Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm baaack...

I've been in Taiwan now 5 weeks, so I guess it's about time I start making some regular blog entries.

So today I had my first experience with a squat toilet. Actually, that's not quite true. Way back in 1982, when I spent a month in Europe, I encountered one of these beasts in a train station in Italy. How appropriate then that, 26 years later, I meet up with my old friend, once again, in a train station.

I went to Taipei today to turn in the paperwork to get my Residence Visa. It was when I got off the train at Taipei Main Station that my morning coffee decided to kick in. I made a mad dash to the nearest restroom, found one stall unoccupied, and grabbed it fast, since time was of the essence. I quickly discovered that my porcelain throne was more a porcelain foot tub, but there was no backing out at this point. Thank God I followed everyone's pre-arrival advice and had tissues with me, or I might have left the stall sans t-shirt. (I almost had to do the shirt-as-TP trick in Italy too, but I'll leave that story for another time)

I'd have to say, though, without getting too graphic, that squat toilets aren't all that bad. When you consider the general feng shui of human anatomy, those gaping holes in the ground do make sense. I mean, what do you do when you go camping? (I mean real, no-running-water, no-porta-potty, camping) You do what those bears in the woods do, right? (I mean real, non-animated, non-Charmin-Tissue-spokesmen bears)

While my meeting with the squat toilet was a bit surprising, my experience at the Bureau of Consular Affairs was utterly painless. I was in and out of there in a half hour. If anyone reading this has been to a big city Dept. of Motor Vehicles, you know just how incredible a half hour in a government office is. I go back on the 30th to pick up my visa, then off to get my ARC, which is my golden ticket to a bank account, cell phone service, etc.

I met up with Marc and Zenny in Zhonghe and we had lunch at a nice little Japanese place. Had some sushi and unagi and tempura, yummy! They were doing some kind of photo shoot at the place, I assume for advertising, and they asked Marc and me if we would be in some pictures. They pointedly did not want Zenny in the shots--a dok a's only! Guess we know who they're aiming their advertising dollars at.

I've been having problems uploading videos to both YouTube and MySpaceTV, so I may try it here too, just for Gits & Shiggles.

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