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29. My Adventure in Taiwan

Many people, when asked about adventure, think about simply traveling. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “adventure” exists in two forms i.e. a noun and verb. The verb adventure refers to engaging in daring or risky activities whereas the noun depicts the experience one has when an unusual or exciting event takes place. In that case, my move to Taiwan can be described as a noun more than a verb. But personally I would say, it isn’t really where you go, it’s what you experience while there.
Yes, I have physically taken the flight to this beautiful island, approximately 9438.61 miles away from home, seen beautiful architecture, astounding landscapes. Prior to my arrival, I had read about Taipei 101, Kenting National Park, Taroko or some new place to have a blast with friends. So even if I visited them in person yes it would be new, but isn’t the thrill I would feel, the same thrill any other foreigner who visits these sights would? In my opinion, the Taiwan adventure is the personal encounters you will have and no one can prepare you for.
The first time to travel far away from my family to another continent of the world, having little knowledge about the destination. My life full of joy and melancholy, moving from one airport to another in different countries, where to my amazement in some countries from one airplane to another in far distance the sky is not visible. Finally I landed on an island called Taiwan nicknamed "illa Formosa" (beautiful island) .The Island with different culture, food and traffic compared to my country.
Culture is things of diversity .As the sun rise many elderly people are seen doing general body exercise or walking around for longtime, it is really amazing but it give an understanding why the people are healthy, strong and hardworking. There is a particular thing that is very hard for me to understand, why the people never speak loud? Why do they have the nature of feeling shy? Is it rooted in them by tradition or a norm in the society? And also to my observation, it is really hard for me to distinguish between who is a female and a male. Their hairstyle, dress codes really deceive my sight to differentiate their gender. I never think of being a celebrity in my life but I became one in Taiwan, my skin color gains me the opportunity. It is a surprise to see people looking at you, discussing about your presence and wanting to talk to you with a frequent question where did you come from? And even want to take pictures like a tourist. The environment can be incredibly enjoyable or incredibly annoying depending on your personality. Sometimes it is a fun for me. To my surprise around 6:00pm I was invited to go to night market, it is really interesting, it shows the impression of security safety and friendly nature of the people. The night markets are similar to local markets in my country that operate during the day. Various kinds of stalls, canteens, stands can be seen with different commodities and goods. The environment is really conducive for shopping, eating and hanging out with friends. The place is full of activities, I take it as a festival not a market, and it is full of fun.
When I was informed I was coming to Taiwan, many questions came to my mind about the new place I was going to move and live. In my opinion, each of us will have different experiences and adventures according to the purpose of why sometimes we have to move from one place to another. But for this time, I will talk and share with you some of the great things that I have experienced so far after more than a year I have been living in the Formosa Island.
The purpose of writing this article is to convey my perspective of my personal adventures in Taiwan, so first and foremost, let me begin by simply stating the approach I am employing, to better aid the reader in comprehending my point of view. I’m going to share an experience I had in Taiwan during a period of vacation stay here. Taiwan, in my view, is a country with many tourist attractions, and in turn, makes it a most prominent vacation destination. Moreover, this account in of my own personal experience upon indulging myself in such treasures as these.
During the vacation time of which I mentioned, I had visited the vacation destination in Taiwan known as Kenting, where my friends and I were afforded the opportunity to stay at The Chateau Beach Resort. When some friends came from other neighboring universities to visit us, we had the opportunity to have rooms in all 3 buildings. Contrary to reviews I read, they did not distinguish which level room you were in based on towel color or dinner voucher. All the rooms had positive and negative elements, but overall were nice. The bathrooms needed to be bleached to get rid of the mold growing in the grout, but that is an unknown idea in Taiwan. The pools were very nice. They did not keep children from using the adult pool, which did not bother us, but might bother you if you went without kids and were expecting a kid-free area. The beach is nice but as others have stated, the swimming area is small and they require life jackets. Some of this is because the coast is very rocky and they know their small area has been cleared and some of this is because the culture here is generally afraid of water and swimming. This is the price you pay for travel in Taiwan, but then again, everywhere has its good and bad qualities, not just here. The buffet was ok but not super. There were a lot of options, but most were Taiwanese, as is expected, with very limited Western offerings, which may be the point overall, as we are in Taiwan. Even so, it was definitely not the best buffet we have experienced in Taiwan. Here you are paying for being right on the beach and having beach views. Rooms are in similar size and condition as other hotels in the Kenting area that we have stayed at but the ocean front pools and ocean views from our room was worth the price for us. The staff was very helpful, including arranging our rental car for our arrival at Zouying HSR station, and everyone spoke enough English for us to do business within our native language. Overall, if you want the ocean-front experience in Taiwan, Chateau is a good resort. Not perfect, but well enough, and the experience in Kenting, was one I must say I will remember for days to come.


