Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just because I wouldn't want this blog to end with scooter slogans...

Hazel Jane arrived on August 27th in the wee hours of the morning, and life has not been the same since.  In fact, she is a big part of the reason I started a gratitude blog, so maybe you should check me out over there!   

Friday, June 11, 2010

On Scooter Culture

Scooters are definitely the dominant form of transportation in Taiwan.  It's not uncommon, around 5 pm when local schools let out, to see a business-attired mother scootering her two children home.  It sometimes freaks me out, especially when I see a baby in a sling on its mother while she scoots around... and next to her is a man texting on his scooter while running the red light and smoking a cigarette.  While we choose to bike or walk rather than scoot,  we LOVE to observe the scooter culture, everything from the rules of the road to rebel "scooter gangs" (neon and/or halogen lights are a must), and the hilarious English-language slogans scooters bear.  Here are a few pictures of scooter decals E snapped on our way to lunch the other day (ahh, summer vacation, when teachers have enough time to laugh and dwaddle on the way to a cafe). 
This one makes no sense whatsoever, so of course we love it. 
 I'm of the opinion that a motorized vehicle brand should not make reference to wine, but hey...

I have one more pic, but I need to figure out how to stop it from rotating when I load it into blogger.  The slogan says, "We reach for the sky, neither does civilization" and the brand is SNIPER. Taiwan, we love you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I've been busy

I can no longer look at a post that makes reference to Christmas!  It has been forever since I have updated this, but I like to think being six and a half months pregnant (with a girl!) is an acceptable excuse.  We are excited to meet mysterious baby H. in August and ask her where she learned her apparent karate skills! 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas in India

Being great Indian food enthusiasts and having a THREE! WEEK! winter break, we were excited to go to India over winter vacation.  India is so vast that we knew we'd only be able to see a tiny portion of it, and even that would take extensive travel and plenty of planes, trains, and automobiles.  We left Taiwan and headed to Bangkok, Thailand for a few days because it was a free stop on our flight to India.  We visited some temples, admired the excessive idolatry of the King, and just had a relaxing time.
From Bangkok we still had nearly 5 more hours to fly to arrive in Mumbai, on the west coast of India. Mumbai is supposedly formerly known as Bombay, but I think Indians still call it Bombay.  I digress!  Mumbai was a bit of a shock, initially.  Traffic was insane, and as we wove our way through the city toward our hotel, it was sad to see such extensive poverty and slums.  Perhaps you've seen Slumdog Millionaire (I haven't), but it was shocking to see miles of tiny improvised dwellings and young children playing in the filth.  Here is an aerial view I grabbed from flickr that depicts the largest slum in Mumbai:
Of course, besides the slums, Mumbai also had lots of cool colonial buildings and delicious food. 

After a day in Mumbai, we caught a flight down to Goa, a much more wealthy (and interestingly, Catholic) state in the southern west coast.  Goa is basically a tropical paradise- the Cancun of India.  We have few images of our time in Goa because my camera batteries died.  E has a few more on his iphone

By now, both of our families know that our time in Goa was cut short due to a motorcycle accident.  We feel very fortunate to have weathered the crash without terrible injuries, but now we need to get back to India to see Agra, Varanasi, and much, much more. Someday!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in Taroko

We had a much-needed break from work for the Thanksgiving holiday, so headed up to Taroko National Park on the east coast of Taiwan for some hiking and biking.  It was so wonderful- fun people, good scenery, and lots of fresh air and laughter. 

 This is Hualien, the coastal town we stopped in on our way to Taroko.  The mountain scenery was fantastic.

On the way to a trail in Taroko National Park, we climbed down into the river bed to look around.

The suspension bridge was not scary at all...until the middle where the rails were only about waist-high.

There were lots of signs like this one, so we did as we were told.
After two days in Taroko, we caught a train up to Taipei along the coast.  There, we broke off from the group in search of a hot spring resort.  We found one in Yangmingshan (outside of Taipei), and spent the night.  In the morning we stopped by Longshan Temple before we caught the high speed train home to Kaohsiung.
 I will try to upload some video clips from inside the temple.  Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was just as fun and relaxing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Royal Tour

I'm trying to do a better job of taking pictures of everything here- our neighborhood, trips we take, and just generally all the great and funny things we see on a daily basis.  But, I am loathe to be that annoying foreigner with a camera.  So, I've taken only a few, and mostly surreptitiously.  Alas!  In my own apartment, I can take as many pictures as I like!  Plus, I owe my Auntie Betty pictures of our apartment.  Here they are:

We have, of course, a thrilling living room, complete with a 10,000lb table.  I am not kidding, that coffee table is a monster.

A sweet teeny kitchen that leads out to our balcony,

Two burner stove, no oven,

Oh, look, I made some noodles with miso, garlic, and tofu.

Bedroom with a REAL bed (not common here, it seems)

A big closet,

 The bike room,

Miniature musical washing machine,

And lastly, our awesome retractable drying rack. Edit: Sorry for the gross lighting conditions.  It was evening, after Ms. Yuki and her cleaning crew left.  If I waited for the weekend and daylight, the place would be trashed again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Butter Lion Birthday

I had a superfun birthday despite working in a country where Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day is not a holiday.  I got mega awesome gifts, had a fantastic dinner, and got an obscene number of "happy birthdays" on facebook.

Birthday awesomeness began when I returned to my office to find a sweet card and Butter Lion gifts on my desk.  My love for Butter Lion knows no bounds.  Doraemon is fairly awesome, too.  Banana Chippy is totally cute, but Butter Lion has stolen my heart forever.  I dare anyone to go to the Butter Lion link and not fall hopelessly in love.

So, awesome Butter Lion trinketry, only to be followed up by complete surprise- a Taiwanese Junior High messenger bag!  All the local teens have these bags, emblazoned with the name of their school.  It's waterproof and sturdy and perfect for riding to and from work.  In response to my dad's annual question, 28 feels pretty great.