There's no hassle or hustle. There's no begging or bamboozle. There's no litter or leering. This is a clean, kind, caring Asia.
Everyone respects the walking man at crosswalks, (we are kindly given the seconds allowed to cross on a screen), everyone respects queuing in an orderly way and the MRT has queue lines either side of the exact spot the door will open with a central clear area marked for those alighting.
Best of all the Taiwanese respect personal space - a trait severely lacking in some countries we've travelled in.
We've thoroughly enjoyed the ambience of this city. It is walkable with clean, level, uncrowded paved footpaths. Trains and the MRT are easy to understand but if in doubt we just need to ask anyone and we will be shown the right platform or stop.
One day on a walking sightseeing expedition we found ourselves a fair way from our hotel or a metro station and no rain jackets or umbrella. The rain was bucketing down with no sign of abatement. We asked at the ticket counter of the exhibition we had just finished viewing, where would be the best place to catch a taxi? The staff swung into action looking up our hotel address on the computer writing it out in Mandarin then a man scuttled with us through the driving rain to the best street going in the direction of our hotel. He hailed a cab for us and made sure the driver fully understood. Oh, and the exhibition we had been looking at cost us the equivalent of 80c .This a commonplace example of the kindness shown here.
The weekend brought us Henry and an amazing adventure of being chauffeured around then wined and dined by a local. We met Henry five years ago when we were managing Kooljaman at Cape Leveque and he was on a working holiday in Australia. We had promised Henry that one day we would visit Taiwan.
What we discovered,with Henry as our guide, is how fabulous the cuisine of Taiwan is. So different from other Asian countries, it focuses on many small beautifully presented individual courses before the main course. Then dessert is an amazing course in its own right, though we only got to that course once!
Saturday night, the main course was a beautifully presented whole Coral Trout that was brought to the table with a burner and dish just as it was beginning to poach. We were in control to baste with the poaching liquid and choose the moment of when to serve. It was divine! The lead up entrees were crumbed oyster, BBQ Squid, Whole Prawns, and casserole of Cockles. All with amazing complimenting sauces. Yum!!! Dare I add we had already had a lunch of similar proportions and courses the same day?
Sunday night, we were so privileged to attend with Henry a Temple dinner where over 500 people came together for an annual event of celebration in his home town. We were treated like celebrity guests as we partook in a 10 course extravaganza of food.
Henry took us for one last meal for Monday lunch before we caught our train to our next destination. This time we enjoyed Taiwan's unique dumplings - quite different to others we've tried and absolutely delicious.
Next we move on from Taipei and experience other parts of Taiwan. (Apologies for lack of paragraphs etc. This is the first time I've blogged using my phone and even though I insert paragraphs the blogging platform seems to ignores them!)