after a quick 2 1/2 hour flight, 1+ hour bus ride from the airport, and a short metro ride, i arrive at my hostel. taped to the door is a note saying "Lauren" along with 2 others for other travelers (I missed check in) . I open it and there are the keys to my room and combo to the key pad. wow that's safe. only later do i find out that Taipei is probably the safest city in the world. and the people are uber friendly to boot. anyway, i drop by stuff and decide to venture out to a night market i see on the map. within a minute i see a guy that looks Western so I stop him and ask which direction the market is. He informs me he and his wife are heading in that direction and they'll walk me there. We chat and I find out that Bob and Nicole met in Canada and moved back to her native Taiwan 3 years earlier. They are also both teachers and totally love living in Asia. "We're actually on our way to dinner, care to join?" Wow, I'm in this country for like 5 minutes and I already have my first dinner invite. Dinner was typical Chinese (read: greasy) and then Nicole gave me a walking tour of the market and gave me both their email addresses and phone numbers and told me to contact them if i have an emergency or something. People are sooo over the top nice here. I must look like a lonely helpless foreigner!! She had to go as they both have work the next day, but it was early so I continued to walk and shop. 30 minutes later Canadian Bill stops me and asks if I would join him for a beer in the park. Hey why not, I'm on vacation. He was a little off. Within a few minutes of talking he was trying to see if I had hash and he was telling me he was off to Thailand the next day, which to me means he;'s out of hash and is looking for more. haha. Anyway, he was interesting to talk to, as are all ex-pats who have lived in a foreign country for an extended period of time. He had some interesting ideas on Asia and where I should travel, and if nothing else he further proved my theory that Canadians are taking over Asia. I don't think there are any left in Canada.
By this time it's 1:30 and I've been traveling all day, so I head back to the hostel to call it a night. I get back and there's a group of 6 guys sitting around the living room. They're waiting for some girls because they are all getting up early to go mopeding through the mountains. These guys are all 20 and living in Hong Kong taking classes. We have a few beers and they invite me to go moped with them, but they;re leaving at 5:30am so I decide to pass for sightseeing instead. Finally at 3:30 we decide to call it a night...ahh I love Taipei already!