After an unexpectantly long afternoon of apartment hunting with a couple of other international students and a local Taiwanese student (she was there to help), we crashed at a restaurant in the Gongguan area called A380 In-Flight Kitchen. It was apropos for us world travelers, I suppose, for the restaurant interior is shaped like an airplane. The seats and tables are airplane-style and the waiters and waitresses are dressed as stewards. Also, each meal is from a different country and is served on a tray you would receive on a flight. The food wasn’t amazing, although thankfully the quality was far beyond the typical airplane microwave-meal. Inventive restaurant scheme, I think.
Like any good dinner table conservation, we discussed many things; however, Mandy (the local Taiwanese student) shared with us some Taiwanese superstitions that I thought were notably interesting. For example, when you are with friends at night you should not tap or pat your friend’s shoulder. If you do, his or her shoulder “flame” protector will be extinguished and a ghost will inhabit their souls. So, my friends, when you’re drunk at night and falling over, try not to sacrifice your friends’ shoulders to the ghosts 😉 Also, Taiwanese Buddhists believe that you should not move during this month (oops, but I really do need to high-tail it out of this dorm ASAP…it’s way too small for four people), do strenuous activity (maybe no more 6am hikes up the mountain my school is located on?), or buy new things (and strike three…). Mandy couldn’t explain why they believe this, but I guess the point is that they do. I’d like to know if this is reflected in the economy at all…do sales drop during September? If anyone has an idea, let me know.
UPDATE: After a bit of research I discovered that the period we are now in is known as “Ghost Month”. Ghost Month begins the first day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar and is believed to be when specters and ghosts enter the world of the living. During this month people in Taiwan are very careful to appease the visiting spirits so as to avoid bad luck. For more info: http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_international/ghost_month/index.html?SITE=AP
Tomorrow I will go to Shilin Night Market. Preview for next post: drool-worthy pictures of Taiwanese street food.