I've been in Taiwan for five days now, and I've been to seven of the eight amusement parks I know about. My final park of this run is E-Da World, Taiwan's newest park. It opened in the past couple years, and is part of a big complex including a mall, two hotels, a university and a school, plus what looks to be residential development.
E-Da is the most expensive park on the trip too, ringing in at about $900, which is about $27. Still not bad compared to US and Japan parks, but pretty high for the number of major rides. There are now three coasters plus a large collection of other rides The park claims over 50 rides but many of those are kid rides or even games. No, they don't call them attractions. They're called rides. Regardless, there was a handful of rides to keep me busy.
I went to the mall during midday to grab lunch and see what kind of stores I'll find. This mall is just like any US mall. On the other side of the mall from the park is the ferris wheel. Actually, it's on the roof of the far side of the mall.
It's too far away from the park for great pictures but the view into the valley wasn't too bad. It would have been better but most of the day was overcast with clouds as low as the top of the ferris wheel. In fact, a major rainstorm passed through when I first arrived at the park.
Overall today was another great day for riding, and nothing I wanted to try was closed the whole day. I took my time getting to the park in the morning though I didn't sleep in as much as I should have. I'm still not getting home til 10 or later tonight (I'm writing on the train back to Tainan) but I probably won't leave tomorrow until nearly 10am so I can rest up a bit.
OK. So I realized early in this trip that there were a lot of culture observations I could write about. I still have to get to driving, food, manners... But let's talk about kids. I've seen a lot of them these past couple days.
I don't think most Taiwanese children see western foreigners in Taiwan. Especially ones not in Taipei (I'm sure the ones in Taipei have more chance for exposure to multiple nationalities). I get the strangest stares from preschoolers and younger school kids. They look at me like I'm from outer space. It's funny at times, though some of the looks are downright scary. I'm afraid one of these second grade boys is going to decide to protect the country from my invasion with his fighting skills.
Today, while eating lunch, one little girl kept looking back at me from her table. Eventually she got the courage to say hello to me, so I replied hello back. She didn't know what to do! But all her friends (she was part of some field trip group) all wanted to say hello to me as well. I think that poor girl said hello three times since she couldn't say anything else in English.
Actually, a lot of Taiwanese people say Hello when they want my attention. I picked that up pretty quick.
Another little girl and boy are in front of me right now on the train and they couldn't be more delighted. The boy waved at me a couple times and the girl keeps looking up at me. She poked me at one point. Not sure why. Maybe a fat joke. But whatever. Her mom seems to think her daughter is doing something wrong so I'll assume she is saying something bad. Still, kids are funny.
The older ones (high school age or so) say hello to me when I'm walking, and expect a hello back. And they love getting the hello. "I talked to an American" they say and giggle bak to their friends. At least that's what I guess they're saying.
Western foreigners are an even bigger novelty here than in Japan, by far. It's a big deal whenever I go somewhere. It's kind of cool most of the time.
So tomorrow I'll visit a bunch of cultural sites in Tainan, the old capital city of Taiwan. Then I'll take the Taiwanese high speed rail back to Taipei for the final third of my trip.