Team Tainan is settled in and ready to go! We arrived in Tainan this afternoon, most of us taking the high speed rail from Taipei. The train’s top speed is 240 km/h or 150 mph. It was a pretty fast journey! Out the window, we saw cities with industry, agriculture, and a lot of dense, green forest. The island character changes frequently from minute to minute on the THSR.
Once we arrived at our hotel, we met as a team and were introduced to the IBMers from Taiwan who we will be working with this week. Several of the local team will participate as extended members of our project, along with Anny and Lisa our local leaders. We worked through our agenda and logistics for a couple of hours, then headed to dinner at Chun Shui Tang tea house. Dinner included a variety of tea snacks, including some familiar such as taro cake and braised cabbage, some less familiar including tofu braised in oolong tea and burdock fishcakes.
While we will have translation support with us at all times, we all recognize the importance of trying to connect in local language. In Taiwan, there are two to choose from – Chinese Mandarin, used formally, and Taiwanese Hokkien, spoken commonly as well. Mobile apps and phrase books will only get us so far. I hope we can say more than “ni hau” or “lee ho” by the time we finish our journey!
On Monday, we are honored to meet with the Mayor of Tainan City, Mayor Lai, to formally commence our project. Several journalists are expected to attend, so tomorrow’s blog will have some links and photos to document this important kickoff.