Four Hours

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Mango Sprite

McDonalds in Keelung had a picture of what looked like peach soda with star shapes. So of course we ordered that. It was mango Sprite with bits of fruit. Yum! Just the thing for a hot summer day.
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Just so you know… this was our first visit to McDonalds since we moved here.  And we only went there because it was next door to the hotel.  Of course now that we know about the mango Sprite we may be there more often.

Night Fishing

The helpful hotel owner in Keelung arranged for us to go fishing on a squid boat. I’d seen these boats when we flew into the Taipei airport last summer.  They fish at night using very bright lights.  “Never pass up an opportunity”, we thought.
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We were out from 6pm to midnight.  The sunset was glorious.

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The fishing boat was packed with local amateur fishermen who were intent on using their expensive fishing tackle, drinking beer, smoking, and hauling in whatever was to be caught that night.  No squid, but there were long, thin, beautiful fish that looked like molten silver.  We were complete amateurs but there was a Filipino crew member whose English was good who was very helpful.  Dan had a great time.

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I found that my favorite time was before we left the dock.  Next time Dan can go fishing without me.

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Don’t you want gravy with that?

Once (in a previous work life), I was on a business trip to India for three weeks.  As one does on a business trip, I got very tired of the room service food. I love Indian food, but the same thing every day for three weeks was too much of a good thing.  All of the food was soupy..  Every dish had a sauce and all of the ingredients were cooked to mush.  It was tasty.  But eventually the consistency was too much of a sameness.  One night I ordered the only things on the menu that did not come with sauce.  I ordered two or three dishes that didn’t come with sauce.  The room service operator was stunned.  “You didn’t order gravy.  Don’t you want gravy?”  No. I don’t want gravy.

The same thing happened today at the Bicycle Café (officially known as Warehouse 185).  The rooftop garden at this café is my favorite place in Taichung. The weather was beautiful today – fluffy clouds and blue sky.  We told the cashier that we would be on the roof.  “But the air conditioning isn’t on inside on that floor.”  Uh. yeah.  That’s why we will be outside.

We had a lovely meal.

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Another Roadside Attraction

We took a few days to explore more of the area around Keelung before summer school started.  As we were driving highway 2 around the northern coast of Taiwan (highly recommended – very scenic), we ran across this just outside of Jinshan.

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So of course we had to stop to explore.

Clearly this is intended for a nighttime light show.  There were a few people around “getting ready for the real tourists” and they decided to just let us explore rather than try to have a conversation with people who were so clearly foreigners.

The backdrops were filled with different scenes and figures that light up and move.  In the center there was a bit of a stage for live performances.

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The whole thing looked like it could be quickly put together from printed plastic sheets and bamboo scaffolding.

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The offices, like many inexpensive buildings here, were made of repurposed shipping containers.

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This place was fascinating.  I think it is the Confucian (?) equivalent to vacation bible school.  The hotel manager suggested that it was for the blessing the local fishermen at the start of the squid fishing season.  I wish that we had been able to arrange our trip to go back for an evening show.  We’ll keep this in mind for next summer.

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Costco in Taiwan

Another milestone for us.  When we made our Costco run today we found that our Seattle membership had expired. No problem.  Now we are Taiwan Costco members.  (note: our names are very confusing to people here – where’s the family name?)

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When we first moved here we were going to send home photos of Taiwan Costco.  But it looks just the same as US Costco.

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We are almost guaranteed to meet other westerners in Costco because it carries products from home that no one else has (unless they are a store that buys from Costco and resells).  If you want to, it is possible to buy your food from Costco and your furniture from Ikea and feel like you have never left the US.  We’re trying to avoid that but there are certainly days that a few familiar brands are a comforting thing to have.

Pass the tortilla chips.