Taiwan Roundup

Miscellaneous things I forgot to mention about Taipei and/or Taiwan:

  • I miss dumplings. There’s this place that we went, which I won’t pretend to know how to spell…and they handmake the dumplings on site, served hot. They’re like little explosions of flavor. Having said that, I should mention that as per the dumpling-eating instructions at the table, you’re supposed to poke the dumpling while it’s in the spoon to let the broth out to cool…but it’s way more fun to pop a super-hot explosive dumpling in your mouth, let it explode, and then wave your hand in front of your mouth for awhile before you swallow. Does anyone know of a truly good dumpling house in Chicagoland?
  • 7-11 is completely ubiquitous in Taipei. It’s also cheap, at least for soda. Buying 2 1-litre Coke Zeros and 1 fruit-flavored water drink (7-11 brand) generally cost NT$65, or just over $2. I’d easily be hitting the 3 dollar mark for that here.
  • I’m having mixed feelings about my new camera in retrospect. On one hand, it filled a vital need (as my extremely large gallery attests). On the other hand, I’m now really wishing I’d gone ahead and gotten the 10MP version. The markup seemed more ridiculous on it; that was part of my reasoning. Then again, I’m also having doubts about the brand. I’m noticing an oddly high number of artifacts in my pictures. I don’t know if it’s because I’m just more attuned (because I’m evaluating the camera) or if it’s a side effect of the “intelligent auto” setting or what. If you look at the Pancake picture I posted last night, notice how there is a yellow pattern all over the white surfaces. I suspect that’s some odd kind of light reflection effect, but I never noticed anything like it on my Canon. Googling is telling me that this isn’t unusual, but I still don’t understand why I’m getting it with this camera but didn’t get it with my older camera.
  • I’m doing pretty well in terms of recovering from jet lag. As soon as I got on the trans-pacific flight, I changed my watch over to central time, and from that point forward, I tried very hard to force myself to sleep on CT’s schedule…meaning that as soon as the attendants finished feeding me lunch, I changed into my PJs and went to sleep (around 2:30pm Taiwan time). I slept for 4-5 hours, read for a couple of hours, napped some more, and then forced myself to be awake and perky until I got to SFO. I had brunch at the first class lounge at SFO (sticky pork buns and a croissant). I couldn’t stop myself from taking a nap on the SFO-ORD flight, but it was just for an hour or so, which I justified in that on the days when I have to be awake early for work, I usually do take an early evening nap (and I’d take an afternoon nap instead if I could!). At any rate, the only oddity with sleep has been that I’m a bit more of a morning person right now, and I’m still dreaming in Chinese. I can’t understand the Chinese at all; I suspect my brain is echoing announcements and other things I heard repeatedly. But, I keep having dreams where I’m back in Taipei, hearing Chinese, and I have to convince my dream self that I can’t bring home a dumpling for Scott. (Dream self thinks that if I buy a dumpling, it will be there when I wake up. It is very hard to convince my dream self that she is being ridiculous.)
  • My back is doing much better. I don’t know if it’s just that enough time has passed or if sleeping in my own bed has done the trick. This is a very good thing, because back pain suckles like the tiniest of small mammals. Right now, it gets stiff if I sit in one place for too long. It’s just stiff, though, not painful And, so long as I remember to stretch periodically (which I should do anyways), it doesn’t trouble me at all. Oh, and I think doing Wii Fit hula hoops helps. That motion stretches the right part of my back, I think. I mimicked the motion when I was in Taipei to get my back going in the morning, and it seemed to work.
  • If you are on my usual postcard mailing list, you will receive a Taipei postcard from me in a few weeks. If you are not on my usual postcard mailing list and would like to be (for future international trips), drop me an e-mail with your mailing address. Likewise, if you’re on the list but don’t really care about getting postcards, let me know. 🙂

I think that covers it. Feel free to remind me if there’s anything else I mentioned in passing that you were hoping I’d expound upon.

If you’re interested in viewing the Taipei photos, please do so over the next week or so. In part because of my new super-awesome camera, I’ve topped a gig in that directory alone on my webserver, as I’m way too lazy to resize before I upload (zengallery automatically resizes the pictures to the proportions you see in the gallery on the fly). Now that I have an 8MP camera, I will have to break myself of my laziness. When each picture is 3-4MB, resizing is a must. To get back to my point, I’m going to remove a bunch of the Taipei gallery pictures sometime late next week. (Yes, I could just resize all the pictures and re-upload, but the nature of the software means that I will then lose the captions that I’ve painstakingly entered.)

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