Monday, March 14, 2011


Our observation is that the greatest number of franchises for any chain store in Taipei is 7eleven. There seems to be another one every three blocks or so.

It's a very useful store. We pay our bills there (electric, gas, water, telephone), it has an ATM machine where we can take money out of our checking account, and we can check the balance on our "Easy Card" and add money to it if needed. We use the Easy Card on the buses and subways. And they have a special one for seniors which charges us only half the fare. The card has a small chip in it which automatically keeps track of the balance and subtracts the appropriate amount each time you slap it down on a card reader.

They also sell an assortment of stuff. One night the fruit stand was closed, so I asked the 7eleven if they had any fruit. Sure enough, they had some bananas, which is what I had in mind.

These three stores are all on the same street. This one we pass every night on our way home, and is the one I use most frequently.

When we arrive in Taiwan, we are assigned a Chinese name by the Elders in the mission office. They are the ones who order us name tags, and I think they have fun picking out a name for us. The name tag is written in Chinese and the name has to be a character that people will recognize and be able to easily pronounce. Most people would have no idea how to pronounce a name written in roman letters. Here are the names for the senior missionaries (English - Chinese PinYin):

Frandsen - Fan (rhymes with Hahn)

Walker - Wu (oo, w is silent)

Calvert - Kai (rhymes with tie)

Wheatley - Wei (sounds like way)

Horner - He (rhymes with the)

Hahn - Han (sounds like Hahn)

I do not know the Chinese character for the above names, except for my own. The above character is for "han" and it is on my name tag. Chinese family names are almost always a single character and are written first in a name, followed by their given names. Actually, there are several different characters for "han" but they are pronounced with different tones (high tone, rising tone, low tone, falling tone). I have learned to write this character (there are 17 strokes) and I use it when I check out a card in the temple. The meaning of this particular one has something to do with Korea.

A prominent landmark in Taipei is called Taipei 101. You can see it from many parts of the city. For six years, it was the highest building in the WORLD, 2004 - 2010. Then in 2010 Dubai completed a building that is half again as tall (2700 ft. which is half a mile high). Everybody asks if we have been to "101". It is called 101 because it has 101 floors. The observation decks are on floors 89 and 91.

This building still claims the fastest elevator in the world. It travels at up to 37.5 mph. The amazing thing is that your ears do not pop and you hardly have any sensation of moving.

On New Year's Eve they lighted up all of the floors and planned to set off fireworks, but that turned out to be a flop.

These are called "oranges". They are green on the outside but orange on the inside. They peel like tangerines and are very good. However, I haven't seen them lately. Must be out of season. We still have lots of regular oranges.

I like these peanuts - they are fried. This makes them more brittle than the roasted peanuts, also harder to break, but after the initial crunch, they chew easily.

This amuses me, lampposts in the street. They just paint a red line around them and this is supposed to protect them. I guess it works.

If your car is too long for your garage, this is the solution!

And if you can't park lengthwise, park sideways. We have passed this garage twice a day for six months and I have only seen it open two times. The second time I took a picture. There are only a few inches to spare in front and in back and it would be interesting to see him maneuver this out of there.

Finally, the natives say this is the coldest winter they have ever seen in Taiwan. They don't like it. We foreigners think it is really great. Temperatures in the 50's. Today the temperature in our bedroom was 15 (59 degrees). We estimate the temperature outside by what the temperature is in our bedroom (in order to decide if we should wear a coat or not).