Archive for December, 2012

85° C – the Tim Hortons of Taiwan?

For all you non Canadians, Tim Hortons is the ubiquitous coffee shop in Canada.  They have stores on almost every corner, and I’ve never seen one close – except maybe for renovations.  Hockey dads and moms hit it up before early morning practice,  sleepy eyed office workers make a pit stop there before work, hung over students stumble in prior to class – pretty much every coffee drinker comes by for their daily dose of caffeine – even soldiers posted overseas look forward to when the Timmys kiosk will open on base.  The coffee shop is and probably always will be Canada’s darling. Continue reading ’85° C – the Tim Hortons of Taiwan?’

Transformer in Puli township, Taiwan

Puli township, Nantou county is located in the approximate centre of Taiwan.  It boasts a population of around 86 000, so a fairly small-ish place as far as Taiwan is concerned.  Small town Taiwan rarely has too much western stuff, and idols of western pop culture are virtually non-existent.  So, imagine my surprise when I was driving through Puli and saw this: Continue reading ‘Transformer in Puli township, Taiwan’

Getting offered English lessons by a Mormon missionary

I’ve learned that there are Mormon missionaries in and around rural Taiwan.  These folks are fluent in Mandarin, and their mission is to spread their beliefs to the natives and gain converts to follow the Mormon church.  They are specially trained back home, and sent here to preach the faith.  I understand that this is part of their religion.  Obviously, everyone is entitled to say their piece, and it’s upto the listener to make a judgement call.  I personally have no problem if people want to tell me something – what I think may be a totally different story, but I’ll definitely give a listen, as long as it doesn’t get preachy or too pushy.  Sometimes, this results in funny situations. Continue reading ‘Getting offered English lessons by a Mormon missionary’

Helmet hair

One of the small problems I had to face was learning how to arrive at work without looking like a mental patient and/or I’d just walked out of a hurricane.  I have the kind of hair that, unless it’s fairly short, needs some sort of hair product to maintain a non retarded shape.  This was no problem when I was driving a car or walking, but as soon as I started driving around on a scooter, it became an annoyance. Continue reading ‘Helmet hair’

A Taiwanese wedding

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a Taiwanese wedding reception.  I was pretty excited about this because I’d heard a lot about how lavish these affairs can be, and I really wanted to experience one.  In this particular wedding, the family of the bride is VERY well to do, so the occasion included all the bells and whistles.  Before I get into it, here are a few things I’ve learned  about weddings in Taiwanese culture: Continue reading ‘A Taiwanese wedding’


This is an example of a small thing that one may not think about, but makes an impact on comfortable life here.

Back home, I was an avid reader.  A typical library visit resulted in me bringing home 3 – 4 novels.  Then, repeat 2 or 3 weeks later.  Books were a constant companion.  On long rides, they made the time go fast.  Boredom was instantly cured by taking me away to some alternate universe.  Passive learning was continuously happening.  Books were a very big part of my life. Continue reading ‘Books’

Happiness in the beating – an Engrish experience

I was wandering around aimlessly one day when I something caught my eye.  English is rare in most areas of town, so it usually sticks out like a sore thumb.  Walking by a store, I saw some English on their sign, so naturally focused in to take a closer look.


Continue reading ‘Happiness in the beating – an Engrish experience’

The burning charm

It seems, I’m fighting a losing battle with the ghosts of Taiwan.  I wrote an account a while back about  visiting a temple to get rid of bad chi.  Well, the spirits have since taken personal affront to my rejection of their chi.  The Mrs. recently informed me that my chi was giving the aroma of mouldy cheese again.  Well, I like mouldy cheese, but since she doesn’t, counter measures needed to be taken. Continue reading ‘The burning charm’

Disappointment with KFC Taiwan

Since coming to Taiwan, I’ve rarely been to a western fast food joint.  There are too many Taiwanese taste bud tantalizing treats to pig out on, and I’ve been indulging in all of them.  So I was surprised the other day when I got a hankering for the ole Colonel’s secret recipe.  It’s been over a year since I’d bitten into a crispy 2 piece meal, so I figured – what the hell?  Let’s do it. Continue reading ‘Disappointment with KFC Taiwan’

Redefining relationships – Dating Taiwan style

Like any single guy moving to a new country I was very curious to know what the women would be like in Taiwan.  Having heard tales of how easy picking up beautiful women was going to be, the lascivious side of me was, well, being lascivious.  Hand in hand with these stories, I also read accounts of how “crazy” Taiwanese women can be if spurned.  All of my dating history was in Canada, so I was used to looking at relationships from a western perspective.  I was aware that Taiwanese culture is more conservative, but this flew in the face of the  seemingly rampant sexual conquests experienced by others, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Continue reading ‘Redefining relationships – Dating Taiwan style’

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