Sunday, February 28, 2010

Egyptian Museum

Sunday 28 February 2010

We visited the Egyptian Museum today - a huge repository of ancient Egyptian treasures. Unsorted, poorly labeled, jumbled about, it was a bit hard to make head or tail of some of the wonders within, but it was still a really neat museum.

No cameras allowed inside, hence the photo of the outside.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Whirling Dervishes

Saturday 27 February 2010

Ryan and I went to a free performance of some Sufi dancers, commonly known as the "Whirling Dervishes."

This was probably a somewhat touristed-up show, but the idea behind this meditation technique of a quirky branch of Islam is that spinning around and around (and around - we saw one guy spin in the same spot for over half an hour!) helps one to abandon the ego, and to find oneness with God through this circular trance-like state. I think that's how it goes, anyway, it's still a little confusing to me.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oud concert

Friday 26 February 2010

We went to see one of the most famous oud players, Naseer Shamma, in concert tonight.

The oud is a traditional Egyptian instrument, very middle-eastern sounding. Fun fact - "oud" means "stick" in Arabic.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A rainy welcome

Thursday 25 February 2010

We arrive in dry, desert Egypt, and what is the first thing that happens? There is a storm, a downpouring of more rain than Cairo has probably seen in ages. Flooded streets, accidents (Egyptians don't know how to drive in the rain, for obvious reasons), people who don't own an umbrella all ducking for cover. We went into the city (from out in the suburbs, where we are staying with a friend, Lee), and had a heck of a time getting back out of it, what with all the delays and uproar.

Welcome to Egypt!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Goodbye, Kaohsiung!

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lantern Festival 2010

Tuesday 23 February 2010

I'm awfully glad they always set up the lantern festival early, so we had a chance to see it before leaving. This year's was really nice, with all the tiger lanterns.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My last hairwash

Monday 22 February 2010

I went for my very last Taiwanese hairwash today, a sad occasion. When I told the girls it would be my last time, there was a flurry of photo-taking - me with every possible combination of hairwash ladies. This woman here was my favorite. I don't know her name, but to be fair, none of them knew mine, either. They all just called me "LaoShi" (Teacher.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Morning market

Sunday 21 February 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hello wine

Saturday 20 February 2010

I know what we're serving at the wedding . . . .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Street wedding

Friday 19 February 2010

A traditional Taiwanese wedding, in a tent on the street. (You can see the scooters and car whizzing past.) Everyone sits down at big round tables, eats a fancy 10-course meal while listening to incredibly loud singers and speeches, and then leaves the second they're done eating.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Night market stickers

Thursday 18 February 2010

We seem to be spending an awful lot of time in the YuCheng night market as our departure date draws nearer . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No. . . .

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Tuesday 16 February 2010

The Taiwanese word for pineapple sounds a lot like the Taiwanese words for "good comes," so they are a common theme in decorating and new year's celebrations.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Touching the lion

Monday 15 February 2010

(From yesterday. Yes, I know, I'm terrible.)

Touching one of the new year's lion dance lions is considered good luck, an auspicious way to start the new year. I touched several, including the tiger/lion. It's going to be a big year for me, best to have all the luck I can get!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lion Dance 2010

Sunday 14 February 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Keeping with tradition (if you do something twice in a row it's a tradition, right? It must be, at least in our crazy, moss-less lives) Ryan and I went down to the cultural center to see the new year's lion dance. What was really neat was that since this is the year of the tiger, this year's featured lion was striped orange and black, with the "king" symbol on his forehead - a new year's tiger!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mei Nong Tea

Saturday 13 February 2010

Okay, so this photo is from yesterday, technically, but it's really cool. After the umbrella place, we went to a neat traditional teahouse, where they make a special kind of local green tea. It is peanuts and sesame and puffed rice and other grains all ground up, and then ground together with green tea powder, and then ground some more with sweet red beans. In the end, you have a thick powder that you mix with hot water to make a green tea with a very complex flavor. Delicious, and a fun teahouse experience!

Friday, February 12, 2010

MeiNong Umbrellas

Friday 12 February 2010

Bekah drove us up to MeiNong today, where we all purchased these lovely hand-painted umbrellas. Well, not these exact ones, much nicer ones actually. Beautiful hand-made, hand-oiled, hand-painted, lovely umbrellas - ooh, we're so happy with them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stinky Tofu

Thursday 11 February 2010

Be sooooo glad that this post doesn't come with smell-o-vision.

This is stinky tofu, a kind of fermented bean curd that smells rather like old gym socks, or a pig pen. You can smell a chou doufu stand for blocks around, and it absolutely reeks.

Luckily, it doesn't taste quite as bad as it smells. I'm not saying I ever need to eat it again, but if served it, I could eat it in order to be polite. This particular plate was pretty weak, as well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

85 clouds

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Betel Nut

Tuesday 9 February 2010

This is betel nut, a favorite vice of Taiwanese men. It grows on a kind of palm tree, and is wound up with leaves and lyme and maybe other stuff, I don't know. Men chew it (mostly old men) to get a buzz, like cigarettes. It keeps you up, so it's popular with truck drivers and night shift workers.

It also makes your spit red, which, after years of chewing, turns your teeth and whole mouth red. So you see men walking around spitting this gross bright red stuff that looks just like blood, marking the sidewalks and filling cups. Ugh, it's so gross.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Another monkey

Monday 8 February 2010

Here's another little monkey, a photo from a few days ago, if I'm honest.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Sunday 7 February 2010

The other landmark of the Kaohsiung skyline - the 50-story building. My mom liked to call it the Lego building.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Little family portrait

Saturday 6 February 2010

Today was my parents' last day in Taiwan, so I figured I'd put up a photo of the three of us together.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Betel nut face

Friday 5 February 2010

My dad wanted to try betel nut, the stimulant that many men chew here in Taiwan. It is bitter and strong and turns your mouth permanently red and gives you mouth cancer and is generally nasty and gross. I think Dad agrees - here is what he thinks of the taste.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New year's preparation

Thursday 4 February 2010

New year is coming up, so it's time to start getting ready. This guy at the San Feng dried foods market was swamped with requests for personalized new year's door greetings. He was very friendly, though.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Chicken in a chef's hat

Wednesday 3 February 2010

My parents at my favorite restaurant (which Ryan and I just call "Chicken in a chef's hat" because that's what the sign is), honing their chopsticks skillz.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Jade Market pearls

Tuesday 2 February 2010

We visited the Jade Market with my parents, and spent a while drooling over the pearls.