Monthly Archives: May 2015

Rainy day adventures in Tainan.

What do you call a rainy day in Taiwan? The answer is: a normal day. At least during the early summer, that is, because it’s the East Asian monsoon season. I did the research (i.e. Googling) that you’re probably not curious enough to do. For people who think that monsoons belong to India and the subcontinent, there is in fact an East Asian monsoon season, which runs from May to July, and encompasses much of southeast Asia, the Philippines, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Koreas, and Japan.

Rain in Tainan. People wear serious gear to ride scooters and their bikes.

Having lived most of my life where there was no rainy or dry season, it’s pretty strange to experience this kind of downpour. For the last five days, it has rained pretty consistently every day. There is little thunder and few tumultuous winds, but just gloomy skies and a skin-drenching amount of rain. Occasionally, it will lift to a light drizzle, or even pause enough for the streets to dry a bit, but it’s never safe to venture outside without an umbrella. That’s a lesson that we did not have to learn a second time. The rain alleviates the crushing heat and has made late May quite a bit cooler, and we’re enjoying temperatures in the high 70s most of the time, but what it hasn’t changed is the blanket of humidity. We essentially sweat everywhere we go, and I’ve learned to build in a lot of time for walking to work and other places, because hurrying is just not worth it.

Drizzle and a grey sky, seen from the train, en route to Tainan.

Continue reading Rainy day adventures in Tainan.

The first two weeks.

Rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated… yes, we’ve been here for two weeks, and we’ve been fairly quiet, but that’s because we’ve been fairly busy! Today is the last day of my ten-day work week. Yes, I wrote that correctly. Last week, I started my internship on Tuesday, worked an event over the weekend, and am ending this week early to enjoy a well-deserved long weekend.

Where do I even start? Well, there’s much more time to talk about my internship ahead, so I will probably save that for another time. Let me tell you instead about the lovely city of Taichung. Taichung is on the western coast of the island, three hours south of Taipei. We’re in a valley basin here, and on the twelfth floor of the building where I work, I can look out the windows to the north and west and see the mountains in the distance that surround us. Early summer is the rainy season for East Asia. Yesterday, it rained from the time that I got to work until the evening, barely letting up to a drizzle. Today, it is grey and overcast, but I don’t mind since that means it’s not so hot! Taichung is in the high eighties most days with extreme humidity, and it’s only May…  Continue reading The first two weeks.

The first forty-eight hours.

We’ve spent two crazy whirlwind days in transit, even though the calendar says it’s three, but we are finally here in Taichung, Taiwan. It’s been a true journey of planes, trains, and automobiles (and even buses!).

We woke up on Thursday morning around 4 am in Greenville, and Steve’s parents drove us to the airport, and we hugged them goodbye and gave kisses to Stella, who let out one farewell bark when she saw us disappear into the airport. We will miss that dog like crazy! I already do. We had one short but uncomfortable flight to Dallas/Fort Worth, and then a four-hour layover where we walked around the airport. We happened upon the inaugural direct flight for American Airlines  from Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing, which featured a bunch of Chinese dancers (probably from the local Chinese school), several TV crews which were going around and asking passengers about why they were traveling to Beijing, and a buffet table of Chinese delicacies. I overheard a photographer grilling the man behind the table on exactly what soymilk tasted like, which made me smile.  Continue reading The first forty-eight hours.