Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Week 1

This is hopefully the last of my marathon posts:

The whole purpose of this trip is to conduct research in a lab here in Taipei. In preparation for this, I had been in contact with my professor here, Professor Snow Tseng. I finally was able to meet him after wrapping up our final orientation activity.
He picked me up in a taxi cab. I held my breathe the entire way to National Taiwan University as this taxi driver drove through stop lights and aimed for pedestrians. When we finally arrived at the University, I was whisked off to the lab where we had a meeting until 8.

After getting my bearings, I set off to explore some of the city that weekend. It took a while to find coffee and breakfast but I was treated to a few spectacular views while searching.


Then the week started and I headed into the lab. I should probably include a few pictures of that experience, but just imagine any other lab you have ever seen. It's basically the same.

I was asked to pose for a picture almost everyday during my first week on campus. At one point my lab mate, Sergio, and I were actually interviewed by some high school students.

We all took a few pictures together - notice the ubiquitous peace sign?

 I was asked to judge a high school competition. The kids had a few hours to explore the campus, find college students in their major, interview them and then put together an English presentation for a visiting American CEO (me!). Most of these kids have taken years of English and their accents were
minimal. The US is a big deal here in Taiwan and most high schools seem to put a major emphasis on learning our culture.
Here I am with some of the winners

 I then got a chance to talk to Snow and present him with a little gift for having me in the lab this summer

Of course, exploring the city also requires the use of a subway. It's really clean, but that is primarily because they don't allow food, drinks or gum in the cars.

Everyone is encouraged to line up while waiting for the subway cars. Of course, the second the doors open, people jump out of line and madly rush to get in.

Apparently sexual harassment is rampant enough on the subways that signs are required.


A bunch of Fellows getting together for dinner

 We hit the night market afterwards and came across this lil' ride. Note the generator and the lack of effort in hiding it.

The next day I went for a long ride along one of the rivers. I managed to ride 10 miles without having to worry about crossing a single road! The only reason I turned back is because I was out of water...

 So, it turns out the symbol for temple looks very familiar...All the locals take great pains to point out that the direction is reversed.
 So, our first "real" week ended with a typhoon. For those of you who have forgotten - a typhoon is just like a hurricane, just on this side of the dateline. So, we headed to the grocery store
 stocked up on the essentials

 And had a lil' party
 I wandered around surveying some of the damage Saturday morning.

 ...And then headed to Taipei 101

 Later that night, I met up with some of the Fellows and SIT staffers for a post-typhoon get together. We hit up another night market for dinner

 ...and then went bowling.

 Sunday morning, we hit up a hot spring

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