On disgusting habits and spicy girls

If you walk around in Taiwan, you will notice, in certain places, dark red stains on the street.  No, this is not blood.  You may also notice that some men (no women, for some reason) have red-stained teeth, gums, and lips.  No, they are not vampires, and no, it is not blood.  It is, in fact, the same not-blood that is on the ground.  The red stain is betel nut juice, called "bing lang" in Chinese.  It's the local equivalent of chewing tobacco, except it tastes a little better.  Strangely enough, Taiwan has an extraordinarily high rate of oral cancer.  The betel nut itself is a small reddish-brown nut, with a very bitter taste.  It is definitely an acquired taste, and I have decided not to acquire it.  I have enough problems without adding oral cancer to the list.  It's very popular among taxi drivers and highway truckers here, for its mild stimulant effect.

The betel nuts are the seed of the betel palm tree, and are sold from roadside stands staffed exclusively by women.  In Taipei, the women seem to mostly be middle-aged, but out in the country they are almost always young women dressed in as little as possible.  (Apparently, this has something to do with the greater influence of feminists in city government than in the country.)  The stands are always stationed so that as much as possible of the girls' micro-mini-skirt-clad legs are visible to the passing drivers.  In Chinese, a girl that dresses like that is called a "la mei" (spicy girl). You don't have to sell betel nuts to be a spicy girl (plenty of girls in Taipei dress like that anyway), but being a spicy girl certainly helps sell betel nuts.

So, yes, feminism has a long way to go in Taiwan.  (And, of course, as a 25-year-old unmarried male, I am totally against the prominent display of hot legs in public.  Totally.  Absolutely.  100%.)

Ooo! Look at her!

I mean, umm…never mind.


3 Responses to “On disgusting habits and spicy girls”

  1. Matt and Elaine Says:

    Hey ben! you are awesome. We miss you a whole lot, and hope to hear lots of smart-sounding chinese next time we see you!

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    On disgusting habits and spicy girls | Ben Goes to Taiwan (not Thailand)

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