Here I am believe it or not. Its very warm and I think its sunny but its also smoggy so its a bit hard to tell. We arrived late last night after a 10 hour flight. Air China - suprisingly pleasant! I forgot to order veggie food so I smuggled a baguette on. Caught up on my girly trash - Bride Wars, He's Just not that into you, and a depressing film starring Joacquin Pheonix and Gwynnie Paltrow called Two Lovers. It was a good film but made you want to kind of slash your wrists.
We (being Matt - director, Ben - Stage Manager and Sue - project coordinator) were collected at the airport by one of those guys with a sign. Then we had a 40 minute drive into Taipei City which was less scary then driving in Manila but more scary then driving in Singapore. We were almost sideswiped by a truck thing and weren't furnished with seatbelts, but other then that it seemed relatively ok. They at least seem to drive within the lane and the speed limit here. The preferred mode of transport is the scooter - according to my guidebook there are over 1 million in Taipei. I think most of them drive down our street every day.
We are staying at the Taipei Garden Hotel. It has the only garden I have seen here so far, but that is not saying much. From my window I can see The National Theatre (big red roofs) where we will be working, and I think Taipei 101 (worlds tallest building - for now) on the horizon. The city is next to a river and on the otherside are hills which you can see sometimes when the smog clears. Everyone is wears facemasks to prevent influenza and smog inhalation. I even saw one in a louis vitton pattern. Classy!
There is a gym on the top floor and I am going to attempt to use it. I think I will need to keep fit and healthy to keep up with the intense schedule they have set for me. I will need all the help I can get as it seems I will be eating a lot of pot noodles.
Last night we went out for a walk. It was about 10.30 here (12.30 Sydney time) and we found a courtyard with lots of bars. Ben thinks its the gay area and from the look of the waiters I think he was right. We ordered Taiwan Beer - 6 for the price of 4, and some weird Taipei specialities - chicken wings with sesame, shaved dried shredded fish with dipping sauce, and cold liquorice flavoured tofu triangles. I hate liquorice and cold tofu ain't that appealing. I wish I was more adventurous with food! So on the way home we stopped at 7-11. The place smelt strongly of egg which turned out to be because they have a little boiling machine which boils eggs in a combination of tea and chinese herbs. I was not feeling that adventurous - in fact, the smell made me want to gag. So dinner was m&ms. I know, I know. I am feeble and boring.
I made up for it at the free breakfast buffet which may be the thing standing between me and starvation for the next 6 weeks. I accidently ordered a fish omelette and had to go back for a second try, but other then that I managed to eat bread, eggybread, fruit and cereal. So it looks like breakfast has just become the most important meal of the day!
Then I had a nap - yay nap - and went down at 2 for a meeting with the production manager (whose name I have since forgotten). She was lovely though and it seems like things will be very organised. I will have an english speaking assistant who I will meet tomorrow, 2 cutters and 2 sewers and possibly a buyer as well. So it is looking more promising then I thought. Unfortunately the chorus only work in the evenings and weekends so I am going to have a bit of trouble getting them for fittings, but we'll see. Matt has said he will let me take some out of rehearsals. Fingers crossed for first day tomorrow.
We are off to explore tonight and find some actual dinner. If I can find a power adapter I will update blog tomorrow!