Taiwan 8

As one of three main axes of development in Taiwan, the high technology required the most efficient organization and visional plan for future. As a proven concept of centralized park for one big number of High-Tech companies,  the Government of Taiwan established the Hsinchu Scienc Park in 1980 – today’s the biggest one between another eight in other parts of Taiwan.

Thanks to SayTaiwan host, Christine from Hsinchu City we had a privilege to familiarize and get more information about the organizational, functional and economical aspect of the Hsinchu Science Park. Perfectly organized and planed tour through the Park’s Administration building and museum, helped us to understand the significant impact of one such organization to state economy.

With Christina in front of Hsinchu Science Park

Small first chat with the official HSP guide

By having in mind that every company in High-Tech business branched must be located near “knowledge center” and actively cooperate with another companies, more than 400 business organizations and businesses have already establihed their official offices, factories or research laboratories in the Hsinchu Science Park.

As it is explained by kind guide, a company which wants to be located in the Park must present a clear future plan of research and/or production in order to assure future productivity and active innovative approach of Park.

One impressive fact says that the Hsinchu Science Park has more than 100,000 permanent employees (of different profession) with the average age of impressive 33 years. This fact shows unambiguously what a positive impacts it has on the Taiwanese economy.

I was listening carefully very interesting guidance about the Park (with my Greek Delegation’s t-shirt from the Seliger 2011)

Additionally, the Hsinchu Scienece Park is not only place with organizations concentrated on success and innovation.  One important area of Park is transformed to a wonderful natural space together with small artificial lake, which contributes to the ideal conditions for those about 1000 workers who reside around in the area of Science Park.

As the locomotive engine of the island’s high-tech technology, the Hsinchu Science Park has helped significantly in promoting the local economy and was pushing force behind Taiwan’s world–famous economic miracle in the last 30 years.

Getting to know the Park’s results

Hours after the “High-Tech lecture” we spent with Christina and her small daughter, riding a bike next to the ocean.  It was really funny to try my first sentences in Chinese with the 5 – year’s old girl. Anyway, my Mandarin accent was at least excellent source of joy for her.

The architecture model for decoration of ocean beach here were the Eastern Orthodox Churches what was pretty interesting for me. So, I could see the famous ring statue from the Greek islands and famous church shapes.

The Eastern Orthodox Christianity architecture near ocean in Hsinchu

For evening, one more extraordinary experience! Since my host brother has a lot of friends in every part of Taiwan, it was not a problem at all to find place to overnight in Hsinchu City. One more encounter with a Taiwanese family was really unique experience for me, since I am again treated like an official diplomatic delegation’s member of one country. All their kindness and simplicity will always carved in my mind as the most strongest memory from Taiwan.

Benny’s family (friend of my host brother)

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Taiwan 7

Thursday, 18.08. actually started  very strangely, the same strangely as my last blog update has finished. Before I start describing the most interesting moments of this day, I have to admit that anyone did not answer me rightly on questions in my last blog update. 😉 So, when you come to China you must know that red color here symbolizes “Good luck” and in this case the written scores on those red cards “God Luck” of all students who successfully passed exams thanks to the private school which promotes these scores. Something similar is when private schools in Greece promote good results of their students on different tests (English, GMAT…) but plus here in Taiwan scores are written in red big papers.

Since we had less than two hours available, I and my host brother decided to visit the biggest tour attraction of Taipei. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is located in the heart of Taipei City Center and today is the most visited destination in Taiwan.

As a clear combination of modern and traditional Chinese architecture the Hall represents the gratitude of people toward Chiang Kai – Shek achievement and vision. As we mentioned in the first my Taiwanese blog, after the WW II the Party Kuomintang didn’t accept the Communist model of state organization. By understanding disastrous consequences of communism, Chiang Kai – shek became the first President of new formed country Republic of China (Taiwan). His and vision of all people who came from China in the beginning of 50s of 20th century, was model based on democracy – ethic – science. This three principles are written above the statue of Chiang Kai-shek, above two elite soldiers who guard the Hall.

Additionally, it was very interesting to see the whole process of soldiers’ exchange. Although every of them spents 5 hours of permanent standing (in the extremely hot and humid weather conditions), their exchange ceremony is equally impressive.

Inside the same walls, the Taiwanese Music Hall is located with an impressive building as the perfect expression of Chinese traditional architecture.

In the end, I don’t need even to mention that the whole Hall’s spaces of impressive 250,000 square meters are perfectly organized and clear. Again, it proves that the strong organization, planning and hard working can to achieve everything!

