Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rise of the phoenix

Typhoon Fung-Wong (鳳凰), meaning "phoenix", is expected to hit Taiwan Monday morning (Sunday afternoon in California). Click the image to enlarge.

This will be my first typhoon, so I'm anxious to see what happens. If it continues in the path expected, it looks like the government will announce school and work closures for Monday. Keep your fingers crossed; I could use a 2-day weekend!

7:00pm UPDATE: Gov't announced school closures for Taoyuan! I'm going out right now to pick up some bottled water.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Got my green card

I was finally able to pick up my Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) today. It's taken seven weeks. I was told that mine would take longer than normal because they're switching to new high-tech credit card style ARCs, complete with a built-in computer chip. Somebody lied. I waited all these weeks and got the same old laminated library card that they've always had. Oh well, at least now I can finally open a bank account.

Wednesday after work I had dinner with a couple of other teachers, Patrick and Jack, at Great White Shark (大白鯊 da4 bai2 sha1). I'd seen this place everyday while walking to work, but hadn't yet tried it. The sidewalk in front of the restaurant is lined with aquariums and ice-filled troughs filled with fresh fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and even frogs. The place is always hopping (except for the frogs), so I figured it must be good. Yep, it is. We had Szechuan tofu, beef with vegetables, squid with celery sauce, and fried salted shrimp. It was all yummy. It was the first time I'd ever eaten the entire shrimp—head, legs, tail and all. I was squeamish at first; Patrick advised, "Just eat the head first and get it over with." I did, and found out that the rest of the shrimp is just as delicious as the tail. Man, we waste so much good meat in America!

Here's a blog site where a woman has posted some photos of food she ate at Great White Shark, including those tasty shrimp. I'll have to take some pictures myself so you can see the restaurant itself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going away party

The Saturday before last I was invited to a going away party for Steven, a former teacher at my school. It was held on the rooftop of the apartment building where Patrick, a current teacher, lives. There was a good mix of foreign devils and Taiwanese. I tried some delicious barbecued kebobs, sausages, chicken, beef, and then later 剉冰 (cuo4 bing1 - shaved ice) and even brownies! All washed down with alcohol, of course. A Taiwanese cabbie was my DD, so not to worry.

It was nice to get to mingle with fellow ex-pats and Taiwanese outside of work. Here are some photos, courtesy of Randy (Happy Birthday today), yet another co-worker. Look for the geeky, bald guy wearing the baseball shirt...that'll be me.

Rooftops have an ambiance all their own

The guest-of-honor, our host, and ??

Contrary to what this picture suggests, I only had 3 drinks.
And why is she flipping me the bird?!

The beauty of Taiwanese women is legendary, lol

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gettin' busy

Summer classes started this week, so I'm busier than I've ever been since arriving in Taiwan. My blog entries have always been sporadic, but they may become even more so during the next six weeks.

I started seeing a Chinese tutor last Wednesday. The class is only for one hour, once a week, but with this hectic summer teaching schedule, it's just as well. Fortunately, the class is enough of an incentive to get my butt in gear and start seriously learning Chinese (isn't that one of the main reasons I came here?!)

As of today I have a new favorite Taiwanese food, 鴨肉麵(ya1 rou4 mian4), Duck Meat Noodles. OMG, it is so delicious! Anyone who knows me is aware that I hate pickles, but this dish has some kind of pickled vegetable in it, and its crunchy, tangy taste compliments the soup perfectly. What's next, me eating nasty cottage cheese?!

The place I got it at was recommended by a couple of students, and it's located just down the road from my convenient! The restaurant is called 宜蘭滷之鄉 (yi2 lan2 lu3 zhi1 xiang1) which, when I looked up the characters, is literally "Yilan Gravy Village" or something like that. I'm guessing that Yilan is known for a particular style of sauce. The Duck Meat Noodles were so delicious that I'll be adventurous and try the Duck Feet and Duck Heads soon.

It's a beautiful Sunday--sunny and 86F--so I'm headed to Taipei to visit friends.