By Joshua Dent
I am writing to you today from the top of Tute Mountain in Taoyuan, Taiwan. It is quite the scenic view considering it only takes about 15 minutes to drive here from the heart of the city of Taoyuan, in northern Taiwan.
While I sit in the dirt with nothing but my pen and notebook, I decided to take some time to reflect on
some of the different ways my lifestyle has changed since being in “The Taiwan. ”
Sitting on top of this mountain could not be more picturesque. One problem looms large, and is roughly 23 feet away from me however.
This obstruction to complete peace and serenity is a flock of two-winged annoying, and smelly bastards chirping away in only the most obnoxious of all voices.
That is the voice of a fucking pigeon. I have hated those evil and filthy creatures since they used to haunt the gutter of my house on Filetown Road in Nazareth, PA in the 80’s.
Where is my bee-bee gun??
#1 Hello, I am… (Josh) from …. Taiwan
I will still continue on writing in the hopes that they fly the fuck away very soon.
In my opinion, the most comical mistake that Taiwanese make when speaking “The English” is an insanely profound overuse of the word “The.”
You probably wouldn’t have to read more than 5 lines in any of my blog entries to spot me making fun of this.
This constant obsession on my part to find ways to poke fun at has become a huge part of my psyche.
On several occasions, I noticed I had to refrain myself from introducing myself as “The Josh,” from “The Taiwan.”
I could go on for days with “The.”
Practicing my “the free” intro.
#2 A slap on the shoulder=FLIRTING
With the mystical charm of the word “the” behind us, let’s move on to important topics like women.
I warn you in advance that this upcoming information is just “my opinion.”
It wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes of walking the streets of “The Taiwan” before you would see a Taiwanese girl playfully slapping her boyfriend or friend on the shoulder, coupled with a laugh.
Back home, no man has ever said “Did you see the way that girl slapped me on the shoulder?”
It normally equivocates more to something along the lines of “Oh Shit, She caught me looking at her friend,” or ” I can’t believe her birthday came so fast.”
For some reason, in “The Taiwan,” this is more like a nervous flirt in my opinion.
So, ladies feel free to slap either of “The Josh’s” shoulders.
Women are mysterious!
#3 Motorcycle Helmet Time
With my sorry analysis of Taiwanese women flirting behind us, we need to discuss what I will most likely be wearing on these “shoulder-slap” style occasions.
It seems the longer I live here the more strange places you can find me wearing my scooter helmet. It started when I used to put it on in the elevator of my apartment complex.
Now, I keep progressing forward to more and more places like 7-11. The best part is that it only covers about half of my enormous cranium.
#4 Flip-Flop Fever
I am probably not going to win over the hotties with the helmet look.
But, let’s progress forward to “The Taiwan” dress code.
Taiwan is definitely a flip-flop crazed island. It doesn’t matter the age, the profession, or even the weather.
I ‘d say my unofficial numbers would list about 5 out 10 people on any given day will be wearing a pair of flip flops.
Flip flop fever is hard not to catch yourself. It has gotten so ridiculous for me that I actually bring a pair of flip-flops with me to school.
This is because I can’t even stand the thought of the uncomfortable feeling of driving “the entire 10 minutes” home in a pair of sneakers.
Poor me, I know.
Jeans, dress, suit. Expect to see this on their feet.
#5 Magical Stop-Slow Dummies
Hmm, women, flip-flops, let’s get a little more random.
In a close second place behind the misuse of the word ‘The,” one of the things that absolutely makes me laugh every single time is the mechanical “Stop-Slow” guys.
The Taiwanese government took it on themselves to longer pay somebody to direct traffic at a construction site.
They put in the hands of these mechanical dummies that make me laugh so hard every time.
Thanks for the laugh, Taiwan!
#6 Left Hand Spelling Pad
Now, we know about some of my adaptations on the road, with women, and work.
How about communication styles?
I had no idea before I cam e to “The Taiwan” that your left hand could be used as such an excellent communication device.
Somebody doesn’t understand what you are trying to say to them in English? Don’t be shy.
Go ahead and spell it out in English while using your fingers as letter tracers on your left palm.
It sounds bizarre, right?
The even crazier part is the Taiwanese will get it very quickly.
#7 Sleeping on The Train
Taiwanese people have an amazing ability to fall asleep on you in mid-conversation.It is something that I think I will never stop laughing at.
This passion for the nap doesn’t get left out when they hit the train You will still see them in the middle of the train snoring away while standing up.
Just a few weeks ago, I even decided to try to give this a try myself. My first attempt to sleep while standing up was met with an overwhelming abundance of failure
After, I still thought “Shit, I have been here a while now.”
Take a rest!
#8″Super Wai Guo Ears”
“Wai Guo Ren” is the Chinese term for foreigner.
It took me about 7 months to be able to recognize it when a Taiwanese person says it. Now, I feel like I have Super Man style ears for this.
I hear “Wai” or “Guo,” and it is like I am calling in the neighborhood watch to let the entire world know that somebody just called me foreigner.
This over-reaction on my part is actually quite stupid. This is because it really doesn’t have the same sting in Chinese as some English h racial words have.
Did somebody say “Wai Guo Ren?”
#9 Sing Me a Song
After being gawked at like you have a giant sign on your neck that says “Stare at Me,” for the last 9 months, I would be telling an absolute lie if I said it never pisses me off.
That is why Taiwanese that stare at the “Wai Guo Ren” can take this as a warning.
If somebody is staring at me at a traffic light, you better believe they are going to get my loudest and most obnoxious version of the 3 lines I know.
Plenty of stop light “sing-offs”