National obsession

So far, I haven’t been able to identify one.  No national sports teams. No sports team colors being worn. No raucous debates and liquor-fueled bar brawls over a game score.  I hear tell about monster mah-jong games but have yet to witness (or participate in) one. If there is a common thread running through Taiwan society, I’d say it’s the constant need to SHOP! There are day markets, flower markets, flea markets (wish I could find these), and night markets. There are malls in every district., stores on every street and alleys, too. And the stores are open late 7 days a week.  Taiwan is a night owl’s shopper’s mecca.

Last night I found myself at the Momo mall (Nanjing and Tunhua)  after getting an IKEA receipt stamped with a tax ID for an expense report. To give you an idea of the mall’s size, even though IKEA  is HUGE, it occupies the bottom two floors of only the eastern quadrant of the mall! After getting a 10NT soft serve ice cream cone, I took the elevator up to the 5th floor (the building has 15) to look around Working House (a larger selection of house wares and decorative items than the one down the street from me) and down to 4F, Piin, to look at furniture and textiles.  While in Piin, I meet  someone else who speaks English – this is really a rarity! It turns out, she’s the wife of a China Air pilot based in Taiwan. We got to talking and she told me there are are lots of LIBRARIES here (!) and offered to send me the information about the main branch. Sounds like I’ve got next week’s adventure lined up…

7-11 is my new best friend

After last week’s furniture price shock, I decided to do some comparison shopping for items I’ll need when I move into my apartment (desk, lamp, nightstand, bedding and towels). Typically I’d just head to the nearest Goodwill. No surprise, there are none here. I took the MRT 2 stations away to Momo (formerly AsiaWorld) to check out Piin (6th floor for furniture. 5th for towels and sheets) and back to the Daan station Sogo Department Store entrance. Piin’s furniture looked a lot like what I’d been shown (at twice the price) on Tong Gua’s furniture row.  How difficult could it be to find a desk that can double as a table? I will still check out IKEA and Costco for my home furnishings!  Sogo has all sorts of well-known brands (Nike, Adidas, Levi’s, Calvin Klein) but unfortunately, no sizes for regular-sized folks (size 8 are the largest in women’s shoes, size 10 the largest in women’s pants!) and very few sales staff that understand/speak English! On the way back , I’d nearly exhausted my EasyCard. I stopped into 7-11 and got it refilled and refueled myself with SoyJoy bars.

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