Monday, January 17, 2011

surviving taiwan winters

good luck. you're in for a dreadful time. taiwan winters are dreary- cold and wet. the temp will rarely get below 5 celsius, but the relative humidity and wind (especially around areas like shin dzu) will make you wish for spring.
the main problem is taiwan houses- basically concrete ice boxes. people always ask me "isn't it colder in the US?". my answer is "yes but we have some escape from it because our houses actually have an energy efficiency rating"!
taiwan houses are built to withstand earthquakes, but nobody thought or cared to install insulation. you get MEGA cold transference via osmosis thanks to a single concrete wall to the outside and a single glass window! some houses have wooden floors installed, but nobody cared to put insulation under them either.
taiwan people say, "oh well we don't need it" which is typical because a lot of them are cheap skates who just wear more clothes and get high all day on 5000NT a bag oolong tea. it escapes them that insulation also cuts down on outside/ floor to floor noise, as well as keeping out heat in the summer.
what can be done? if you live in a small "tao fang" suite, you can put those artificial puzzle tatamis on your floor as well as hang a decorative quilt from the walls around your bed. get a small space heater and make sure you have curtains on your windows. also have a rug near your bed, and sleep with a ski cap and socks on. make sure you have a good japanese style blanket.
open the windows at least 30 minutes a day to air out the house. you can leave them cracked while you're gone to work.
drink lots of hot tea/coffee, and buy some gortex underwear/base layer.
that's what gets me by.