Recently, my team returned from a month in Taiwan and we were very warmly greeted and treated with overwhelming acts of kindness and gratitude. Principal differences that we noticed began with the food we ate. Our chopstick skills improved greatly while we were there. We ate very little fried foods and never had bread with our meal. All of the seafood, fruits and vegetables are very fresh and hardly ever more than a day or two old. The central part of Taiwan is very fertile and fishing is very plentiful. The Rotary nicknames generally reflect the industry you are in, such as ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ËÅ"DentyÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢ for Dentist, ÃÆ'¢â‚¬ËÅ"ArchiÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢ for Architect and so on. This is very unique throughout Taiwan.
Taiwanese people are very hospitable and your plate will always have plenty of food and your beverage glass will never stay empty very long. Anything you ask for, they will try to get it for you. Drinking of hot tea is common and it is an art to prepare and serve it properly. We were given a half-hour lesson in preparation and serving correctly. We will never drink another cup of hot tea without thinking about our lesson. Primary form of transportation within the cities is on scooters, more so than in cars. There are 23 million people in Taiwan and it seemed like there must be 20 million scooters. They are everywhere! Taiwan is still a male dominant society but there is much respect for the women. There is even one club in Tainan City that is 100% female. And finally, religion is different in that about 75-80% of the country is Buddhism or Taoism. Another 5%+/- are Protestant, Catholic, or other religions. BuddhistÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢s and TaoistÃÆ'¢â‚¬â„¢s do not attend services on Sunday. If they have guidance or need to seek answers, they can visit a Temple any time of the day or night. Symbolism is evident throughout the Country. For instance, water means wealth, the Phoenix is a symbol of good fortune and longevity, the dragon symbolizes protection. Even the way you hold your chopsticks can mean that you will marry someone near or far from you. Taiwan is truly a great country with wonderful people that have touched our hearts in so many ways that will last a lifetime.