 

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Taiwan 6

Finally, day for my visit of Taipei arrived. As the economic, cultural and political center of Taiwan, Taipei City has everything what every big city center posses, but more too. These more is mainly related to a perfect organization of every functional aspect of city. So, for example the Taipei Metro is the best one I have ever seen. Everything is fully automatized at the highest rank, passengers absolutely aware about the queuing, and the most amazing fact: the Taipei Metro is as much as clear as one for example  the clearest house in Taiwan. I can’t even guess how employees manage to keep so high the level of cleanliness in metro but I am sure that significant contribution has a prohibition of any food or drink consumption in metro.

The Taipei Metro

One more very interesting point is way of ticket selling – since the process is completely cybernated and easy to be cheated I am sure that many people in other countries would find a way to “have a free ride”. But the Taiwanese people proved again high morale and discipline, respecting all rules, service and property of another people.

I and my host brother arrived in Taipei by the Taiwan High Speed Rail. As a clear symbol of every developed society and its need for more efficient and quicker way of transportation, Taiwan managed to connect its north with the northern cities with the highest possible way. The German and Japanese cooperation with the local Government, brought the best result in the shape of High Speed Railway System which connects two edges of country in less than 1,5 hours (instead of more than five with the classic Railway system). At speed till 300 km/h, a passenger can enjoy full comfort and again unbelievable level of cleanness.

In Taiwan High Speed Rail

Next, my main goal of this day was the activity “One day manager” in the famous Taiwanese brand of pick-up drinks “ShareTea”.   Established in 1992, Sharetea is a chain store specializing in takeaway teas with close to 200 outlets in the world today. It offers different kind of Chinese tea in many different shapes and it was a great experience to learn how some of these beverages are prepared.  First of all, I have to emphasize that I was very lucky since it was very hard to be selected for this activity organized for only five persons during five days. And, it was useful to see practically again that only proven processes of business can lead one company (and every other organization) to success.

”One day manager” in ShareTea

More concrete, every beverage had an exact amount of ingredients and time of preparation. After completing two kinds of tea preparations, I passed to costumer part. It was really enjoyable having a fun with young Chinese. Especially, their shame when I was starting to speak with them and again their simplicity. But, it didn’t last too much and it was end of this fantastic opportunity in which had happened something almost more incredible. During my “Sharetea: activity I met one guy who knew everything about Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was so amazed by my country of origin that he gave me 30 euro. Money in red envelope in Chinese culture is way of wishing good luck to guests. When we became fb friends, I saw that he is the Harvard University Graduate and international profile. Thanks to God to one more amazing experience and one new extraordinary friend.

Incredible encounter in Taipei

 …And certification by real ShareTea manager

Last but not least, my host brother had many friends in Taipei too. With his two male one and female friend, we went out in one traditional Chinese restaurant. Very good fish meal helped us to win hungry and spend nice time in chatting about different subject. Again, nothing less hearty and kindly didn’t happen. Chinese friends again made my day with their unlimited hospitality, generosity and simplicity.

Dinner with dear Chinese friends

P.S. Can you guess what is this?

….Answer in the next blog update! 😉

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Taiwan 5

We have already heard that one big part of Taiwan’s territory is highly mountainous area. In order to protect the uniqueness and natural beauties of these areas, the Government officially confirms these areas as protected natural regions in the form of National Park or National Scenic Areas.

One of the most popular destinations  of one foreigner visitor in Taiwan is Alishan National Scenic Area. Since all the mountainous range has average height 2600 m, all the opportunities for developing of tourism here in a higher scale are obvious. But, everything has not started so smoothly and easily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Alishan National Park was settled for many years only by Taiwanese aborigines. But, Japanese occupation of Taiwan had left an important mark in this mountain. Same as today, Alishan National Area is almost completely covered by forest. That fact offered a fantastic opportunities for logging and in order to convey as much as possible good wood from here, Japanse build a railway system.

Today, the Alishan railway system is the biggest attraction on the mountain    and one of the only three remaining alpine railways in the world. rom Chiayi City about 30 meters above sea level, the railway ascends into the mountains to over 2,000 meters above sea level. There are 49 tunnels, 77 bridges and numerous wonderful sights along the railroad.  Unfortunatelly, the ALishan railway system is closed until the last 2011 because of Typhoon damage two years ago. (See attached video about this amazing experience).

Other facilities which make the Alishan National Park so popular are (except of fresh air and beautiful nature) are: famous Chinese tea which is been cultivated around the mountain and small traditional villages around the main road to Alishan tourstic center.

