Sunday, November 17th 2013

I got to Taiwan in darkness, having taken off from Amsterdam in darkness. This was all very confusing. In a jetlagged haze I found my way across the city to where I was staying, struggling all the way to stay awake. By the time I got to the campus of the Academia Sinica, I could hardly even talk. I thought I would sleep for at least two days.

Four hours later I was wide awake. I'd arranged to meet my friend Dave at 10am. He'd come from Canada for the conference and was just as jetlagged as I was. We were both awake stupidly early so we arranged to meet up at 9am. I headed out at 8.30 and bumped into Dave heading down Academia Road to where I was staying. We headed into the city to explore.

I liked Taipei straight away. It had a lot in common with Beijing, but where Beijing is just unfathomably massive, intimidating and confusing, Taipei was approachable and friendly and easy to get around. We had a wander round the city centre and then randomly got the metro to Guandu, where we found a temple, a huge sprawling temple that included tunnels under the hills. It was the first of many, many temples that I saw during the trip.

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