Ten Things about Taiwan

It would be impossible to comprehensively describe Taiwan, or even this one trip there. I will save the long rambles on national identity and social reform for later! For now, here are ten fun facts about Taiwan:

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1. Despite the fact that Taiwan is a small tropical island, water isn’t a big deal here. In fact, there’s kind of a low-key fear of water here. It’s definitely not a beach-going culture. No one can swim! My dad grew up by the seaside (in Hualien), yet balks at the prospect of wading into a shallow pool.

2. Taiwan has the world’s highest density of convenience stores. There are 7-Elevens everywhere (as well as 7-Eleven competitors FamilyMart, OK Mart, Hi-Life, etc.), and they are not your typical American 7-Elevens. They are the most amazing places in the world.

I'm showing off this life-saving canister of delicious white coffee from one of Taiwan's convenience stores. Can you spot the 7-Eleven in the background?
I’m showing off this life-saving canister of delicious white coffee from one of Taiwan’s convenience stores. Can you spot the 7-Eleven in the background?

3. 2% of the population are Taiwanese aborigines, the Austronesian peoples who originally lived here. There are 14 federally recognized tribes, but several other unrecognized ones as well. The other 98% are ethnically Han Chinese.

4. Taiwan was colonized by Japan from 1895-1945 (until the defeat of Japan in WWII). There are still many aspects of Japanese culture in modern Taiwanese culture.

A 100-year old Japanese bridge from colonial times... the mortar is made from glutinous rice!
A 100-year old Japanese bridge from colonial times… the mortar is made from glutinous rice!

5. Bubble tea was invented in Taiwan. I’m very proud of this fact, heh heh.

6. There is a compulsory military conscription, which is currently in the slow process of being removed.

7. Taipei is one of the world’s most connected cities. Amazing Wi-Fi and 4G service everywhere. Taiwan offers free Wi-Fi for tourists too. (I’ve been using it, mostly on buses, and it’s awesome!) Perfect service, even on top of a mountain.

Perfect cell service, even on top of Alishan (Mt. Ali)!
Perfect cell service, even on top of Alishan (Mt. Ali)!

8. Taiwan has one of the world’s lowest birth rates. A few years ago, it was the lowest. People often remark on my parents’ massive brood of three kids.

9. Taiwan has the highest recycling rate in the world. It’s also the first country in the world to implement plastic recycling as a nation-wide program. I’ve mentioned the musical garbage truck system before. My parents hate having to run after the trucks, but I think it’s pretty cool.

10. Taiwanese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Hospitality is everything here! If you ever visit, you will definitely be warmly received. 🙂

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My trip is about to end… alas, back to reality! The last week of September will be super busy. We’ll be adjusting to our normal work schedules, plus moving into a subleased apartment. Then we will have three months (October, November, December) in Seattle before we depart to Morocco. Everything’s fluttering past so fast, ahh!

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17 thoughts on “Ten Things about Taiwan

  1. it was so much fun reading the fun facts about taiwan hehe thanks for sharing. i’ve always wanted to visit taiwan! btw, you look so pretty in those maxi dresses! 🙂 are you moving to morocco??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Annie!! 🙂 You’re so sweet! You should definitely visit Taiwan if you ever get the chance–it’s really amazing. And yep yep, I am moving to Morocco for a couple of years! xx

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  2. I loved this post! Would also love to hear your long rambles about national identity and social reform in the future. I need to do a similar post about my time in Japan. I think I’m still in “reverse culture shock” mode though and talking about my time there and the transition back to America seems too overwhelming ATM.

    Totally awesome how you got such great cell service and that wifi is free for tourists! Wahoo! And very cool about the recycling and the bridge with glutinous rice mortar! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe, thanks, lovely! xx I would soooo love to read about your time in Japan whenever you feel ready to write about it! I’m actually working up the nerve to start writing about identity & social justice things that really matter to me. Listicles and travel pics are fun and easy… haha. 🙂

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