Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Things I'll Miss About Taiwan

My time in Taiwan has come to an end, so I thought that I would compile a Top 10 list of all the things I shall miss.

10. Waiting for the garbage truck and then when moving into fancier apartments listening to the song and reminiscing about the days of running home to take the garbage out on time. Fun moment: when I first arrived I thought I would try some durian and after throwing much of it away and missing the garbage truck for about a week, I had to keep it out side of my window.

9. The look on the shop attendants faces when a waiguoren walks in and how they fight over who will actually go and deal with the foreigner or they just pretend to be busy and you need to try and get their attention. Best moment: My friend and I were trying to buy a DVD player that played all regions. After no success we just went to the floor and inserted our DVD's into the players. Did anyone try and stop us? No. Which leads me to number 8.

8. The Waiguoren card. Getting away with stuff that would usually not fly anywhere else because you are foreign and apparently speak no Chinese. 

7. The look of relief on defeated shop attendant's face after he/she saunters on over and you ask a question in perfect Chinese.

 6. Scooters. I am always amazed at what can fit on a scooter. I believe that the cops are so lax about safety laws with regards to scooters as these are the backbone of economy. Need gas? Some guy on a scooter comes on over and gives you a new tank. Need a lunchbox or tea? Call and order and in about 10 minutes you will be feasting. Need to get the entire family somewhere? Put Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother and Baby on and off you go. Also how is it that dogs are able to stay on those? Scooter spotting never gets old. Then there are scootventures. Nothing like going to a new place with the wind blowing in your hair or the rain. And man what about those raincoats?

5.  Night markets. Nothing quite like the crowds of a night market. Drinking pijiu, eating anything that can be put on a stick and of course playing games so that you can win awesome toys. Also the stinky tofu. So many people have told me it smells bad but tastes great. My friend once chose a piece by accident (I know right) and I decided to try some. It smells terrible but once you eat it, felt like what I assume raw sewage to taste like. Have never tried it again, but people still swear it is delicious.

4. 7-11. This gem of a store. There is a 7-11 on every corner and if you ever wonder into a place that is sans one you know you are off the beaten track. You can pay all your bills, draw money, buy almost anything you need, buy tickets, make copies, scan, have items posted there, call a cab for free and it is open 24/7. It also makes for a great stop over if you are roaming the streets during a hot summers day and need some air con time.

3. Typhoon Days and Vacation. If you are an English teacher (and you probably are), you probably work long hours and love a bit of a weekend and a vacation. Public holidays are far and few between (although festival time makes for some interesting experiences) and when the school calls you to tell you it is a Typhoon Day, it is great to quickly go and buy all of your supplies then lounge about and read, watch TV and eat good food. The joys of being a teacher mean that you get long vacations and these are perfect times for traveling.

2 and 1. The people you meet and the friends you make here. You will meet many a waiguoren from all different places and this makes life so  much fun. Also the Taiwanren that you meet here are so nice! Where else will someone call you to tell you that you have lost your phone or take your wallet to the police station? Where else can you be horribly lost and someone will kindly offer you a ride in their car? Where else can you meet someone and five minutes later you are at their house having lunch with them?

Seriously Taiwan you are awesome!