From a May 29 entry in my travel journal--my thoughts are a bit disjointed in it, but I will post my more structured thoughts about Taiwan, written on May 30, soon:
The graves in Taiwan are small, colorful shrines nestled at the foot of steep hills. Everything is tiled--the sidewalks, the sides of buildings. We took a footbridge over Tamsui harbor, and the tile was slippery with rain.
At the nuclear power plant, the employees wear red boots. The buildings are stark and spare and a bit dingy--a government building, a portrait of Chiang Kaishek in the conference room. They gave us ties as gifts. We stood on the fifth floor, the reactor below us. There was an eerie green pool, square and deep, with twelve-foot fuel rods standing on their ends.
We visited a temple in a small town, shabby but brilliantly colored, the statues of local gods lavishly painted.
Delta Electronics was as sleek and modern as the friendly power plant was not. Flat panel TVs and electronics of all sorts. The engineering students were inspired. At both visits, I was impressed with their questions, the earnestness of their inquiries. I wondered at Delta if there were any women executives. All the women we saw at Delta were administrative assistants who were not introduced to us.
The streets are full of cars, both familiar and uncanny--Toyota Camrys are common, but there are also unknown models of Nissans and Hyundais, both tiny coupes and sedans. Among them zip the ever-present scooters, their riders wearing bright plastic parkas against the rain.
Such a variety of buildings--tenements, square and dirty, clustered between mountains, with rooftop gardens; structures with corrugated metal roofs, burnt-out temples, abandoned vacation homes like red and green and yellow Jetsons pods. Temples everywhere, and statues of Kwan-Yin.