Admit it. We all have stereotypes to others, one way or the other. It’s not our voluntary fault, most of the time. They are created, strengthened and amplified by media, be it TV, movies, internet, and books, especially guidebooks. It has a far-reaching effects to tourists and others.
I am translating a GV post about stereotypes, and it talks about how media and create and break them. According to my 1.5 years of experiences working in a bookstore, Lonely Planet definitely stands top in the chart. It’s influential as so many people buy them as the sole reference for travelling around. Solana brings a Lonely Planet Taiwan with her this time (but she still has Global Voices as references). It’s the latest edition (published in November 2007, ISBN 9781741045482), but it still has some things that may need to be clarified.
The section “Don’t Leave Home Without” is on P. 23. It has a few lines sound interesting to me. It says you need to bring “Tampons – If you are travelling outside Taipei” and “A Towel – If you are staying at cheaper hotels and don’t like to dry with tea towels”. I don’t know why people have to be panic about that, since we have drug stores, wholesale stores and supermarkets, not to mention many of them are opening 24/7. By the way, we also have somthing you may be familiar: 7-ELEVEN. The total number of franchises of this convenient store is 4810 today on their website (at the lower left corner of the page). Relax, people.
In the same page, it also warns tourists to bring “Underwear – especially for women; you won’t like what’s here.” I am not sure why authors, Robert Kelly & Joshua Samuel Brown, are interested in women’s underwear in the first place, but we do sell Calvin Klein here, fortunately according to our field trip to department stores. Solana, as a female at least for this moment, says it looks totally the same as in the United States. I wonder what they saw and/or bought.
At the night of this day, Solana and I go clubbing for dancing and relax, which happens to be my first club experience, both locally and internationally. It shows that Taiwan does have quite a few tourists from Western countries. Maybe they just live like owls and all concentrate to clubs and bars at night. I suppose that is also a new thing to learn – beyond stereotypes.