Saturday, February 05, 2005

I'm back from my trip to Taiwan. I spent a few days in Hsinchu and a few more days in Taipei. The picture to the left here is one I took of the Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world. It was completed recently and has just opened for business. It was located next door to my hotel in Taipei. It seems an odd location for a skyscraper, since Taiwan regularly experiences some impressive earthquakes. In 1999, there was an earthquake that measured over 7.6 on the Richter scale that killed more than 2,000 people. The guy I was traveling with was actually in Taipei at the time, and around 2:00 a.m., he noticed that his hotel was falling apart with tiles cracking and things coming off the wall so he ducked under a door frame until it stopped, and then crawled in his bed and went back to sleep. His colleagues all got the first flights out of the country the next morning after sleeping in the park for fear the hotel would collapse. He found a place where he could conduct his meetings and had his Taiwanese hosts come in to work, even though most of the power was out in the country. His wife was worried about him and he never thought to call her to let her know he was OK thinking that the earthquake probably wouldn't even make the evening news in the U.S.

Terri was in Taipei last year and she experienced an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 but it was centered off shore about 60 miles, so it didn't do much damage although it shook the building she was in vigorously for about a minute. During one of my presentations, the room began to shake a little and our Taiwanese hosts smiled politely and informed us that there was an earthquake in progress. I'd never been in an earthquake before, but this was a small one with a magnitude of only 5.2, so I'm not sure I can even count it. They generally have over 100 earthquakes a year in Taiwan. It makes California seem stable by comparison.

Terri is now on her way to Germany for a business trip. She's flying to Frankfurt direct from Denver and will arrive tomorrow morning and then fly on to Stuttgart and then take a train to her final destination. She makes this trip about twice a year and is getting used to it. The people who run the family-owned hotel where she stays know her by name and take good care of her.

I miss traveling to Europe on business. The people in Asia are very nice and make you feel very welcome, but the history and culture of Europe are easier for me to appreciate. Even though I can't speak any European languages other than English, I can understand the words well enough make my way around without much difficulty. By contrast, in Asia, the characters are all gibberish to me. I have to get the directions printed out in Chinese characters for the taxi drivers since most of them can't read English. So it's at least an order of magnitude harder to communicate in most Asian countries than it is in Europe. And, of course, many people in Europe speak English in the workplace on a daily basis.

I hope everyone is doing well and that a few more of you join in the blog so that Jay and I can enjoy hearing from you. We're past the halfway mark between the 25th and 30th reunion and so that means in a just a little over 2 more years, we'll get to see each other again!


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