23 June 2010

Bettle nut

Dear TCG

What is a bettle [sic] nut culture?

I've never seen it in China so what is it all about?


Dear Andre

I am not surprised you have never heard of or seen Betel nuts, as it is a Taiwanese thing and this blog isn't really ask the Taiwanese guy and I dunno. However since my on off gf is from Taipei I might as well have a crack at this.

Essentially a Betel nut is a carcinogenic chewy nut thing which is like wired chewing gum sort of thing a mild stimulant Back in the 1970s or 1980s somebody selling them decided to put the girls selling them into skimpy costumes. A car stops beside the road a guy leans out and a Betel nut beauty steps out in skimpy clothing (in all weathers) and hands them a nut wrapped in its leaves sort of like a small 粽 a few NT$. She bows (TCG is non Han Chinese btw and just to give you a clue can never bow or get on my knees EVER) and the guy usually attempts to cop a feel.

Today they are smarter and give them to you at arms length so you have to reach out at arms length to be able to get them.

This has consequently spread through all tiers of society so you get cigarette sellers, newspaper sellers all sold by skimpily dressed women. Which I reckon is more sucessful than old ladies who used to sell them. Way back when I had to visit a place called Hualien they had old women selling stuff.... but like Seoul really as you get old ladies walking around pushing a cart of Yogurt you don't tend to get that anywhere else.

Consequently it feels strange like you are driving through de wallen in Amsterdam or something but EVERYWHERE. But its not actually sexual at all, they are just costumes and they are just trying to make a living. Compared to farming etc it is high paid and thus you get swathes of pretty girlies doing this by the roadside. Sure sure real working girls exist in Taipei but this is several notches up in terms of face/respectability than being a WG.

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