In Taipei, "ni hau a?" is the exact equivalent of what the French do when the beat you to the punch with "bonjour, Ça va?"
And if you picked that up, along with syesyse... you had it made anywhere in Taipai. I almost got adopted by a beaming mama when I was in the covered city and stopped to see this little bitty kid with two sticks with a string tied to them...
He was flipping and spinning and hourglass-shaped piece of wood with the string. Fargin Olympic material. I was fascinated, and took a coupla pictures of him. Turned to his widely smiling mama, and said, "Ni syau haide shr hen tsungming!"
The lady actually stepped back in wonder... to come rushing back all flushed. At that time, there were damn' few big hulking Miegwo Big Noses who could speak Mandarin. And none of them went to the covered city.
My camera had come to the end of the roll, but I could not tell her that as she got her daughter and "her little kid that was so clever" and herself all lined up proudly. So I took shot after shot of each of them and left, feeling very much the Ugly American.