Notes from Taiwan, A Personal Adventure

During the great Taiwan Internet outage in the Lin household yesterday, Y sent me on a lone mission to the nearby Starbucks. We needed to get in touch with her junior high school friends who we are meeting tonight for dinner. Unfortunately, Y had been using social media as the singular means of communication. Y hoped that Starbucks would have free wifi like in the States, so I walked down there while she stayed at home to help Ma.

Y’s folks have a great location in Jhongli. They are essentially a few blocks away from everything–the train station, McDonalds, Starbucks, shops, drug store, market, Sogo (a very large Japanese-based department store–I bought some Muji business cards and notebooks there to bring home), etc.

I set off with both of our iPads in my Timbuk2 bag to Starbucks. To get there, you go out Y’s door, take a right, turn left at the big road, and continue straight past another big road until you see the Starbucks sign poking out from many other business signs. The barista spoke a little English and was very friendly to me as a non-Chinese speaker. I ordered a “tall black coffee,” and sat down to try their wireless. Consequently, their wifi is part of a coalition of ISPs that offer free access to their customers. However, it costs $100NTD for everyone else. Y had told me that this was too much over the phone, so I walked back toward home via McDonald’s to see if they have free wifi.

While I was checking outside McDonald’s door, a pretty, young girl walked up to me and asked “can I be your friend?” It was Y playing around with me. She had finished her chores and met up with me on the street. We walked together to the library for another failed attempt at getting online.