I joined Vicky and her visiting friends at a relaxing traditional-style teahouse in Taichung.
The fishpond is the centerpiece of the teahouse. It had the most aggressive fish I have ever seen. They climbed over each other to get to the fish food we threw in the water. Definitely reminded me of the lessons learned in this book.
(technically these are koi)
The vegetable ladies in the market are determined that I try some new things. They have been slipping unusual fruit and vegetables in my bag and telling me (gesturing, really) how to eat them. Here are a few that we’ve run into recently.
We’ve been calling this one eel vegetable. It starts as a long stalk with a silly fluffy thing at the end. The vegetable ladies carefully peel it until it looks like this. I’m supposed to slice it and cook with garlic.
We just found this yesterday. It looks like overdeveloped broccoli stalk. I think we’re supposed to cook it like broccoli. We were told it was special to Taiwan.
This is not to be eaten. It is special for Chinese New Year and looks sort of like a relative of pineapple. All top and no fruit.
A few recent photos you might be interested in …
A dramatic view from my office (really good cloud watching here):
Dan’s bird friend who hangs out near school:
Auspicious water from the monastery:
Charlie Brown’s kite eating tree in the park (it was digesting at least three kites that we could see):
Poinsettias growing wild and tall in the forest.
Charlene took us to Dongshi Forest Park for a Christmas Eve adventure. It’s about an hour’s drive away from Taichung. Since it was the middle of an ordinary week (in Taiwan) there were very few people there. The air was clean. The flowers were beautiful. And most of all, it was quiet. A great way to spend Christmas Eve!
Dan and a very persistent bird he had been feeding. It just would not go away.
Gardening staff headed home at the end of a long day.
We were told that there were feral dogs living in the mountains near Taichung but we hadn’t seen many on our regular routes to and from school. Yesterday we took a random drive up into the hills. (A random drive involves taking random turns, getting really lost, and relying on the GPS to get us home again. Best done with a full tank of gas, a charged cell phone, and a sense of adventure.) One of our random turns led us to dog country. We must have seen at least 40 dogs. They seemed happy to see us. Many tails wagging.
(this would be easier to write if I didn’t have a cat sitting on my keyboard)
Our second Taiwanese cat arrived at our house on Sunday. After a few days of hiding behind the living room curtains, he decided today to join the rest of the family. B-day (I’m certain that’s not the correct Pinyin spelling, but he arrived with a Chinese name which sounds sort of like that) looks very Japanese according to our friends here. He’s almost two years old and has opinions. He also particularly likes hiding in the bookcase, on top of the refrigerator, and in the closet snuggled next to Dan’s dark colored shirts.
Our little cat has gone through several name changes. Her name now is Chessie, after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad mascot (“sleep like a kitten“). She does look like that when she is asleep.
Chessie and B-day are starting to be friends.