Taipei, Taiwan, baby!

Click on the thumbnail pictures below to see a larger version.  Current weather in Taipei

Taipei time (15 hours ahead of Pacific time)

6/7, 11:30pm: Hallelujah - it's done!  My feet were aching so bad that I inserted my room slippers into my shoes to help with the padding.  Don't laugh - it helped! This last day at the show was busy.  I took some time and cruised the show to see what else was offered and what the competitors were selling.  Incredible stuff!  After packing up all our equipment, we headed out to the Grand Hotel for Szechwan food - tasty!  A  big thanks to K.L. for being our local tour guide.  Heading back home tomorrow not a moment too soon, although the prospect of stuffing myself into the 777 coach-class seat for 14+ hours is disturbing. Anxious to get back home and I hope it hasn't been burnt down or burglarized! -Tom

6/6, 11:30pm: A busy morning working on docs, then a long afternoon on my feet.  Afterwards we went to a "Gid Market" where there were computer items of anything that can be imagined.  Cool, in a geeky sort of way.  Then out to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and back to the hotel to give my feet a rest. Another long day...

6/6, 10am: Today is my last official day of booth duty and I have all day Friday supposedly off, except for the teardown of the displays.  Jeff and I are just itching to rent a scooter and shuffle off into the masses with the rest of the animals.  We asked one taxi driver if we should do that and he proclaimed we were " very crazy!"  Guess that means we gotta try it!  Maybe Friday or Saturday morn before the brutal flight back (a 6' person stuffed into a 5' seat for 14+ hours - ugh).  

6/5, 1am: Up early, another killer breakfast and off to Computex (a very LARGE regional computer show) again.  A half day of working on sore feet and Jeff and I were off to the National Taiwan Museum.  This was a huge place with more artwork than time to see. Some very interesting cab drivers out and back too. There was one lady driver who described the snake blood, poison and "other" fluids from snakes that the local guys drink. Take a guess at what they say it does for men... She then started telling us about Viagra. Hmm... more than I wanted to know.  Then back to meet others for dinner.  We ate shrimp, tofu, beef, squid, gooeyduck, Daffy duck, and other various and questionable cuisines, many of which resembled bait.  After that it was off to the Chiang Kai Shek national memorial, and culminated with a subway ride out to Snake Alley and back.  Snake Alley is like nothing I've seen before.  ANYTHING goes. I don't think I've seen one fat or obese Taiwanese person.  Not sure if it's their tea or genes. They are very kind, small and beautiful people.  It's late, I'm bushed from editing docs, my feet are no longer attached to my legs and I have to deal with another night of the tile-floor mattress. Zzzzzz....

6/4, 11:30pm: For those of you 'geographically challenged', click here to see where Taipei is.  Think of it as formerly Formosa that seceded from China, after Japanese control during WWII, like Quebec wants to do in Canada.  Since then (in the 50s I think) China and Taiwan don't get along too well.  FYI, one American dollar is about equal to 33NT (New Taiwanese) dollars. There are thousands upon thousands of scooters everywhere. They are the most efficient transportation in the city and are not allowed on the freeways. They thoroughly line all sidewalks everywhere. The government mandates that no two-wheeled vehicle can have an engine bigger than 150cc.

6/3: Here's just a few pics of my Taipei boondoggle so far, due to me only being able to hook up at 26k baud at the hotel.  As the Grateful Dead said, "What a long, strange trip it's been".   Extremely hard beds, smog, a kazillion people, thousands upon thousands of scooters everywhere, great food, great people, history, humid, working hard, playing hard, editing docs at night, crazy, but very good drivers, pedestrians do NOT have the right of way, and my feet are killing me.  More later.  -Tom

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Don't ask! They were superheros of some kind.  Good luck differentiating between the guy and gal, lol!
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Where's the kryptonite, Godzilla's coming![Wait, that's Japan] They had LEDs on their helmets that strobed back and forth - cool. I questioned the sparkling lipstick though.
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Intel booth bunnies. Notice they have Intel tatoos.
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And this was an intersection that WASN'T busy!  Scooter punks are everywhere...
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I love this photo: Starbucks in the background and this good ol' boy about ready to embark on his bike.  He rode through the traffic like it was nothing!
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Mmmm, tasty.  Check out the long eel looking thing.
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Out my hotel window on the 18th floor.
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The Taiwan National Museum.  It's actually much bigger than this and would take days to go through.
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Yet another booth bunny at the Via booth.
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I was shocked - there really ARE bigger bikes than a scooter! This officer promptly told me to leave.
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The National Taiwan Museum was incredible.  Plenty of artwork like this from as far back as 200AD.
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Dad taking junior out for a putsy.
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I was looking for something to frame up a picture of the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial and this kid was just too cute.
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Chiang Kai Shek Memorial - massive.
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"Everybody now, we want forks!" (left to right: Steve, Jeff, Kristine, Mani, Rick, KL and yours truly)
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"Hey Rick, go ahead and use the urinals.  The subway bathrooms have an open-door policy!" Steve watches from the outside.
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No, this picture is not a men's urinal sideways.  If ya gotta go pooh, you also get the added bonus of a workout for your quads. The locals were entertained that I was snapping a pic of their toilet.
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The entrance to the infamous Snake Alley!
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They don't call it Snake Alley for no reason.  Many snake shows along with other critters. This guy had two snakes in the top aquarium with a hapless mouse and was putting shots of snake juice out front.  
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So we're walking along Snake Alley and this guy grabs a Gooeyduck out of the aquarium, smiles, squeezes it and does this. You think "I" wasn't gonna take the shot?
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Subways are packed like sardines in a can.
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Mug shot at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with Tilden, Keith, Steve, Jeff, Kristine and Will.
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Interesting name of this German computer company.
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What's so special about this front street window? It's a dentist and if you look close, he's working on somebody's mouth for all to see.
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Is this guy a great cabby or what? He even had his own DVD playing while driving - yikes!
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One of our booths.
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Will Morris at the base of the Grand Hotel (it was 12 stories tall).
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Taken from the 12th floor of the Grand Hotel. No, this isn't a plane gunning for a tower. Taipei has an airport smack in the middle of town.
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Chopstick time at the Grand Hotel.
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How about the tips on these shoes?
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Another great local photo with personality.
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This pick is for my cycling friends. It's the only dualsport bike I could find. Notice it has knobbies, handguards and a 'Roo guard. The owner in the background is wondering what these silly Americans have been smoking!
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Intel bunnies.
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Some of our Intel crew with Tilden in the back, liking the company.
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One BIG sign!
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A show at the show.
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All the sidewalks were packed like this with scooters.
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Jeff shows what $1500NT looks like.
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Our gracious tour guide, KL.
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Where else can you get a foot massage on the street at 10:30pm?
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Intel balloon girls.
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Michelle & Kristine scoring some green tea.
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Will out for a morning walk on the path of stones ( a massage for the feet).  We didn't do too well as tenderfoots, but it sure felt great afterwards!