Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taiwan in a Nutshell Vol. II

I wrote a brief post on Taiwan when we first arrived with the intention of writing more about the people, culture, and country (you can find it here). I thought it high time to write another. Hopefully, it will help to give you a better picture of what it is like for us living here.

No matter where you travel, one of the most practical things that affects your day to day life is the food. So...what is the food in Taiwan like? Well, if you are thinking "rice," you would be thinking correctly. Rice is a part of pretty much every meal. Unless, of course, you are eating noodles. These are the two food staples of Taiwan. I'm not sure a meal goes by without the inclusion of one, or both, of these necessities. It's common for Taiwanese to feel as though they haven't had a real meal until they've eaten rice. Being the tropical island that it is, there are also any number of readily available fruits (granted we've found little stickers on the apples saying "Grown in California," but that is an exception). We have grown accustomed to eating fresh mangos and pineapples, among many other tropical fruits.

the lion's head
a traditional noodle soup called "the Lion's Head"
Another interesting aspect of Taiwan is transportation. Unlike the States, it is abnormal to own a car (even though gas is unbelievably cheap) in Taipei. Scooters, however, are another matter. It's abnormal not to own a scooter. Being in Taiwan has made us imagine how much we would save back home if we owned a scooter rather than a car. Scooters are even suitable for families. We often see a man driving with his wife sitting behind and child standing in front. It might not meet western safety standards, but seems to work well here. Safety standards are another matter. While they aren't on par with back home, they don't need to be. Drivers here are exceptionally alert. Driving is crazy! But they pay attention and therefore, avoid all kinds of accidents. Honestly, with the buses here you have to learn to be on guard. You can't be talking on the phone, eating a doughnut, and reading the morning paper while you are driving to work. Lastly, the public transportation is amazing. There are a number of different subway lines and buses galore. Beth has also gotten accustomed to bicycling, and loves exploring the city this way. With all of those options, it is easy to get around.

scooters everywhere

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