Now that I have been around for almost a month (not to mention this being my second visit in Taipei), I am starting to get the hang of it. One of the biggest adjustments is being a local - Living the working class life in a big city, falling into a regular routine - Just like every other person that I pass each day out of my 2 million+ neighbors (that's only counting the people in 'Taipei City' proper..... then there is the rest of the metro area to consider.....).
If you want to be a local, you have got to get with the program. So, just for fun, here is a taste of the things I have discovered so far to never leave home without:
The True Taiwanese
This is probably the one thing every single person has with them. If all else fails, you must be able to protect yourself from the elements! And for those of you who think that the umbrella use is limited to rainy days - think again! Fair skin is all the rage; you'd better have that thing handy to shield you from the sun as well.
2. Comfortable Walking Shoes.
There is no hop in your car hop out at your building system! Unless you have chosen to take a taxi, or have someone actually dropping you off at desired location, you will be walking! For those who do choose to drive, they still frequently walk from the parking garage to the destination, and the rest of us... well, we walk everywhere!
You'd better believe it! The abundance of street vendors and sidewalk stands in Taipei is impressive, and if you're going to experience it all, they do not take Visa!
4. Shopping bag
Oh, the ever popular shopping bag. Since it is a given that you will be walking (see above), and you will also be carrying cash (as mentioned previously)... perhaps you have already reached the conclusion that you will be carrying something home with you! Actually, for whatever reason, the locals are quite fond of carrying shopping bags for their everyday needs [which only seems odd to me because I always think... isn't that what your purse is for?], and probably 95% percent of the people you see will be carrying a bag - preferably one that says Gucci or Armani on the side ;)
The bag can hold whatever you like - lunch, your pair of painfully pretty high heeled shoes (ie - to put on once you're done walking), a book, newspaper, umbrella, etc...
Despite the heat and humidity outside, each day is a constant struggle between dressing for your walk to work, versus dressing for the freezer, aka your office. That being said, it is typical to bring an additional article of clothing that could be worn/put away at any given time as needed. [This may also end up in your shopping bag...]
Basically, if you get my gist, by the time you leave your house each day, it is pretty much like going into battle - no one wants to be caught unprepared!
And on that note - I think I'll follow up tomorrow with what a tourist should never leave home without ;)
Since I am pretty much a combo.