I arrived four days ago to Taiwan.
Once the ugly duckling of East Asia, Taipei has turned into one of the most dynamic, sophisticated, excited, hight tech city and keeping the old tradition alive.
It is in the same time a strange city.
A mixed of its neighbour countries.
Sometime you feel like in you are wandering in the back alleys of Osaka, walking into a wooden house in Seoul or just enjoying the sophistication of Shanghai Museums and Palaces.
Taiwan is basically an open buffet. Twenty-four dining.
From chaotic day and night markets to luxurious malls and sensational food courts.
I had lunch yesterday at the Japanese department Sogo.
I had at least eight small dishes and i could not resist to buy three designed Japanese T-shirts.
It is a very safe and clean country even in the busiest markets.
And compare to South Korea or Japan, alcohol is not a very popular “hobby”.
The cuisine is incredible from stingy tofu to the most delicious and colourful snacks.
There are also tea houses in every corner, bubbles teas , all sort of fruit juices, smoothies and drinks and colours that I haven’t seen before.
“Have you eaten?”
These words are a greeting here, like ” Hello” or “Salam”.
I have to say yes because there is too much nibbling to be done.
I have meals almost ten times a day.
There al least 15 000 official temples and a temple for every god and even for animals.
I have visited few and I had to pinch myself with the beauty and fascination of some temples.
Extraordinary architecture and fascination of the believers and devotees.
Taiwanese people are gentle, polite, shy and soft spoken.
It is a very quiet country and not noisy at all.
It is hot and humid and I am loving it.
I feel light, healthy and very lucky be here.
I meet up with with Pamela, my niece’s friend.
A beautiful and young American researcher.
We spent one evening wandering in a night market, sharing food and laughers.
I am treating myself to lovely hotels with gym, nice breakfasts and incredible views.
I usually wake up at 5 am and go for a run in the steamy neighbourhood.
The temperature is already reaching 29 degrees.
In the park small local groups everywhere practising tai chi or a similar collective activities with the soft sound of traditional Chinese music coming out of speakers hanging from the trees.
No Lady GaGa.
I am on the fast train right now heading south to Tainan.
Tainan is the oldest city in the country famous for the history.
Boosted with temples, shrines, old merchant streets, snacks joints and a beautiful atmosphere.
The Ming dynasty dominated the area around 1600s and it was later occupied by the Dutch East India Company.
And of course one of the gourmet spot of Taiwan.
I booked at the lovely Evergreen Hotel Tainan to treat myself.
The area is surrounding by mountains and hot springs.
I am loving the journey like there is no tomorrow.
And I haven’t gone yet to South Korea.