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30.10.2019 One day in Taipei. We had known, from the day we booked our flights to New Zealand, that we would have an 18-hour stopover in Taipei, but when we set foot on Taiwanese ground this morning we had no idea about what would expect us outside the airport doors. We ventured out into the city, first taking a bus to the wrong railway station and then a train to the right one. This detour was due to a little mix-up of place names and our own fault, but turned out to be a blessing in disguise: It took us off the beaten track and among locals and thus totally enriched our experience. Having finally arrived in the heart of the capital, we strolled through the streets, taking in bits of the hustle and bustle of this Asian megapolis – featuring busy crossroads, a myriad of blinking lights, food stalls and night markets, incredibly long lines of parked motor scooters, beautiful temples with koi ponds, pagodas and skyscrapers. We enjoyed people's friendliness and some tasty food and were impressed with the low fares and punctuality of the public transport system and the fact that extremely helpful translations into English are practically everywhere, for example on road signs and in train stations. In many ways, we perceived things in Taiwan to be cleverer, more technically advanced and also tidier than in Germany and other European countries – while at the same time, street markets can be smelly and chaotic, air pollution is high and many little streets and housing blocks seem to be rather underdeveloped and poor. With all its contrasts, fascinating spots, exotic smells and sounds, Taipei has definitely left an impression on us, and this thrilling day has felt like an invitation to come back and to visit more cities and places in Asia in the future.

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