Friday, July 8, 2011


I remember at San Francisco State University the only refuse stations that had three bins; Compost, Recycling and Trash, were located by the student center. Everywhere else on the large campus was just a single Trash can, and sometimes there was a Recycling bin. But looking into the cans it was easy to see people didn't pay much attention to what they threw away into what can, as long as they threw it away... But few people realize that the "away" in "throw away" is a myth. There is no such place as "away" People are usually more concerned to throw their trash out of sight, thus, they don't take much notice to what trash belongs in which bin.

I think this is because in America there are many places to hide all our garbage. I am often reminded by the locals that Taiwan is a very small island. There is certainly no such place as "away" here. The recycling program that Taiwan government put into effect in the 1990's is very comprehensive. First off, and what I feel is most important, it is ILLEGAL To Not Recycle. Residents that do not properly separate their Recyclables from not Recyclables (as well as Compostables) are fined by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency for not complying. I could only imagine some crazy folks back home getting hit with that fine and arguing something like "It's my right as an American NOT to recycle!" anyway....

Not only is there lots of recycling going on, it is very thorough recycling. As you can see in the pictures below (this is in a hallway of the Foreign Language Department at National Taiwan University) there are four cans sitting together. PAPER, ALUMINUM PACKAGING, PLASTIC BOTTLES, then TIN & ALUMINUM CANS.  Six feet away, on the other side of the hall you have PAPER CONTAINERS (i.e. coffee cups) and PLASTIC CONTAINERS (i.e. lids, plastic cups). In the States, these six recycling bins are all condensed into the single Blue Can.

Recycling in Taiwan is a source of Civic Pride. The people realize what a small place they live in, and if they were to handle there trash situation they way most of the world does, it wouldn't take long before their tiny island is engulfed in garbage and turned into a pretty shitty place to live. They recycling rates have improved so much with the new recycling regulations put into place over the last few decades, that government officials from countries throughout Asia and Europe are coming to Taiwan and taking notes on how to drastically reduce the amount actual "Garbage" while increasing the amount of recyclables that can go back into the system as Raw Material (a small island like Taiwan doesn't have limitless raw material) So, Recycling, as handled in Taiwan makes good environmental and economical sense.

SIDE NOTES; Tomorrow I'm heading to Taizhong 台中 to participate in my first ever Bike Polo Tournament in Taiwan, HOORAY!!! On campus today I found a place to practice piano after class, HOORAY!!! 
New Chinese Words Of The Day (other than lesson vocab) -發抖 dǒu To Shake (i.e. too much coffee)。  -驚訝 jīng Surprised,Amazed。-要緊 yàojǐn Essential。

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bottle-Rockets Over The Mighty Danshui River

This time last year I was living in Qingdao, PRC. At that time, in that setting, I wasn't expecting to have much of a 4th of July, which was sad because it was and still is my favorite holiday (as a kid i fell in love the the boom of fireworks exploding overhead) But the American Independence Day celebration I had on the beaches of China was one of the funnest I've had. But unfortunately this year wasn't the same. The holiday was on a monday, obviously the Taiwan government ain't giving any vacation time in honor of the day. So after classes, after finishing all the homework that was due the next day I walked over to the corner store and bought an assorted hand full of fireworks, a beer, then headed to the river bank behind my house. Using my bicycle u-lock as a launch platform, I set the bottle-rockets soaring over the waters of the river Danshui 淡水河, hummed the national anthem a few times, and toasted to my homeland.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Post-A-Day!!! (New Hair Cut 7/6/11)

       So I realize that I'm only posting to this blog when I feel something really interesting has happened. And as it happens, it could be a good few days before something interesting happens to me, or at least something that I think is interesting. But that doesn't really capture my daily life in Taipei, and thats what I wanted to do in the first place. So from now on I would like to do a post a day, probably with a picture of the most relevant thing of that particular day. It might not be very interesting, at least not to me, but will paint a mighty picture of my over all experience when this is all said and done.
So Family, Friends and Geographers, feel free to check in each often, as there should be something new each day. And feel free to scold me if there isn't something new on that day (but be kind and keep in mind I'm a busy student, and living in a different time zone, you may just have to check back in a couple hours for the new post)
Here it goes.................

     Today I got my first haircut outside of The United States! And as it were, shaved a beard off for the first time outside of The United States! This was more difficult than I thought it would be. I still have trouble deciphering Chinese restaurant menus, so I would have had a hell of a time telling the stylist what kind of haircut I wanted. But lucky for me, my good friend Hawk came along and helped translate my average hairstyle, and now I look like a million bucks! And whats more important is my head isn't as hot in this 100* weather. (Thats also why the beard had to go)
Beardo Weirdo Brendan...

Million Bucks Brendan!!!!

Tomorrow's post.......  
Puppies on Scooter?  Chasing the Garbage Truck?  More Typhoons???

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our New Bike Polo Court

In the back round is the court we used to play bike polo at.
Until the city came and tore it up to make it look like there are doing something with their funding, but in reality they pocket majority of the money. (At least this is what my friends are telling me happened.)
So now we play at this hockey rink at a huge public park located on the flood plain of the river thats to the right. Way to go Taiwan! Building a public park there is much better than building cheap housing...   america  >:(
My wonderful Taiwanese friends, and all our bikes.