Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If This is Tuesday, It Must Be Hualien!

Photos courtesy of Google Image
SME and Doug are on an 8-day driving tour of Taiwan with Paul and Juliet. They've cruised the coast, driven above the clouds in the mountains, and soaked in the hot springs. They're having an amazing time!

Doug is suffering a bit of culture-shock with the food. Paul is quite good at picking out safe Mom & Pop cafes. The only problem is that these cafes have "garbage bag tablecloths, Kool-Aid in plastic pitchers, herbs drying in cardboard boxes, and styrofoam menus". I think visiting the open-air markets on their first day, put Doug off the local cuisine. He was a bit freaked out by the sale of snake venom....fresh from a live snake, fly infested food-on-a-stick, and hemorrhoid cures(with graphic pictures), all being sold next to dining customers. He's been whining for pizza for the last couple of days.

In all fairness, SME said that some of the food CAN be a bit "iffy". The dishes that aren't overwhelmed by garlic, smell suspiciously like "...a cross between herbal medicine and compost".

Yesterday, they visited this Buddhist cave temple, called Eight Fairy Cave. There's a lot of ancient history in Taiwan, in addition to the natural beauty. We've been researching all the places SME and Doug have mentioned in their emails. This has been a great way of sharing their vacation, without the expense and "iffy" food.

I'm certain that SME will fill us in on all the details on her blog when she returns.


At 3/19/2008 10:27 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I was wondering about the food, too, since SME is a vegan. There can be a lot of mystery meats over there...Still, I'm surprised it's as bad as Doug says, but it's probably cultural. I'd be totally loving it!

Until I smelled the compost-y odour...

At 3/20/2008 11:49 AM, Blogger Courtney said...

I was watching Mutiny on the Bounty last night, and the food issues in Taiwan made me think of it. At one point, one of the sailors says (while trying to choke down worm infested meat), "I can eat weevils and maggots, but I can't eat little red worms." I think I'll have a nice salad for lunch.

Questionable food aside, I hope they're have a great time. Taiwan looks beautful!

At 3/20/2008 4:13 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

WC, there's a lot of Buddhists in Taiwan, so I'd imagine they serve quite a few vegetarian dishes.
I've had herbal supplement capsules get stuck in my throat and melt. NOT a nice flavor! :(

Courtney, I think that's the image Doug has stuck in his head too.

I can't wait to see the pictures and videos that SME and Doug have taken!

At 3/21/2008 1:59 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

Mystical beautiful place. Thanks for the vivid descriptions. How long do the kids get to stay? What a time they are having - and you and Z are having very personal social studies sessions with this. Cool.

I have a niece in Singapore so can identify with the cultural illuminations. To have the experience without, as you say, the 'iffy foods' and other less pleasant aspects. Of course, I wouldn't begrudge anyone who wanted to pay my way for such a trip. That's about the only way I'd get to go in the near future. ;)

At 3/21/2008 3:55 PM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

I got an e-mail from her the other day explaining some of the stuff and it sounded so fun. I cant wait to hear about it all when she comes home. I cant wait for our trip home either.. I love the scenary and I PASSED MY TEMPS TEST TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 3/22/2008 1:22 PM, Blogger Mike S said...

Lived 2+ years in Tainan and loved it. Great photos. As for the food, since the civilation there has been around so long and the people have tried eating everything available I think, choosing food is tricky at times. Judging from some market stalls is like eating Micky D's cardboard burgers after being raised on good steak burgers.
A bit of exploring and asking the locals where they eat is the surest way to get tasty stuff. As for the vegans, that's one part of Buddhism that many don't observe. However, meat is a special treat there most of the time, meaning loadsa vegetarian dishes around.

At 3/22/2008 2:08 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

What gorgeous photos. Thought of the food too, knowing a little bit about Chinese food. It sounds like they're coping in grand style, though,and having a great time-which is the point.

At 3/22/2008 8:02 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Cherie, they'll be coming home April 3rd.
I'd LOVE to visit Paul and Juliet in Taiwan, if we could afford it. I don't think my back could handle the long flight though, and L refuses to fly. I guess we'll just have to enjoy a hand-me-down vacation.

CONGRATULATIONS Tweets!! We're sooo proud of you!

Mike, you should check out SME's blog when they get home. I'm sure she'd love to discuss her trip with you.

Bridg, all-in-all, they're really enjoying the experience. I can't wait to talk to her and see all their pictures!

At 3/22/2008 9:13 PM, Blogger SME said...

No no, I said there isn't ENOUGH garlic! Because of the Buddhists and Daoists, I guess. I did have some dee-licious mountain fern with garlic...the mountain food was actually quite tasty, aside from the mountain pig which even Richard didn't like. Too greasy.

The seasoning here gives off a strangely sweetish, anise-y smell that isn't very pleasant. Some of the food is very good, but the smell saturates everything to such an extant that even excellent food can taste strange if you eat in an open-air place. And some of the street food is just plain nasty to me, like squid-on-a-stick, seasoned chicken claws, and "stinky tofu".

On the up side, every drink stand sells hot Ovaltine or Milo and they have Ovaltine ice cream bars! Everybody drinks it here, not just me and a bunch of old people like in Canada. ;D

Having a fantastic time - Taiwan is fascinating and friendly.

At 3/23/2008 11:51 AM, Blogger Candace said...

Whoa, cool! I love the pics! :)

At 3/23/2008 12:34 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Lent's over; Candace is back! ;)
Happy Easter Candace!

At 3/24/2008 9:20 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

The pics are great - a beautiful place. They are known for weird food there - I wouldn't touch it - and my dream is to eat my way around the world. But then I ate in a restaurant on Saturday that both the boy's ribs and my fish tasted like leftovers from the hurricanes in '04. Something worse than compost.

At 4/01/2008 3:35 AM, Blogger Z-kid said...

"I think I'll have a nice salad for lunch."

I think I'll having nothing, thanks. D:

At 4/01/2008 6:11 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Z, you could always try squid-on-a-stick, or stinky tofu. ;)


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