Posted by: sea2stars | August 6, 2009

My first day in Taiwan

So after a 12 and a half hour flight from LA to Taipei I finally arrived in Taiwan. Although I did not find Sarah, my roommate, while on the plain we did meet up in Taipei. A driver who could hardly speak any English picked us up and drove us the 3 and half hours to Chiayi. The ride consisted of Sarah and I getting to know each other, and in the background the dull roar of a Ceclian Dion CD. If the driver played the music for his enjoyment or for ours I will never know. Half way through our drive we stopped at a rest area. We went to the bathroom to discover that the toilets are really just holes in the ground. Thank goodness for all those geology trips where I had to squat in the wilderness, I never expected that experience to come in useful in my everyday life. Ginny, the directory of the school, later told us that they find it unsanitary to sit on a toilet seat after someone else has. In my head I wondered if it was really any more sanitary to pee on your leg every time you go; maybe they have better aim than I do.

After arriving in Chiayi I discovered that Sarah and I are rooming with 2 other people; Nick, another teacher at the school and Christine, a native Taiwanese who is a nurse. Nick has already proven to be a wealth of information and will be very helpful to both Sarah and I. After 19 hours on planes and 28 hours of traveling I was feeling kind of mangy and decided it was time for a shower. To my surprise, although I shouldn’t have been, the showers are not the same here either. So in my apartments there is a bathroom that consists of an American toilet, a sink, and a showerhead attached to the wall. There is no curtain, or bathtub and therefore no need for a shower curtain. Consequently as you shower everything gets drenched.

After showering we were driven around the city and went to the school. Chiayi looks a like you would imagine a Chinese city to look like. There are lots of bright signs, things are close together, clothes are hanging out windows, it looks a little dirty compared to American standards, and has a funny smell. Although we are in the mountains, it is often overcast and they are rarely seen. We were told that if we can see the mountains it means there is a storm coming. The school is small with 3 stories and consist of 12 class rooms that contain a white board and tables and chairs. I observed 2 different classes that day and tried to learn as much as possible as I fought off sleep. We came back to the apartment around 6pm and it became increasingly difficult to stay awake. My bed is very hard and seemingly useless as I could sleep on the floor just as comfortably. Luckily I was so tired that it didn’t matter and I finally allowed my self to fall asleep around 9pm.

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