Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interesting Things

 A list of interesting things:

· Gas stations have attendants to fill up your tank; gas costs about $4/gal. (NT$306/liter).

· The shopping mall has underground parking in where there is also a car wash and tire store; the escalator from that level into the store is a “moving ramp,” not stairs---handy, since you would not be able to bring your cart full of packages down a regular stair-type escalator.

· Road construction crews use a mechanical flag waver---a mannequin dressed in work clothes and a helmet with straight arms holding flags that wag up and down; some are equipped with flashing lights on their shoulders.

· There seems to be a public education “quiet” campaign going on in the country; there are “Please be quiet” signs posted everywhere---in the buses, on the train, in the hotel halls, at McDonald’s. We saw a museum worker whose job it was to walk around with that same sign telling people to be quiet as they walked through the museum. These signs are everywhere.

· Speaking of public education, it appears to me that there is a campaign promoting milk. There’s an ad on TV of a pretty lady pouring milk into a cup, drinking it and licking her lips. Then in English and Mandarin it says, “I love milk!”

· Chinese writing; that’s it…Chinese writing is interesting to me; their “periods” are small circles that are placed in the center of the line, like our hyphens; when written in the traditional vertical style (they also write horizontally), underlining, of course, is also vertical---on the left.

· I hear very little tradition Chinese music; noticed it when it was playing in the HSR station in Taipei, the only such music I’ve heard in public.

· No bags are offered at the grocery store; if you request one, you pay.

· Restrooms are interesting; stalls are labeled as to which has a “standard” sit-down toilet and which has a “squattie.” The label is usually in picture-form. Oftentimes the sink to wash your hands is outside the restroom itself where it can be shared by both men and women. The TP may also be outside the stall or restroom, if provided---must be sure to bring it in with you into the stall or it’ll be too late; or there is no paper at all---must always have tissue with you just in case.

· Also, toilet paper at home is Kleenex---literally, made by the Kleenex Company and packaged just like a Kleenex box only made of plastic-wrap. There is a little plexi-glass “box” with a lid attached to the wall to contain it. You buy it in multi-packs just like toilet paper.

· The most interesting of all: swastikas on the chest of Buddha! Swastikas on lanterns and on signs above doors. Swastikas on windows of a Buddhist monastery. This I had to Google! Turns out, the swastika was high-jacked by Hitler from the Hindu religion. Who knew? Not this Westerner! It is a sign of “god universal.” It is an ancient “auspicious” symbol. I don’t care about its origin, it still gives me the creeps.

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