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Archive for the ‘Something about nothing’ Category

Sale crazy women

Sale! Sale! Sale! That’s been the buzz-word this month with Sogo holding their yearly anniversary sales. The women go crazy and buy mountains of stuff and the poor guys are left to hold their bags. There’s no way the women can resist the urge to shop when things are 20% store-wide and deals such as spend NT$30,000 and receive a NT$3000 voucher or buy a mascara for $2300 discounted from $2500, and receive a lip gloss, eye liner and toner as gifts. With over 10,000 people jammed into the store you don’t walk, you shuffle.

It doesn’t just stop there. There are promotional giveaways at certain times. The queues for these go out the back door and into the adjacent park. People are literally lining up in the bushes just to get a free gift. Must be quiet in the other departments stores the last 20 days.

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Today I got all dressed up in a black university gown and a graduation hat. Uninformed onlookers may have thought I was graduating, which would have been great. But alas, I still have 4 subjects and a thesis to go. What was really happening was our class graduation photo. I found it to be way too early to begin thinking about this stuff, but I was told it’s just how it happens in Taiwan. Apparently it’s the same with the graduation ceremony, it’s held before the actual end of the final semester before you know whether you passed or not. I guess this adds extra pressure for those exams. Wouldn’t want to still be around after attending your graduation ceremony.

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Only in Taiwan

As mentioned before, I like to wander the streets of Taipei in the early hours of the morning, and the Zhong Xiao area offers a completely new experience with a gazillion times more lights and signs to see as well as a few small parks to visit. During my peaceful walks I have seen a few bizarre things which I have classified in the “only in Taiwan” category.

Sun Yat-Sen is the founding father of the country or something or rather and there is a Memorial Hall dedicated to him at the edge of the shopping district. The area has a large building in the middle of a wide open space which includes a few gardens and a pond, all elegantly designed and kept in pristine condition. The building is used as a performing arts theatre and the outside area is basically a public park with people just sitting around chatting, riding their bikes or walking their dogs. To get on with the story, as I was walking through the area I see far off in the distance two figures on a bench. Upon closer inspection I can make out a male with his female companion doing the hanky panky in the middle of the Memorial Hall. Must be a new way of paying respect to a prominent historical figure.

Another weird event happened right downstairs from my place in a lane with a fruit market. As I was walking down the lane I notice a couple passionately making out to the side. Trying very hard to ignore them when passing, the woman lets out two loud moans, one of them very high pitched, which got my attention and I look their way. The guy had almost taken the girl’s top off and one hand was down her pants. All this was happening in a non-secluded lane close to a brightly lit fruit market. Talk about taking public displays of affection to a whole new level.

This last one really tops my chart of wtf’ness. The cops here are really big in to the whole random testing thing at night and pull over scooters or cars to perform alcohol tests or vehicle and license compliance inspections. On this particular night two cops were doing their thing outside Sogo and were directing scooters to the side of the road with the normal red traffic glow light tube thing. A cop was waving down a scooter which was slowing down, completely typical behaviour. Then all of a sudden the cop runs towards the scooter and smashes his traffic stick on the rider sending broken plastic flying. The scooter picks up speed and hoons off into the distance. This all happened so fast that I pretty much stopped walking and just stood there trying to figure out wtf happened. I guess I’ll never know.

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Please do not leave rubbish and banana skins lying around. huh?!

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A cafe next to Tai-Power Building. One of my favourites.

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Even with more cars and scooters than the roads can handle, the Taiwanese have not forgotten the primitive bicycle. With famous bike manufacturer Giant calling Taiwan home, bikes have had a long history in this country and have managed to grab a special place in people’s hearts with the most rusty thing I’ve ever seen still being used. Not a day goes by where I don’t get almost run over by some old granny, or hear the nail breaking screech of brakes that hasn’t been oiled for decades.

So needless to say, when NTU’s campus includes two decent sized lakes and farmland a bike is definitely a requirement. There is no chance of you making it in time for your next class if it’s on the other side of the campus as it takes almost 20 minutes to walk from the Main Gate to the Rear Gate. With almost every single student having a bike, you can imagine how hectic it must be.

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Wanna bike?

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Only leave your bike in designated areas… or it will be taken away.

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Upon hearing that Bilis would be entering Taiwan on Thursday, my hopes were raised for a much wanted Typhoon Day as I have a Chinese test Thursday morning and an extra day to study would definitely be welcomed. But after all the hype from the media I was disappointed as the words “Normal Work and School for Taipei” flashed across the TV screen. Bilis was not even worthy of been classified as a Typhoon let alone a day off. It was a complete dud! All talk and no play!

After only a few hours of heavy rain and strong gusts on Thursday morning, the rest of Bilis’s effect on Taipei was non-existent. Apart from the odd drizzle, Taipei was as calm as the waters of an outdoor swimming pool during a cold winter. Looking at the non-moving leaves on trees you would be fooled into thinking it was a photograph. Where was the damn wind?

Not only was there no wind, there was hardly any rain! It was as if Mother Nature knew that the heat and the humidity makes people uncomfortably sweaty so it presented its thick grey clouds to teased the people below. “Hah! You are so hot and sweaty that you want it to rain don’t you!?… Well too bad!”

But the same can’t be said for the poor people in the mountains or cities down south. They have been hit by torrential rains and will be prone to landslides and flooding.

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The Taipei Arena was opened in 2005 and it has become a buzz of activity. It’s a beautiful building with a very modern feel and its main attraction are the ice skating rink and a 15,000 seat stadium which hosted a musical featuring Jacky Cheung and Takeshi. Since it’s the summer holidays here, the ice skating rink is offering student discounts. Being poor students, we had to make the most of this opportunity.


Kinda looks like the convention centre thing in Hong Kong


No escaping the crowd in Taipei

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When Tak was here in February we wandered into a stationery exhibition. There, we were given the opportunity to write on a car. Two silly guys + Marker + Car =


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