Dec 16

Toowoomba to Taiwan to Thailand

Category: travel

About a month ago I went on a trip overseas, I progressed from Toowoomba to Taiwan for a few days and then to Thailand. Each have their own features.

Toowoomba, Australia’s largest inland regional city has about about 150,000 people (the size of the new Toowoomba Regional Council, Toowoomba City has ~100,000). Remember this number, its two orders of magnitude less than the next two cities. Toowoomba’s main street is almost empty most of the time, and there is only one shopping centre that has a regular population of people who are there to socialise (the other shopping centre’s have people but for the most part they walk in and walk out). Toowoomba is small by the standards of where I’m going but conversely it is also big enough to have most features that you would need. The city has a reasonable living cost for Australia, is small enough that getting around the place is easy and it has a University, lots of good quality schools, a great theatre (which draws international acts as well as major national acts; additionally it provides a valuable resource for the local community) and movie theatre/cinema. All in all its a nice place to live but the place isn’t going anywhere, especially in a tech perspective: the jobs just aren’t there.

Taiwan (Taipei)
After a short trip through Brisbane (~1 million people) to Brisbane International Airport I’m on my way to Taipei via Bangkok. Taiwan, the “Republic of China”, is an interesting albeit ‘neon’ affair. There are lots of people, and they are everywhere. Taipei has about 10 million people, a few orders of magnitude larger than larger than Toowoomba, and the traffic shows it. I saw one round-a-bout with what must have been at least 10 (if not more) lights located in and around it. The traffic is a maze of things being constructed and changed all around, the place scares me in some respects (there is something about driving into traffic that really scares me). I spent some time wandering around the main station of Taipei (technically lost, my guide was Joomla!’s shortest development working group member Aini) which is larger than it seems with multiple shopping centres attached. The place is big and busy with a big tower like all good large cities with a restaurant at the top (and more than likely an expensive one at that).

Thailand (Bangkok)
So after a short trip to Taipei (surprisingly its got as much duty free shopping as Brisbane domestic airport) I flew to Thailand and Bangkok. Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi airport (a few years old now, its still shiny) is massive, and as you drive away I felt like I was in the US in a small way: massive amounts of highways going up and down and generally all over the place, up to 12 lanes or more in places. Bangkok is about the same population as Taipei and has massive traffic jams as well. I think my favourite was being on the wrong side of the hotel I was staying at for half an hour. If I could have been able to walk it I would have done it in about 10 minutes. Bangkok is a place where you can really get bang for your buck with a lot of things priced very cheaply if you get away from the large shopping centres. The side of the road markets or the larger night markets offer a great price if you have a bit of time to bargain (or even if you don’t but you can usually get it cheaper if you do!). I don’t mind Thailand as a place but my memory is driving back on one of the elevated highways and seeing the red sky due all of the smog. Another is going to the Honda R&D in Thailand…next to rice fields. So there are some interesting juxtapositions in this country that make it interesting to look at and see.

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