Archive for March, 2011

Movin’ on up (to the west side!)

I put a reservation deposit of 500元 on my room today, and I am most pleased with my choice!  I love the street I’m on (lane, rather) and I love the park at the end of it and I think I like the landlady and her son.  The fact that I’m 3 minutes from an MRT station and probably 30 minutes walk from work doesn’t hurt at all!  Plus, I have a window.

Are you surprised that a window is a thing to be celebrated?  Let’s talk about housing in Taipei.  Unless you want to spend a lot of money, you’re looking at renting single rooms, rather like three-quarters of my college life.  Many people take a normal apartment and spit it up, the classier places using real walls, and the others using particle board and the like.  No joke: there’s a field on the most popular housing site in Taiwan to state what the room’s walls are made of.  Once that charming distinction is out of the way, there are two kinds of rooms: 套房 and 雅房.  The first group, taofang, comes with an en suite bathroom.  Yafang (the second) do not.  Another interesting feature of these places is that the kitchens are often partial or non-existent.  The one I have chosen has a kitchen space, but no real cooking appliances.  This is a step up from the other place I saw that had just a fridge at the end of the hall.

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Since I haven’t moved in yet, I have only pictures of the outside that I took when I first went to see the place.  I can only reiterate how charmed I am by the street and how perfectly it fits my picture of Taipei City life.

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That’s why

Recently, I switched jobs and I’ve been asked “Why Taiwan?” a lot.  Up until this morning, my answer begins with learning a language and ends with friends in Taiwan, since people invariably follow up with “Why not China?”  Rarely do I have to pull out my $140 reason to not go to China, which is a nice jokey way of avoiding political discussions.

But while the $140 tourist visa is really only a short-term deterrent, the Great Firewall is not only long-term, but also apparently ever-growing.  I read a few blogs out of China, and this morning’s Sinosplice about the crackdown on VPNs only increased my confidence that Taiwan was the right choice.  Taiwan absolutely has its faults, but none so great as China’s.

ETA: At some point in my past I was woefully misinformed about the cost of a tourist visa.  I have just now discovered it’s $30.  囧

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