Due to very strong raining, we spent our most time in the car. I didn’t experience above mentioned ” tour package ” but at least I figured out how the weather here can be changeable. From extremely sunny morning, it started to rain with temperature bellow 17 C degree.

On our road back home, nature showed us one of its unbelievable works of art:

Taiwan, 20.08.2011.

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Taiwan 4

The days are passing very quickly here in Taiwan! In the same manner Monday, as my fourth day in Taiwan, arrived ( and passed ) amazingly quickly.

The last Monday was relaxing day for free hanging out activities. I and my brother went in the morning to city Chiayi. It is capital of the same named region (County) of Taiwan. We could name it as “small Taiwan” since Chiayi County is home of 3 of 8 National Parks in country and region between high mountains and ocean. Thanks to such geography, Chiayi County manages to develop agriculture and tourism as well.

One good example is pastery shop we visited in the end of day. This small family business produces different sweets products and as I have checked, the most of these ingredients  are produced in this part of country. Although, some of these sweets have a strange combination of tastes (according with our European criterions) I bought two packs of them. One for my host father who adores them and second for my family in Bosnia (I am not sure they will like them, at least those with mixed salty-sweaty flavor).

By travelling next to rice fields (no problems with floods definitely), I noticed mountain ranges as one of the main symbol of this County. But, visiting one part of these mountain range was scheduled for the next day.

Furthermore, our first task was exchanging money. Since I didn’t do it at airport I had to wait next working day in order to have acceptable cash money. The Bank of Taiwan was our destination and it was my first encounter with business in Taiwan (at least as the simpliest costumer).  The Bank of Taiwan has a special privileges of the Taiwan dollar issuing, which was gaining just after the Japanese surrender 1945. In the same manner, same as Taiwanese historical experience the Bank of Taiwan has recorded it’s the most important changes in different historical circumstances (for example: firstly, the status of Taiwanese Central Bank, the Bank of Taiwan receives under the Japanese Government in 1899 and secondly, today it is the biggest symbol of rapid Taiwanese – mainland Chinese economic cooperation).

The officials were very excited about the fact that I am foreigner. We chatted briefly and they gave me a gift one special coin of Taiwanese dollar.  Additionally, I was astonished with very strange water glasses in bank. This paper made glasses look more like post envelope, than water glass but after a brief instructions by my host brother I manage to quench a thirst with it. The main conclusion was – if these water paper glasses were not practical, innovative Taiwanese would not apply them in one public space, like a bank is.

Next, our destinations were shops in the Chiayi city centre. Again I was amazed with people’s interests to foreigners. Their simplicity and kindness was “the ideal opening ticket” for conversation. In the most cases language barrier was a main obstacle for a deeper conversation, but Taiwanese people’s simplicity wins everything.

When we finished with all scheduled duties for Monday, we headed to my host house. My host mother was waiting on us with the great dinner. We needed to eat well in order to catch enough energy for night fishing. Although my result was one huge NULL I spent again wonderful time with my dear and simple friends from Taiwan.

Taiwan, 16.08.2011.

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Taiwan 3

Sunday morning started very dynamically! I brought some of the best sweets from Serbia and Bosnia and with them prepared a small ethno party to my host family. All together were gathered after the working week and another three friends of my host sister Yaling joined us too.  It was amazing to realize how many differences are between Asian and European tastes in general. The Serbian smoked sausages were different than the same Asian plus many sweets which don’t exist in the Asian market.

I am very satisfied that my host family and another guests really enjoyed our food. Together with the traditional Serbian ethno music in background I gave small gifts to my dear host family.

The end was reserved for the national Serbian dance, called “Uzicko Kolo”. Everyone was almost brilliant, with the special praise to my little host sister. She made it better than one girl from the “heart of Serbia” would.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the Serbian breakfast party needed to be finished but new adventure had been waiting on us – The Amusement park! The extremely popular way of entertainment in Asia surprised me with one unexpected conclusion. I couldn’t believe that Chinese teenagers (8-12 years old) without any fear hurry to take a ride on the most extremely parts. For example, one of them throw group of people down in the hole of 100m (from the height of 120m) and after that quickly turns the train back by rotating in every possible direction. I am sure that in Europe, there are not so much teenagers who would dare to try something like that.

The best way to describe how the fall from 200 m heights is, to recommend the same. That feeling of helplessness and lack of time as a category, is really “a must” experience. At least, for everyone who search to experience one another dimension of human being.

