Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's a Different World Up There

This past week, I attended the last few days of a meeting in TianMu north of Taipei city. It felt really different being back up there where all the foreign import shops and restaurants are located that cater to foreigners. Sadly, some foreigners who come to Taiwan don't get much beyond that.

Sunday evening, after filling in first at a meeting up in Keelung (I was even able to sprinkle in some Taiwanese this time!), I was back in Taipei visiting an American friend and his Taiwanese wife and their kids. He took us along with their domestic helper over to Taipei 101 which until earlier in the year was the tallest building in the world. We enjoyed dinner in the food court and some incredible ice cream at the Cold Stone Creamery (the likes of which you'll never see where I'm living now!). Not only that, but we went up to enjoy the view from my friend's spacious office way up on the 53rd floor (sorry, the pics above are only daytime pics and not what I saw). Spectacular! Also on the 53rd floor, I had the pleasure of standing in front of the highest convenience store in the world.

As we rolled back into my friends' reserved parking spot in the basement of their high rise apartment building, I inquired into the cost of the space. His parking space costs 8,000 NT a month, only $1,000 (or about $30 US dollars) less than what I pay down here for an entire 3 story home in the least-developed part of Taiwan-- an amazing differential in cost-of-living. It sure is a different world back up there!

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