic lights! The Taiwanese are by and large a very friendly people – plus most speak at least some English (compared with my tea-scaming Chinese thieves). Every time I had a problem or a question, all were friendly, smiling and open to showing me the way. The clubs were thriving with smiling, engaged and excited people – as opposed to many shy conservative guys in China (although, don’t get me wrong Taiwanese are plenty shy!).

For all these reasons, Taiwan served to be my favorite destination overall in Asia.  Thailand was more inexpensive for the same value with amazing beaches and better food (my next favorite) and Hong Kong was a well-dressed yet gritty metropolis, still Taiwan wrapped things up in the best way from reliable services to the most fun clubs – with lots of natural beauty to boot!