Not only had these extreme facilities attracted our attention to! The water park facilities were equally entertaining and again attracted my admiration to young Chinese and to their brave. Taiwan, definitely you have a future – my respect!

Very satisfied with all experience from Amusement Park we headed to one city in Yunlin County to visit the famous celebration of the Ghost Festival according with the Tao and Buddhist tradition. More concretely, they believe that during the August ghosts of all ancestors come to the Earth. In order to satisfy them, every family prepares a huge amount of food, especially on second Sunday of August. In the same manner, the big celebrations composed by many small stage events, have as a main purpose to drive away all bad ghosts (who are allegedly frightened by music).

The most impressive part here was again kindness of people in Taiwan and their interests toward foreigner visitors. The Italian SayTaiwan guest Fabiano and I, received hundreds of smiles of festival’s visitors during the night. Even two singers were wondering “where the foreigners are from”, commenting it and waving us from the stage. After that, I was sure that this people from Taiwan are the heartiest and the simpliest I have ever met.

The same was happening today too during the whole day. For example, in the Bank of Taiwan, officials were amazed by me (only because I am foreigner) and gave me as a gift one special edition of Taiwanese dollars.

To be continued…

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Taiwan 2

Well, finally from Taiwan!

Trip from Europe was long (Zagreb – Frankfurt – Hong Kong – Taipei) but Lufthansa service was excellent. The German way of hospitality with high quality is one of my favorite combinations. The flight Frankfurt – Hong Kong lasted around 14 hours, which SayTaiwan clique tried to organize as much as interesting in order to not get tired from this long trip. For example, Misha from Ukraine presented me all his knowledge about alcohol. Since I liked a liqueur he recommended to me, I rate this knowledge with 10 ;-).

The Hong Kong Airport will be always remembered by searching the desk E13 in order to take the boarding pass for Taipei. After 30 minutes tour around, we four finally had made it and then headed to plane directly. This flight with China Airlines passed very quickly, together with Chinese spaghetti meal which I didn’t like. Today I figured defiantly that it was mistake only with this particular meal! In general the Chinese meals are very delicious!

Meal in the China Airlines

We finally came at Taipei Airport and experienced the cultural shock! Almost everything was different. I even have never experience so big hospitality anywhere in the world. It was something unique in it. After completing some bureaucratic duties we finally met Alice, girl we were interacting with in the last four months. Since she didn’t upload any of her photos anywhere on web, everyone’s first question upon landing in Taipei was:”Where Alice is?”

– Finally at Taipei Airport

Further, kind volunteers gave us instructions how to reach main railway station from where we took a high speed train to our parts of countries. Here was very funny to see all rice fields and our first conclusion that Taiwan has problem with flood. Hm, fortunately those are only rice fields.

My host sister and host father were waiting on me on the train station. My host sister’s English is on proficiency level so it was very easy to communicate with her during the trip by car to home. We utilized this experience to meet each other better and now even personally. She and host father answered every my question with every detail and proved me the unbelievable and unique kindness again!

-At Chiayi Railway station

We arrived home and I met my host mother. Another host sister and brother came home one day later. It was a high time for my first challenge – trying to eat with chop sticks. Host father was a excellent teacher and I even manage to take three pieces of meat from our common plate. Good step for beginning but my host family bought forks in order to facilitate my eating. I didn’t know that they never use forks!

After the wonderful dinner, I was very tired due to trip and fell asleep quickly. Sleeping over 10 hours was really needed due to 20h long trip and 6 hour time zone differences.

Day started again with very delicious breakfast with my host mother and host father and small 2nd lesson of using chop sticks. Today I didn’t make it very well so using forks was necessary. But I won’t give up!

Since  my host brothers and sisters were not at home, GOOGLE TRANSLATE helped us significantly in communication. I understand very thing what my host parents were talking to me, and I to them! It works!

-With my host father and mother

Chop sticks usage lesson

Before the arranged barbeque party, one other host family of Italian boy picked me up and we together visited one nice pastry shop. Fabiano speaks pretty good Chinese what helped me significantly in understanding different completely new things I have seen. Check some of the places we visited together:

-Sweets in Taiwan with Italian guy’s hosts

-Local town Beika

-Tao temple

-Seashell producing

-Barbecue party

Evening barbeque party started and two other host families from our town joined us (American and Italian guy’s hosts). Many foods were served and after some hours of chatting and laughing, time for sleeping came.

But just before that, I scheduled my program for Taiwan with my host brother and sisters – now as a full family. Again I was amazed with their kindness and willingness to make my experience in Taiwan unforgettable.

Taiwan, 13.08.2011.

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