You know you have lived in Taiwan for a long time when...

When I first came to Taiwan there were a lot of things I didn't understand or get.  Sometimes I would just think they were outright down and out proper weird!  Other things I just didn't understand because I was weird for the locals.

Queuing for food.  (Seeing a queue and randomly joining because there is a queue and not knowing what it is!)

The first thing I want to talk about is seeing a queue at a food shop that looks utter shit from the outside.  You go by, look at it and think bloody hell what are they queuing for.  Really these food stands look like they are nothing special at all, but sometimes you could have to queue and wait for up to 30 minutes.  My girlfriend used to always say to me, "oooh I wonder why the queue is so big, maybe we should queue and get some too, it must be good!"  I used to reply with..."Sod that, they are selling the same thing right next to it!"  This used to bring out totally furious looks from her! 

Now after being here for so long, I get it.  Those small stands have the best goddamn food at times.  Like the other day, Jen saw a great Taiwanese pigs foot place on the internet, and we went there.  Normally if I had just arrived from England I would think man this is shit.  We went in and ordered different pigs foot.  (Don't get cocky I mean the way it was cooked,) and then we ate it as you do.  It was bloody great!  I loved it, although I like to eat pigs foot a lot. 

So onto the morale of my goddamn long winded story.  The moral of the story is this, when I first arrived in Taiwan i didn't want to queue for anything like a typical English person.  I queue if I have to, but avoid the things if I can help it.  Now I see the queue and I say to the missus, look at the size of that queue lets go and queue and see whats going down. 

Judging a city on the quality of its night markets

When going to another city, the first thing you want to do back home is see what they have to do, see what their bars and night life is like.  When I came to Taiwan they often told me "oooh you should go here because the night market is superb!"  I thought eh, you have night markets everywhere now really what is so special about this one.  Things like that etc etc.

Now after living here for 3 years, I generally say to people often, "ooh Taichung's night market is the mutts nuts!"  Basically I am doing the same thing as everyone else.  If someone goes anywhere I am always asking how is the night market, whats the food like is it cheap or expensive.  These kind of thoughts and questions would not of crossed my mind but now I really fit into the society better and understand the subtleties of how things work here, I am like fuck yeah it is great here!  They have an awesome night market!!!  

Having a different opinion of FAT!

So lets get this straight from the off.  Right now I am fat, but I am going swimming often on a weekly basis.  I try to do at least 3 times a week at the moment with my busy schedule but anyway.  Yes currently I am fat.  

In England I am only classed as chubby mind you, so to come to Taiwan and be a fucking beach whale is odd.  Everyone is skinny here, even the so called fat people they are skinny too mostly.  I do often see some fatties and my first thought is (where do you buy clothes fat man?) and my second thought is bloody hell you don't see many of them here! 

This point is mainly about the differences in what we see as being fat.  Back home people are bigger, fatter and rounder but we just think ahh they are fine, a little chubby, a little bit meat all is good in the hood!  Etc etc.  Or stuff like well "well its more cushion for the pushing."  In Taiwan, your fat if your like 12 stone i'd say.  No I don't know what that is in KG nor do I care about KG.

Anyway, the so called fatties here, are not really fatties back home.  Now when I see a fatty I think god she/he is fat fat fat but in the back of my mind I really think there not that fat at home.  I however back home im big but not that big, here I think I am a beach whale compared to people here! Sometimes a girl says she is fat, and her thighs are smaller than my arms.  Her arms smaller than my little fingers!!!  I think your not fat you fool!

There are big girls here but this is the best I could find in English.
The roads are crazy here!

When you first arrive, you think god.  The traffic here is gonna wipe me clean out.  After a while and cruising around on the old scooter you start to just adapt and get used to it.  The amount of road rage I had when I first came here, and also when I first started riding around on the scooter was mental.  Now the things I see are just normal.  4 people and a dog on 1 scooter, that's normal, going through red lights - normal, driving the wrong way down a 1 way street - normal, riding on the pavement with the scooter - normal, riding across pedestrian crossings - normal, carrying anything you want on the scooter, bicycles, ladders, tvs, drawers, 46 beers and all the other shopping, bookshelves, luggage, anything you want its all normal!!!! 

If I went back to driving/riding around in the UK I think I would be arrested all the time, the way I ride around on my scooter here.  If people back home saw you driving like that they would go mental!  

I am normally in this somewhere!
The fascination with food, all food! 

This is something that is a little different to being back in good old blighty but not as much as I first thought when I came here.  Now I understand when Taiwanese people go out and eat together, it is the same as when we back home ask people to go to the pub for a pint.  

When I first arrived mind, I was confused how they ate so much food and still don't really get fat.  It is either in the genes, or people here have hollow legs or something!

No 4th floor!

Most lifts in apartment buildings don't have a 4th floor.  I want to share a story when I first came here which is very bloody stupid.  In the first building I lived in which was a bit fancy, you could only go to your own floor.  They had a fancy key fob that you had to buzz on the lift and it knew which floor you lived on.  We lived on the second floor, and it would only allow me to go down to the 1st floor, our floor the 2nd floor, the roof or the basement levels.

