Archive for the 'Cool and not-so-cool things about Taiwan' Category

Racing babies at RT-Mart

I was in the mood for some microwave pizza (yeah, I don’t know why either, but sometimes you get weird cravings), so I went down to the one and only local department store, which in my town happens to be RT mart (大潤發).  As I entered the foyer of the building, I heard a commotion around the corner.  Walking over, I saw a crowd gathered, standing shoulder to shoulder.  Excited chatterings washed over me.  It was reminiscent of an illegal cock or dog fighting scene, except that this was in a well lit department store, not a dimly lit, smoky basement somewhere.  Oh yeah, and no one was looking all gangster-ish and waving around wads of money. Continue reading ‘Racing babies at RT-Mart’


Cameras, cameras, cameras

They are everywhere.  All along the roads, inside and outside shops, along apartment buildings, rec centres and parks.  More numerous than Chuck Norris memes, cameras dominate the urban as well as parts of the rural landscape in Taiwan.  You just can’t escape them.  Big Brother is always watching.  And as if that isn’t enough, the Taiwanese public are super cellphone cam jockeys – like a navy seal wielding a Colt M4A1 carbine to neutralize a target, the average Taiwanese can whip out an HTC One, iphone 5 or Samsung Galaxy and film you from any angle, anytime, anywhere. Continue reading ‘Cameras, cameras, cameras’

Shoe football in a rocky creek

I couldn’t believe this was happening.

I guess the title mostly gives it away, but let me explain the surroundings before I get into the story and show the video.  We were out with a few friends for a BBQ at Beipu Cold Springs.  I was a bit late arriving, so the others had already set up a spot and were waiting.  As we drove into the picnic area, I looked over and the spring water creek wasn’t as full as I’d imagined – wading in it would probably bring the water a little over my ankles.  The bottom was visible and it looked filled with rocks.

We unloaded the van (food, bbq etc) and then, being pretty hot, I wanted to walk around and splash a bit of water on myself.  A friend and I jumped into the creek, but we had to be careful because it was pretty rocky – something like this: Continue reading ‘Shoe football in a rocky creek’

Scooter culture in Taiwan

Hawaii has surfer culture, Japan has sumo culture, America has hot-dog culture and France has wine and cheese culture.  Well….what does Taiwan have?  Scooter culture, of course!  These machines are all over the island and a major mode of transportation for the masses.

Back home, when I was less experienced and…well…dumber, I’d turn up my nose at scooters.  They were for women and eunuchs, I thought.  No real man would ride one!

After owning and driving one (legally, if any cops or lawyers are reading this), I absolutely love em.  Besides being super convenient, very efficient on gas and pretty much a moving closet, they’re also incredibly cheap.  Used ones can go for as little as 10 000NT ($333.33) and maintenence is a joke.  I replaced my old engine with a new one for a mere 5000NT ($166.66).  So, suffice to say, I’m a scooter fan now.

To the untrained eye, they may appear to be the same, but trust me, there are different types of scooters and different personalities that ride them.  Over the course of my time in Taiwan, I’ve observed a lot of scooters, so here is a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the categories of scooter/drivers in Taiwan. Continue reading ‘Scooter culture in Taiwan’

Taiwanese behaving badly

A lot of media (news, blogs, forums) in Taiwan report/discuss stories of foreigners acting badly.  Some of this comes from people witnessing incidents, writing about it online and throwing it out there for the inevitable feeding frenzy.  The online life in Taiwan is HUGE – basically, the grapevine.

Nobody will tweet volatile instances involving Taiwanese, because it’s a non issue.  It’s normal – they won’t get many “hits” on the blog or “likes” on FB.

Well, I witnessed such an incident and I’d like to throw it out there for a non-feeding frenzy. Continue reading ‘Taiwanese behaving badly’

Island time

One thing that continues to surprise/bug me about Taiwan is the fact that Taiwanese people  are constantly late for everything.  Ok, I know this is an island, and one should expect island time on islands, but when I think of island time, I usually think of the Caribbean – more like vacation destination islands.  Places where life is intentionally slowed down and siesta is a fact of life.  Places where arriving an hour and a half late for dinner is expected.  Places where I can sip a pink drink with an umbrella and appreciate the bikini clad eye candy walking around.  Places where people intentionally go to be lazy. Continue reading ‘Island time’

Awkwardness at a Taiwanese sex shop

I’m not talking a bawdy house or dirty movie cinema here.  I’m talking one of those shops that couples can visit and buy toys/lingere/costumes to spice up their sex life.

I was skyping with a friend from home a while back, and the subject of sex shops came up.  When asked what a Taiwanese sex shop was like, I realized that I had no answer (this not being my top priority in a land where it’s hard for me to order food), but as I was the sole ambassador here, I felt it my duty to find out.

I’d been to sex shops (Stag shop) occasionally back home.  They offer your standard selection of sex toys, dildos, costumes, movies, condoms, ointments, gels etc etc.  After committing to find one here, I was excited to see what the mysterious East would offer up.  I mentioned this “research project” to my gf, and surprisingly she was up for it (generally being typically Taiwanese shy around sexuality if it’s on public display).

So we found a shop of interest and went there at around 8:30 pm on a Saturday evening.  Turns out, it was a pretty awkward and weird experience. Continue reading ‘Awkwardness at a Taiwanese sex shop’

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