in taiwan postcards postcrossing

taiwan mailboxes

for us, looking for mailboxes is just something we do instinctively, everywhere we go. the most common ones in taiwan are a pair of green (normal mail) and red (priority) cuboids, sometimes condensed into a single divided mailbox.  if feels like they’re in every street, and they’re so iconic that they even have their own postcards! 

but there are others as well — we’ve spotted a couple of themed ones, dressed up to celebrate taiwan’s indigenous people:

the most famous mailboxes we’ve seen though were a set that was struck by typhoon soudelor in 2015. they’re bent sideways, as if swept by the wind, and have become a bit of a symbol of resilience.

the plaque says:

On august 8th, 2015, Typhoon Soudelor struck Taiwan. We were hit in the heads by a signboard as a result and couldn’t help but lean over from the pain. It was so painful in fact, we can’t stand up straigth anymore. But we persevered. We didn’t fall over after all. We have to take life as it is comes and in a way, I think we look more artsy and sophisticated this way! Did we inspire you? Take a picture with us to remind yourselves that we are all survivors and can persevere no matter what.


foooood in taiwan

old school taiwanese carton boxes

when you’re in a place where everything is new, your senses become attuned to all kinds of things that you normally don’t pay much attention to — manhole covers, street signs, the shape of benches, or all the different fauna and flora. 

in taiwan, i was kind of fascinated by the old-school designs of the produce boxes we sometimes found in streets, piled in corners or stacked behind food stalls, each with the drawing of its contents. illustrated bitter gourds, cabbage, tomatoes…. 

i don’t know if the contents actually match the drawings, but they’re still beautiful to look at and admire their variety. 

foooood in taiwan


mochi are sticky rice flour sweets with different fillings. everyone knows them from japan, but they’re a big thing in taiwan as well, with different flavors and variations. there was a stall next to our airbnb in taipei that did them right there on the street, and they were amazing — especially the one with ground peanut inside, though the red bean was also pretty good.

our favorites though were given to us by a local postcrosser, and had fresh strawberries inside. 😍 so, so good!

i have some sticky rice flour at home, so i think i might try my hand at making them one day!

foooood in taiwan

bubble tea <3

ah, the land of bubble tea! 😍 once you find the perfect balance of ice, sweetness and chewiness, it’s probably one of the best drinks out there. and to think we’ve been suspicious of the british all this time for putting milk in their tea… maybe they were missing the bubbles!

in taiwan, tea and drinks shops are everywhere, and so we’ve been having it as much of it as the fancy strikes. our airbnb in taipei has both a 50岚 and a tenren nearby, and they’re both really good. you order what you want, and the people prepare it for you in a couple of minutes — making the tea, mixing the right amount of sugar and ice, adding the little tapioca balls and shaking everything before pouring it into a cup. i’ve almost managed to make the whole order in chinese, but there always seems to be something tripping me… last time i got through almost to the end, only for the lady to ask me what size of tapioca pearls did i want. this is the issue with chinese: vocabulary acquisition is ridiculously time-consuming, and i can really feel that my vocabulary is not up to snuff.

anyway, it’s worth the learning curve for the joy that is walking around while sipping and chewing slightly sweet bubble tea on a hot day. and sometimes, it doesn’t even need to have tea inside — our favorite variation of the drink was just milk with brown sugar pearls, topped with burnt sugar, with taro flavor being a close second.

the only bad thing about it is all the disposable cups and plastic straws. most of the cups now are made of a kind of cardboard (since taiwan banned single-use plastic cups last year) but the straws are still problematic. if i stayed longer, i’d definitely consider a reusable cup, but they’re kind of useless back home… :( oh well.

birdwatching in taiwan

taiwan blue magpie

another bird we saw in taiwan was their famous blue magpie, which is endemic to the island and a little bit of a symbol of the country. you can find it in postcards and even murals!

we saw it really unexpectedly too: it just pranced in the path ahead of us mid-hike in yangmingshan, mindless of our human proximity, as if it just didn’t care. we were so shocked that we first froze in place, and then scrambled to get some pictures.

they didn’t turn out great, but still, it made us happy to have gotten this quiet moment with the special blue bird. :)