Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Delicious Poison

... is your name Salty Fried Chicken.

11pm... 12pm... 1am... always this time of night... it hits... an uncontrollable urge for deep fried chicken skin, chicken butt and other random chicken parts along with tofu, hash browns, hot dogs - all buried in deep fried cilantro and stuffed in a plastic bag. You eat it by poking different pieces in the bag with a little wooden stick.

It tastes so good, and makes you feel so oily, heavy and bad afterwards...

... but I can't resist it!

Monday, October 22, 2007

You know you've been in Taiwan too long when...

1. You can order the entire McDonald's menu in Chinese.
2. You decide it makes more sense to drive a motorcycle instead of a car.
3. More than one garment has been ruined by betel-nut spit.
4. Someone doesn't stare at you and you wonder why.
5. You look both ways before crossing the sidewalk.
6. Hsiaohsing Wine tastes good.
7. You turn left from the right lane.
8. 70 degrees Fahrenheit feels cold.
9. You see three people on a motorcycle and figure there's room for two more.
10. "Squid" sounds better than "steak".
11. You don't notice the smell.
12. There are more things strapped to your motorcycle than you ever put in a car.
13. Looking at a dog makes you hungry.
14. You stop conjugating verbs.
15. You drive on the shoulder to pass traffic.
16. The main reason you stop at a 7-11 is to buy tea eggs.
17. You expect a Chinese New Year's bonus.
18. Firecrackers don't wake you up.
19. You spend two hours and US$75 to go get potato skins and buffalo wings.
20. You can distinguish Taiwanese from Hakka.
21. Your family stops asking you when you'll be coming back.
22. Taxi drivers are considered "good drivers".
23. You withdraw your money from the bank during Chinese missile tests.
24. Beer really isn't so expensive.
25. You stop and look both ways before driving through a red light.
26. "A", "an" and "the" aren't necessary parts of speech.
27. You know when the next "big bai-bai" is.
28. Smoking is one of the dinner courses.
29. You don't mind when your date picks her/his nose in public.
30. You wear out your horn before your brakes.
31. The police call you to get information about other foreigners.
32. You know which place has the best noodles & duck meat at 3:00 a.m.
33. a) You (male) wear white socks with suits and black socks with tennis shorts.
b) You (female) wear socks with pantyhose in summer.
34. People who knew you when you first arrived don't recognize you.
35. You speak Chinese to your foreign friends.
36. You own a karaoke machine.
37. None of your shoes have laces.
38. Chinese stop you on the street to ask for directions.
39. You leave the plastic on new furniture.
40. Forks feel strange.
41. You can spot the differences between the China News and the China Post.
42. The shortest distance between two points involves going through an alley.
43. You wear blue rubber flip-flops at work.
44. People don't see you for months, and when they do, they don't ask you where you've been.
45. Your deodorant stick has cobwebs on it.
46. You check that the karaoke machine is working before boarding a wild chicken bus.
47. Chinese remakes of Western songs sound better than the originals.
48. You stare at other foreigners.
49. Over half of your clothes were bought at night markets.
50. You become an expert on bug zappers: the best brands & where to get them.
51. The majority of foreigners who have been in Taiwan longer than you are buried here.
52. You find yourself saying, "Oh geez, not ANOTHER Year of the Rat."
53. You know which turn signal should be on when driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
54. You get homesick for Chinese food while away from Taiwan.
55. Praying at a temple for a winning lottery number becomes a regular thing to do.
56. It becomes a tradition that at least a part of Christmas dinner is stir-fried.
57. Other foreigners give you a funny look when you tell them how long you've been here.
58. You can't think of any good reason to leave.
59. The Statute of Limitations has expired and you still don't go home.
60. You understand that smiling and nodding is Chinese body language for "Stop speaking bad Mandarin and leave me alone."
61. Passing a construction site, you realize metal scaffolding is much more dangerous than bamboo.
62. You've spent more time on the island since 1990 than any of the Taiwanese you know.
63. The last few vacations you've had have been around Taiwan on company outings.
64. You've used up more than one phone card on local calls.
65. Locals are surprised to find out you can't vote in the upcoming election.
66. Your pets are bilingual.
67. Pizza just doesn't taste right unless there's corn on it.
68. Your preferred parking spot is on a sidewalk (and you get upset when someone else parks there).
69. Most meaningful conversations take place in doorways or on slow-moving motorcycles.
70. You can de-bone a piece of chicken in your mouth within seconds.
71. Your job title has more than three words.
72. You think the service in the restaurants isn't THAT bad.
73. You serve Shaoshing wine at home.
74. You're constantly the first on the elevator to hit the "door close" button.
75. You start cutting off the gravel trucks.
76.You prefer squat toilets.
77.You think having a scooter would be fun.
78.You eat squid on a stick.
79.You no longer find those strange and humorous articles in the paper to send home.
80.Your most commonly used Mandarin phrase is no longer "wo ting bu dong".
81.Your answer to an "either/or" question is "yes".
82.When the fashions in the stores look really hip.
83.You're into Sumo on NHK.
84.When chou tofu is no longer stinky.
85.You go to a nice restaurant and look for the rice bowl to put your food in.
86.You wish they had Lazy Susans in the middle of the tables at TGI Fridays.
87.You spend more time driving ON the lines instead of in between them.
88.You read books from back to front.
89.You start to like Kaoliang brandy more than XO.
90.You think packs of dogs are cute.
91.You are on home leave and you say "hsie hsie" instead of thank you.
92.You call it home.
93.You're ready to name the betel nut as a nutritional supplement.
94.You think that $3,000,000NT for a golf club membership is a steal.
95.You drive like this all the time.
96.You think the Taipei-Tamsui ferry is world class cruising.
97.You think that Taiwan is really trying to protect endangered species.
98.Your pinkie nail is over one inch long.
99.You stop using spell check on your word processor.
100.You buy round trip air tickets from Taipei.
101.You are worried when you DON'T see the soldiers on a bridge.
102.You think that ICRT is quality radio.
103.You tell the taxi drivers to hurry up.
104.You think your nose IS kind of big.
105.You hum along to the tunes in the taxi.
106.You've left umbrellas in more than 3 resturants.
107.You understand ICRT traffic reports.
108.You keep stuffed animals in your car.
109.You think walking up Yangmingshan looks like fun.
110.When US $4.00 is just about right for a cup of coffee.
111.You can tell the difference between Spring rain, the Plum rain, and the rainy season.
112.The last time you visited your mother you presented her with your business card.
113.The latest you can stay out is 11:30 pm, even on a weekend.
114.You can tell, just by looking, which moon cake has the egg in it.
115.You're getting allergic to fresh air.
116.You get used to being waken up by the "dump-truck tune" instead of a clock.
117.Cable TV reminds you of boring commercials and stock market advisories.
118.Everything you own is pirated.
119.You start to treat your scooter like a spouse.
120.You get used to the habit of not paying any tips while traveling.
121.Your first reaction in buying things is to ask for discounts.
122.Your first reaction in hearing the national anthem is to think of the Chinese elementary school.
123.You get addicted to MSG.
124.You get dogdoophobia -- the fear of stepping on dog doo when walking around.
125.You say "Wei?" instead of "Hello?" when you pick up the phone.
126.The red light is merely suggestive to you.
127.You talk on your cellular phone, play Tetris, smoke, and chew betel nuts, all at the same time.
128.You always ask your best friend back home when he's going to get a motorcycle.
129.You greet people by inspecting whatever they're carrying or telling them how fat they've gotten.
130.You can no longer tell the difference between a burp and the hiccups, a cracker and a cookie, or toast and bread.
131.You're on a first name basis with the staff at the local KTV.
132. The perfect date ends at an MTV.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Do you want fries with that?

