Aren’t they nice?

There's only one or two English language radio stations in Taiwan, but whenever I take a taxi, that's what seems to be on.  I guess the taxi driver thinks I'll feel better if I listen to music from my home country or at least in my own language.  I think it ties into the general hospitableness of people here, especially towards foreigners.  A lot of people here get very excited about talking to a foreigner, especially once they discover that I can speak Chinese.  While of course there are the kind of people here (like anywhere) that are ready to rip off an ignorant foreigner, they are far outnumbered by the people who are so eager to please I'm embarrassed.  Clerks in department stores will sometimes serve you before Taiwanese folks who've been waiting longer.  It's the rare Taiwanese person who is flat out rude to your face.  (Sometimes it seems like they're being rude, but it's really just culture differences.  I'm talking about rudeness by Taiwanese standards.)

On an unrelated note, it's always neat when you discover another level of meaning behind a simple word.  For instance, in Spanish, "Adios" (goodbye) literally means: "to God", which is not suprising, considering Spain's ardently Catholic past.  Today, I was studying how to write the word "immediately" in Chinese: "馬上", when I realized that the first character means "horse" and the second means "top".  So "馬上" literally means: "on horseback."  Isn't that cool? (Well, I think so, but then, I'm a huge nerd.)


One Response to “Aren’t they nice?”

  1. Matt and Elaine Says:

    if only israelis were so polite…

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