Apologies for the lack of blogging — been spending a ton of time in Taipei this week. Much to report….

Speaking of Taipei, the NYTimes has an article on Taipei as a travel destination (hat tip to reader JS).

TAIPEI, the vibrant capital of Taiwan, distills the best of what Asian cities have to offer — great street food, crackling night life, arguably the world’s best collection of Chinese art, and hot springs and hiking trails reachable by public transport. With interest in mainland China surging, Taipei — one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Asia — offers a look at a different side of China, one that escaped the deprivations of early Communist rule and the Cultural Revolution. Here is a Chinese culture (some contend that it is uniquely Taiwanese) that practices bare-knuckled democracy and has preserved traditions thousands of years old in a way that was impossible to do on the mainland.

Even ten years ago, would a travel article have noted the “uniquely Taiwanese” point of view? That’s progress, guys. I wish articles on travel here were less Taipei-focused. Taipei’s certainly great, but it is very unrepresentative of Taiwan. The Beautiful Island has plenty of other interesting sites and people who treat outsiders absolutely wonderfully. Now if only sit toilets were widely available….

Also speaking of Taipei, the global monopoly edition rankings have changed, and Taipei is now #2! My friend writes:

I notice that the wildcard cities vote is now happening on the Monopoly website and Taipei is second in the running behind Quebec. AND I note that you can vote and revote everyday for the next 8 days!

The original post is here.

News from the capital: spoke to some Green party people this weekend who told me that the Green Party was considering a “fei piao” campaign — a campaign to get the public to cast invalid ballots in the presidential election as a protest vote. The small parties, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and the Green Party, were unable to work together to propose a joint candidate for the Presidency and organize a protest vote, a valid response to the big parties, and an affirmation of the democratic system. But invalid votes are, at least in this case, inherently anti-democracy (they do nothing to build the system) and in this case, where a Hsieh victory will depend on turnout and a lower invalid vote count, an invalid vote is a vote for Ma Ying-jeou. You don’t reform democratic systems by getting the anti-democracy side into power, and you don’t reform the system by declaring it invalid. And if you aren’t organized enough to get your own candidate on the ballot, you can hardly complain about the other parties! I pray that the Greens and TSU will strongly support Hsieh in Presidential campaign.

Speaking of the TSU, the Chinese papers were reporting that the Sec Gen of the TSU will support the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou. Recall that the TSU came out of the KMT, and that whatever its political positions, its voter base is a mix of Blue and Green voters.