3.22.2010

taiwan, day 3

Today we hop back on the subway and head into the city for a fairly full day of touristy things. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial is our first stop. An aside: Taipei is a fairly friendly city for non-Chinese speakers. Most of the signs have English translations written under the Chinese characters so you have some idea of what's going on. But at the two memorials we visit today, none of the displays have much translation on them, so we have to rely mainly on M's family's knowledge of who these people are and why they are important. And, I have to say, it's fairly lacking. All they know about Chiang Kai-shek is that he was a terrible despot. I will need to Google these things later in order to learn a bit about them.


After lunch we stop at the Dr Sun Yat-sen Memorial on our way to Taipei 101—which, until the new skyscraper in Dubai was completed, was the world's tallest building. Nobody knows anything about Sun Yat-sen so I won't even bother. What I do learn is that unlike Americans, the Chinese don't care about having the actual 'thing' associated with the person in question in their museums. Instead, they use replicas of the objects or even just show photos of what the objects looked like at some point in time.


Next we hit the 'world's largest bookstore', but really it just seems like the world's largest department store. Maybe. I find some kitchsy, and pretty cool, Asian postcards and stickers, as well as a graphic novel which is entirely in Chinese so I have no idea what it says. The artwork's pretty great though.

The last stop of the day is Taipei 101. Here I learn a little more about the building as many of the displays are in English also, but none say why they built the building or what it's used for now. The sand has blown back in again by this point, so visibility is a bit lower than if we'd hit earlier in the day. Still pretty impressive views though.

I have learned how to use, mostly correctly I think, three phrases in Chinese (I highly doubt I'm spelling these correctly):
-Mei hao (me how) = Hello
-She she (shay shay) = Thank you (sometimes you add a 'nee' on to the end to make it extra polite, but I'm still not entirely clear on when to do that)
-Dei bo chi (dway bo chee) = Excuse me

I've also learned that Bu yao (boo yow) means, 'I don't want' but I haven't had a chance to use it yet. I'm really afraid with that one that I will say boo-ya instead and sound like a complete moron. I've also learned that when making a transaction, it is polite to hand over your money with both hands with a slight bow and to accept your change and receipt in the same manner.

2 comments:

DougieB said...

I find it so fascinating to think that there are so many other important things and monuments in this world that I have never heard of. Like, how easy would it be to simply live an entire life ignorant of Chiang Kai-shek?

Thanks for doing these posts - looks like a good time!

Mrs. Cyberhobo said...

I love the details on what's polite and what you've learned to say. And the associated fears. More!