And I’m back…

Well, things didn’t work as planned and I’m back in Taiwan since a couple of months ago. It’s good to be back and things are looking up in terms of work for a change.

I guess it’s time to update things here a bit, but I’m quite swamped with work at the moment. The site has been moved to a new host, so let’s hope there are no hiccups with that. Until next time, whenever that may be…

The Fu Bar at Fulong beach

It’s quite surprising what you can find on this island and one of the better places to eat here – at least if you’re into grilled meats – is the Fu Bar at Fulong beach. The Fu Bar is owned by a South African couple which happens to be friends of ours and they offer a wide range of “exotic” food, at least to the Taiwanese pallet.

The main options includes a large selection of grilled meats off the barbecue – including home made boerewors – all of which is flavours by special marinades and spice mixes made by the owner. They also serve toasted pitas with various fillings ranging from meat to vegetarian options. All the meals come with a side salad and some also come with mieliepap which is a corn based dish somewhat similar to mashed potatoes in texture. They also offer a selection of drinks and apparently also dessert, something we’ve missed on our half dozen or so visits last year.

The Fu Bar is located right next to a large car park, a play ground and less than two minutes walk form the beach, which is in fact very good by Taiwanese standards. The Fu Bar is at the far end of the beach, so there’s no need to pay to access the beach. Just make sure you bring some suitable foot wear, as the sand gets very hot and the first time I burnt myself so badly I got blisters as I din’t bring any flip flops.

For more information we suggest you hit up the Fu Bar website

Update: The Fu Bar has changed owner and is now known as the Scubar. I have not visited since the new owners took over.

How to get or renew your work permit and ARC on your own

One of the things with living in Taiwan as a foreigner is that you need to have a valid work permit to work here and to be able to apply for an ARC or Alien Resident Card.

For most people, the company you work for will do this for you, but not all companies do this and if you’re running your own business, you’re either going to have to do it on your own, or have an accountant do it for you, usually at several times the actual cost.

The whole process is a bit of a mess though and takes a fair bit of running around, especially if you like me, haven’t done it before. There are a few things you need to prepare, such as copies of your passport (and ARC if you have one), your chops, a letter of employment stating your salary, hire date and termination date, tax records (which I’ll go into a bit more detail about shortly) and in the case of you having your own business, some paperwork that proves that you’re in Taiwan for serious business reasons such as a calendar with appointments and a few select emails (all stamped with your chops). You need to bring this with you to the Workforce Development Agency located here (it’s in the same building as the Thaisugar Hotel, just slightly in the back and on the 10th floor and up) if you live in Taipei City. On a side-note, this is also where you go and apply for your open work permit once you get an APRC. There’s a NT$500 fee for the work permit (NT$250 for the open work permit, but you need a photo for this one), which also have to be paid at the time of the application. Normally you’d get a two year work permit, although one and three years is also possible, as it depends on your contract and ARC.

For Taipei City residents you need to go to the main tax office in Taipei which is located here to get the tax papers you need. Sadly I can’t tell you what you need, but the staff at the Workforce Development Agency will be able to inform you as to the specific documents you need to submit. Just be aware that if you’ve ever stayed in Taiwan for more than 90 days in a single year over the past seven years without filing for taxes, you might end up running into some problems, as the tax office will check your entry and exit records to the country.

Once you’ve submitted enough documentation to the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training it should take no more than 7-10 days for you to get your work permit. Once you’ve collected your work permit (or had it sent to you) you need to visit the National Immigration Agency which is located here. Here you need to fill in a form and once again bring copies of your passport, a letter of employment, as well as any pre-existing ARC, which they will keep at this point. The cost is NT$1,000 per year for the ARC, so if you have a two year work permit and want a two year ARC, you have to bring NT$2,000. As a side note, if you’re applying for an APRC the cost is NT$10,000. Normally it takes about two weeks for the ARC to be processed, so keep this in mind if you have to leave the country, although it’s possible to get a piece of paper from the National Immigration Agency that will get you back into the country again. You can also get a paper here in case you need to get a bank account, cellular phone, etc. with a number and a great big stamp that works as a temporary ARC.

If you want to take the easy route, or are looking at setting up a business in Taiwan, I’d recommend JusRegal, a local accountant located in central Taipei whom I used to set up my representative office here some years ago. However, don’t expect them to help too much outside of what you pay for.  I would avoid using Good Earth CPA, as they’re not only very slow, but I was kindly told to go elsewhere when I was asking them to at least respond to email within 24h, which apparently was too much to ask for.

Hopefully this is of some use and once you know what you need to supply the Workforce Development Agency, it’s really not that hard to renew your work permit on your own. That said, if you live outside of Taipei City, or have your business registered outside of Taipei City, you’re going to have to find your local equivalent, which could be located quite far from where you live and work.

This post was updated on the 24th of July 2016

New site design and some changes

Well, I’ve finally gotten around to do something of a custom design, not sure it’s the final choice, especially the colours, but it’s a work in progress. I’ve also updated the supermarket list, as some things were not up to date and I added another small chain called Kuma to the list.

I still suck at blogging regularly, but hey, such is life I guess. Been keeping busy with tons of work recently, too much in fact, but the good news is that I’m at least finally starting to make some money. Been doing a couple of video projects and learnt a lot along the way and I’m still learning. If this works out to be a regular thing, then I’m going to have to invest in some better equipment and as tempted as I am by Sony’s new NEX-VG10, it’s a bit outside of my current budget to say the least.

At least the weather has been ok the last couple of weeks, although a tad on the hot side with it hitting 36 degrees plus. Either which way it’s better than rain…

Computex is over, yet work hasn’t slowed down…

The first week of June was Computex, which is usually the busiest week for me in the year, but for whatever reason, I’m getting requests to do freelance work from left, right and centre. I guess it’s a good thing as work has been slow, which in return means I haven’t been making a lot of money. Things are looking up though and if things work out as they appear, then it looks like I’ll be doing a lot better than I have since I moved to Taiwan. I guess these things take time, but when you’re down and out it just doesn’t look like there’s an end to the misery, but apparently there is

Otherwise life is treating me pretty good these days, need to start moving my ass, as I’ve been getting way too lazy and put on too much extra weight these past six months or so. I just don’t have the drive to go to the gym and there’s really no-where to walk to where I live now, so I don’t go out for walks either. Anyone got ideas on how to make me want to move my backside? 😀

I’ve got a few new eateries I need to add to the blog as well and I’m looking at sorting out a new design for the blog, as I’m seeing this one all over the place. Sure, it’s a good template, but I think I’m going to try to go with something a bit more original.

Anyhow, I’ll try to at least update things once a month, as I’ve been really bad at this whole bloging thing. Until next time…