Go ahead, take all the napkins you want: endearing things about Taiwan

I’m fairly certain that there’s a state department in Taiwan called “The Department of Giving People Things the Really Want.”  Case in point:

Napkins

In Taiwan they let you have napkins, as many as you need.

napkins

There are napkins everywhere.  When people get up from a table, they might hand you their packet of napkins, just in case you need extra.  Sometimes, if you’re eating at a table at a street food joint somewhere down the end of an alley, those napkins might come in the form of a roll of toilet paper nailed to a makeshift wall, but they will be there, no one is going to be stingy about it.

Maps

Taiwan does not want you to get lost.  No, they will put a handy map, well everywhere, and that map will be easy to read (in Mandarin and English).  Approach a tourist information desk and a nice person behind the desk will leap at you, map at the ready.

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Okay so maybe I didn’t really need that “You are here” location map inside the 4 by 5 foot train bathroom, but it was still fun to look at.

7-11

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“What’s the big deal?”, you’re asking me, “We have 7-11’s in my home town too”  Trust me, though, Taiwanese 7-11’s leave our town’s 7-11’s in the dust.  You can do just about everything at a 7-11 in Taiwan, including printing out your train tickets and getting free hot water for tea.

Who needs the number 4?

nofourth

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You’re hotel is not going to have a 4th floor.  4’s are for suckers.

Taiwan is a great country to be a woman

breastfeadingroom

waiting

Throughout public spaces in Taiwan there seems to be a special concern for the well being and comfort of women.  (People of the United States, how about we get rid of our misogynistic leaders and follow Taiwan’s lead?)

Religion

snackinggod

Taiwanese religion is warm, accessible and non-judgmental to tourists.  While my knowledge is extremely limited, I believe most people practice a mixture of Buddhism, Daoism, and folk religion.  We couldn’t stay out of the temples, with their fascinating art and architecture (and free bathrooms!).  Perhaps I found the deities to be so relatable because they all seem to enjoy snacking.  I got pretty obsessed with they types of snacks the gods were left as offerings.  This god evidentially has a taste for squash and cream filled biscuits.

duke

Also, I took great pleasure in learning the names of the gods.  Respect to Weiling Gong, Duke of Awesome Spirituality.

Signs

Most endearing of all: Taiwan’s signs.

nocurlytrumpets

I solemnly swear that I did not play a single squishy trumpet in Taiwan.

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Though tempted, I did not free any turtles with spherical heads either.

mind

I minded all my appendages.

lol

I adore this sign so much that if we had flown to Taiwan, got off the plane, saw this sign and returned to the United States, I’d have been satisfied with our trip.

What do you love most about Taiwan?

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34 comments

  1. I enjoy your travel journals: sometime we ahould consider doing a trip together… it would be real fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you — that would be fun! I need to practice speaking Italian since my language skills are pretty rusty!

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      1. No worries, I’m fine with English 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s because 4 is an unlucky number. In Chinese the word for four and the word for death are the same. It’s the way older buildings here might not have a 13th FL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This summer I stayed in a hotel in D.C. that didn’t have a 13th floor. Well, not to get too Wittgenstein about it but there was a 13th floor but they called it the 14th floor……

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    2. I am afraid your post is a bit misleading. In Mandarin, the two words might sound similar phonetically (four: 四 Sì pinyin; death: 死 Sǐ pinyin), but the tones are different, and the written words (characters) are totally different !

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  3. Love the signs, especially the bathroom instructions. Made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just kept taking pictures of signs, they made me so happy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m guessing the bathroom “you are here” is primarily about the Braille for blind users who might want to know the bathroom layout as they enter..? Though you’d think in such a small space that wouldn’t be necessary, so I dunno.

    When I was in Hong Kong in January it seemed to be the opposite to Taiwan in terms of napkins – when I arrived, one of the first things my friend I was staying with did was hand me a packet of tissues to carry with me, because you wouldn’t necessarily find any napkins at all in a restaurant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ll glad they are working to make public transportation more accessible to all.

      Awww Hong Kong, why do you have to be so stingy with the napkins?

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  5. I enjoyed the scenery, and of course I loved the temples and the fact that they had not been vandalised, the way so much of mainland China’s heritage was in the Cultural Revolution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For such a small country, the variety in the scenery and geography is astounding! And agreed, I feel like the best art of China is actually in Taiwan, since it wasn’t destroyed during the cultural revolution.

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  6. WOB this Taiwan piece is adorable, especially the snacking deities. Promising not to ride my bike into a body of water any time soon…thanks to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If I ever become a deity, feel free to leave me snacks of blueberries, kimchi and premium chocolate…..

    I love how the dude riding his bike into the water is so chill, with his erect posture and everything.

    Like

  8. Really made me laugh, and then I got to the last photo and thought they were squeaky toys and that dogs would like them……..then I realised they were edible, yes the dogs, and me would like them 🙂 wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what cake you should get your dogs for their next birthday,,,,.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha, I could have a go and make one, they won’t mind if I mess it up 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this! Japan has similar fun stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so curious about Japan now. What are the temples like?

      Like

      1. Let’s just say there isn’t quite the same cookie selection!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. After seeing the 7-11s in Japan and China, I was really disappointed by those in the US. Happy to hear that the Taiwanese follow the Asian convention. I once found khimchi flavoured Fanta in a Japanese 7-11.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m a hardcore kimchi eater, and I’ve tried it on almost everything. But kimchi Fanta? Blergh!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post WOB, glad you are loving the signs, and the rest too. I just love the people, so friendly and helpful. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And yes, you’re right, such friendly people everywhere in Taiwan!

      Like

  12. Lovely post.Interesting offerings at the temple and cuddly cakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sidran. Have you been to Taiwan yet?

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      1. Not yet-so many places to see and so little time& resources !I am enjoying the virtual tour.Cheers .

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Reading this made me miss Taiwan more!!! I love the 711 and all the cute things. My favorite thing to do is ride around on the gas bike and hit up temples.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m to chicken to take a gas bike but oh yeah, I can hit up temples all day, or until my eyes start to burn from the burning paper money.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 4 in Chinese means “dead”, so in China and Taiwan people don’t like to use or say “4”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Makes sense then—who wants to stay on the “dead” floor of a hotel?

      Like

  15. In two trips to Taiwan, I somehow managed to miss the humorous signs that you found everywhere! Now I have another reason to return…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kevin, I see from your blog that you didn’t miss out on Taiwan’s dumplings. That’s the most important thing.

      Like

      1. I **LOVE** dumplings in Taiwan. I never understood the big deal about dumplings until Taiwan. (and now I have a craving for them. Thanks a lot!)

        Liked by 1 person

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