There are several things about Taiwan that you must do in order to say that you've really seen "everything", and the snake markets is one of them. Which is too bad, because they are a bit traumatizing (at least for me)!

I went there a few times in the last two years to show my friends or on a bet to drink the snake blood/venom/bile shots that they sell there. I was very confident to drink it too, until I saw the owner of the restaurant prepare it for us.

Here is one of our friends giving a public display of the preparation, hanging the snake by it's "neck" area by a noose and cutting it open with scissors as it wriggles and squirms frantically before the guy then cuts the ventricles to it's heart so we can all watch the blood pump out into a container.

When that is done, he will do the same thing for the area near the stomach so we can all see a nice blackish-green stuff come out, at which time he'll say something about how that's good for our skin (or lifespan... or sex drive, I can't remember which).

I should say that many of the Taiwanese I was standing next to had never seen this kind of thing before, and most of them were somewhat disgusted by the whole thing.

However, at one point, the one of the girls that came with my friends and I was pushing people aside to get the closest look possible at the guts and blood, which I found disturbing - she seemed like such a nice girl! Meanwhile little kids poked at whatever snake was closest and tried for the closest view of all the action as other guys and girls almost threw up ! XD

This other woman here is at the shop I once entered determined to drink the blood and bile and venom. This woman's shop is very popular, and she has a huge snake she always tries to force this guinea pig on, but the snake never eats it... this goes on for many many minutes as she hands out free samples of snakes blood (she offered one to my horrified ABC friend, who drank it because of the peer pressure: he had a very red face afterwards). After my friend drank it, she said "Look, even the Americans drink it!" Ironic, since he later told us that he only drank it because he felt he had to show his "Asian Pride" :-D

The snakes were kind of gross but I didn't mind too too much because I hate snakes. But then I saw turtles too! Turtles are one of my favorite... I even have a pet turtle! Anyway, they seem to chop of the head and poor the blood out, and you can see that the shell is there without the head... actually, I have no idea how you are suppose to eat the poor turtle, or what the health benefits are.

Ah well, that is the snake market. The snake market also has gross things like herbal remedies for your sexual illnesses (complete with poster-sized, color images of other people's sexual illnesses), sex toys, etc etc etc... There was even a yellow KTV there! You've gotta love Taiwan~ XD