Hong Kong… “The Harbor, Dim Sum, Double decker busses.”
France… “The Eiffel Tower, Wine and Cheese, Romance.”
Taiwan… “Er…let me get back to you on that!”
Our weekly MyTaiwanTour team got lively this week as we sat down to fine tune existing tours and discuss creating new ones. As the editor of the MyTaiwanTour Journal, I’d come to the meeting both to give feedback and to answer a question that I’ve long found tricky, namely how to summarize the Taiwan Travel Experience?
The first thing we did was to draw a map of Taiwan on the whiteboard, labeling various cities up and down both coasts. Then the fun started as we began yelling out points of interests around each area, and activities associated specifically with particular areas.
In general, Taiwanese work environments tend to be pretty relaxed, and since ours is a company whose main mission is to facilitate leisure travel in Taiwan, we may be a bit more on the fun side than your average software company. Suffice to say, the meeting wasn’t exactly conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.
But there was a certain order. First, of course, we got the easy ones out of the way.
Taipei…night markets, art, culture, Taipei 101!
Kaohsiung…Dragon Tiger Pagoda! Xiao Liuqiu Island!
Taitung…Surfing! Hot Air Ballooning! Bicycling!
(The last one was mine. I found a great cupcake shop there on my last trip through, which was kind of unexpected considering that Tainan is considered Taiwan’s most traditional city.)
And this was just for starters. As the meeting continued, the MTT team continued tossing out places after place, point of interest after point of interest, activity after activity, going from aspects of Taiwan known by casual travelers (Taiwan has the world’s best street food, Alishan is known for tea, Taroko Gorge is great for hiking, Hot Springs are all over the island) to aspects known by special interest travelers (The east coast is great for cycling, Green Island has great scuba diving, Penghu has the world’s best windsurfing).
Thirty minutes into the meeting and the whiteboard was rapidly running out of space. We’d only just scratched the surface. An hour later, and while the group had made great strides in their mission of fine-tuning existing tours and creating new ones, I was no closer to summarizing The Taiwan Travel Experience.
True, I had a page full of notes that seemed useful in forming at least some sort of regional summary by county (“Taitung is a great place to experience genuine tribal culture” and “Keelung has the best night markets in Taiwan), but in many cases these were contradicted by later notes (“Smangus in Hsinchu County is also a great place to experience genuine tribal culture” and “On second thought, the Liuhe night market in Kaohsiung may be even more awesome.”)
Looking over my notes days later, I’m still no closer to summarizing Taiwan.
On the plus side, it’s Friday afternoon, and I’ve got tons of ideas for what with my weekend.
So I’ll get back to summarizing Taiwan on Monday. In the meantime, how would you summarize Taiwan? Leave your comments below!
Until next week,
Joshua Samuel Brown