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Am I Getting Used To People Being Nice?

On getting used to hospitality.

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So I’m sitting in a Seven Eleven on Greater Kinmen Island doing some work — the real life of the traveling journalist may not be as romantic as it seems — when this young guy walked up to me and gave me a can of coffee that he’d just purchased.

“This is for you,” he said in English.

I said thank you.  He waved goodbye and walked out the door.

I went back to work.

Then stopped short. I just received a small gift from a random stranger and I acted as if it was something usual.

But honestly, it kind of is. A random guy in a restaurant just gave my daughters two new little kid cups hardly an hour before.

Am I, after 18 years of travel, starting to take such expressions of hospitality for granted?

I don’t think so. I imagine there is a difference between taking something for granted and taking something as normal.

Hospitality is different in different parts of the world. If you were to buy some random guy a coffee in a convenient store in the USA and then turn and walk out the door that would be incredibly strange, and a cause for suspicion — and rightfully so: this just isn’t done there. But here on Kinmen, in the heart of East Asia, this is something that people do.

There is a reason why I stay east.

Filed under: Kinmen, Taiwan, Travel Diary

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3705 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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