May 23, 2014

Field notes from Taiwan

We have been in Taipei for more than a week and here there are a few things we have learned:

  • Finding an apartment for a short-term stay is difficult and expensive - but if you persevere you can get responses in Craigslist, for example (google short term apartments also). You can pay between US$ 650- 700 a month for a small, but OK, apartment. 
  • Buying an "Easy Card" should be your priority to pay more efficiently for the MRT (subway) and buses. The card is supposed to make transportation cheaper as well, but we have not confirmed that. The transportation system is very efficient and organised.
  • We stay close the Wanfang Hospital, in the south-east side of Taipei. The high density and diversity of restaurants and little eateries is amazing. There is a nice gym nearby with a swimming pool in the third floor. 
  • The food is incredibly cheap and very good, and we have found that over NT$ 100 (around US$ 3) the quality improves substantially. Take for example one little restaurant in front of our apartment building, it offers a fusion of Sri Lankan and Taiwanese cuisine. You can eat a pretty good lentil-noodle curry for US$ 4. The owner said that his teacher, who has spent time in Sri Lanka, showed him how to prepare it. "Taiwanese people travel abroad often and bring new recipes" he said. He even asked us to cook something from Guatemala so he could mix it with local dishes. He like the "salsas" from Mexico, he said. Taiwanese people are very kind. 
  • Internet access is a puzzle. Almost any apartment you can rent comes with internet. Apparently there is free wifi across the city - we have not figured it out yet. However it is difficult to find a cafe with free internet. 

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