Wednesday, December 30, 2009

new years eve

The best Christmas present ever. My sister Julia has come to Taiwan. She arrived on the 26 of December and will stay until January 6. She brought a camera for me so pictures will come soon.
I only got to see her for a day and a half so far. I had to go back to work on the 28th. She's been touring the island.I think she went the Hualien on the eastern coast.
Tonight after work I will go see her. Tonight is December 31, Western New Year's Eve. My plan is to meet her at the hotel where she is staying, the Shangri La. I'm giving myself 2 hours to get there.
I hope I make it. Some weathered expats and locals alike have been telling me horror stories. A few years back when the Taipei 101 building was constructed, city officials thought having a New York style count down would be a good idea. At the stroke of midnight, fireworks come shooting off the top of the tallest building in the world.
Sounds kind of cool. I'm sure it will be a great show considering these people are experts with pyrotechnics. Firecrackers go off 24-7 here. Yesterday I thought there was an explosion at the construction site next to my school but really it was just the employees of the new Family Mart across the street celebrating their grand opening.
Instead of tying tin cans to the back of the newly weds' car, a string of fire crackers is tied to the bumper and they drive off in a noisy cloud of smoke and fire.
So people love fireworks here. They also love Taipei 101. They also love having a day off of work (which is rare). It is going to be crowded.
Last week one of my older students asked what my plans were for New Year's and I said I might go to 101. She said: "but if you fall down people stand on you".
One of my coworkers told me that there were so many people in Taipei last year that cell phones stopped working. Another coworker told me that a friend of hers was on the train for 2 hours because first she couldn't find a train that wasn't packed and then she couldn't get off the train because it was too crowded.
I'll be heading into the city at the worst time, between 7 and 8pm. This is gonna be fun.

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