Shopping in Taiwan is not difficult, once you learn the basic shopping skills, especially the money system. Of course it is easy to drive to the local Costco, park in the underground parking, walk up one ramp to the photo and food court, and then take your cart on a moving ramp to the main floor. Costco is pretty much like Orem, except the crowds make Orem look empty, and the variety of foods cater to the Chinese diet. However, we can buy many of the Kirkland products making it feel somewhat like home.
But, shopping at Costco is for wimps. (And we wimp out about twice a month). Real shoppers go to the various markets all within walking distance of our apartment. It is impossible to live in the center of Taichung, and walk one block without passing vender after vender. Some are on the streets in their trucks or motorcycles converted into a “truck of sorts.” (see photo) Some use the front of their homes as a store front. They look like a garage door at night, but in the morning open to a store with an apartment in the back and in some cases upstairs.
This morning on our two mile walk we ran onto a huge day market in the back alleys of a neighborhood close to ours. It was raining but we wandered through the market for about 45 minutes buying peppers here, mangos there, onions at another vender, and of course pineapple and broccoli. No, we did not buy any pigs feet or duck blood. We’ll save that for another lifetime. The chickens were fresh, head and feet still attached after they were killed on site. The vegetables and fruit are superb. The mangos we bought today were the size of small cantaloupe. The pineapple is better than Maui Gold What a fun adventure. We came home wet from the rain, but with memories of a wonderful morning in the market we will never forget.
The money system is a base-10 system so once you get the math down you are on your way. Until you ask the price and the Chinese they speak is not the Chinese you were prepared to hear. After a few blank stares the kind vender will write the number on his/her hand with a finger and then you understand. The prices are actually comparable to what we pay in the states. The experience is priceless.