One of our favourite new travel destinations, here are 10 Taiwanese lessons on life, love and garbage trucks. It’s time to embrace the strange.
1. The garbage trucks sing
You hear the familiar sound of music getting closer, swiftly commit petty theft from a parent’s purse, and run out of the front door screaming “THE ONE WITH THE FLAKE!” whilst furiously flagging down… the garbage truck.
To encourage people to bring out their rubbish, garbage trucks in Taiwan play music. It’s usually something classical like Beethoven (rather than grime or dirty hip hop), but they switch to Christmas tunes in December.
2. Receipts are also lottery tickets
Shopkeeper: “Would you like a receipt, sir"”. Clueless, yet environmentally-aware foreign person: “No thank you”. Mistake.
TAKE THE RECEIPT MAN! YOU COULD WIN $300,000, BUY A UNICORN AND RETIRE TO NARNIA.
A government initiative to encourage customers to ask for receipts, thus ensuring shopkeepers put purchases through their books, receipts in Taiwan also carry an eight-digit lottery number. On the 25th of every other month, the winning numbers are announced live on television, with the grand prize being up to 300,000 USD. And yes, travellers can play.
3. The LGBT capital of Asia
On the verge of becoming the first Asian country to allow same-sex marriage, Taiwan is considered to be the most gay-friendly nation in Asia. It also has the biggest LGBT event, with Taiwan Pride seeing over 80,000 people take to the streets for four days of festivities each October.
4. Taiwan is beautiful, fact
Jungle-covered peaks and white beaches… it’s no surprise that when the Portuguese washed up on the island in the 1500s, they named it Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island). This name was commonly used by the West until the 20th century.
5. 7-Eleven heaven
Ahh, 7-Eleven slurpees, the savior of every Southeast Asian hangover. However, 7-Elevens in...