The Incidental Tourist

Oh Taipei, I missed you so…

I love my job, I really do.  Not only to I work with some truly gifted, wonderfully kind and fun people, but my job affords me the ability to work completely from my home office as well travel world wide.  My travels have taken me to Scandinavia, the UK, across Europe and North America.  Most of all, my favorite place to be, to this day, is Taipei.
A city full of warm and welcoming people, who do their best to help you even if they don’t speak a lick of English, Taipei and it’s many districts quickly worked it’s way to my favorite city in the world based on a number of things. From the various themed shopping districts to the night markets to the beautiful people and amazing food and a colorful history that involves invading armies, wars and political machinations, I fell in love with Taipei almost instantly.
I have told my boss on a number of occasions, when the question is Taipei, my answer is always Yes.
This thought was on my mind as my EVA Air flight from LAX landed at Taipei Taoyuan Airport, just outside Taipei.  As usual, I collected my bags, made it through the border and proceeded to the arrivals lobby where my driver was standing, holding a sign that for once had my name spelled correctly..
I sat in the back of the black car, sunk into the leather seats as the Taipei skyline flashed by my window a riotous blur of neon colors and sodium vapor street lamps.  Reflections in the glass transmuted to reflections of my previous ventures to Taipei, of walking the streets at night feeling safer than I had anywhere else in the world, of brightly lit and crowded night markets with animated Taiwanese chittering in Mandarin excitedly and so very full of life.
Images swirled in my mind of the beautiful women, the delicious varieties of xiao chi that seems to flow in unending tides from the myriad food carts that line just about every street in Taipei and fond memories of hot springs, tea villages and a Moon Bridge over a lake late at night.
Familiar sites flicked past my eyes, here a restaurant where I had some really good beef noodles.  There a shop where I stop to buy booze and snacks.  Over that way the famous Taipei 101, my local office.  Nearby the brightly lit shops and attractions at ATT4FUN and the enormous Vieshow Cinema.  The Grand Hyatt, one of my favorite hotels in all the world.  To the left, the Taipei Eye, a giant ferris wheel built to mirror the London Eye, sits above the Miramar Entertainment Park over in Zhongshan.
Eventually, the driver pulled up to my hotel, a new one for me, called the Home Hotel, with an entrance hidden between two loud night clubs on a street lined with Porsches and even a couple Ferraris.  I grabbed my gear and headed through the glass doors and on up to the 3rd floor lobby to check into the Home Hotel in Xin Yi.
Yes, I did indeed feel it.  Home.

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