A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog










































So here I am probably for the last time for a while in one of those Asian teen nerdy internet places. It would have been about 6 pm by the time I got into Seoul proper, and I would have had to leave again about 9 a.m. tomorrow, and it just didn't seem worth it, so I'm staying in the wasteland of Seoul Airport.

One thing that says a lot to me about the Taiwanese character is their view of the Japanese. Like the Koreans, they were occupied by Japan for fifty odd years, until the end of WWII. In both countries the people were forced to learn Japanese, their own culture and history were marginalised, dissension was brutallly responded to, etc. The Koreans still have a mighty chip on their shoulder about this, and it is referred to everywhere in Korea. On the other hand it is barely mentioned in Taiwan, and the Taiwanese are quite proud of some of what remains from those times, e.g. Japense architecture, etc.

I'm really glad I went to Taiwan (aka the Republic of China). I would never have gone if I hadn't been in the area with time to spare, but I have enjoyed it a lot. Taiwan is probably most suited for outdoor types, and I think I would have got even more out of it if I'd had an International Drivers License and hired scooters to get around more. Mind you, I could have done quite well on public transport, but that so many routes had been destroyed by earthquakes and landslides. Personally I don't think the food was anything special, but other than a few really nice meals, I would say that about Japan and Korea too, though you can get some very nice food in both if you pay for it. The best thing about Taiwan other than the natural wonders is the people. I think it would be a great place to teach English, for example. Taipei isn't big on sights, though I really liked it, but then I like big cities in general. I felt similarly about Tokyo. Seoul in contrast is a city I would highly recommend for a stopover for its sights, and Korea has some beautiful old temples and buildings, and some fabby countryside too. Needless to say Japan has all that too, in spades.

Here are the 'Best of' my Taiwan photos, as before not solely on artistic merit. I notice that a lot of them are temples; Taiwanese temples are indeed very colourful, atmospheric and photogenic. There was some amazing countryside too, but the weather undermined my pics there. And as usual I didn't take enough pics of 'normal' stuff, precisely because I so quickly stop seeing it as unusual.

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