betel girls and love shacks

But before I sleep… Interesting snippet of local culture. National Central University is located in Chungli, a sort of working class industrial district, with a large Hakka population. Along the highway at intervals you can see these little storefronts, which are essentially display cases for pretty young girls who sell betel nut, a chemically enhanced but originally organic stimulant favoured largely by truck drivers. It might be about betel nut, but it’s as much about the gaze. Favours beyond the betel nut are, Wenchi tells us, not unheard of. Girls will charge “$100 for three,” ie, one betel nut and two of something else.

Taipei seems pretty sexed up as Asian cities go. Our hotel (which is perfectly clean and nice) rents rooms by the hour. There are many joyous noises to be heard in the hallways, however, at all hours of the day and night.

“I know a little shack by the side of the road…”

Posted in