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22 May 2011 @ 11:16 am
Taiwan Photos  
I was really just in Taiwan for the conference, arriving the evening before it started and going directly to the airport from the venue when it ended so I didn't have any time for sight-seeing. However I did take a couple of photos.

It occurs to me I am easily impressed by hotel rooms. The exciting features of this one included that you entered through the bathroom and there was a sliding door behind the loo which I first thought was a built in wall cupboard but it turned out it opened out into the bedroom so you could, I don't know! reach through and get something off the desk while you were on the toilet? I have no idea.

Looking back from the bedroom area towards the room door.

View from the door of the room.

Close up of the sink so you can admire the soap dish.

View from my hotel window. This seemed fairly typical of Taipei with the rather higgeldy-piggeldy housing. I suspect this is a consequence of loose planning regulations and a lot of people on low wages prepared to live in small rather jury-rigged accommodation. You can't really see any examples in this photo, but it was clear there was a small industry in making extensions so you could turn your apartment's balcony into an extra bit of housing space by enclosing it and then extending outwards.

This is the view of Taipei from the conference banquet venue. You can see the Taipei 101 (second tallest building in the world, I think) rising out of the haze and towering over the surrounding buildings.

My hotel was very western and charged accordingly. But elsewhere we were all amazed how cheap things were. In the "expensive" food court below the Taipei 101 where I had lunch every day, I could get a four course meal for the equivalent of £2.50. Similarly the bus I caught to take me to the airport (roughly a 40 minute drive along motoways) also cost £2.50. The conference banquet was a nine course meal with no rice or noodle dishes. We were told that this was because it was an expensive dinner and to have served rice or noodles would have suggested they couldn't afford to feed us properly.

Most of my other impessions are very fragmentary; glimpses of other people's lives as we were ferried to and from conference events and too brief to really draw conclusions from. Early in the morning you could see the staff in the little workshops the bus drove past, all lined up and standing to attention as their manager gave them their instructions for the day. Everywhere there was evidence of cheap labour, from the fact that all the bus seats had clean antimacassars on them which were presumably replaced and washed regularly. All the hoardings surrounding building works were decorated with hanging baskets of plants which were watered every morning. Every road crossing (at least in the posh business area where the conference was) was accompanied by a traffic policeman who would blow his whistle and direct commuters and traffic. The traffic itself, reminded me most of Italian traffic with hundreds of apparently suicidal moped riders of every kind from businessmen in suits, to teenage boys with their girlfriends riding pillion, through little old ladies going shopping. Almost ubiquitous piped Western classical music seemed to follow us wherever we went. At first I thought this was a particular obsession with Vivaldi's Four Seasons but it turned out to be a little more wide-ranging than that, but I've no idea what this signified beyond that places like westernised hotels, airports, conference centres and prestige shopping malls considered it appropriate muzak.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/43307.html.
lukadreaminglukadreaming on May 22nd, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
And a very splendid soap dish it is as well! A friend of mine has a fixation with hotel bathrooms and gets very agitated when she stays somewhere and the bathroom has no outside window (which, to be honest, is most hotels I stay in!)

Interesting report and photos - particularly the piece of info about them not feeding you rice or noodles.
louisedennislouisedennis on May 22nd, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
I can't say windows are common in bathrooms. Potential window area is normally reserved for the main room.

It was very curious about the rice though, NB, this was relayed to me by another westerner so some Chinese whispers may have been involved. But the banquet was striking for its lack of carbs.
telperion_15telperion_15 on May 22nd, 2011 11:20 am (UTC)
What a very odd room layout! Still, it does look rather nice! :)
louisedennislouisedennis on May 22nd, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
It was hugely pretty. The hotel was obviously fairly swanky, it had international plug sockets, for instance, so I didn't have to mess around with adaptors and I had a copy of the China Post delivered to my room every morning.
munchkinofdoom: beach 18munchkinofdoom on May 22nd, 2011 12:00 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm... I'd like to see what their disabled rooms looked like, considering that is a very open plan room. And I'd hope they didn't have that floorplan for twin rooms! *grins*
louisedennislouisedennis on May 22nd, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
Well the shower and loo were in their own little cubicles. The shower was a walk in one, but I'd have thought it would need a little more space in it to cope with a wheelchair.
bigtitchbigtitch on May 22nd, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
What a fascinating room layout!

Every time someone posts about visiting the Far East I just want to go there and eat my way around it.
louisedennislouisedennis on May 22nd, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
I liked the food I got in the food courts, the banquet was fine but very much the kind of fare you'd get in a western chinese (minus any carbohydrate content).
fredbassettfredbassett on May 22nd, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
Blimey, entering through the bathroom is very weird indeed!

There are times in my life when I do like a little privacy!
louisedennislouisedennis on May 22nd, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
As I was saying to munchkin, above, the shower and loo did have their own little cubicles, but you would be very visible cleaning your teeth, or if you had a bath (or if you chose to open the strange door in the loo wall!). I'm very fond of baths but I'm never sure whether hotels actually expect you to use them. This one's plug arrangement (one of those turn a knob on the side and the plug goes up and down affairs) really wasn't up to the weight of water that you put in the bath and it was quite a struggle to empty the bath water each morning.
fififolle: Primeval - Connor animated Brilliant!fififolle on May 22nd, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
Fascinating!! I do love a new hotel room, and this one seems particularly odd! LOL to that sliding door by the toilet?!
That soap dish is a brilliant shape *g*
No rice or noodles in that meal! Amazing. I love hearing about stuff like that. I hope the conference went well!
louisedennislouisedennis on May 22nd, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC)
You can't really see it in the picture but the soap is also molded into the shape of a little Chinese dragon.

The conference went well thanks, though I never really got used to the Time Zone - though on the plus side I had no jetlag when I got back!