Friday, November 24, 2006


I have now been in Taiwan for six days and today for the first time since leaving the airport that I saw someone that wasn't Chinese. I saw some European looking guy crossing the road near the railway station and I was suddenly reminded just how much I stand out in this place. When I first arrived I was very aware of the way everyone everywhere turned to look at me. It's not that they have never seen a foreigner before, but I guess we are still unusual enough to stand out and catch peoples attention. After the first couple of days though I stopped paying attention to this myself and so didn't notice anymore.

If I speak a very small amount of Chinese then people straight away assume I can speak the language. As an example I went into a convenience store last night to buy a hot can of coffee, when I went to the counter I asked in Chinese "How much is this?", I understood the reply, gave her the money and said "Thank you". Then she said some long someting I couldn't understand a word of. I stood there for a moment, then just smilled stupidly, said "Goodbye" and left. I am finding though that all that study I did this year is paying off and is a lot of help. I can actually get through most situations here without too much trouble.

I am also thinking of buying a Chinese keyboard like the one I am using at the moment. I think it could be a lot of help for learning Chinese characters using a keyboard with radicals on it. It also has Bo Po Mo but I'm not sure if I should go down that road at the moment or not.


Anonymous sham said...

Hey man I feel you, it's quite wierd having tons of chinese people look back at you where ever you go.. it's only normal though (as you know ofcourse).. some of them a farmers and have never seen white person before, never ever, not even on tv.. since well since they don't have tv.. lol.. any way you get used to it, don't let it bother you.

3:01 PM  
Blogger John said...

Actually there are not many farmers in Banchiao and everyone has a TV. I have been to some more remote places, but Taipei is one of the most densly populated places on the planet. About 5 million people crammed into a smallish valley. I think it is just a natural reaction to turn and look if you see something unusual and out of place in the corner of your eye. It can be a bit disconcerting to start with, but it's not worth getting too bothered about.

8:28 PM  

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