Friday, October 15, 2010

Ni Hao, Taipei

I’ve been in Taipei since Tuesday. I’m finally feeling caught up on my sleep and relatively past the jetlag of the westbound journey. I left Austin Sunday evening and arrived in Taipei at about 6:30 am Tuesday. There’s a 13 hour time difference so it was Monday evening back in Austin. Yes, the commute generally takes 20-24 hours including the layover at LAX and the 14hr leg between LA and Taipei. I was desperately looking forward to a shower/change at the hotel. What I wasn’t looking forward to was the unexpected 2 hour wait for the hotel to get my room ready. I spent most of that time napping on a sofa in the lobby while the businessmen came and went, arriving in dribbles and leaving in waves as they boarded their respective shuttles on the half-hour. I’d snap awake from a dose realizing I was in the thick of a throng of mandarin-speaking suits.

The hotel gave me a breakfast pass and after much encouragement I finally went to the buffet but alas, my tummy was not of a mind to dine. I settled for some cream of mushroom soup, which was actually quite good. What I really needed was a nap. And a blessed shower and change of clothes.

Fast-forward a few hours and I’m in the office feeling fresh as a daisy. Wait…no. I did make it to the office but my stomach was gnarly and rebellious so I after about 30 minutes I went back to the hotel and slept almost solid (woke for a quick "phone home" on Oovoo) through til the next morning.

I’ve not found any magic formulas for survival but I do know that daily yogurt, plenty of sleep and exercise are keys to success. Unfortunately I’m not getting much exercise (see my last post) but I’m doing okay on the other fronts. The last two nights I’ve gotten about 6 hours of sleep versus the tossing and turning that had been going on. What a difference!

I’ve been a slacker on the photo-taking but I did snap one shot of the soup I had for dinner via room service Wednesday night. Beef noodle soup is a staple for me here. I wish I’d gotten a pic of the soup I had for dinner at the food court near my Taipei office on Thursday. It was black. The locals refer to it as “herbal” or “good health” soup. No one can tell me what’s in it. Well, other than the black chicken that is. Why is it black? What’s behind that dark, almost burnt taste? Are those two attributes related? This remains a mystery.

Last night I enjoyed a happy hour buffet celebration with the Program Management team. The food was awesome. Although there was no English to identify the food, there were enough choices that I was able to stick with things I recognized and they were all over-the-top delicious. And there was plenty of Taiwan beer for everyone. I also had my share of watermelon juice.

Which brings me to this morning. I had the opportunity to spend the day at the National Palace Museum but opted instead for a day of R&R, which includes some long overdue blog posts and a walk to the park where I’ll enjoy reading Camille DeAngelisPetty Magic. As soon as I finish here, I'm off to be there.

Zai Jian!

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