…. Well 70% of the world’s computers, communications technology and consumer electronics are actually made in Taiwan. Less of the tacky plastic nowadays it was famous for, although this is still evident wherever you go.
Taiwan is a mix of Japanese and Chinese, possibly taking the best of both worlds. Having been ruled by both empires, the Taiwanese continue to struggle for true independence. For all practical purposes Taiwan has been independent since 1950, but China still regards it as a rebel region that must be reunited with the mainland – by force if necessary. So you can imagine, politics is a hot potato on this small island.
My favourite destination was Taroko Gorge. A stunning 19km marble gorge carved out by the Liwu River. I am not a geologist, so the fact that the gorge is marble bypassed me completely. Being in its natural form it’s far from looking like a bathroom suite, an image the word marble immediately conjures up. Trekking through this lush green land alone except for nature was simply perfect.
Taiwan is spick and span compared to several other countries, this is hugely surprising based on the shortage of rubbish bins. Perhaps it’s due to their approach to rubbish collection. No leaving your dustbin on the roadside for regular collection; instead when you hear the daily truck arriving you run out and throw your rubbish into the back as it passes. My favourite part of this process is the tune signalling its arrival – it’s the Western Worlds ice-cream van music. Hugely disappointing when you fancy a Mr Whippy, run outside with your money and a rubbish truck arrives!
Lastly, towering over the city I can’t fail to mention Taipei 101. Designed to resemble bamboo, this architectural triumph was the tallest building in the world for six years following its completion in 2004. The lift shoots (pun intended) you to the top at a speed of 60.6km per hour which was also a record breaker. Now that’s fast!
So Taiwan, worth a look? Yes I’d say so.