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From the Editor

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“Baby, it’s cold outside!” Winter in Taiwan

There’s no denying it – the mercury in Taiwan is dropping, especially up north. Even Siri is sympathetic. When I asked “What’s the weather in Taipei?” Siri responded in typical I-phone doggerel: “Some bad weather coming to Taipei: Down to 9° Celsius today.” But you’ll get no sympathy from my family back in New England, where it’s currently 23° Fahrenheit (about negative 5 on the Celsius scale), nor from MyTaiwanTour CEO Michael Wu, who’s currently spending the last days of his New Year’s Holiday watching the Northern Lights in Yellowknife, Canada (where Its so cold that the F&C scales read pretty much the same numbers). So to friends from either of these two regions (or pretty much anywhere else in North America this weekend), please accept my deepest sympathies (and presumably Siri’s) along with an offer to visit Taiwan, which, current cold snap aside, is at least warmer. Indeed, Taiwan…

Twas the Taiwanese Night before Christmas

We had a Christmas party at the MyTaiwanTour office. Our editor-in-chief reworked the classic poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to fit Taiwan sensibilities. Later, he read it out loud. Alcohol was definitely involved. (* With Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore) Twas the night before Christmas, or at least cha bu duo* And noisy was the  office of MyTaiwanTour The desks had been cleared of computers and phones In their place lay big trays filled with sushi and scones   (* “give or take”) The office staff milled ‘round the break room so fine, Using a Taiwan-made rice cooker to heat up mulled wine; And I in my cap, already mildly soused    Was trying to figure out what to write for this post From somewhere outside, I heard such a clatter I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter. Away to the window I…

We Never Made it to Jiufen

Having overstayed its welcome here as in much of the rest of the northern hemisphere, Summer is finally over in Taiwan. The forecast is for heavy rain over most of Northern Taiwan through the weekend, which means movies and Netflix, and maybe a wet bicycle ride. So it’s a good thing I made the most out of last week’s four day weekend by spending much of it outdoors, bringing a friend from Singapore on a personalized tour of Taipei including a food tour of the Raohe Night Market, a tea hike through Maokong, and the all-night art, music and culture party that was the 2017 Nuit Blanche Taipei festival. We were also supposed to go to Jiufen, only we never made it. We tried, though. We had every reason to go. I’d not visited Jiufen for several years, and my partner Stephanie had never been. Tony, like most Singaporean men,…

Taiwan Rolls Out the Welcome Mat

Though our blog is centered on things Taiwan I’ll be starting this post on another island, one which I called home only briefly. I’ll wind it back to Taiwan, I promise. In the summer of 2001, I found myself living in Newfoundland. I was following Lao Tzu’s maxim on travel, the one about a good traveler having no fixed plans and not being intent on arriving, and spent a month or so just hitchhiking around before finally settling for a spell in the city of St. John’s. I wound up sticking around longer than intended, partially because the place was so beautiful, and partially because I found the people of Newfoundland so overwhelmingly friendly. Newfoundlanders have a unique charm, and as a Come From Away (which is what Newfoundlanders call visitors), I was treated quite well. Strangers bought me dinner (fish and chips, and a few more exotic dishes like…

Summertime City Cycling and Unstable Weather

Summer seems to be peaking here on the Beautiful Island, though perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part. Daytime temperatures have hovered in the low 30s°C or in the mid-90s°F (for readers who don’t do Celsius). No matter what scale you use it’s hot, the sort of heat that makes wise people stay indoors or head out to the beach or into the mountains. But wisdom has never been my strong suit and having just discovered a newly installed Youbike station around the corner from my new apartment in Taipei’s Muzha district, my main form of outdoor activity this week has taken the form of short, intense rides through the streets of Taipei. An explanation may be in order for readers unfamiliar with our fair city’s public bike share program. What began as a collaborative program between Taipei city and global bicycle giant Giant (sorry, couldn’t resist) has…