After experiencing 10 bleak months of polar-vortex-grade winter during my 2-year stay in Canada, I came up with the novel idea of, funds permitting, spending my next winter in a warmer part of the world.
My first choice would be Thailand, but because my Canadian friend Max, who had also lived in Shanghai for many years, has been raving about Taiwan, a country I have never been before, I decided to explore this option.
Currently in Taipei, Max told me about all the perks about living there over Shanghai. I will outline these points below, and, as a result of some brief online research and YouTube watching, I will add a couple of my own compelling reasons as to why I would want to visit Taiwan.
Insider (Max’s) Reasons
- Very few white girls. Admittingly not the number one reason, and not that I am against all white females, but from my 8-year Asia experience, white girls can get in the way of things. They generally complain about a lot of issues they believe are “wrong” about Asian culture and they are also easily bejealoused of Chinese girls
- They have Costco (好市多Hǎo shì duō. It sort of sounds like Costco when you say it quickly and literally means “good market much.” Chinese transliterations are often a balance between phonetics and meaning).
- As much as I like Chinese food, I love Costco because of their massive bags of frozen fruits and vegetables, coconut milk, and almond milk – great for smoothies and stirfrys, and no produce ever rots in your fridge and goes to waste.
- Taiwanese guys, when compared with China Mainland guys, are usually more chilled out and easier to get along with
- Taiwanese girls are hotter than Shanghai girls. They also appear classier and better educated. Max says even super hot Taiwanese girls ride the subway, whereas in Shanghai a girl of similar hotness would only be seen at the club. As for the reason for this, my guess is that these types of girls in Shanghai usually sleep all day, weekday or not.
- “Foreigners there are pretty weak – they dress like they’re in Canada. They’re just happy to date. They have no game.” Although I’m sure they are nice people, you do not need to worry about competing with other foreigners in the dating/pickup scene.
- Canadians make up approximately 70% of the foreigners (according to Max).
- Really good Canada Day parties
- The Canadian clothing brand Roots is huge in Taiwan – every day you can see people walking around with a maple leaf somewhere on their clothes. Somehow roots found people who don’t mind wearing another country’s logo/flag
- Many Canadian-own bars and restaurants – which is rare in Asia. My whole time in Asia I’ve only seen about one
- It’s a really small expat community. I particularly like this point because it reminds me of the smaller expat community that existed in Shanghai in the early 2000s. It felt a bit like family, everyone knew everybody and looked out for one another.
- Blazing fast, reliable, and uncensored internet. (In China you need a VPN to access sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. And the internet speed in general is slow cuts out many times throughout the day.)
- Taipei has less of an international feel than Shanghai. Max didn’t like this aspect. I, however, am looking forward to this experience
- Much less polution
Other Interesting Points About Taiwan I Came Across in my Brief Online Research:
- No visa required for Canadians – can stay up to 90 days. May also be able to extend this stay up to 180 days
- Doing Hong Kong visa runs is not big deal (this method of obtaining/renewing/extending China Mainland visas does not always work)
- Population of Taipei is 3 million, compared with Shanghai’s 24 million. After a while, the monstrous concrete jungle that is Shanghai can wear down a person – I am looking forward to a reasonable-sized city that doesn’t feel like a pressure cooker.
- Takes about 5 hours to traverse the entire North-South length of the island
- Beaches, mountains, ancient villages, surfing, hot springs – all only a few hours away
- 24/7 hangouts, shops
- Betel Nut (Binglang) – a popular amphetamine openly sold in shops. You chew it like chewing tobacco. Betel Nut beauties
- Penis-and-cock-and-balls-shaped ice cream on a stick. The 2 nuts are actually filled with nuts.
- Penis waffles! Dick in a Box (Justin Timberlake SNL skit reference)
- Sausage stuffed in a sausage
- Taiwanese people seem to have a better sense of humor than China Mainlanders
- 24-hr shrimp fishing!
- Like it or love it!
What really sold me on Taiwan is the healthier lifestyle. Shanghai is mostly just a slab of concrete packed with skyscrapers and clubs. Getting drunk or clubbing on drugs are the main past times in Shanghai – it’s a really fun place if you’re into that. Shanghai pollution is also a problem – during the past two years the cancer-causing particulate PM 2.5, has reached record highs. Taiwan on the other hand, with its beaches, mountains, and loads of recreational activities all within a short drive, seems perfect for the health-minded individual who enjoys Chinese culture.
More pictures of Taipei – Betel teeth,Waffle Dicks, Surfing
(Apologies for all the dick pics)
Betel nut teeth – before and after
Watch Eddie Huang Rip it Up in Taipei (Munchies on VICE)