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.

Published by Jason W Ellis

I am an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.