in my quest to find a reliable weather report, or at least a forecast that didn't include steady rain for the next ten days, i ran across the taiwanese central weather bureau's website (here). this is a cool site... it's very basic, no flashy graphics or anything, but they do have visible light satellite imagery of the entire eastern hemisphere, which is very cool. you can actually watch the coriolis effect in action, creating very clear circulation patterns at different latitudes.
so, rain... yah. it rains here a lot. a bunch. basically all the time. mostly in taipei. actually, if you look at the weather maps on the above site, it tends to be really sunny over most of the western part of the island, but somehow the monsoon weather following the jetstream from mainland china just nicks the top of taiwan, shrouding taipei county in clouds and providing us with an almost omnipresent mist. not totally unlike seattle... and with the number of starbucks locations here, it's really pretty easy to imagine you've just gotten lost in seattle's china-town. well, no... not really. i did find a little place down the street from ntu that looks like it might be the best place for a good espresso. i haven't tried it yet, but maybe today, if they're open when i walk by it on my way to the subway. i found it the other night while walking, when i caught a whif of one of my favorite smells... roasting coffee. ithaca (my home town) has a well-known and excellent coffee house called, "gimme!". gimme! is a small company which roasts all it's own coffee in-house, and manages to employ all the best baristas in town. on a clear day in ithaca, i could ride my bike down the street and catch a whif of roasting coffee on the breeze... and know it was time to go get a cup. on these days, you could watch the beans come straight from the roaster, go into the grinder, and be expertly packed for a great ristretto. oh, gimme!, how my heart pines for thee! well, back to the local place... there is a small stand in a back alley, with a quaint but adequate looking roaster, and a nice and well-used italian espresso machine... hopefully the proprietor knows what he's doing...