Next on my list of weird and uninteresting cities is Taitung. The city is situated on a small plain between the mountains and the ocean, with rice fields dotted all around.

It’s a pretty boring place, similar to the Chinese city of Huaihua, where I almost got robbed. But compared to Huaihua, Taitung is tiny, and even if you were to leave a wallet on a table here I don’t think anyone would bother picking it up.

Much like getting to Hualien, access to Taitung wss also limited and so some indigenous groups are still to be found in the city. Everything here is very laid back and so problems with transport and rental services are common.

Taitung as viewed from the plane.
Taitung as viewed from the plane.

In every other town, I managed to rent a scooter without issue, but after a few refusals here I was finally told that rentals in Taitung are only available to Taiwanese drivers. Earlier this year a drunk tourist was involved in a hit and run accident with a child, who eventually died. The driver was never caught.

Scooter parking area with painting of cartoons.

The rental company had to pay reparations to the family and it shut down soon afterwards, due to bankruptcy. Because of this accident every company in the city is now afraid to rent to internationals. The irresponsibility of one person means that all internationals must now suffer the consequences. So I just had to go walking again.

The city is very quiet. There are few cars driving on the roads.
She finally got some action. Grandma is shouting at a woman.
Abandoned housing.
Abandoned housing.
Similar to the chinese, and some other asian cultures, the taiwanese leave their shoes outside come rain or shine. Shoe racks are usually installed outside every house onto which the shoes are placed over night. No one steals shoes here.

Just as Europeans enjoy visiting oriental restaurants, in South East Asia locals can sample European cuisine. Eateries usually serve something like steak with pasta.

Taiwanese boy is using knife and fork.

In Taiwan and China it’s fairly common for people to use English names when dealing with westerners. This makes it easier for a westerner to remember their name and ensures they won’t pass out trying to pronounce the Mandarin version. But since they’re not native English speakers, they don’t necessarily know that Cash is a name for money, Weirdo means what it means and that Autism is a … well.

What’s also funny is when their Chinese name is a noun, and they simply translate the noun to the equivalent English word. Imagine names like Rose or Cat, which sound fine in English, but might not work if they were translated literally into other languages.

Meet King. His english name used to be Jimmy, but he had to change it because in mandarin it sounds like the word prostitute. But still, King sounds a bit arrogant.

I tried and was unable to find much character in Taitung, but this doesn’t mean that there is none. The next morning we packed our shit and left, taking the ferry to Orchid island.

Fishing bucket at the port.