Masks and umbrellas

One thing you’ll notice immediately as you travel anywhere around Taiwan is people wearing what appear to be surgical masks. Some are fancied up, colorful and others are just plain…plain. They all seem to serve one of two purposes: to keep something in or to keep something out. I asked and apparently some folks wear them when they are feeling ill, so as not to infect anyone else (thoughtful, if they can’t stay home) and others wear them to keep any pollution from the traffic at bay. (I’ll have to get a pic of this without seeming rude about it.) Personally I’m not sure that re-breathing your own breath is advisable but the practice has caught on here.

Taiwan Masks

Also, I notice the widespread sale and use of umbrellas (mostly when it’s sunny outside) among women of all ages. I even saw a women, her bicycle LOADED with stuff, gripping a ‘brella firmly in one hand as she navigated the crowded sidewalk! Many of the umbrellas being sold along the street have a silvery lining (let the puns begin) that is designed as a reflective shield against UV rays. You may recall that Asian women the world over prize white (fair) skin and do all they can to keep it light (I haven’t seen a single tanning business here yet.) Most of the beauty products (even those brands sold in the States) are advertised here as containing some sort of “whitening” properties and labeled as such. I suppose the umbrellas also keep the intense sun off of the users although I’m fairly certain that the sun’s rays reflect off of the sidewalk,  making a device held overhead useless for protection. Hmmmm….I’ll have to think on that a bit.

Taiwan Umbrellas

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…