Monday, November 1, 2010

Tainan night market

So a couple of the guys from work offered to take me to the night market in Tainan.  Apparently it’s the 2nd biggest (behind Taipei) in Taiwan and a big deal for the locals.  It was a lot of fun and a bit of a culinary adventure as well.

William and his friend picked me up at the hotel and he let me drive his scooter!  Even more surprising, he hopped right on back.  White guy, in Taiwan, 1st time on a scooter, at night, with a passenger, trying to follow another scooter, through crazy traffic.  Yeah, it was good times.

After we made it to the market (without incident), they said I was a good driver but was slow.  By slow they mean, I stopped at red lights (even if there wasn’t cross traffic), did substantially less weaving through scooters / cars / pedestrians / road cones / bicycles / lampposts, and didn’t generally ride the snot out of all 100cc’s of 2 stroke glory.


We parked in the biggest scooter parking lot I've ever seen.  The picture below is less than half of it and only one of the lots around the night market.


Part of the market where we first ate.IMG_0188

That’s me, William’s friend, William, and Johnson.  Johnson’s girlfriend took the picture.

What we’re eating is oysters and egg with some noodles in lots and lots of brown gelatinous goo.  It wasn’t bad actually, but I could have done with less of the goo.


At this point they decided that it would be fun to get me to eat all the local ‘favorites’.  First up was duck blood soup with fishballs.  This is supposedly the 2nd weirdest local food according to some CNN show they had seen and liked to quote.  It was kind of like tofu and really not as bad as they had me thinking it would be.  I didn’t go for seconds though.


After that it was some nut or bean thing that looked like a jester hat.  These were pretty good and I had several.  I took a picture of the sign too so hopefully Alan can tell me what they are.



I don’t recall the details but i believe I finished it.


Then I had a gun pastry that was quite tasty.  Other options were a motorcycle, an elephant and a pig.


This pastry was filled with strawberry goo and pretty good.


Number 1 on the CNN weirdest foods list in Taiwan.  Pig’s blood flavored rice pie with a peanut and cilantro covering.  On a stick.  Fortunately I mostly tasted the cilantro.  This one had me a little worried because none of them got one and they wanted to take a picture of me eating it… 2 bites was plenty.


I’ve had Mexican food in Korea and Singapore, but this burrito was something else.

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So this was tiny little snail shell things that you had to suck the snail out of. Mostly really salty and kind of a gross texture.  Plus they get stuck in your teeth.  I only had 3.

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Carnie games!!!!

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When we left, I figured I should have William drive so I could test my theory about which was scarier, to drive a scooter in Taiwan, or to be a passenger on a scooter in Taiwan.  The latter for sure.


The hog and the local beer.  Yes, it really is called Taiwan Beer.

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They stuffed me with some more food at the bar and then we saw a several hundred year old temple and headed back to the hotel.

It was a lot of fun.  Next time you’re in Taiwan, you should check out the night market and eat some weird food.  None of it was really as bad as it looked.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

taxi on empty

What's the protocol here: I can see my taxi's gas tank is on empty and it doesn't seem to bother the driver at all. It's probably moot because we're in the boondocks with no gas station in sight, but do I try and point at the gauge or pantomime filling up with gas? Or do I just go with my current plan of hoping the gauge is broken and not worrying about it?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Talk and scoot

I just saw a guy on a scooter pull out his cell phone and wedge it between his cheek and helmet and never even slow down.

This is my first day in Taiwan, but that seems about par for the course.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Front Tire

Apparently, when you order a motorcycle tire online, they think packaging is unnecessary.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

first run with five fingers

I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers over the weekend and this morning at the gym was my first chance to run in them.

The running motion is very similar to the really thin soled shoes I’ve been running in most of the year, but seems to be even more of a lower leg workout than usual. More toe action I guess.

My feet were a little sore right on the ball of my foot (the first contact point) so they’re going to take some getting used to and but I like them so far.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Accidental Vacation Day 13

We made it down to Orlando to meet up with Jon and (very pregnant) Erica. Jon being the freelance photo journalist and all made this video of our canoe trip.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening hanging out with Jon and Erica and then they took us to the airport bight and early Sunday morning for our flight back to CA and our vacation was over.

It wasn't the trip we originally planned, but it was a lot of fun none the less and we're thankful we had the opportunity to relax and wander the country together.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Accidental Vacation Day 12

We left Savannah and headed down to Florida today.  There were no roads along the water so it was kind of a boring drive.


Our hotel was 50 yards from the beach so we went down for a swim after arriving in the afternoon.  That’s Val in the background behind my left ear enjoying the beach (before the bugs started biting her).  Florida has lots of nasty bugs turns out.


Turns out it’s really difficult to take a self portrait while body surfing.  This is the best shot I got.


Neat beemer with sidecar in St. Augustine.


St Augustine has a fort that is apparently the 1st or the oldest or something like that.  Pretty cool either way.  We got there in the evening after it had closed so unfortunately we couldn’t get in.


The walls of the fort were made of shells and sand.  I’m kind of surprised it’s held up so well for so long.




We think this wall was used for firing squads.


They had a furnace that was used to heat up the cannon balls before they were shot at wooden ships.  I guess if you can’t sink them, you may as well burn them.  Or the burning aided in the sinking…



Fishing boat.


Draw bridge.  :)


What kind of crab hangs out under the sidewalk a few hundred yards from the beach?  This one I guess.



Water wheels look fun at night.


St. Augustine was pretty touristy, but as we walked around and got off the main roads it was more quaint and fun.  It would have been nice to spend some more time there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Accidental Vacation Day 11

We got kind of a late start today and grabbed Chick-Fil-A for lunch on the way out of Charleston since our friend Stumbo said we had to try it.  As advertized, it was pretty good and the people were super nice.



El Cheapo gas.  They kick high prices!


Sonny Perdue welcomes us to Georgia.


They have police crossing guards in Georgia.  I guess there’s not much crime.


We had some good southern BBQ for dinner and I tried an Orange Blossom Pilsner mostly for the novelty of a light beer that was 11% ABV.  It was pretty good though.


After dinner we walked over to the Savannah Jazz Festival which is in it’s 29 year.  That was really fun.  The music was great and it was a perfect temperature outside.  We only watched 2 of the 3 bands but would have stayed for the last one if we had chairs.  Sitting on the grass get tiring.  It seemed more like rock/bluegrass than jazz, but it was good either way.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Accidental Vacation Day 10

We left Myrtle Beach this morning and headed down to the Charleston area.  We’ve seen these evacuation route signs everywhere but don’t really know what they’re for; hurricanes or something I guess.


Pretty close to our hotel, we crossed a street that was Hungry Neck Blvd on one side and Sweetgrass Basket Pkwy on the other.  Who comes up with street names around here?


We went over to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens which has been around for 300 years or something and is still owned by the original family.  It’s been occupied by both British and Rebel forces and was apparently a staging ground for attacks on Charleston.  The gardens are the main attraction now and they were really beautiful.





This bench was pretty neat because the trees have grown over and around the wooden bench part.


We also saw this giant spider/web.  The spider was about 4 inches across, leg to leg.  Kind of creepy.


They had a petting zoo too.  The deer really liked us.


And one tried to nibble on Val’s dress.




On the way back to the hotel, we went over the Charleston bridge again which we both liked a lot.



They don’t seem to be the best at classifying vehicles in South Carolina.  The license plate on this Mercedes says it’s a truck.


Tomorrow we’re off to Savannah Georgia.