Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another day another memory

Tuesday's Melissa has a couple extra hours off in the afternoon so we often do a 'field' trip.  This week we went over near the Jade Market to the 'Indian' store and also to a new bakery/coffee shop just a block or so from it.  WELL, the clothing wasn't of much interest so I wandered around, went through a couple shops in the Jade Market.   The market is actually only open Wednesday morning but it wasn't the primary target.

When I exhausted the easy options I just stood and looked around.  I noticed a woman go get her husband from inside their shop.  I don't know WHAT they sell.  I do know he used to live in Kansas City, MO where my brother happens to live!  OKAY David actually lives in Belton but most need KC for a reasonable reference point.  He had a friend in the shop who lived in California for 27 years.  I hit a gold mine!!  So I had some tea and pineapple cake while waiting for Colleen and Melissa who happened to be at the shop next door to Ray's.  OF COURSE WE EXCHANGED NAMES!  I suspect I was actually in a political activist's headquarters.   Almost EVERYTHING in Taiwan can be small and unassuming.  The American Flag and a Taiwanese flag, maybe it was a proposed one, flying from the 3rd floor was a bit of a giveaway.  And the brochure on Citizenship Rights!   And the TAIWAN IS NOT CHINA discussion.  I don't think I am now on a watch list.......  hopefully a visit will happen next year.

Melissa headed back to work after dropping us at Houyi MRT so we could ride home or go shopping.  Yep more shopping and a movie.  The Adjustment Bureau was pretty good.  Colleen only needed Matt Damon.  A decent story.  Within the somewhat slow action it opens a few doors about a higher level of control and influence in our lives and even mentions free will.  Maybe angels, maybe somebody else.  It DOES give an opportunity to think about our faith and how to express it.   While I was waiting for Colleen after the movie one of the staff asked me how I liked the movie and as we talked he mentioned how he thought it was about faith...........Hmmm.  I said I was a Christian and he said he was too, yet one of his reactions as I mentioned it is about God in our lives and Jesus in our hearts was not easy to interpret nor was it appropriate to explore.  THAT is next year's territory.  How do I know......he remembered me as the guy who lost his bag last year!!!  yep same theatre, same guy helped me then but I did not remember.   Taiwan bridges!!!!

If that wasn't enough on our way home on the MRT a young man got up to offer me his seat.  Which Colleen figured I NEEDED to take.  I noticed the girl beside  me was studying an English phrase book.  WELL they have midterms very soon  AND the boy used to live in Wisconsin.  the girl got off a few stops after he did which happened to be ours!  So another friendly farewell and encouragement for a midterm test.

Just another day out and about in Kaohsiung!!!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We had another shaker this afternoon!!!   Melissa and I were dining with Ronald Mcdonald and Melissa felt a bump and saw one customer run out and HUG the front pillar.  The 5.9 was a steady shaker for a few seconds but it felt like vertigo for a full minute.  The pendant lights did a bit of a sway  I think they settled before my brain did!

On our way to McD's we noticed a groups setting up a bunch of boxes on a side street.  Fortunately they did not start until well after the quake settled.  The popping firecrackers, booming whatever......and then BANGING fireworks started while we were at the per adoption event.  THE DOGS DO NOT LIKE THE FIREWORKS.   There was a dark grey cloud from the firecrackers and the street was red from the paper casings.  I mean DARK GRAY and for almost a block.  It looked like somebody had set tires on fire but didn't last that long.  The BOOMS are just like getting hit in the chest!  talk about sound and air pollution.  It literally scared the poop right out of a couple dogs at the adoption event!  seriously!  And surprisingly not much available to clean it up so out come small tissues and paper bags....................

And then there was a second round of firecrackers as big or bigger than the first but at least we could see it and prepare the dogs.   We got home and Sadie and Cabu, Melissa's dogs, were so frightened they broke one of the spotwelds pushing on their gate!

Melissa and Colleen hosted a baby shower for Anastasia, Matt and Josephine's baby.  There were only 3 or 4 attendees  as the bigger shower was already held by others the second week we were here.  I vacated the house in favour of the females and walked to my Tea Shoppe, chatted a bit with the owner's friend who is taking 'Applied English' at E-Shou University, it's neat talking with him.  then I walked to the RueFong Night market to eat a delicious vegetable and chicken BBQ then wandered until the coast was clear...................

23 days and we are headed to Taipei and Saskatoon but before then we are going to Hong Kong the 3-5th of April.   Ah relaxing busy fun!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Melissa's bike almost gave me a rectal exam!!!!

I was merrily riding along looking around and fortunately I was getting ready to slow down when I head a SNAP and the seat dropped and when I raised up it fell to the street.  WHEW!!!   Good thing I have strong legs and lightning reflexes!!!  The bolt holding the seat to the post broke.  A few blocks later I found a store I thought MIGHT have a replacement bolt IT DIDN'T but my handy dandy electronic translator helped me get directions to a nearby bicycle shop.   Which I could not find!!!   I KNEW where one was but it was about a 15 minute ride.......fortunately Melissa's bike has a carrier over the back tire so I lowered the post and it was reminiscent of the banana seat bike!  A SMARTER PERSON WOULD HAVE REMOVED THE POST!!   The GIANT sales shop on Huasia Road tried but couldn't find the right bolt so I ended up a couple blocks away to the bike shop Melissa has used before.  I'd never actually been to it before!  Back in full performance!

