Almost everyday I encounter things here in Tainan-Taiwan that are strange, funny, and a bit special about the way that the Taiwanese do things. This is actually the second part to the “Taiwanese peculiarities and interesting anecdotes” I posted before, but I’ve already mentioned quite a few others, like my visit to the Shao-lin Kung-Fu master and “Worship of Israel Dance : Kaohsiung and Tainan – Taiwan“. Just browse around this blog and you’ll find that almost 25% of the posts are about things I’m amazed to find here in Taiwan. So, the list continues, here a few more examples:
Most foreigners have a slight problem with some of the Taiwanese food and I’m not just talking about us western folks. The international student in NCKU I’ve talked to from Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, Thailand and especially India constantly complain about the food here. While westerners at least make the effort to adjust, most of those Asian nationalities just cook their own food, against regulations, in their dorms. The complaints about “oily, greasy, not strong enough, no taste, too sweet” keep coming up, each with their own special problem. I really make an effort to try everything at least once, but there are times that things get really tough. Consider this next market I went to with locals from my language school, the people selling these were encouraging me to give those a quick try:
Yep, snakes, snails, eels, and lively jumping frogs. If you haven’t already, check out my previous “Taiwanese Food : Exploring food in Taiwan” to get a fuller “taste” of some of the strange food going around this part of the world. Some of it, like the famous Tainan eel noodle soup is actually surprisingly delicious, and I’ve got a good one close to my apartment on the junction crossing Ximen and Gongyuan South if you’re up for the challenge.
The Taiwanese in Tainan are quite fashion conservative. Going to Taipei this weekend I was reminded of what hot and sexy Taiwanese fashion was, which I unfortunately don’t get to see much around Tainan. But, strangely enough, you will see the occasional shy girl going around with English T-shirt saying something like “do me now”, “you know you fancy me” and other crazy stuff. When I ask my Taiwanese friends what they think of those T-shirts they usually don’t know what I mean as they have no idea what that English slang stands for – they just buy it because it looks good and it has something in English on it. One of the examples for that is how successful the Playboy brand is here in Taiwan. It seems stranger to me than it does to other westerners I talk to, as I haven’t seen those fashion stores before, but it turns out this is a fashion trend world-wide. While I’m quite sure those wearing it in the west know what Playboy is about, the Taiwanese really don’t. When I confronted a girl wearing a “Playboy playmate of the year” matching T-shirt and bag with what this brand name means, she didn’t believe me, so I suggested that she visit their website and check it out for herself. She did, and I’m afraid she wasn’t too happy with what she found. So, there are a few of those Playboy shops around Tainan, and you can go try the one at the corner of Zhong-hua east and Dong-ning to see what they sell there. Mind you, this brand name is extremely expensive in comparison to most brands in Tainan – you need to pay more for quality.
Every once in a while, somebody decides to put up some flashy red Chinese decorations on almost all of the streets in central Tainan. Although I have absolutely no idea what it’s for, thinking it marks something regarding temple ceremonies or something, I actually like it – it adds something colorful to the usually gray streets of Tainan, especially at night. But, thing is, the way those things are setup is just… plain… stupid. I have no other way to describe it. They put those in front of the traffic lights, so, actually, we stand with our motorbikes in an interjection having to guess when the light turns green. I’ve already seen a this cause a small accident. Here, take a look at what I mean (and I had to get off my bike and lean down to take this one and show you that there’s a traffic light behind those things):
During the typhoon the wind was too strong for all this, so, the poor folks in charge of this actually went through all of those, took them down, and the day after the typhoon they went through the whole thing again to put it back up. Unreal.