Blogging on bathrooms and transport in a land of regulations

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I’m catching up on blog posts I should have posted months ago from different countries over the next few months. I hope you don’t mind.

In Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Thailand, I could get a local phone number for a few dollars and be done. The any rules of the road are governed by the people who are on the road and the speed limits are whatever people feel comfortable with, even if it’s 90 km/hour on a scooter (more commonly referred to as mottos in Asia). So I was a bit culture shocked coming to Taiwan in December, a country with enforced regulations that people actually follow.

After being in Taiwan for a few days, my reaction to enforced rules was:

“What?! You have to show two pieces of ID just to get a phone number?”

“What?! There are traffic lights here and people actually follow the road rules? It takes forever to cross the street.”

But it is refreshing and good to know there are some places with some sense of order.

Well-organized transport

Piano player at one of the train stations. I would love to see more public art and hired musicians in Vancouver, Canada at our bus and skytrain station to complement the wonderful buskers.

Taiwan has one of the cleanest and easiest transportation systems I have ever seen. The train lines, high speed rail and slow trains that connect to different parts of the country make it very easy to travel. This is the first country I’ve seen between Cambodia, Laos and Thailand that really accommodates pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly very well.

There is also great public art and unique designs at the train stations that make the place more vibrant.

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Sign at the High Speed Rail station.

Clean and functionally designed bathrooms

I really appreciate places with smart and functional design and the public bathrooms in Taiwan are among the cleanest and smartly designed. I know it seems weird for someone to write about bathrooms but after doing my business in every type of bathroom you can imagine, you appreciate common comforts like toilet paper.

Just when I thought they couldn’t make the bathrooms any more convenient, anther train station bathroom surprises me because it has real-time bathroom stall updates so you know which ones are free and which ones are occupied. Wow.

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Real-time bathroom stall updates.

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Bathroom at the train station.

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This is the first “help” button I’ve seen in a public bathroom stall. Very considerate. Though aside from an elderly person falling, I’m wondering what other situations would require people to use this convenient feature. Hmmmmmm.

The best automatic dryer I’ve ever used. Your hands are dry within seconds.

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