Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 6, March 26

Today was fantastic! We began our morning with a trip to a local Buddhist temple. It was very fascinating. I think the most interesting thing was seeing how many of them brought food and drink sacrifices. They offered incense offerings and stood in line for a monk's blessing. I had never been to a temple before so it was very very interesting. On the way to the bus station we passed a mortuary in the center of the city. Very odd. Also, next to the mortuary the city block was lined with stores selling caskets and urns. Even more odd.
We then took a taxi ride to a place called the Taipei tea promotion center. One of the goals of this week was to see a tea plantation and try some of the local tea varieties. Our taxi driver was so sweet and nice. Normally there is a Gondola that takes you from the Taipei Zoo to the tea plantations but last year a typhoon hit and damaged it. The taxi driver had never driven there before so it was an experience for all of us.

The tea promotion center was very lame. We decided its entire purpose was a city tax deduction. We walked along the road until we found a restaurant where we stopped to eat. Unbeknownst to us it turned it the eatery was exactly the place we had been hoping to find. In the same travel show about Taiwan that included the bee restaurant, it also included this one. The chef made up all of his own recipes and creations and cooked the food in tea and tea oil. It was sooooo good. We had a variety of foods. The chef was so sweet. Today was just a day of really awesome people.

Unfortunately the downside of today was that I was finally forced to either use a squat pot or wet my pants. I opted for the squat...very tramautizing. What a total pain. And then to add insult to injury when i came out of the GIRLS bathroom there was a man in the stall next to me with the door open zipping up his pants. He turned to look at me and I swear he acted like I was the freak. Hello....clearly the toilet next door had a Urinal. Good grief.

Later on after resting at home we left and had dinner at a very famous dumpling place. It too was fantastic. I know I will definitely miss the food here. Another interesting bathroom experience. This restaurant had toilets with automated bidets. You pushed the first button and it washed "inside"...then you pushed the second button and sprayed your outer bum off and the third button dried your bum. If that was'nt enough, the toilet had a music player on it for your listening pleasure as you did your business. :o)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Days 4 and 5, March 24-25

Wow...Time goes so fast. Can't believe we are already more than half way through our week here. Today we saw some of the gorgeous spots here in Taiwan.

This morning we hoofed and MRT'd (subway) it to a tourist trap called Dongshue. There was lots of street vendors at the day market. It is basically what we americans know as china town in the US. We tried little desserts and shopped. Am so excited, I got a very cute tea set that is green and replicates a lot of the sets we saw at the museum. After getting back to the house we left for an overnight holiday in a town called Wulai. It was beautiful. So green and luscious. We stayed in a family owned bed and breakfast. Wulai is known for its hot springs so we had a giant stone hot tub and a cold water tub in our bathroom. It was lovely. We alternated hot and cold about 4 times before getting out.

Tuesday night we ate at a local restaurant that Jeremy and I had seen on a food network TV show. We ate local delicacies including 2 week aged salted pork and Ostrich. The greens here are so good. Many kinds we dont eat in the US. The next day we went back to the restaurant and ate more rice that is cooked in bamboo and we ate fried bees. yes...bees with eyes and wings. They were really good. Very crunchy although it was weird looking at their eyes and sometimes i got wings stuck in my teeth.

We did some more local shopping, got some pineapple cakes. Yum. And headed home to relax and stay in for the evening. A wonderful holiday...just what we needed.

pics: Wulai Falls, Wulai Day Market, Aboriginal lady hand weaving. Plate of bees, Me eating bee, rice cooked in bamboo and plate of bees.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 3, March 23

Today is a special day, it is my dad's birthday and Ezrela and Kokloong's 6th anniversary. So.. happy birthday to my dad and happy anniversary to Ezrela and Kokloong.

Today we were truly tourists. First off we went to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Very cool. They have a changing of the guard there every hour to honour the founder of the Chinese Republic, Sun Yat-Sen.

