“The Bachelorette” goes to Taiwan

I do not watch either “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” It has become an American cultural phenomenon, so I am familiar with the basic idea. I was intrigued when I read that the contestants went to Taiwan in the latest episode of “The Bachelorette.” It’s not every day that Taiwan shows up on national television. I had to watch to find out which places they visited in Taiwan!

The opening montage has images of 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park), 日月潭 (Sun Moon Lake), and Taipei 101. The guys start out at the front of 故宮博物院 (National Palace Museum). It looks like they all stayed at 臺北晶華酒店 (The Regent Taipei). All the links in this post are to the English websites.

Ashley and Constantine visit 平溪 (Ping Shi) in New Taipei City. This must have been filmed sometime in February because they were able to attend 新北市平溪天燈節 (New Taipei City Pingxi International Sky Lantern Festival). The exact dates vary from year to year because the festival is held on the fifteenth day of the new lunar year, which is 元宵節 (Lantern Festival). The sky lanterns are unique to the lantern festival celebrations in 平溪 (Ping Shi). Ashley and Constantine write wishes on a paper lantern. At night, the lantern is lit with a candle inside and it floats into the sky.

Ashley and Ben go to 太魯閣國家公園 (Taroko National Park). They travel around by moped, taking in the scenery of 太魯閣峽谷 (Taroko Gorge). There’s mist in the mountains, and flowing waterfalls and rivers. They walk on the suspension bridge near 長春祠 (Changchun Shrine or Eternal Spring Shrine) I think the shrine is in the background of one shot. They end up at 太魯閣晶英酒店 (Silks Place Taroko) for dinner.

The third date is a group date with Lucas, J.P., and Ames. They take wedding photos at Sophia 蘇菲雅婚紗攝影 in Taipei City. Wedding photos in Taiwan are an elaborate affair. Usually there are photos in traditional Chinese outfits and Western-style wedding outfits. There can be any number of additional pictures in themed outfits and backgrounds. Lucas and Ashley wear traditional Chinese outfits (long robe and quipao). Ames wears a baby blue suit with a pink shirt. Ashley is in a glittering and sparkling dress. They pose in a tree. J.P. and Ashley are in Western-style wedding outfits (tuxedo and wedding gown). The background is a picture of 女王頭 (Queen’s Head) in 野柳地質公園 (Yeh Liu Geopark). It is a famous rock formation that looks like the profile of a queen.

Ryan and Ashley start out at the front of 故宮博物院 (The National Palace Museum). They go to 龍山寺 (Longshan Temple). A way to communicate with the gods is with a pair of red moon-shaped blocks. The blocks have a rounded side and a flat side. The worshiper prays and throws the blocks three times. If the blocks land on opposite sides each time, the gods are agreeing. Ryan and Ashley’s attempt is all wrong. They each take a block, make their own wishes, and throw the blocks once. Both blocks land flat side up. The next stop is 中正紀念堂 (Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall). We get a nice shot of the mailboxes in Taiwan during Ryan’s post-rejection montage. The green ones are for domestic mail and red ones for overseas mail.

The rose ceremony takes place at the 林本源園邸 (Lin Family Mansion and Gardens) in 新北市板橋區 (New Taipei City, Ban Chiao District). It is a traditional Chinese house and garden. It is a historical site and it would have been nice to visit during the day.

I wonder if the contestants visited other places in Taiwan. Since the visit was only a week, I can understand only traveling around Taipei City and New Taipei City. They did not show them going to Taipei 101 or 日月潭 (Sun Moon Lake). Did they ever enter 故宮博物院 (National Palace Museum)? I’m a bit disappointed that the show did not take advantage of Taiwan’s culinary variety. I think given the restrictions of the show (the need to create memories and romance), Taiwan was given a fair portrayal. There was nature and culture and some fun.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is preparing travel packages similar to the itinerary on “The Bachelorette.” One of the grand prizes to The Bachelorette Ultimate Getaway Sweepstakes is a five-day (four-night) trip for two to Taiwan. Here’s a video from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau that gives a great overview of the things that make Taiwan unique. The Portuguese name for Taiwan is Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island) and is sung in the chorus.

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