Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Few Random Tidbits

It's always nice when you have a week off work. It's even nicer when it's scheduled to have a week off work, but get paid for the week you have off work. What's even NICER is when you have 2 weeks off, back to back, and STILL get paid.

So if you didn't catch my drift, I have this week and NEXT week off to do whatever. Very nice.

And I am almost to the point of getting my bank account opened. I just need to find a Chinese Chop/Seal shop to create one for myself. In Taiwan (and China) a chop (or seal) is a specially carved stamp and are like a signature. In fact, they carry more weight than a signature. If you do business here in Taiwan (or in my case, need to open a bank account), you are required to use a seal to make things official. Also, you don't have to be present during the process as long as a seal is used. So now, I just need to locate one of the stamp making shops and I'll be set (well, at least I'll be ALMOST set to get my backpay...)

There is another thing that I have been always meaning to put on the blog, but seem to always forget. Maybe it's because I fear that some government official will be reading this in the US and enact a similar thing there. But putting ego-inflated paranoia aside, I'll get to my point.

Here in Taiwan, recycling is a big thing - and it's not just a political thing. It's engrained in the culture. It's as much religious conviction as it is personal responsibility.

Here in my apartment, in the parking garage, is the place where people throw away their garbage - and do their recycling. There are about 12 different kind of recycling cans - from hard plastics to soft plastics, to compost, to cardboard to batteries. To recycle is to replenish to earth. To throw away is to pay.

Catch that? Yea, if you end up not recycling something, you have to PAY to throw away garbage. How do they do that?

Well you can only throw away garbage in these special bright pink bags. You buy these bags in grocery stores or other random places. You get 20 of them for around $NT 170 (or $5.50ish). They have these special hologram stickers on them, which say (ironically) "Taipei County Government - Recycle"

So remember, next time you throw something least you're not being taxed on trash - yet.

But yes, on to another topic - the life of a blossoming bourgeoisie. Well, not quite, but I can get use to the weather and lifestyle here. Today (and practically this entire week) the weather has been amazing. Mid-70's, sunny, breezy - couldn't ask for better. On top of that, across the street from Taipei 101 there is a shopping area called New York New York. In New York New York, there is a McDonalds, Mister Doughnut, Starbucks and Stone Creamery. But the best part about that is that all of those restraunts have tables that are outside with a nice big umbrella. So what I've been doing is going there for lunch, bringing a book with me, and staying under the umbrella enjoying every possible minute until dinner.

Now, I'm not saying this to brag. Just saying that (a) good things can't last forever and (b) I hope forever never comes.

Well, it's late and I figure that I should do something productive tomorrow. My friend Laura is coming in on Saturday and I still need to figure out some of the details on which bus to take to the Airport. So, if you come to visit me, I will by then know how I will meet you at the airport. Sorry Laura, but you might be a test subject - hopefully it all turns out well.

Until next time...

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