We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day 5: Show and Tell

We all slept from 7:30 to 5:00am this morning. Sweet sleep, much needed honey-coated sleep. For all intents and purposes (incense and porpoises) we're over the jetlag now. Out to get coffee and breakfast at 5:30 and things are much more reasonable at this time of day. People only mildly look at the white guy funny here. I forgot to mention the park from yesterday when we went on our walk. It's maybe 1/4 mile from the apartment and every old man in the town goes there to pass the day. They all looked at me like I was a walking 6 foot tall squid.

One thing that I totally forgot about the people here are the visits.They're best summarized as frequent, fast, and furious. You might get bombarded by people but it's not uncommon to see someone for all of 10minutes or even less. I like this a lot. If you're in the area you can stop by and see an aunt for 15 minutes and there's no repercussions for such a short stay. In the states, if you did that people would think you rude.There are other various aspects of this practice, like showing up empty handed. But by and large it's ok to not plan half a day around a visit like we do. Say hi, quick cup of tea, and we're off.

Oh I should also mention on day 5 I still have not had a proper cup of tea,hot and sour soup, a scallion pancake, fish roll, fish soup, nor stinky tofu. This must change soon! My wife also mentioned bubble tea.

Out around 8:00 to the street market where people sell all sorts of stuff.I would even be tempted to use the word myriad. Fruit and veggies up the wazoo, raw meat, cooked meat, fish, meat concoctions, plus breakfast foods and snacks in hundreds and hundreds of little stalls. People buzz back and forth on foot, bikes, scooters, and even small cars. This is awesome,really alive with people. This is the culture I was talking about yesterday. Just being part of it all. Seeing the tourist stuff is cool and all. But this is a necessary part of the trip IMO. Shortly after we're back out to the family jewelry store to get a small diamond replaced that fell out of Nat's wedding ring years ago. I also got my first real cup of tea there. Ah, good stuff. Feels good to back back in tea country. But I need more.

We're in the country now and the looks that the old-timers give the whitey are great. I've never actually seen some one's jaw drop open but a few times this morning I did. Good stuff.

Immersing yourself in the culture also means work, which is good as it means I am nominally useful as opposed to little more than an eating machine. Back at the apartment I am enlisted in helping Nat's aunt disassemble a bed and bring it downstairs for a relative coming to town to vote in next Saturday's presidential election. You would think that I could get away from politics here but their election is the day I leave. Plus, Obama was on the front page of the local newspaper yesterday. Today he takes a back seat to the Taiwanese baseball team that just qualified for the Olympics. Cool stuff.

Lunch is "in" which means only 3 of the things we ate were bought outside and brought back. We bought a bunch of veggies today because it's hard to get enough veggies when you're on vacation. We also found a Domino's so Julia can have her pizza. This will also give us an opportunity to try pizza here, which is not something we would normally do. It turned out to be about what you would expect anywhere. Generic Domino's pizza. I guess if you needed your fix you could easily get it there.

After lunch I hopped on the exercise bike for an hour of hard exercise. I needed to make it short and to the point because this isn't a riding vacation, per se. Maybe I should say fuck the race season and balloon up to220 over these 2 weeks. It was a tough start but after I was done I felt really good. It was certainly a needed shot to the system.

We went out for our afternoon show and tell at 2:30 with a planned stop at some park along the river before dinner. Today was a lot of sitting around the apartment so overall not terribly exciting. The park was cool. We got to feed some fish and ducks which Julia loved so that was nice. Stuff you used to think was lame is now great when you have a kid who loves it.

After the park we went to see Nat's grandmother again. Nat's dad tries to get the entire family to go see her every day which is a bit tedious but then again we only have an hour before we meet Nat's oldest uncle for dinner. So what else are we going to do? At least it gets us out of the house. Show and tell, show and tell. Do tell, you smell.

Dinner is one of "those meals" that makes coming here the eating festival that it is. When the first dish came out it was a big plate of shrimp.Everyone took only 1. I know this game so I did the same. I knew many more dishes were coming out and I needed to save room for them all. I had enough room but it wasn't for a lack of food. When all was said and done we hadn't cleared the table. There was far too much food for that to happen.

I would try to describe the food but it's useless to try and itemize everything we ate. We had dinner in an absolute hole in the wall, a place where the 3 Second Rule would be suspended and replaced with the 0 Second Rule. Very possibly I'm the only white person to ever eat there. We had dinner in Suou which is an international port known for its arsenal of fishing boats that sail from there. So the meal was seafood based, and it was really good at that. All good stuff, not a single dish I didn't think was excellent. These Taiwanese know their tower, tunnels, and food.

Julia wasn't a big fan of the show and tell. Her comfort zone is being threatened and all these new faces and strangers who want to hold her make her pretty nervous. Not much you can do with that. All these people want to see her and in the end, they all give her money and leave her be, more or less. Hopefully she gets used to this a little bit over the next few days,though after we've been here a week most of it will be over for her.

Another day ends in Food World.

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  • At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Terren said…

    Great stuff again whitey, makes it easy to live vicariously through you... the stuff about the market was cool. Hope you can get all the stinky tofu you want... say hi to Nat for us.


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