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The weather here has cooled quite a bit, thanks to some unseasonable weather!

Typhoon season in these parts is supposed to be over at the end of September. So, to get something this late, and from the direction it’s coming is quite rare. I can’t speak to the local reaction because I don’t understand the weather forecast or people speaking around me. I do know that no one said anything to us to warn about about impeding danger, but they didn’t say anything when the massive storm came in early October, either. This time, we only got cooler temperatures, grayer skies and a drizzle that has lasted for 2 days. I think there’s another typhoon out there near us, but I’m not sure where.

I’m thinking about some of the little, daily stuff that makes life so different.

  • Students brush their teeth after lunch.
  • Some restaurants do not serve beverages. Those that do, usually bring drinks when the meal is done.
  • Fruit can only be purchased when it is in season. A wide variety of fruit grows on the island, so little is imported. Fruits are typically purchased from street vendors. Most of the grocery stores we’ve gone to sell few meats and vegetables.
  • Little beef is eaten here. I think they have ox that are work animals, few cows to provide meat. Pork and chicken are the meats of choice.
  • There are a lot of stray dogs here. A LOT.
  • There is a train system that can be used to travel most of the island. A high speed train system has recently been built and travel from north, almost to the southern time takes under 2 hours. There is no high speed on the east coast.
  • In Taiwan, the current year is 96. The calendar here begins when Taiwan received its controversial independence.
  • Taiwan recycles! Trash is always seperated. Food, plastics, paper, other. Food goes to the pigs!
  • The official language here is Traditional Mandarin, as opposed to simplified Mandarin spoken in Mainland China. There is also a Taiwanese language and it is found here in the southern part of the country.

We’re trying to get in as much of Taiwan as possible before Kristen leaves. So, when she’s gone, these posts will probably get a bit… boring!

We took to the train Saturday morning and headed northeast to Tainan. This an old and historic city is known for its festivals, shrines and temples. We’ll remember it for great shopping, huge technology district, delicious Greek food, clean streets, sidewalks and fresh air!! It was so nice to see blue skies and sunshine! I wish I could have reached the clean air before this second sinus infection hit me. Oh, well!

Tainan is nowhere as big as Kaoshouing or Taipei, but looking that mannerisms and dress of the people, I’d say the difference between Tainan and Pingtung would be like the difference between San Francisco and Ft. Wayne.

We’d like to get back to Tainan before we leave, however, there are so many places to visit yet!

With a transfer in Kaoushoung, we took about 1.5 hours to get to our destination. I had book a room online at what turned out to be a very nice hotel (Hotel Dynasty) and I had one of my Teachers write a list of statements such as “I’d like to buy two tickets on the next train to Tainan” “Please take us to the Hotel Dynasty” and “Please take us to the jade market” in Mandarin so that we would be able to reach our destinations. People at the hotel spoke English quite well and were also able to help by arrange cab service for us. We saw quite few westerners in Tainan, but for some reason I don’t understand, few of them ever speak.

I requested western mattresses in the hotel, so we had a decent night’s sleep. This request meant that we didn’t want the typical Taiwanese mattress which is as thick as those we have in the US, but about as soft as this table top.

There are incredible blue lights all over this city. I first saw them at Snake Market in Taipei and have seen them since everywhere!! I think you can see them if you search for the photos I’ve posted of the exterior of the Dream Mall. I finally found some of them in Tainan and will be bringing them home for xMas next year!!

I’ve been planning on entering something ANYTHING for several weeks! I’ve put together some great stuff in my head, you know how those early morning thoughts can be so creative! But as I rush into the day, I manage to forget what I was going to say and how I was going to say it.

The last time I had thoughts of posting, we had just walked across half this town from one new area we discovered to a new (to us) Italian place near Carrefour. We passed several spots that look so inviting, but not to those of us who had absolutely no way of figuring out what was in the menu. Sorry, creativity doesn’t work when dinner could have black squid ink, pig intestines or steamed tofu. I’m not feelin’ it! It is my own fault for not knowing the language, goodness knows the Taiwanese make every effort to speak English, we’re the ones who haven’t made the effort. It was kinda cute though, when we went in one restaurant and this 5’10” twenty-something guy was actually shy about speaking English to us! I do get it, I have tried to speak my broken Spanish to some of the Spanish speaking students at school and it gave me one of the most embarrassing feelings I’ve ever had!

So, we walked passed these great looking places and walked and walked and walked and walked ’til we came to this Italian place we’d seen before. I was doubtful because I’ve had enough of the pasta dishes that were prepared with the strangest of ingredients and aromas and I was too hungry to have someone messing with my food. I don’t think Kris has learned her lesson yet. She was excited for the possibility of something cheesy with noodles. Well, I’ll just say I had one of the most amazing spaghetti dishes I’ve ever had! I bet it put to shame any of the pasta Dadrian is feasting on!! I believe they had Mamma Mia herself in the kitchen! Homemade-tasting Italian wonderful food!

