As soon as you arrive in Taipei, full of surprises, you discover that the capital is a fairly green city with tea plantations in the suburbs, only a few kilometres from the business district. Wherever you are, you will always see green peaks surrounding the city. You might as well get used to it, because you're not out of surprises! Despite its small size, Taiwan is a land of contrasts. To the north, the coastline looks like Brittany with its steep cliffs and capricious rocks; to the east, still as steep, white sandy beaches and gigantic marble gorges; to the south, a new landscape with sparse vegetation and heavenly beaches is being planted, while heading northward, titanic mountains (over 3,000 m high) rise to lakes, rivers and other hot springs. Finally, the west-central part is a vast plain which, on cloudy days, would almost remind us of Belgium or northern France. Taiwan is a mosaic of landscapes! Moreover, American filmmaker Martin Scorsese did not hesitate to shoot his latest film, Silence, in the magnificent landscapes of Taiwan.
A memorable welcome :
Although this is a little less true in large cities, Taiwanese are warm and open-minded people, always on the lookout for what might please visitors. Cascading smiles, kind attentions and above all, questions: Where are you from?, What are you doing?, What can I do for you? They are simply interested in each other, and the foreigner is systematically considered a guest. This curiosity, combined with the island's tradition of generosity, makes the Taiwanese one of the most welcoming people in the world, and fills the visitor with attention.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette