Even though Taiwan is a relatively small island, its education system faces many of the same challenges as others in providing high-quality teaching to students living in more remote areas.
I’m glad that I managed to get back home from an afternoon excursion to Guandu before a big thunderstorm hit the city. Compared to southern Taiwan, Taipei has got off reasonably lightly during the recent spate of monsoon rains, but the one we had today seems to have tested the limits of the city’s drainage system– though perhaps not quite a severely as the intrepid reporters the TV stations send out into the streets might want us to believe!
After my bus ride home this evening, I can’t help thinking that autonomous vehicles can’t come soon enough! Don’t get me wrong, the public bus service in Taipei is excellent for the most part. I have a choice of three nearby lines that can zip me down Dunhua South Road, up on the elevated highway to Xindian, and down to a stop nearby office in less than half-an-hour at rush hour – all for the princely sum of NT$30 ($1).
The streets near our office in Xindian were packed this afternoon with people making offerings to mark the impending arrival of Ghost Month. This officially starts tomorrow on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (中元節), upon which all the ghosts and spirits are believed to emerge from hell to haunt the earth.
Time to go back to the office after a relaxing break over the Chinese New Year Holiday. One of the highlights was a visit to the Mazu Temple in Jinshan, a popular seaside town on the Northeast Coast of Taiwan.
A hot and noisy (熱鬧/rènào) atmosphere in my local neighborhood street markets this morning as people made their last-minute purchases in preparation for this evening’s Chinese New Year Eve feast. Plenty of fresh and succulent meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit to choose from in the busy stalls!
There’s nothing like bright blue skies and glorious sunshine to lighten the mood after what seems like an eternity of dark clouds and heavy rain. I hope this is an omen for the lunar year of the dog.
I’m heading off to China today for a whistle-stop tour of Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen for our company’s Chinese New Year parties known as “weiya”. There was a time when I used to enjoy knocking back cups of Maotaijiu (white spirit) as part of the celebrations, but these days I’m a lot more restrained. My body simply doesn’t have the powers of recovery that it once had.
Hat’s off to China Airlines! I certainly enjoyed my dalliance with them on their new non-stop service from Taipei to London. Naturally the five-hour time saving compared to the Eva route was the main reason for this, but I would also add that the facilities in Premium Economy were a notch above those of their competitor (probably not surprisingly given that it was a new plane.)
As a long-time fan of Eva, I feel like I’m committing adultery today by taking the new China Airlines non-stop service to from Taipei to London for the first time. As loath as I am on missing out on a few thousand Star Alliance air miles, the five-hour difference in flight length was enough for me to make the switch. Let’s see if I made the right choice!