An Ode to the Most Controversial Country (Yes, It Is a Country)

2 min readSep 5, 2022

Oh, Taiwan. A place of dichotomies.

From outside you see one of the most disputed and tense objects of attention for fighter jets and news headlines.

From inside, one of the safest nations you’ve ever been.

Beauty of the place and people is far reaching.

Lush canopies of verdant jungle green like emeralds sprinkled on army troop garb. Leaves making lines on the mountains — long and lean like palms, where bushes jut out in fluffy little bunches.

Undulating treetops make the mountain curves textured with greenery and a plethora of plants you would never see back home. Spiky-tipped shrubs mixed with fluffy silver grass cascading down steep slopes.

The steam of the hot springs engulfing me in rich sounds, sulphur smells of egg and earth that’s been marinating for thousands of years.

A thousand year egg glistens with deep blue so dark it’s almost black — like ink drops in water, fading into a green yolk that’s seen the Roman empire fall.

Not as smelly as the tofu sold in carts dotting market streets and traditional pockets around the city. Pungent only begins to describe the stink that hits you like a thief in the night.

Suddenly you’re covering your nose, whipping your head around to look for the source.

Only moments later you spot her — Aiyi sifting crispy tofu squares out of an oil bath.