Taiwan: Day 8

Apr 30, 2010 by    Posted under: Post

This morning I woke up to, not only the sounds of the hundreds of sweet sounding birds, but to a cool tropical breeze and sunshine. Glorious sunshine! It’s been gray skies and rain since we arrived with a damp mugginess that permeates everything. Normally I do my best to stay out of the sun but I find myself strangely drawn to it this morning. So here I sit on my balcony, stretching out to get every possible ray, feeling positively feline.

After getting my morning sun and dog fix, I am back to work. My ‘office’ is a beautiful, sun-lit room with one wall almost entirely made of windows and a sliding glass door that opens to my balcony.  There is some traffic noise but mostly the warm breeze brings bird songs, barking dogs and the occasional mooing of a cow.

I have been eating almost all of my meals with Christy’s mother, father and Yanti (the woman from Indonesia who lives and works here). The parents speak Mandarin, Taiwanese and Japanese, Yanti speaks Indonesian, a little Mandarin and less English. I only speak English although I know enough Japanese to communicate with a two year old. The language barrier is very interesting during meals. At first,  I found myself feeling a little uncomfortable at the table but I am learning to just sit with them in mostly silence.

I really want to get to know my meal companions, to hear their stories. I use my baby Japanese to at least attempt communication with the parents – ninjin! (carrot!), gohan! (rice!), oishi! (good!) and am constantly asking Yanti what things are called in Indonesian – wortel (carrot), beras (rice), baik (good). It is nice, but still makes for very quiet meals. Maybe I can find a way to get to know them through the silence…

Yesterday I took a walk to the Beinan archeological site, not far from the guesthouse. At the site itself, there is not much to see. All of the artifacts unearthed are housed in museums but,  it’s still amazing to see the foundations of a Neolithic settlement.

I stopped at the 7-11 in the train station on my way back for a coffee and snack.  7-11 is a big thing here. In Taipei, there was one every block or two. I had a rice triangle snack, which I love. I was introduced to them in South Korea and then found them again in Japan. Basically, it is cooked white rice (in the shape of a triangle) with egg or meat in the center of it and the whole thing is wrapped in nori. Delicious!

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