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Showing posts from March, 2001

Ode to the Commode

Taipei | Taiwan
While not often or willingly discussed in public, on the road there is no greater equalizer between prince and pauper than the toilet. In 1987 my friends and I discovered something on a trip to the Soviet Union we fondly called the "Squat". This was a toilet that was sans seat, i.e. not only was the throne removed, it had never been there!
Today when asked why on earth I would leave behind the warm San Francisco weather, my stressful job and decaying car, I patently respond, "I set off to seek out new experiences." One that I hadn't expected to encounter but must now share with you is the toilets of Taiwan. I've lovingly titled this journal entry:

Ode to the Commode There is a fable of woes
'bout the king who wore no clothes
But the tale that makes me moan
Is the boy who had no throne
In the Soviet Union we assumed that the Squat was just another unfortunate fact of life for citizens trapped behind the Iron Curtain. However, in Taiwan I soo…

There's a casino in my building

Taipei | Taiwan
Good news! Felix told me there's a place in San Francisco where you can try, and smell, Cho Do Fu. Follow your nose to a small restaurant on the corner of Jackson and Kearny. In Taiwan it's a widely held belief that the horrible smell is a small price to pay for such a wonderful snack. Give it a try and let me know if you agree.

My Chinese class is getting much more intense with tests every day - written in Chinese! As a result I've started to get up an hour earlier each morning to get in some extra studying. Naturally I don't get to write as much because I'm SO DARN CRANKY.

Friday was a welcome change from all the work with a class field trip to "Peace Park." My teacher had devised a sort of scavenger hunt written in Chinese. Every time we came to something on the list she would tell us what it was and how to pronounce it correctly. Since she rarely speaks any English we usually end up doing a lot of pantomime. Incredibly entertainin…

Time to change my diet

Taipei | Taiwan Thanks for the many well wishes. Mom told me to put a cold compress on my throat and get lots of rest. I think she was even contemplating coming over to make sure I was all right.
A few of you hoped that the chicken noodle soup from my pharmacist would bring on a speedy recovery. Who said anything about chicken noodles soup? As far as I know you can't buy chicken noodle soup in Taiwan. Don't ask me why; and believe me I've looked. Nope this was noodle soup with "u" (fish). But it's not really fish. It's more like long fish McNuggets. 
Which reminds me of some Taiwan McNuggets I bought the other day from a street vendor. After picking out a few they're quickly fried up, rolled in a little spicy powder and handed over in a steamy bag with two tiny chop sticks (kwai tz). At first I was a little puzzled after biting into one of these tasty morsels. Instead of the usual spongy texture there where bones and other strange things ming…