Learning again – Living in Taiwan
Before coming to Taiwan, I thought I had all everything that I needed. I already knew a little bit of mandarin (enough to ask “duo shao qian”!), I had read some of its traditions and history; but there was a little-big problem… I had never been in Taiwan!
Since the first step that I did in Taipei, everything changed. For example, my mind was thinking on so many thing before coming to Taiwan, that I had forgotten that people eat with chopsticks in Taiwan, so the first meal that I had was very much like a fight!. It took me at least a day to finish only the rice by using chopsticks! Do not be worry if you cannot use the chopsticks, as long you feel hungry you would learn how to use them very fast! You would even prefer to use chopsticks rather than fork and knife!
I will begin by relating what my social expectations were before coming to Taiwan; based on the orientation we received back home, I was expecting a stiff transition period before blending and socializing with the student community of my University because of language barrier. Secondly, I was also hoping to meet people of divergent cultural settings and also xenophobic behaviours against me as an African black boy in the farthest and isolated corner of Asia, Taiwan.
I am privileged to be spending four years in Pingtung, Taiwan, as I study for bachelor’s degree in Tropical Agriculture and a major in animal science, under the Department of Tropical Agriculture at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. I have been in Taiwan for at least two months now and so far I am enjoying my time here, although some things may be hard to get you used to but as far as this it’s a nice experience.
August 29th of this year at midnight, the plane landed to Taipei International Airport. I was one of passengers, a student coming for studies in this country that I’m going to discover. After an half hour waiting because one of us did not find her bag, our embassy counselor who came to welcome us decided to accompany us to the ICDF’s represents waiting for us. During the target, I could just admire a few outside of the car because it was night and the flying made me seriously tired.
My name is Cristian Herrera, and my Chinese name is 何天恩 (He Tian En), I am from Guatemala, a country located in Central America. I am nineteen years old and I am a freshman at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), I am studying in the Undergraduate program in Tropical Agriculture specialized in plant science.
I just came to Taiwan two months ago; this has been a very interesting adventure that has given to me not only the opportunity to meet people all over the world but also the chance to get to know with Taiwanese people and their culture. Since I haven’t been here for a long time, I think I cannot write what I would like to share in my first TICA News Letter. However I can share my little experience here and how this special Country has given to me an amazing two months.
Taiwan is an island located some 180 kilometers off the southeastern coast of China. I arrived Taiwan on August 29, 2011. After been three days in the Taipei (the capital of Taiwan) I moved to Pintung County, where I am doing my bachelors degree. When I heard about Taiwan, my first impression was huge buildings all over the country, but it was not the way I thought. Yes there are huge buildings in the big cities, but not here in Pintung. Pintung is more peaceful in the way that there is less traffic. Pintung is located in the southern part of Taiwan. I could say that is one of the most beautiful counties in Taiwan. It has many attractive places to visit, for example Kenting National Park. Kenting was the first national park that was established in Taiwan. Kenting is one of the most visited national parks in Taiwan. The people here in the southern part of the country are friendly but few people speak English. Meaning that you need to know mandarin to survive here in Pintung, but I don’t really need to speak mandarin now because my friends do all the talking, especially when we go out to eat or shopping. Later on I will need mandarin because my friends will not always be there for me.