One wonderful aspect of blogging and building websites is the great letters you get. Excerpts from a recent one:


One more note, I think paid plane fare is a thing of the past; if you come now it’s on your own dime and the best one can hope for is reimbursement (some or all) after the contract is up. My employer wouldn’t offer to pay anything for my ticket, although I do have performance and attendance bonuses I meet every month that will make up for it.

One thing others have told me about Taiwan and I agree with is the driving habits. You don’t say it on your site, but people in the south tend to be worse drivers (more speeding and agression) than those in the north. About the only time they, cars and scooters, don’t drive recklessly around me is when I’m carrying my folding shopping cart to the market. When they see a big metal item in front of their body or bodywork, they don’t come close. I’m not suggesting that I’m agressive, but rather the drivers don’t try to come close when they see the potential damage. I call it the “pain and paint” philosophy: people only pay attention and back off when they or their property will be hurt.

I’m glad I brought with me from Korea the extra cycling gear I used there: plastic hand, elbow and knee pads that rollerbladers use. In four months here I’ve lost count already the number of times those have saved me from these idiot drivers. When a car tries to cut me off, my knee scraping on the panel and elbow on the window is much more effective than skin at making them move over, and the same applies to the hands of scooter drivers who try to muscle me off the road; it’s funny to see one take his hand off the accelerator and shake the pain off his hand when his hand bangs into mine. As above, I’m not being the aggressor, I’m riding in straight lines and the Taiwanese weave like lunatics.

Because I know and have seen way too much to write in a first email, it would be better to send a list of differences for those are interested or want to leave Korea for greener pastures. And I do mean *green*; if you think Taipei is bereft of plant life, it’s a rain forest compared to Seoul. Many parts of Seoul have no bugs because the land is so dead. [S. Taiwan] is almost as green as I remember Vancouver to be.

Taiwan’s not as clean or orderly as Japan and the people aren’t as friendly as the Thais or Filipinos, but it’s better than a lot of places I could be.