Our new favorite store

By Julia Werth, Student Participant

As ever present as the magnificent rocky outcroppings along the mountain roads of Taiwan are, they don’t come close to keeping up with the number of 7ELEVENs. On every busy city street you find at least four, on every side road you find at least three and at over a mile of elevation on a mountain ridge where Chiang Kai-Shek’s original soldiers retired to sheep farms you find not one, but two 7ELEVENs.

7ELEVEN on the street

Imagine if all of the Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and CVS stores in a typical New England city were 7ELEVEN. That is maybe an accurate estimate, maybe.

And what can you buy at 7ELEVEN you may ask? A lot more than you can in the US. A better question would be what can you buy and do.

The expected things naturally – gum, advil, prepackaged snacks and drinks. But also spaghetti and meatball meals ready to go, seaweed sandwiches, stuffed animals and, always, your choice of boiling mushrooms and questionable roasting meats. Of course you can also exchange money, use the ATM, pay your parking ticket…the list goes on and on.

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After surviving off the products of 7ELEVEN for nearly a week – where would we be without Mr. Browns – all 18 of us were distressed to hear that tonight will be our last night with access to our wonder store as tomorrow we head up even more in elevation where even 7ELEVEN dare not go.

“So stock up on whatever you may need,” Alice warned us all after dinner.

And we did, at the most decorated 7ELEVEN we have seen yet. It even had a gift shop where stuffed animals of their mascot – don’t worry they do have one, his name is OpenChan – can be purchased. Thankfully, we didn’t have to make our goodbyes to 7ELEVEN on our own. The swiss garden near our hotel gave us a splendid opportunity with a water and light show to the 7ELEVEN theme song.

So thank you and so long for now to the green, orange and white.