New Tapei City, Taiwan (and the death of Osama bin Laden)

I've arrived in New Taipei City, Taiwan, after my flight today from South Korea via Shanghai, where during my layover I ate what was probably the worst Chinese food I've ever tasted: Kung Pao chicken that was wonderfully spicy, with white rice and plenty of tasty peanuts, but with meat that left me with more questions than answers.

Only minutes before boarding my plane for Shanghai, I learned of Osama bin Laden's death. South Korea's airport in Gimhae has free Internet, and computers, available for travelers to use. I thought, at the last minute before boarding, I'm going to check the news to see if anything interesting is happening. Something interesting had happened.

It felt surreal to learn of such news and have nobody with whom to share it for many hours. When I arrived in Shanghai, when everybody in the United States was reportedly celebrating in the streets, there was no mention of OBL. There was nothing, except another day at the airport. I thought about updating my blog while at the airport in Shanghai, where there is also free Internet and computers available for the use of travelers, but Blogger is censored by the Chinese government, and I was unable to access my own blog.

When I arrived in Taiwan, at my cousin Jeremy's apartment, I learned that my cousin, who served in the U.S. Army before cycling around much of the world, cycled through the very same town (Abbottabad: ایبٹ آباد) where Osama bin Laden was killed. Jeremy stopped in the town to have the brakes on his bicycle welded and fixed. He said that everyone in Abbottabad was friendly, "mellow and quite surprising, giving me hugs like hippies."

I am staying in the Xinzhuang District (新莊區) of New Tapei City, at the end of an alley on the top floor of an apartment building adjacent to a small Buddhist Temple. My first impression of New Taipei City is that there are as many, or more, motor scooters than I saw bicycles in Fukuoka, Japan. If you're not paying attention here, it'd be easy to get clipped by a scooter.