Archive for the 'Little things for newcomers to Taiwan' Category

Finding an apartment in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

For a foreigner without adequate knowledge of the local language, moving can be a nightmare.  Thankfully, I had a lot of help from Taiwanese people and my move was relatively painless.  So here are a few details to help anyone doing the same. Continue reading ‘Finding an apartment in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’

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’

Surviving small town Taiwan

It’s been almost 2 years since I got on a plane and landed in Taiwan.  Unlike most foreigners, I’ve been living and working in a small town this whole time with very little exposure to city life.  I’ve been to Taipei and Kaohsiung maybe 3 or 4  times and Taichung once.

Life in small town Taiwan is different (for a westerner) than life in one of the major cities.  Besides being slower paced and more laid back, there are other rammifications one should consider if thinking about setting up shop in a small town.  Here are a few things that I’ve been through over the last couple of years that may be of help for a newcomer Continue reading ‘Surviving small town Taiwan’

Earthquakes

If you live somewhere long enough, everything becomes normal – even things that blew your mind when you first moved.  A few days ago I was sitting and reading when my apartment started to sway.  At first it didn’t register, but as the floor beneath me moved a bit I realized what was happening.

“Meh.  Another earthquake.” I thought, and continued to be fixated by Tyrion Lannister’s exploits in Game of Thrones.

Only later, when I got a flood of anxious emails from friends and family back home did I realize how serious this really was.  Thinking back on my first earthquake experience in Taiwan I looked something like this: Continue reading ‘Earthquakes’

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’

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’

Books

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’

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’

Getting a scooter driving license in Taiwan

While a lot of people drive without licenses, if you are going to be staying in Taiwan for a long time (especially in the bigger cities) it’s definitely a good idea to get one.  And it’s ridiculously easy.  There are different classes of licenses (50cc scooter, 51cc-249cc, 250cc+, car…etc etc).  Most of the scooters here fall in the 51cc – 249cc category (mine is a 125cc), and if you are a foreigner looking to get a scooter, most likely it will be one of these.  So here’s how you go about getting a license for a 51cc – 249cc  scooter. Continue reading ‘Getting a scooter driving license in Taiwan’

Getting a haircut

When thinking of a major life move, one always considers all the BIG stuff.  Make sure my visa is in order, have an apartment ready, find out where to do my banking etc etc.  Of course this is necessary, but it’s the little things that make life either bearable or unbearable in the new environment.  When everything is different, even the smallest inconvenience can blow up into something big.  Like getting a damn haircut. Continue reading ‘Getting a haircut’


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