We make holes in teeth!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taiwan Day 26 - Ilan & the Mall

Full picture set of the day here: Flickr set or slideshow.

Today we were greeted with some sort of smell in the apartment that had us concerned for our safety. It wasn't a burning smell, exactly. But it was a strong odor which smelled sort of like paint thinner, but we couldn't tell where it was coming from. The best guess was the air conditioning unit, since that's the general area where it seemed the strongest. The a/c units here are embedded in the wall, a permanent fixture in every room. It's took expensive to run the a/c all the time, so you just turn it on when you go into a room, as needed. We weren't running the a/c at the time though.

We moved Julia into the other bedroom, and I found a fan and blew the air out into the back foyer which is vented to the outside, and we shut the door. After maybe a half hour, the smell got a bit better, and more or less went away after about an hour. We had been waiting for Nat's aunt/uncle to wake up to ask them what the deal was, but it went away on its own, for better or worse. I'm never a big fan of letting things go, so even after the smell faded we got Nat's aunt and as soon as she walked into the apartment she smelled it, and said it smelled electrical, and she guessed it was the dehumidifier. It turns out that upon further inspection, the back side of it was indeed emitting the smell. Apparently it was about to catch fire. I had turned it off at the time, but didn't notice it stink at all, even after I moved it into a different room to try and isolate the smell.

The combination of this and the rain kept me inside this morning. Still feeling tired from the past week, so it wasn't an unwelcomed easy morning.

I also forgot to post this pic Nat got from yesterday of some guy on a scooter towing a cart along side him. And you wonder why the driving here is so chaotic?

Once we got things taken care of on the "poison gas" front, we settled in and did some more nothing for the rest of the morning. Since I didn't ride I was able to front-load a bunch of work which gave me time during the day to burn, which we decided to do by hopping on a train and going up to Ilan to pick up some stuff at the store which we can't get here, like cream cheese and Nutella, 2 of the 5 or 6 items on the Julia Food Pyramid. They also have a different beer selection up there so it was something to give a shot at.

Terren also posted a reply at some point in there saying that he's still reading. So aside from my mother and my wife, who admits she doesn't even read all of my posts, I have at least 1 reader for the duration, which at this point is only another 17 days after this day is over. He requested nudity, which I really can't help with. But I started taking more random pictures of strangers, since so many of them like to stare at us. Funny, but I felt like a rock star in Ilan today. I guess not a lot of white people go there, as it seemed like many more people had the staring thing going on than usual.

On the train to Ilan:

The train took 8 minutes and cost about $1.50 for all 3 of us to ride. We then walked to the mall from the train station in about 10 minutes, with a quick detour at a bike shop that we happened to pass along the way. We went in looking for a Taipei bike map, but he didn't have on. Nat had also been warned by her aunt that the route I was planning to take was very dangerous and that I shouldn't go. So Nat asked the guy, and even I could understand him when he said it was "extremely safe." He said it would take around 3 hours to get to to the other side of the mountains. From there it's a flat ride to Calvin's, though I still don't know where he lives.

On the way to the mall we saw a big tower made of old plastic bottles. They were gearing up the park for next week's Chinese new year's eve celebration.

At the mall, Julia showed off her skills that she's learned from daddy:

The mall was Toys R Us, then some lunch in the basement, over to do some food shopping (cheese, cheese, Nutella, and beer), then up to get some Mister Donut donuts for everyone, which includes the 3 of us plus the 7 people upstairs. Lunch was veggies, noodles, and wantons, surprisingly good for a mall:

As we were heading out, we needed to find a bathroom for Julia, so we stopped to ask some woman where it was. Nat asked, and she told us the floor above us. I wanted to know where we had come in, so I asked, using all Chinese, "Where's the Starbucks?" The woman pointed behind her and said it was that way.

Nat looked at me and said, "How the hell do you know how to say Starbucks? I don't even know how to say that." Yet more proof that this Chinese course is totally random. I can say Starbucks, McDonalds, and Google, but not bleeding, hospital, or help. Actually I used to know "help" because of the Chinese Dora we had. But I've long since forgotten. In any event, if you need to order a double chocolate macchiato with skim milk from Starbucks in Taiwan, I'm your man.

On the way out we considered taking the bus but it was taking too long, so we walked away to the train station and the bus came and we missed it. No big deal, we just hit the train with no issue and took the slow train back, which was $1 for us both and took 12 minutes instead of 8. At the station I finally found the school uniforms that match our team colors:

These 2 couldn't stop looking at us and smiling. They seemed friendly enough and they actually saw me take the picture so then they just kept looking and smiling. They got out where we did and got their money's worth enjoying us being their show for the day. We walked back to the apartment, the whole trip taking about 4 hours, which might seem long but it was a leisure trip more or less meant to get us out of the house, and pick up a few things.

In all it was another generally lazy day, but with a near inferno and a trip to the mall. I was talking to Nat today saying how I'm sure I'm getting desensitized to everything now. I'm sure I do 25 things every day that are strange to people (like watch Taiwanese people play pool on TV) but I'm used to it so I don't take pics nor do I write about it.

That night dinner is the same "pick your own pig snout" place that we went to the other day with the trays of various things that a lot of people reading would never eat. I'm really liking this meal, and it might be the 1 "eatery" that I'd bring back with us if we could. It's also solid spicy, which I really like. Good times, good times:

And since there are only 1-3 people (Hi Maureen too!) who read this far every day, I'm going to start catering to 1 of them for the rest of the trip. You have to give me a bit of a pass on this one, since I just decided to do it. Hopefully tomorrow I can do better. With that, I give you Terren's pic of the day:



  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger terren said…

    Thanks for the love Norm! But at the risk of seeming ungrateful, too many clothes.


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