Archive for March, 2013

Taiwanese map gone wrong

Almost all the people I’ve met here will staunchly state they are Taiwanese, and NOT to be confused with their ill mannered, noisy, line-jumping Chinese cousins from the north.  Taiwanese people have a very strong national identity and loyalty to this sweet potato shaped island.  The continuous struggle they fight for sovereignty and international recognition has firmly shaped their views as being separate from China.  Or has it?

An article in the Taipei times brings to light an incident where principles and and national identity have taken a back seat to either cash-money or colossal stupidity.  Da Yu Publishing Co. has made a map that, “named it (Taiwan) a province of China and listing all five of Taiwan’s special municipalities as direct-controlled municipalities of China.” Continue reading ‘Taiwanese map gone wrong’

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A-Gei (阿給) restaurant, Danshui

Danshui is a well known tourist attraction north of Taipei.  It sits along the Tamsui river and is a nice, relaxing place to have a small getaway.  Like every touristy spot in Taiwan, there is an “absolute, must try restaurant” that no trip is complete without.  I’ve grown used to these, and most of the time it’s just some dumpling soup, or noodle dish that you could probably get in any restaurant, but it’s supposed to be THE BEST at said location.

With this in mind, I went to A-Gei restaurant, which serves a dish (called A-Gei) that originated in Danshui.  It’s supremely famous – supposedly the first, original restaurant that started selling this type of food.

I’d never heard of it, and of course, wanted to try it. Continue reading ‘A-Gei (阿給) restaurant, Danshui’

Zhōng Zhèng Tái Yè Shì (中正台夜市) , Hsinchu, Taiwan

Shopping has never been in my top 10 or even top 100 things to do.  The only time I enjoy walking around and looking at things for sale is in the food department of a supermarket or nightmarket – it satisfies my internal piggy.  Other than that, I try to avoid malls like the plague.

This behaviour, of course, has to be modified when the lone male is snared by a female.  In order to keep the peace, occasional concessions must be made.  So, merchandise stores and I have been seeing more of each other than we like.

On one such occasion, After I’d mentally prepared myself for a wallet hurting excursion, and resigned myself to the pain of the aftermath, I got a nice little surprise.  She took me to Zhōng Zhèng Tái, a merchandise market, which I can only describe as a REALLY asian shopping area. Continue reading ‘Zhōng Zhèng Tái Yè Shì (中正台夜市) , Hsinchu, Taiwan’

When it pays to know English

Sometimes people get nabbed for the funniest things.  A man named Wu was wanted on drug related charges.  He had been eluding the police for a while, but was finally arrested in Huwei Township, Yunlin county.  Want to know why?  His T shirt gave him away!

A local, on-duty cop, who had an elementary understanding of English, noticed a man walking around with a T-shirt that said “WANTED”.  Curious about this, the cop questioned Wu and performed an identity check which led to the arrest.  Poor Wu, all bewildered, said that the T-shirt was a gift from his son, and he had no idea what “WANTED” meant. Continue reading ‘When it pays to know English’

Adultery laws in Taiwan

So you are Mr. {generic name}, newly arrived from {western country} to Taiwan.  Wow!  What an amazing place.  Beautiful scenery, easy lifestyle, willing enchanting women…you should’ve found this paradise sooner!  You decide to stay for a while.

After some time, you settle down with a nice girl to enjoy a family life.  But as time goes on, you find married life getting rather boring.  You were a bit of a cad back home, and find yourself missing that life.  So you decided to dip your nose – just a little, mind you – to see what the other boys are enjoying.  After all, you don’t want to ruin your life, you just want a small amount of excitement. Continue reading ‘Adultery laws in Taiwan’

Changi airport, Singapore

Up until I landed in Singapore’s Changi airport, I hated layovers.  Nothing to do but zone out in a boring airport, zonking yourself out with overpriced cocktails or fitfully sleeping till your next flight – right?  Not so at Changi International!

This airport is a major hub for people travelling anywhere in Asia.  Most flights connect or re-direct through Singapore.  Both legs of my journey (to NZ, then back to Taiwan) left me with a 6 hr. stopover at Changi.  And, you know what?  It wasn’t enough time to do and see everything at this gem of an airport.  It’s really a mini vacation spot in itself!

The airport has 3 terminals – all connected by a “skytrain” which is really an automated outdoor rail system.  So here’s what you can do in each terminal.  Keep in mind, some of these things are on the Singapore side of customs, and others are on the departure side of customs – If you are at Changi for a while, best find a place to stash your luggage so that you can walk in and out of customs easily to see all of this stuff. Continue reading ‘Changi airport, Singapore’

New Zealand’s colourful driving signs

Most of our time on the road was in a rental car.  We chose this route for a number of reasons.  Having a car allowed us freedom from schedules, freedom to go anywhere we pleased, a portable shelter we could sleep in (to save money on hotels and such), the ability to give  hitch-hikers rides and a portable storage area, so we wouldn’t have to carry anything on our backs.

Besides all of that, it was simply nice to drive in a western country again (even if I had to drive on the wrong side of the road).  The traffic felt safer, and I didn’t have to worry about any crazy scooter maniacs crashing into or cutting me off.  Unlike on Taiwan’s roads,  I could turn off my sixth sense and drive like a normal person.

The price of the rental was not too bad (around NZ$ 675 for 14 days – unlimited kms etc etc) from Omega car rentals.  We picked up the car in Nelson and returned it in Christchurch (both locations near the airport).

One of the unforseen consequences of renting a car was the exposure we had to NZ’s road signs.  I’ve never seen signs like these in Canada, the US or Taiwan.  They definitely go all out for road safety in NZ. Continue reading ‘New Zealand’s colourful driving signs’



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