July 21, 2010 Leave a comment
July 20, 2010 4 Comments
Somebody’s been funkin’ with my qi.
Twelve days and counting ’til the end of my Taiwan saga and I’m looking at it two ways: Either someone up there wants me to leave now or he/she doesn’t want me to leave at all.
Evidence? It’s been a rather series of unfortunate events for me around here lately.
1. Lost my phone
2. Lost my credit card…again (that one hurt)
3. Got stuck on public transportation one day for much longer than I had intended
4. Stomach problems every other day…I’m scared to eat food now because of it, but I’m always hungry. Mostly annoying because it has been putting a cramp in my last-minute-to-do plans which include eating every last weird Taiwanese dish I can. I’ve also had to cancel a few outings with friends and other travel plans.
5. Searching in vain every half hour on craigslist.org for school-year housing in DC, but no renters seem to want to respond to my inquiries.
Ay caramba. Obviously, life isn’t so bad right now. Just taking it slow, like summer should be, studying a bit more of Chinese and trying to enjoy the final days here. For example, I watched a couple of Taiwanese films during the past two days: “The Wedding Banquet” (“喜宴”) and “Eat Drink Man Woman” (“食物男女”), both directed by Ang Lee back in the early ’90s. Would highly recommend both.
In the meantime, I will keep trying to get my life force back on track.
And, I thought I would share, I have also determine the two quintessential necessities for keeping cool in Taipei heat:
1. Cold noodles 涼麵
There’s the homemade kind and the super-handy 7-11/generic convenient store brand. Either, IMO, is extremely tasty! One bowl makes a great breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight snack.
2. Watermelon juice 西瓜汁
I swear I must drink at least two 12-16oz. cups of these per day. Always ordered with no extra sugar (nasty), just straight-up pulverized watermelon for me. One cup will cost between $20-40NT. Extremely refreshing–and not to mention healthy–on a hot day!
3. …Well, honestly, AC doesn’t really hurt either.
July 18, 2010 1 Comment
Due to limitations on my basic WordPress blog, I can’t embed and re-share this awesome video on my website. BUT that shouldn’t stop you from clicking on the following link and checking out a really neat short film on traveling in Taiwan:
I especially love the thirty seconds on stinky tofu. I really hope that the day I finally try the stuff goes a little more smoothly…
July 15, 2010 2 Comments
Free your mind. Open your heart. Where is your heart? You must feel fully hearted. Let everything around you melt away. Your brain, your arm, the pen: they are one. Be one with the universe.
It’s not quite Confucius speaking.
Welcome to calligraphy, an exercise that requires as much discipline and total mind-body awareness as any other yogic or martial arts practice. The summer school at NCCU offered two free workshops, one last week and the final one today. The first class consisted mostly of getting a feel for how to use the brush (毛筆) and drawing simple dots and lines.
I have to say, it was slightly difficult to be wholly focused on the process when this is what we were drawing (see left)：
Today’s class was a tad more interesting since we were allowed to try out writing Chinese characters, but was still a whole lotta difficult. One of the Taiwanese girls who was helping out told me that they start learning how to do calligraphy in the second grade. Every day they have to draw the same one stroke over and over and over and over and over again for two hours. They continue building upon this up through high school.我覺得他們都吃了非常多辛苦！！！
I would love to see any American kid in elementary school sit in one place for that long drawing lines.
As for me, I also don’t think “calligraphy master” is going to be on my resume any time soon, but it was fun to try out such an important piece of Chinese culture.
July 13, 2010 3 Comments
First it was Hello Mao Tse-Tung Kitty…Now it’s Adolf Hitler steamed dumplings? I passed by the sign below on my way back home from campus today and had to do a double take…It really is a cartoon version of Adolf Hitler selling “German steamed dumplings”. Wow.
By the way, have you ever played this game? (See below). It’s only kind of awesome.
July 11, 2010 Leave a comment
Yesterday I took a trip down to Taichung (2 hours away from Taipei by rail; about 3 hours by bus) and met up with my friend Singing and her older brother who live in the area.
We first went to get some culture and stopped at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts where Singing is interning for the summer. The museum is very modern and is, according to Singing, the only national fine arts museum in Taiwan–all of the others are privately owned. We checked out two exhibits: the first, the 14th Biennial Print Exhibition in the ROC and the second, a new exhibition by a French artist on Hyper-perception. Both featured, in my opinion, very dark and rather mentally twisted themes.
We jaunted next across town to a large night market to pick up dinner and snacks. One large cup of fresh watermelon juice is only $10NT there!!!!!
Finally, we 到了ed:
The game featured the Sinon Bulls (the home team) versus the La New Bears (from Kaohsiung). Sadly, it was a shame for the home team; they went down 8-4 in the last inning. Of course, I didn’t really care either way–I had a great time explaining the rules of the game to my German friend and learning baseball terms in Chinese. (Did you know that “ball” and “strike” in Chinese are 壞球 and 好球–literally “bad ball” and “good ball”–haha, that makes more sense to me than the English does!). The best part was getting to observe the crowd. Never have I ever witnessed such a rowdy fan base–for both teams–at a baseball game. They are LOUD. Each team has its own cheering squad and pep band while fans chant, bang together inflatable bats and blow horns.
Check it out:
With a Taiwanese student ID, tickets were only $150NT and we could pretty much sit anywhere we wanted. We watched the game at the older baseball field in Taichung, so the stadium itself wasn’t much to look at–it reminded me more of one of the community college baseball fields back home. The field is part of the National Taiwan College of Physical Education, a school set up only for athletes. There is a newer stadium in another part of the city that is much newer and nicer, but apparently games are rarely played there unless they are really important.
After the game we still had a short hour to check out a little more of the night market. I asked Singing if there was any food specific to Taichung to try and she took us here:
To eat this：
The combination of salty, sweet and sour was a little too strange for my tastebuds. Though I am happy to have tried it, I think I’ll stick with my “normal” shaved ice next time.
Thanks, Singing, for showing us around! Next time, baseball game in the USA!! I will miss you