Next we went to the building called Taipai 101. It is amazing. The design of the building is based on the appearance of a bamboo. Right now it is the tallest building in the world and has the fastest elevator to the top. 89 floors in 32 seconds. Our ears popped on the way up and down because of the speed. The picture of the ball is the most incredible part of the building. It is a damper ball that prevents the building from moving as much as it otherwise would. There are 200 strands of wire in each of the ropes.

Later that evening we went out to eat at a really good Japanese buffet. Most of the food they made fresh to order. I tried to eat sushi since sushi here is different from the US in that they don't hard freeze the fish in order to kill the parasites. Thus it is extremely fresh. But i still didn't dig it. I suppose I am just not sophisticated enough.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 2, March 22

Today we woke up to a lovely day THICK with humidity and very warm. Jeremy and I really don't deal well with humidity. We are just too warm and my hair goes in crazy curly directions. light of said weather conditions we decided to go to the National Palace Museum.

I was so bummed out that we weren't allowed to take photos inside of the museum. It is filled with amazing artifacts that were packed up and removed from the Forbidden City in Beijing. Apparently the items were packed and then moved around for the next 40 years until they were unpacked and displayed. The claim is that not one piece was broken during the 40 years.

The museum was pretty packed and we spent a lot of time running from the tour groups. One thing i have learned about the people here is they just shove right in front of you. The lack of consideration is crazy to me. However...being that I am about a foot taller than most of the people this wasn't that big of a problem. I could see over them. :o)

After the museum we went to a hot pot restaurant. I had never had hot pot so def a new experience for me. It was good but I ended up switching my order a bit since the soup base I ordered was basically a straight Kelp. Not a fan of seaweed...but, once the herbs were infused it was much better.

Decided i was going to run to the bathroom while my hot pot got to boiling. Door number 1...something weird on the floor. Door number 2...another weird floor "toilet". Fled back to table with something akin to fear and confusion. Described said contraption. Apparently a "squat toilet". However...had I looked behind door number 3 I would have encountered an American Toilet. Oh...another tidbit. Toilet paper is called Tissue..and Tissue is to be thrown away in garbage...not flushed. Hmmm. Am getting used to this sort of.... :o)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day 1, March 21

We lost a day. We flew from daylight to daylight. Saturday morning we woke up and decided to just chill. So we did. We spent all day playing with Maou, Ezrela and Kokloong's funny kitty. She is hillarious. :o) We talked and caught up. It was so wonderful to just relax and unwind from the plane ride. I woke up in the middle of the night with a big cramp in my calf...a product of 15 hours in the plane. We slept on a very very firm mattress but didn't even notice because we were so tired.

Our lovely friends got us bakery treats for breakfast, and french pressed us coffee. Then they made us dumplings and cut up a fantastic bowl of fresh fruit. Sweet Papaya is now one of my fav's. Will have to be eating much more during the week.

Tonight we went to dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant. It was really really good. We checked out 7 eleven across from the apartment and...went back to sleep.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Flight...

I dreaded the flight...i grumped and grouched about the flight for months before our trip. However...I made it all in one piece.

I watched 4 movies: The Changeling, Four Christmases, Man on Fire and Nights in Rodanthe. Conveniently we each had our own tv panel in front with lots of movie and game selections that were complimentary. I felt like a child in a mini van with a movie screen. Very thankful for the passing of hours.

We ended up in a flight pattern in Tokyo for about an hour waiting for the wind to die down so we could land safely. We got off the plane, went through security yet again...(what do they think, that we sharpened our plastic knives as a weapon while on the 11 hour flight??). They searched our carry-ons. The whole security issue makes so little sense. You go through security in Portland, get on a plane, get off a plane in Tokyo, walk about 100 yards to another security station...(what possibly could have changed between portland and tokyo while sitting on said plane??) Anyhow, we spend a half hour standing in line to get through the security line. Get to our gate and have exactly ten minutes to relax before we board yet again.