When I gave the buttons a closer inspection, for months I always wondered what was on the 'F' floor.  For months I always thought that must be the secret 'fun' floor.  This is where they must have all the fun stuff, like the bouncy castle and that!  I was thinking if I can get into the F floor they must have a bouncy castle.  

One day when I was going home, the lift eventually went to the 4th floor and the doors opened.  There was nothing!!!  This blew my mind, where is my fun floor!  where is my bouncey castle!  

Then when I found out the reality was much more different to my imagination.  The reason they don't have the 4th floor is because number four in Chinese sounds a lot like death, and they don't want to live on the death floor.  So sometimes there is no 4th floor and sometimes there is an F or something similar. 

Another place that never has a 4th floor is the hospital.!  If your looking for the 4th floor good luck! 

Gobbing here, gobbing there, gobbing everywhere! 

When you are walking on the mean very safe streets of Taipei, you can always hear people somewhere around you coughing up a big gob full of phlegm and snot and spitting it out.  If you can't see it, you can always hear it.  

Taiwan needs this!
There is one particular old woman in the swimming pool I go to where she practically manages to get every last small snot from her nose, and every bit of phlegm and gobs it all down the drains.  I suppose some of it doesn't go down unfortunately meaning I am swimming in a snot pool of sorts! one word explains this experience when you are near it=disgusting!

Old people vs young people

Back home, where there is snow and all things with cream and chocolate the old people are a lot more polite in general than the younger people.  Younger people are often rude, obnoxious and a down right pain in the arse!!!  This is indeed a broad genralisation I know this but its a fact.  The young people are the most likely to give you abuse in the street or randomly attack you.  That does not mean they are all terrible but compared with the old folks there is no competition.!  I suppose England is famous for the nice old granny, that is friendly to people.  

In Taiwan, it is totally flipped on its head, backwards and inside out.  Old people are generally obnoxious here.  As I said this is a broad genralistion and it could have to do with the language issue also, but they really do act very rude often.  They never queue for anything for example, and they are not afraid of pushing you out of the way to get a seat on the MRT or get that last stinky tofu, for old people in Taiwan its an all out war to get there first, drive mega slow in front of you, generally be rude and obnoxious.  (disclaimer, this is my opinion!)  

On the other hand young people are very nice and friendly.  They are polite, well mannered and often help when they can if you are stuck, lost, cant do something, need help with translation this kind of thing.  They are great.  They generally do things young people back home would never do! 

Weird themed restaurants

Until I came to Taiwan I had never seen anything such as a themed restaurant.  Now that I have lived in Taiwan for so long, I think of themed restaurants as the norm.  This is just how life is.  There is a Barbie restaurants (apparently this is the first in the world), a toilet restaurant (where all your food is in a toilet, you sit on toilets etc etc), an aeroplane restaurant (where all the staff are dressed like air hostess and when you get your food its like an in flight meal) a Hello Kitty restaurant, a Ninja restaurant, a Peter Rabbit restaurant and many many more that I have still not found.  Anyway this is all weird compared to back home.  Ranging from cool to tacky. 

Carrying a dog or a cat in a bag!

For some reason here, girls like to carry their cats and dogs in a bag!  It is odd, some of them even have a dog or a cat push chair, with their dog and cat sat inside the push chair like a little baby.  Back home dogs and cats walk, as that's why they have legs!  In Taiwan they are treat like little babies!!  

The only dogs that walk around here often are the stray dogs.  Who actually are the best looking dogs in Taiwan, size wise they are generally medium sized dogs, and the ones people have at home are little bitch dogs.  Tiny things that if you were not looking you would stamp on it squash the little rat like things right dead on the spot!  People here have a fascination with tiny little dogs they can put in their bag like a stupid fashion accessory.  

Betel Nut Stands

In Taiwan you can buy something called betel nut.  It is like a legal drug, it gives you a high or something.  I have never tried it, but sometimes they have these stands where there is a girl with hardly any clothes on selling these little green things that the truck drivers chomp on all day long, and make their teeth turn some kind of ugly disgusting brown colour.  

The places where they have girls with mainly no clothes on are normally in the south.  In Taipei its mainly old women. The betel nuts can give you throat cancer, so I guess they are as bad as tabs.  The people who have chewed betel nuts forever have really horrid teeth, it makes you look away they are that bad!  Every time you see a blue truck van man (like a transit van man back home) he will be chomping away on this weird nut thing.  When they spit it out, it staines the floor.  When I first came to live here I did wonder what the hell was all the weird red looking stuff splattered all over the floor.

Anyway I can't explain more than that, because we really don't have them back home. When I first come here I thought they were all prostitutes standing in a box copying the pro's of the Dam!  Well they are not pro's!  They are only selling these little green nuts, luring in the guys in the trucks making long trips delivering stuff from A to B.  They often have them located by the freeways!

That's all I can think of right now.  I think if I could write things about that are not weird anymore that were weird when I first got here all night long, all day tomorrow, and all next week too!!


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