Noah was rrrright....
09 Juni 2007 | Taiwan, Taipei
Anyway, enough about the other occupants of the dorm...let’s move on to what I did here the last couple of weeks. And, as you might already have noticed, this story is written in English because of the simple reason that one of my vegemite eating friends convinced me that that is the best language evva (obviamente no...español es mejor, en nederlands natuurlijk ook...maar laat ze maar denken :badgrin: ). And another thing...my website was moved from johojournal to waarbenjij.nu, meaning that it looks a little different and the address became www.johomichaelbalvers.waarbenjij.nu (they should erase the ‘joho’ from it within a few days, but I guess you’ll see soon enough).
So what did I do...a few weeks ago a fellow Dutch student, who is currently doing his MBA here, arranged a recruitment lunch for Dutch students at ING here in Taipei, and I was invited. Together with six others we arrived at the ‘Taipei 101’ (the famous tallest building in the world), and after the introduction to the three managers who would be accompanying us we set of to a restaurant on the 52th floor. After eating some shitty though quite expensive food, they gave us a tour of the office, a presentation about ING and we had a chat with the CEO of ING Asia Pacific in his office amongst others about financial markets in this region and the increasing power of shareholders....very interesting :).
The disappointment was considerable when I entered my new room in the dormitory a few days later (I namely had to move down the hall because of the new semester). The contrast between the view from my new dorm room and the office of ING Asia Pacific’s CEO could not have been bigger; a view of the city of Taipei and mountains in the background compared to....A PINK WALL!! Imagine one of those crappy Hollywood movies where the main characters go to a cheap motel, enter the room, pull open the curtains...and look at the wall of the next building that was built one meter from their motel room. Well...that’s about what happened to me. On top of that, when I first crawled into my new bed, which is by the way exactly 1.85m long (I am also 1.85 ;)), I saw the biggest porn collection ever of Chinese sex stories. Not in my bed though...no, next to my neighbour’s bed. Nice....tissues were completing the picture :x
Fortunately I had enough reasons to not spend a lot of time in the dorm....goodbye parties being one of them. In essence not very nice, as friends were returning home, but often very enjoyable. Especially the Mexican goodbye party for Claudia....I have missed tortillas, guacamole, valentino sauce and dancing salsa (viva México!...nos vemos corazon :) )
After saying goodbye to some good friends, it was time to explore Taiwan, as I had hardly seen anything more of it than Taipei and the beach. So together with Simone, Guillaume and Eoin I left for Taroko Gorge on the east side of the island. We rented a car with which we explored the gorge, stopping occasionally to do some hiking and to eat some of Taiwan’s finest choudoufu ;). After two days we continued our trip and drove for about 5 hours through the mountains to the other side of the island enjoying some spectacular scenery along the way. We arrived at sun moon lake, supposedly the top tourist attraction of Taiwan. Hmmm...if it really is than I think these Taiwanese have a serious problem tourist-wise. My god what a boring place! And by far not as beautiful as the ‘photoshopped’ pictures you find in all the guidebooks....well ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad (check the pics)....but it was a bit of a disappointment. After sun moon lake we drove back through Taroko gorge to Hualien where we tasted some delicious mochi (dough ball with sweet filling of beas, peanutbutter etc) and went on to Taipei. Back ‘home’ I borrowed the 125cc scooter of a friend of a friend :) so the rest of the weekend I cruised through Taiwan’s bustling capital winning quite a few drag races...apparently a foreigner waiting for the traffic light to turn green looks very provocative :D. Together with Simone I scootered to snake alley on Saturday evening.... a night market where you can eat snake, tortoise and probably a lot of other exotic food we would not dare to touch with knife and fork...or chopsticks for that matter. Especially the killing of snakes, before they end up in your soup, is excruciating....they strip the snake of its skin while it is still alive and then hang it to die. Or they ‘tap’ its blood and drink it... GATVERDAMME!!!...not really something to remember :?
Last week was back to usual as classes started again. My class didn’t change a lot besides for the fact that we moved up one level and we have a new professor. Very interesting guy...he dresses like a general and has plastic machineguns and hundreds of other happy meal toys in his classroom. Furthermore...he excels in asking strange questions (like, did you ever eat cockroaches?) and is known to teach very unusual vocabulary...such as the Chinese word for: mole with large hairs growing out of it....LOL :)
Hao...that’s all I have to tell for now....next update will probably come from Japan, on my way back to NL. I am going to the pool now...because if it keeps on raining like this I might actually need my swimming skills...
Tot snel / Hasta pronto / CU soon!
p.s. translation in nederlands or español: on request.....fill in the form at the bottom of this page...in fivefold please :evil:
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