Taiwan is an island that (briefly explained) originated from the displacement of two tectonic plates. About 20.000 years ago the Polynesians (Austronesians) lived here. Then the Portuguese, Dutch and Spaniards passed by – but you could imagine that, because they were apparently everywhere before 😉 . Already during the Chinese dynasties Taiwan seemed to be desirable for China. Probably also, because many people left China to live in Taiwan in peace. In 1662 an opponent of the Manchu came to Taiwan with 35.000 soldiers and about 400 junks. No matter who was in charge in China from then on, Taiwan was immediately co-governed.
From 1895-1945 the island was under Japanese leadership, then a Chinese military government until 1947. Then a civilian government. After General Chiang Kai-Shek lost in China against Mao Zedong, he fled to Taiwan with about 2 million followers. He was president until his death in 1975. Then it went back and forth. Currently the DDP (Democratic Progress Party) is in power. The party’s orientation is centrism, liberalism and Taiwanese nationalism.
And how is it today?
If you drop by from Singapore, you’ll probably be shocked. So it was definitely me. It looks like twenty years back at first – I remember my time in Beijing well. Almost everything in Chinese characters, which I don’t know, but luckily I can speak some Chinese today, because even in the chic new shopping malls, the shop assistants hardly speak English. The submissiveness towards Europeans can be felt everywhere – terrible! I had as much space around me as I haven’t had in weeks 😉 . If I didn’t know Asia, I would probably see it more positively.
The houses of the city are only available in light grey, medium grey and dark grey or alternatively in light brown, medium brown and dark brown. Reddish tones can also be found 😉 . Gold and shiny marble in unimaginable quantities in the “rich” buildings. But everything seems to move within certain norms. Then there are the extreme contrasts, which lie close together. The poorer, the more colourful… Here you can see a small selection of what I discovered.
Of course you will find Chinese influences on every corner. If I didn’t know I was in Taiwan, I would have said I was in China. The Grand Hotel is just one of many examples. Maybe I’ll change my mind the next time I’m in the country side. In that case there is an update here 😉
Finally, “my” hotel in the city center. It is the Humble House and I can recommend it very much. The mattresses are a dream and I would have liked to take them with me to Singapore. The restaurant is not only recommended because of the breakfast buffet and the rooms are tiptop clean. Only with the Japanese toilet I was at war in the beginning 🙂 . How the heating of the toilet seat is switched off, I did not find out until my departure 😉 .