On the very small 757 we go. Jeremy and I have a trick now with seats. we both like aisles. We sit in aisle seats across from each other in hopes for an empty middle seat. Not to be. Our flights were both overbooked. Argh. We found out later this is Fashion Week in Taipei. I'm seated by a tiny Chinese guy that carries a man bag and makes me feel like a behemoth. hehe In fact, Jeremy and I feel like Giant White People. We are big...tall and very very white. In Taiwan the people are very tiny and definitely not blonde and white.

By hour 13 im pretty tired and trying hard to bite my tongue. I proclaim to Jeremy that we are no longer flying anywhere outside of the United fact, I no longer want to fly. I am so tired. My head is hanging and each time i start to fall asleep my head boinks down to my chest and wakes me up. We land...Finally. Customs and security...Car service to Ezrela and Kokloong's apartment...Yay! Okay, so maybe ill fly again...Maybe like this saturday?? :o)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New and Fun!

We have a couple of new additions to our house and I am so thrilled. We decided to get a pot rack in hopes of creating additional space in our slightly small kitchen. Jeremy hung it tonight and I am so happy and excited. Even though our pots and pans don't look like the food network all clad sets. I am okay with that. I like our smattering of pampered chef, calphalon, and Costco brand...heheh.
I also purchased a new slow cooker...but that will be its own post later on because its just so fantastic.

And...we got a new bed. Either our bed has been causing us aches and pains or our old age; not sure which but probably a bit of both. Anyhow, we have been groaning every morning with our back pain and our hips and knees have been popping and cracking so we decided we had had enough.
Interestingly we did not intend to buy our new bed the day we shopped. We had eaten breakfast out with friends the week before my gall bladder surgery...and as usual, my tummy was presenting some problems so as we walked about in the mall i saw the Select Comfort bed store and made a bee line. I figured heck...i would just lay down on the beds until my stomach felt better. hee hee. :o) well after trying out about 6 different beds we began to realize how much better we both felt just in the few minutes of laying on them.

We were hooked! We left the store and went right home to take a look at our financial spreadsheet. Needed to make sure we could afford said bed. After getting an affirmative answer...we called up the store and ordered the bed. Today it arrived and we CANNOT wait to try it out tonight. Both of us are expecting miracles! Haha j/k.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

5 things I have learned about surgery

As most of you know, I had my gall bladder removed this past wednesday. It is a very interesting process....especially for me.

1. Don't try to tell the nurses what to do regarding your own body. They will only tell you you are wrong and then try desperately to hit your vein for an IV only to fail 2x in 2 different areas and when you are asleep they will do what you originally said to do, hit it in the right spot, once, with little bruising. I think they thought i was an iv drug user since my veins were not productive.

2. Fight for a big room. Rant and rave so your family can sit in a comfortable chair for the hours they are stuck with you rather than a teeny room with what amounts to a folding chair. Even if the nurse gets really grouchy at you and thinks you are acting like a princess.

3. Don't bother with your pre-op appt because as soon as you get to the day surgery center the nurse will spend a half hour asking you the exact same questions she did a week ago. and its really annoying. esp when you are hungry and thirsty. Not to mention that my pre-op nurse told me not to take my nexium the night before surgery and the day nurse said i should have taken it the night before as well as the morning before to aid with anesthesia.

4. Fight for your underwear. I was forced to strip down to my nothings...and my lowest incision is my belly button. Give me a break.

5. Listen to the nurses when they tell you about the smile pain chart. The whole keeping ahead of the pain is really important. I felt so good the first day that I didn't think i needed any pain meds. Come midnight I was screaming because the air bubble in my belly hit my shoulder and between the belly and shoulder pain, i could hardly breathe.

Anyhow...there's a little piece of my first day of surgery. I am feeling better now but am still so tired and my belly is still filled with air. Now not only am i fat...but I look like one of those fat pregnant people with my belly protruding. Its not very exciting.