taiwan is exactly as i remember it — and not at all as i remember it.
the last time i was here, it was august, 1992. i was a crabby-as-hell adolescent, it was 100 degrees out and 100% humidity all the time. there were cockroaches as long as my forearm, and i spent two weeks nearly round-the-clock in the can, suffering from a really extreme case of montezuma’s revenge (or chiang kai shek’s revenge, really). which is why i hadn’t gone back for 13 years.
it still smells like a mixture of camphor, incense, car exhaust and pork. it’s still a riot of color and confusion and noise. it’s not nearly as dirty as it used to be (but i’ve given up hope that the taiwanese will ever abandon their squat-style, hole-in-the-ground public restrooms). the people are remarkably friendly and open and funny (especially compared to the piedmontese), my formerly bratty cousins are now 13 years older (they were then 2-5) and much more tolerable, and there’s way more good things to eat than can you can shake a stick at.
and actually, taiwan is not too hard on the eyes: