Tax time in Taiwan

Every year in May, everyone living and working in Taiwan makes their way to the closest district tax office (no appointment needed and most work places give you half-a-day off  for this purpose).

I went before lunch time; walking the Daan MRT, changing trains at Zhongxiao Fuxing, and getting out at 4 stops later at Ximen. I exited at exit 6, walked 10 minutes (not sure which direction) and there was the tax administration building.

The tax office in Ximen

As you walk in, the signs are very clearly marked, so that foreigners know where to go, and in a large room, several friendly interns looked at the forms mailed out by the government months ago and helped me fill out a one-sided form. Then, they bundled everything up neatly and pointed me towards a bank of desks where I had to wait about 20 minutes until my number was called. The senior clerk then checked the work of the interns, making additional computations in red on the form, and asked me to produce my passport and work contract.  Oops, no one told me I would need those. So, back home again, got the items and back to the tax office. Another short wait and, voila! My taxes are done and  I’m getting a refund. Yeah! Simple and sane. Wow, what a concept.

Impressions of Nanjing

After a week in Nanjing,  I reflect on my short time here.

I have enjoyed the “newness” and “bigness” of Nanjing. Of course, China itself is massive, compared with Taiwan; there is so much more space. I love the lights – everywhere! Buildings are outlined in lights and every night is a clever light show on the jumbotron on the building across from my room at the Jinling. (If you visit Nanjing, stay here!)

Not everything is new here. One can still see the remains of the city wall, built hundreds of years ago to protect Jinling’s citizens from invasion. Two of my homebuilding buddies took me, one night, to the Buddhist Temple, Fuzi Miao (foo-dza-me-ow) for dinner (I tried stinky tofu and lived to tell about it) and some shopping. I got a wonderful  ink painting of a dragon; my hosts bargained the dealer down to 8USD! We walked along the river, and, oddly, ran into co-workers from Taipei!

Dragon Lights

The metro system in any new city can be a bit daunting but whoever planned Nanjing’s system took into account that foreigners would be using it.  I was able to figure out (on my own!) which line and stop to take to get to the Brocade museum. It was amazing to see gorgeous fabric panels being created the old fashioned way: by hand on giant (what else?) looms.

Brocade weaver at work

One interesting thing (among many) that I saw in the metro: the government metro employees salute the train as it arrives and leaves. The walls are covered in amazing art. And of course, the system runs like a well-oiled machine.

3D underground art

I am ready to head back to Taiwan but I have a feeling that I’ll be back in Nanjing soon…

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