On Wednesday, I paid a visit to a wire warehouse where they distribute all kinds of copper electrical conductor. Now, this trip I made took place only as a last resort. I imagine that I could have watched the centipede that frequents our office spin its own cocoon, transform into a butterfly and migrate to South America while waiting for the vendor to drop by with a sample of 12 gauge single-strand. My patience ran dry, so I demanded for the vendor to take me directly to his supplier, in order for me to view the product, make my selection and wait as a quote was drawn up for the cost of what it is I need. Easier said, than done.
I first took a look at all of the wire before being escorted to their company reception area to write up my request. But before anyone would put pen to paper to prepare a tally, I was invited to my first vendor lunch in Taiwan. Whisked away from the office, I landed at a restaurant that serves up a rich cuisine to the locals who entertain their clients in style. A large round table accommodated the six of us with plenty of room. Upon taking my seat with my new Taiwanese acquaintances, I looked up at the waitress as she placed firmly upon the table, two bottles of scotch whiskey. What the heck was I getting myself into?
I sipped daintily as the gentleman across from me, identifying himself as "Roger," uttered something in Mandarin. Arnold took over. "He wants to know if this is your first time to Taiwan." "Yes." And taking the lead before his next question, I said that I have found the people to be pleasantly warm and receptive, even to those who can't even communicate with them. Glasses were raised, in honor. What followed was a lively time that included a meal of pork, large peel and eat shrimp, some amazing fish fillets, marinated chunks of beef, soup and octopus with pea pods...I think scotch is my new favorite drink.
Hours later, I found myself in our truck, negotiating my way through Taichung City during rush hour. Like a three dimensional video game, the city comes alive -- scooters from all directions, lights, giant buses, narrow streets and everything else you can imagine. I told Arnold I was about to lose my mind and he laughed heartily. As I said, he leaves the driving to me.
The week included a little trip to the southern end of the island and a town called Kenting. The bullet train shot us down there in a little under an hour.
That's what 180 miles an hour looks like. Nope, I didn't speed up the movie.
The beautiful beach at Kenting.
Poking around in the sand, I noticed some oddly colored rocks, which turned out to be anything but rocks. Here are worn slivers of broken bottles known as beach glass. I wish I could stroll along the shore in Santa Monica and find stuff like this.
I placed my treasures on a piece of paper, lit from below with the help of my hotel room lamp.
Here's a hotel we stopped at, along the way.
Apparently cycling, specifically mountain biking, is a huge industry in Taiwan. Giant is a Taiwanese company, and many high-end component companies call Taiwan their home, as well. Because of that, a large community of expats from Europe, South America and Australia has added a unique flair to the island by creating a demand for multicultural restaurants, bars and cuisine. I just had no idea. I met one guy from South Africa who has lived here for twelve years.