A: It's next to the bank.
I can think of several restaurants next to banks. The first one that sprang to mind was the hot pot restaurant on Jung Hua Road. Haven't been there in ages. My favorite hot pot restaurants are the one inside the Showtime Cineplex and Ning Ji, which is tucked behind the Poya on Shin Sheng Road.
Banks in Taitung City: Almost all the banks in Taitung City are on Junghua Road. The Bank of Taiwan is the best place to go if you're dealing with foreign currencies or anything international. The worst place to go is the post office, where simple things become very complicated.
Q: Where's the supermarket?
A: It's across from the movie theater.
There are no supermarket across from the movie theater! There is however a PX Mart not far from the Showtime Cineplex. I almost never go to that one. There's another PX Mart on Kai Feng Street, which I go to a lot more.
Supermarkets in Taitung City: There are PX Marts everywhere. Carrefour, on Jeng Chi Road, and RT Mart near the Prehistory Museum have large selections of international foods.
Q: Where's the school?
A: It's between the library and the park.
Can't think of any school between a library and a park. The City Library is on Nan Jing Road behind the Teacher's Hostel, not far from the McDonald's on Shin Sheng Road. My school is between Mackay Hospital and a bunch of houses. I can see Liyu Mountain from where I'm sitting right now, and on the other side of my school is the Tai Ping River.
Schools in Taitung City: The big university is Taitung University, about 20 minutes south in Jerben. The Taitung Boys' and Girls' senior high schools are where kids go to study things more academic. There are many other vocational schools in and around the city.
Q: Where's the post office?
A: It's around the corner from the hospital.
I can't think of any post office around the corner from any hospital. There's no post office near Mackay. The closest hospital/post office combo I can think of is that tiny hospital on Jung Hua Road, which is down the street from a post office.
Post offices in Taitung City: They're everywhere of course. One of the bigger ones is at the intersection of Geng Sheng Road and Chuan Guang Road.
Q: Where's the bakery?
A: It's next to the video store.
There are no more video stores. Blockbuster is history, as is the Eastern King. I used to spend many hours in both places. The internet has robbed us of those experiences - hanging out in video stores, pouring through CD shops - but I guess we'll always have the memories.
Bakeries in Taitung City: There are countless small bakeries around town. None of these bakeries will serve bread that foreign visitors will like that much. In my opinion you might as well just buy your bread at Carrefour.
Q: Where's the barber shop?
A: It's across from the bakery.
This one might actually be true, but I can't think of where it is. It seems likely there's at least one barber shop across from one bakery somewhere in the city. There are a lot of barber shops and bakeries that escape people's notice.
Barber shops in Taitung City: They are numberless.
Q: Where's the book store?
A: It's between the bus station and the cafeteria.
This might have been true when the Eslite was still open, and also if you translate "cafeteria" as 自助餐. Eslite was about halfway between the bus station and a buffet on Bo Ai Road. The Tong Yi Bookstore was also, for that matter, halfway between the old, secret bus station and another "cafeteria" on Jung Hua Road.
Bookstores in Taitung City: With Eslite now closed, the biggest bookstore is the Tong Yi Bookstore on Junghua Road. They don't sell English books however. If you're looking for English books your best bet is probably the Taitung City Library.
Q: Where's the bus station?
A: It's around the corner from the clinic.
This is true. There's a Chinese medicine clinic on Shin Sheng Road. If you turn past there and go all the way down you'll see the bus station.
Bus stations in Taitung City: The big bus station is behind the Showtime Cineplex. I haven't taken a local bus in ages so I am not a good person to ask about that.
Q: Where's the cafeteria?
A: It's next to the department store.
If you define the Showtime Cineplex as a "department store" there might be a cafeteria of sorts next to it. In the alley behind Uniqlo there's a vegetarian grocery store, and I believe they used to serve cooked food. Do they still do so? I'm not sure.
Cafeterias in Taitung City: There's a good vegetarian one in Beinan Township, on Jong Shing Road, just before you reach the Beinan Ruins Park. That place is surprisingly popular.
