Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sept 2 2005

I worked in the morning finishing my syllabi for school next week, and then we had lunch at the Foundation with Dr. Wu and some of the other Fulbright grantees. The lunch was called "Chinese lunch box" and it was interesting and good. The boxes were about 4" x 6" x 2", rather flat for a lunch box in the States. Inside was rice, meat, vegetables, and several packets of seasoning. We also were served some very tiny containers that, had they been larger, would have looked like containers of juice or perhaps that liquid yogurt that you use to make drinks; I forget its name right now. These little guys were a yogurt drink with fruit in it, and they were delicious. Peter hasn't exactly been scarfing up the Chinese food the way I have been; he hardly touched his lunch and didn't even open his beverage, which I quickly snagged for myself. I asked about the stuff and was told its easy to find in any 7-11, which, by the way, are ubiquitous here. One on every second block, sometimes on every block.

After lunch we sat around and talked for a good while. The others at lunch, beside the foundation staff, were very young and are here to do research and study Chinese. One of them brought his sister along; she plans to get a job teaching English and study while he does his research for his dissertation. He is researching election reform in Taiwan and they are Chinese-Americans from California. Another is researching the assasination in 2004 of someone important here in Taipei. I asked him if that was a safe thing to do and he didn't understand why I asked the question. ( Yes, very young.) The third male researcher is working on Chinese history; sounds boring but safe. They are interesting kids and I'm sure I'll enjoy them but probably I won't see them much as they will stay here in Taipei and I'll be in Taichung. Two of them have already been here on Fulbrights before. The brother and sister, whom I really liked, have family in Taichung and promised to come see me and introduce me to their family.

After all this Peter and I walked around the corner to the botanical gardens and the national museum of history. The gardens were lovely but a bit in disarray after the typhoon. Several huge trees had been blown down and everywhere we saw broken branches and plants. I will include some shots of a huge broken tree, children watching squirrels, a charming pagoda, and some very interesting trees. The walk was incredibly hot and muggy and I was extremely glad to get to the museum which was air conditioned. One of my grandchildren used to say "Ghee, I am sweat," and I know now exactly what the child meant, as I was sweat. No other terms needed with that use of the absolute.

We got back to the hotel about 6:30 and rested a bit and then decided to go out to dinner, which we had not done since we arrived. We tried to go to a Chinese restaurant the hotel staff recommended, but our cab driver couldn't find it so we just got out of the cab and walked around looking in windows and for a restaurant, as well. We finally decided on a French place, a bit bemused by the idea of a French restaurant in China but thinking at least we could get a good bottle of wine and some snappy food, and we were correct on both counts. The inside was a lot like the Black Lab over on Montrose near St. Thomas, and Peter immediately pointed out that all the patrons were Chinese. I said "Go figure" and left him to get the point. My soup was the best bowl of seafood chowder I've ever had. I will dream about that soup many times; it was delicate and creamy and absolutely wonderful. We had a good Chilean Malbec (?) and I had prime rib and Peter had a leg of lamb that tasted like mutton to me, but he said it was okay. It was fun!


At 12:55 PM, Blogger K. A. Laity said...

Despite the damages from the typhoon, the botanical gardens look lovely! It looks like it would be a very relaxing place to be -- on a cooler day I suppose. I should think of all the gardens I have yet to see in Houston for the very same reason. Perhaps more of them this winter.


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