About the time the bike seat broke Melissa texted me that she was about to board the HSR to go to Taipei for her Warden meetings so when the bike seat repair was floundering I called her for recommendations.  Who would have thought that the bolt sizes would be so different.

Oh the translator......I bought an electronic translator yesterday for $2,990NT.  cheaper ones had less English on the keyboard and also targeted to those learning English rather than my type......whatever MY type is!    Comment away!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We were shaken 4.8  and to give it perpsective  There is regular seismic activity in Saskatchewan too.  But not according to this MRC map. 

Maybe it was because I went on a 12.7 mile bike ride today.  I road along the BIKE TRAIL.  Very enjoyable afternoon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Earthquakes, tsunamis and explosions

We were not shaken, stirred or glowed!   AS DISASTROUS AND HORRIBLE THINGS ARE IN JAPAN I want to assure everybody things are pretty normal in Taiwan.  Sure people are aware and concerned for Japan's losses and are following the developments.   I urge each to listen to the detail of what is said not just the lead line or speculations.  Politicians are responsible for leading and usually minimizing chaos;  REMEMBER News channels are in the business of filling air time so the highlights and spectacular often crowd the detail and accuracy into the corner.

I am KEENLY interested in the Japanese radiation as our return flight routes through Tokyo where radiation levels are increasing.  Oh I just read an article that said Japan moved 8 feet as a result of the quake. I wonder where the hole is?  I know NOT FUNNY............

Colleen called and talked with her mom this morning, her Monday night so all seems good.  we recently had babies added to the clan.  Arlin had Brooklyn about a week ago, Amanda had Hudson a few days ago, only 1 ounce under 10 POUNDS!!  I apologize to those I did not mention.  Comment and let me know!

We were going to a nearby Cultural Park on Saturday but Melissa's Mechanic said NO/replace the radiator.   That's what happened last year when we went to Taichung but it was a Sunday afternoon on the highway!   So we went to a couple small parks in the city. 
A closeup by Colleen

We did manage to get to the Cultural Village on Sunday.  Melissa had a different baby that day.
No the 'g' did not drop it was designed that way! 
Life continues, with a variety of joys, sorrows, pleasures and hardships.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Wenzoa Cultural presentation

This morning  I met with a friend to start what I see as a mentoring series, we will see how it develops. And this afternoon I met some other BCC friends (Bilingual Community Church) at a LANGUAGE SCHOOL to share first hand about our respective cultures of Canada, USA, Mexico and Haiti and in the process they received a fair bit of the value of spritual connections around the globe. 

One of our friends is in the class and as a MATURE student she is a bit more bold than turned out that one of the male students attends a church near City Hall.  Janine had taken the Haitians there last week, they are here working on MBA.  Now if I could only find out actually where Ken & Denise are in Haiti.   I looked and looked and stopped searching to find out.  It wasn't easy and simple to find so I gave up and referenced Dessalines.  I find it interesting and curious that Haitian students with English as a third language come to Taiwan to study in the same classes with students who also have English as a third language.  It certainly demonstrates the need to listen flexibly to those for whom English is NOT their first language.  And through all of this, English may not be the dominant language even though it may well be the most widely spoken.

Oh right, the students, University age, put on English language demonstrations that would work well in commercial or tourism scenarios and then we each did our talks with Powerpoint support.  Mine was pretty basic with some Canadian snow and summer shots and a few Taiwan shots to show our LOVE for Taiwan.   The woman from Mexico had been in Taipei a few weeks ago and had a MARVELOUS video of Mexico.  Short but very well done.  VIVA MEXICO, sorry Carla..........................  Now, as I write this I marvel at the Mexico, Haiti connections I have,  God must be chuckling!!!   This afternoon made my week and it's only Monday!!  I took some photos but as I review them the are unbelievably sterile and uninteresting to anybody but me.

So instead here is the water show that was part of the  nightly celebration at the Lantern Festival.
More Later, A bientot, Hasta la vista, tsai tchien

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

curiouser and curiouser

I think I may be mourning leaving Taiwan already and it is more than a month before we leave!  Or maybe I am not occupied enough.  Or maybe.........................................  today it's so easy to feel DOwn, or struggle with feeling hurt or something like that.  And THEN today I found out the Earthquake dampening ball at a builidng on Boai is the back of a Pizza Oven!  There's a sign that says HOT DO NOT TOUCH ME!  Last year there wasn't a sign!   Or heat!
OR MAYBE it was going to Taipei last weekend to see friends and Cirque de Soleil and the International Flora Expo and Cirque was OK but not MINDblowing then the Flora Expo was ok but THIS was one of the Canadian most are done by Taiwanese so don't jump on the Harper Bandwagon.
And then since it was ENVIRONICS  it was a soilless and sometimes sunless presentation of various plant growing methods with a couple Canadian house rooms decorated A la IKEA.

The grounds were artistic and well laid out.

But then we decided it was time to head back to Kaohsiung so it wasn't terribly late since Melissa had to teach the next day.  I like the order of this shot of the seats even though this is from our way up as it was pretty full on the way home.....a few times we were going 296 km per hour!
Well I feel a bit better now that I've expressed my feelings to myself and you!  thanks for reading.

the weekend in Taipei was a marvelous temperature!