It's our last night in Taipei, and I have too admit that my enthusiasm for Taipei has dimmed a bit. The unexpected downpour today and my inability to read or speak any Chinese seems to have dampened a bit of the fun. I had heard that English teaching opportunities are growing in Taiwan, so I had assumed that Taipei folks would know a bit of English. Unfortunately, aside from navigating the metro system, English is quite useless. Many sales people speak Japanese, but rarely do they speak or understand English.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm starting to miss the hustle and bustle of Seoul. I had expected Taipei to be brimming with pedestrians, but most people seem to be riding around in cars. Ximen can be quite busy during the day, but at night, the streets empty and the neighborhood seems seedier. Most shops and restaurants close around 10 or 11 pm, and I don't know where people go afterwards. Fortunately the massage and spa places open until the early morning. Last night we got a half body massage and a foot spa/massage. My masseuse ended up giving me a full body massage. I'm not sure if I should be concerned or grateful. Neither Cyndi nor JIm received a full body massage. Why do I always end up with the shady massage guys?
Don't be alarmed mom. The massage was done over a blanket, so it was all quite safe. Actually, it was all quite painful. When I say massage, I mean, reflexology massage. Reflexology is not really about relaxation. Rather, it's about improving one's health. The practicioners forcefully prod and pound every tender spot in your foot/body to stimulate blood circulation and improve aspects of your physiology. I had forgotten that reflexology massages were so painful. The after effects are great, but the whole process can be quite uncomfortable.
We're going to take the bullet train (HSR) to Kaoishung tomorrow, where we'll meet up with some friends who are thankfully, Taiwan natives. It'll be great to finally eat at restaurants without needing to look at a picture menu!