Yeah, we spend a lot of time looking for good places to eat. And we spend even more time walking. We walk everywhere we want to go: bookstore, work, visiting, touring, dining, shopping. . . . you get the point! And it’s working! We found the scales in Carrefour and they indicate a nice weight loss! No, I’m not going to say how much, not going to get your hopes up too high, get you expecting me too much cuter than already!! LOL Honestly, the exercise feels good and the walking is one thing I will really miss when I return home.

Speaking of which, Kristen will be returning home soon. Yes, I’ll miss her! These days together have been wonderful and I could not have spent my time with a better person. But, Ms. Kris has some business to take care of, namely her education and her career! So please wish her god speed and safe travel!

Last year at this time, I was on the banks of the Red Sea having an Hijazi Thanksgiving. This year, it’s just another work day. Rose may come down and we’ll head over to the Beaver Dam to meet up with some expats. No turkey, just good company. Thus begins vicarious holiday season that I’ll experience through YOUR notes and emails. No snow here, no Christmas! no New Years! no carols! no eggnog! no stuffing on Thanksgiving and no holiday sales! So, instead of dwelling on what isn’t there for me or for you, lets give thanks for the gift of life and for all the blessings it contains. Thanks for your friendship! Peace

The weeks are going by so quickly! Here it is another weekend, once again time for that deep, deep cleaning necessitated by the grimy environment of polluted air and water. Its so ironic that I see such a deep need for nature expressed through the placement of potted flowers and trees in front of every home and parks everywhere, yet rivers and streams are the color of mixed cement and smell like septic tanks. Ah, the cost of developing an economy!

I took a while to process last weekend’s events, and never took a moment to mention them here. I was scheduled to give a presentation for Pingtung County at my school on international teaching and Carolyn (Kansas) and Rosezina (Michigan) were kind enough to come and provide support. I looked forward to outlining education in the US and particularly discussing the role of media centers. Here, school libraries only contain books.

No technology and no staff.

Teachers staff the library when they bring their class and there is no librarian or media specialist to promote literacy, select books or provide instruction on research, finding information or developing presentations. Computers are only in the computer lab and computer skills are taught in isolation.

So, I wrote a nice little presentation and developed a Powerpoint with some nice photos to add a few visuals to spice up my talking. (Vernon sent about 30 current photos from AHS and I was able to create a very nice Powerpoint!) I was pleasantly surprised when the Taiwanese teachers on the program mentioned the public and school libraries they visited on their tours of Australia and Singapore respectively, providing a nice opening to what I was able to report. They were quite impressed by the libraries they saw and the important services they provided to schools. I hope I am able to provide more information on this important topic and maybe, maybe influence even the slightest of changes.

After the program, we went looking for a new Caves bookstore. These are stores that exist in Taiwan mainly to provide books for English language instruction. We walked a little further than we expected (which was fine because we found a great new restaurant!) but eventually found the bookshop which couldn’t be more than a month old. Can you imagine the heaven I was in to smell the newness and the books??!!! They don’t necessarily have the newest of selections, but when you consider I’m in little Pingtung where I never expected to find a single book to purchase in English, you have to realize what a wonderful place this is! They really do have a large selection of children’s books, many of which I hope to purchase to enhance my teaching. And there are many paperbacks for adult reading as well!

All that having been said, I think my download of “Men in Trees” is about done and it’s time to scoot!! Yes, I have to find random websites all over the web to ‘watch television’. The network sites only work inside the US!! I find that one of the little things I miss (and it’s really only little stupid stuff that I really miss!) is the regimentation provided by nightly television shows.

I can remember exactly where I was 24 years ago today!!

Happy birthday, Kristen Nicole Campbell!!

Darfur Now is a story of hope amid one of humanity’s darkest hours. It shows how the work of six people can make a difference in Darfur, and how our voices united can bring an end to the unspeakable horrors the people of Darfur face every day.

It follows the achievements of a Darfuri woman, a community leader in West Darfur, a UCLA graduate, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, a U.N. humanitarian aid worker, and an actor and activist (me).

What: Darfur Now, a documentary about six people making a difference in Darfur
When: Opens this Friday, November 9
Showtimes and Location:
Landmark Keystone Art
8702 Keystone Crossing
Indianapolis, IN 46240
(317) 579-3009
Click here for showtimes and to buy ticketsAs you may know, a film’s opening weekend is extremely important and determines the exposure it gets. Darfur Now opens this weekend, but only in selected cities. Come watch the movie and bring your friends so we can ensure a nationwide release, help educate people about the crisis in Darfur, and empower them to help end it.

In August, 2007 I will be leaving Indianapolis with my daughter, Kristen, to live and work in the Republic of China (Taiwan). This will be my fiftieth year on this planet and my first year living in another country. This blog will let you join us on the adventure!
Creative Commons License
Chikky Soup Meets Stinky Tofu by Edi Campbell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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October 2018
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