Thursday, 30 August 2007

Taiwan, Shulin and work.

I'm currently in Taipei the capital city of Taiwan. Taiwan was formerly known as Formosa which in Portuguese means beautiful island. It's also known as The Republic of China (ROC) whereas the other China is the People's Republic of China (PRC). I've seen the Taipei101 building which was the tallest one in the World for a while. It has an interesting Chinese architectural style. I'm trying to negotiate an English Teaching position in the South of the island. Yesterday I purchased shirts, trousers and shoes in preparation.

I left Bali after a final three nights of partying in Kuta with a guy form Jersey who has been to the Traf where my brothers drink! I then headed to Jakarta to catch a flight to Manila and then onto Taipei. Before leaving Jakarta three lovely ladies showed me some sights.

I left Indonesia with about £20 in Rupiah. I couldn't leave Manila airport's transit lounge where the currency exchange wouldn't change rupiah. There's also no ATMs in this area so I was facing a 6hrs wait without food or water. Nightmare - hungry and thirsty. I slept uncomfortably on the tiled floor. I finally ate and drank something at Taipei airport after 24hrs with nothing. I think this is part of the reason I got flu here in Taiwan. I seem to be over the worst of it now.

The problem with Taiwan is that they prefer North American English teachers. The agency woman (Chinese American) said I have a strong Irish accent?? I said it's an English accent that's been around long before her version of English manifested itself. Nevermind though - if nothing works out here I'll try a different country. C'est la vie.

DienGan - chinese for lunchbox dinner thing

How one’s life can change in a week. They say a week is a long time in politics. I’m sure it is. Anyway, here I am in Shulin Town (樹林) in Taipei County, Taiwan. In one week I've recovered from flu, quit smoking (again) and found gainful employment. Yes, I'm a wage slave again! I'm sitting at a desk with a computer, books, pens, paper, a boss and much work to do (marking, lesson preparation and material familiarisation etc.). I'm learning to pronounce words incorrectly in American English rather than English English.

I have a new apartment with cable TV and AirCon – wow! My boss Mandy helped me buy some Mandarin books and a mobile phone. I'm now carrying apartment keys and a mobile around - strange. I've come back to the real World after 15 months of travel and no work. Well, the real Chinese World which is somewhat different from its cousin the Western World.

I have some new friends here. I met Mike Han at the Hostel when I first arrived. He's local and we're going out clubbing this weekend. Clubbing in the trendy Taipei nightspots wearing trousers, shoes and shirt. Mike's 25 and has just moved back here from Shanghai. He's currently looking for a flat but his social life seems to be taking precedent.

My work mate and neighbor (note the spelling) Jimmy speaks little English which accompanies my little spoken Chinese very well. We eat together despite these barriers.

One thing that surprised me here is the standard of the students' written English – superb! Their spoken is not as good as they don’t really get the chance to practice. I suppose that's why I am here.

Must dash as I finally have some work to do!

Xuexiao – school

Xiaoxin – careful

Meitien – everyday

Mi lu - lost

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