The Taiwan trip went very well, but two days of taxis, trains and airplanes has left me exhausted. It was my second time in the country. The last time was during the SARS epidemic and no one wanted to talk much! Every flight to Hong Kong was cancelled when I was there, except one which took off at the very end of the day with seven passengers in it. We were filmed by Taiwan’s evening news channel. Everyone thought we were flying to our deaths.
This time was different. The people are really very friendly and couldn’t be more helpful. English is spoken a bit, but not well, and most writing is in Chinese letters (I can work out beef, fish and pork on a menu and entrance and exit but that’s about it!). My Chinese is more or less – hello, goodbye, please, thank you and you’re welcome, but I’m in Mandarin, and Taiwanese is more Fujinese.
It’s not that easy to get around on your own, so it was really good that people helped me work out train timetables, buses, restaurant menus and so on. You can play the I’m the helpless foreigner routine to great advantage. Only thing is, it’s no act!
I met all the various manufacturers, the huge ones employing thousands across multiple Asian countries, and the little ones employing thirty making a full range of products by sub-contracting the work out to specialists. It was really a most interesting couple of days.
That said, I’m not quite ready to blog again just yet. I arrived back at 4 am this morning getting a last minute ticket on a late flight as I finished the work a day early. We’re going to the mall to buy groceries. I’ll blog later…..