Taroko Gorge and Joe and Sarah from Tainan. I even met this dancer Lydia that gave me her phone numbers and said to call them when I was her city, she'd be willing to show me around. The lady that gve me a tour of Tainan went out of her way to show me a side of the city I would have missed; this isn't an isolcated case, I also met another American Charles that had the same experience in Taipei. Entire families have stopped what they were doing to take me to my destination when I was lost. The people here are just too kind. The night markets are a wonderful way to eat on a budget, everything looks, smells and tastes so good. The mass transit system in Taipei is top notch. There's plenty of hiking and beautiful scenery. Shopping of computers is not too bad either, but really, the prices are pretty close to those in the USA, so only buy if you find a great deal.
There are cons of course.... the weather is pretty much awful. It's hot and humid all the time, and while I was here I sat through three typhoons that altered my plans more than I'd like. I had to miss mountains, lakes, islands, and beaches because of them. There are stray dogs everywhere. People here love them though, they'll feed them and pet them. They just don't want to actually keep it, so they become like community pets. The problem is stray dogs can be dangerous and there's dog poo poo on the street. Joe from Taipei said the dogs are not a big deal because every Taiwanese kid knows how to fight against them: you just through rocks at them. I guess if that's what works.
If you do not speak any mandarin I would say it would be easier to stay in Taipei, but I know plenty of people that didn't know any mandarin that circled the island by themselves.
I think compared to Hong Kong, Taipei can't really compete when it comes to being a big city like the New Yorks of the world. The shopping and views from Hong Kong are better, things are open later and everyone is always shopping for electronics. Taipei has these things on a smaller scale, but it also has so much natural beauty to offer, a unique history, and some really nice people. Oh yeah.... be sure to bring meds for your stomach though.
I had a wonderful time in Taiwan (except for the typhoons) and look forward to my next visit.
Some more Food
Digital Plaza Revisited
Underground Society around the Taipei Power Building. One of the few bars that features Rock music. I think this was a small local band. Not very crowded, small bar, but it was fun.