Q: Where's the clinic?
A: It's across from the drug store.
This has got to be true. There are so many clinics, located near so many drug stores. I'm thinking near the Pizza Hut there's got to be a clinic across from a drug store.
Clinics in Taitung City: As with the barber shops, they are numberless.
Q: Where's the department store?
A: It's between the hair salon and the health club.
I can't think of any hair salons or health clubs anywhere near the Showtime Cineplex. The only health club I can think of downtown is that Hideout place. It's an odd little combination of gym, bar, and restaurant. A friend of mine said the bar is frightfully expensive.
Department stores in Taitung City: As said above, the Showtime Cineplex is as close as Taitung City comes to having its own department store. Back in the day we had a San Shang 三商, but that's long gone.
Q: Where's the drug store?
A: It's around the corner from the hotel.
There is a drug store around the corner from the Naruwan Hotel. Sort of. I can't think of any drug stores near the Sheraton or the Gaya. I've been glad to see fewer hotels going up in recent years. For a while the construction was out of control.
Drug stores in Taitung City: There's probably one around the corner from wherever you are.
Q: Where's the hair salon?
A: It's next to the laundromat.
This has to be true somewhere. With all the hotels springing up a lot of laundromats were opened up too. The closest laundromat to my house is on Jong Shing Road, about halfway to the 85 Coffee Shop on Geng Sheng Road. The closest hair salon is right around the corner from my apartment building.
Hair salons in Taitung City: Too many to count.
Q: Where's the health club?
A: It's across from the school.
Can't think of any health clubs across from any schools. I believe Taitung City's biggest health club is on Geng Sheng Road, on the way to the train station. Am I cynical, or is the ultimate goal of any health club to get laid? I differentiate here between gyms and health clubs. I could see people going to (smaller) gyms without sexual intentions, but I'm not sure why anyone would bother with one of those health clubs if they weren't looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Health clubs in Taitung City: For a weirder alternative you could go to the second floor gym near the intersection of Sse Wei Road and Chuan Guang Road.
Q: Where's the hotel?
A: It's between the train station and the video store.
Zooming WAY out on the map, the Bali Hotel at the intersection of Geng Sheng and Chuan Guang Roads was once between the train station and the Eastern King video store. But of course the Eastern King is history now.
Hotels in Taitung City: The most famous is probably still the Naruwan Hotel, which has several buildings around the city. After that are probably the Sheraton and the Gaya, both downtown. There are hundreds of places to stay in Taitung City. It's a big business.
Q: Where's the laundromat?
A: It's around the corner from the bakery.
Again, this has to be true somewhere. And if we were to put it to a vote, what would the best bakery in Taitung City be? Donutes? Obama? Apollo? I have a couple foreign friends who enjoy Donutes, Obama is the most expensive, and Apollo's moon cakes are very popular.
Laundromats in Taitung City: There are laundromats everywhere. I usually go to the laundromat behind the police station near Carrefour. It can be an interesting place to watch people.
Q: Where's the train station?
A: It's next to the barber shop.
Not true. There's not much out by the Taitung Train Station, though the area has "improved" in recent years. There are a lot more houses/homestays in that area, a 7-11 and a Family Mart, and even a couple restaurants. At the time of writing the roads around the train station are being resurfaced, and driving into that place is not fun.
Train stations in Taitung City: The Taitung Train Station is northwest of downtown. The Kangle Train Station is also inside the city, and a convenient place if you're headed to the Prehistory Museum. I believe the Jerben Train Station is technically in the city limits, but that would only be convenient if you're headed to the hot springs.
Q: Where's the video store?
A: It's across from the book store.
No, it never was. The Blockbuster's old location is now the home of the Taitung Farmer's Association, a stationary store, and Lai Lai Steakhouse. Across from that location is McDonald's, Net, the Farmer's Association supermarket and Poya. Where the Eastern King used to be there's a Korean restaurant. Across from that there's a ginger duck restaurant.
Video stores in Taitung City: Nope.