Stuck in the Office

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The hotel is strangely serene. Doors stay open, creating a strange mix of private and public space and a white noise of television, hair dryers and conversation – an experience not unlike student halls. Breakfast brought delightful flashbacks to my first days in Taipei and the feeling I was distinctly different from everyone else in the room.

My first hours of the outside world have seen me sitting in the clients offices staring at screens of numbers or making broken conversation with the engineers – in fact I am here right now. They seem to have it worked out, but communicating my feelings of the design is proving rather difficult. My Chinese is still simply not good enough.

Interestingly, the designer assigned to me is deathly cynical, especially about the state of design in China – something I was not at all expecting amidst all this bravado and optimism.

The other people are nice, but the impression is different from Taiwan. There, the mere mention that you are English or a designer is enough to push them over the edge while they try to quash their excitement of being in the presence of a foreigner. Less cute. More cynical. Certainly less warm on first impression. But as a result somehow less alien than the ultra-friendly Taiwan.

It’s been a rather unconventional introduction to the city, but I can always do the tourist thing some other day. I am hoping to escape my client captors tonight and meet a couple of friends for drinks, but time will tell how successful I am – the head of design here seems intent on showing me a ‘good time’. Words to be avoided in this city of cities of sin.


The delightful work environment, and my team!


The funny queuing system for lunch

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