fish backs and cheeks

High rollas... movers, shakers.  Move over old skool.
I don’t know what’s going on, but Taiwan is starting to piss me off. No, not Taiwan – but the headaches that I get every damn morning on this trip. I think I can attribute it to the fact that the hotel (and all public places really) allow smoking. My floor on the hotel, and my room, smell like cigarette smoke – and sleeping each night in there is really wreaking havoc on my sinuses. I wake up each morning with a killer headache that takes hours to shake, and I’m nearly out of Excedrin. I didn’t have this problem on the last trip, so I don’t know what’s going on. Maybe it’s a combo of the jet lag and smoke, or something. But ugh, it’s really putting a damper on my daily activities. Coming from California, where public smoking is all but outlawed – I don’t think my sinuses are used to it anymore. So, as long as I’m complaining, I didn’t get enough sleep last night – and woke up this morning not feeling right in the belly. Now I’m sitting here with a pounding headache and sleepy brain, whatever. I actually feel like I could be getting sick… makes me wanna check the symptoms of bird flu. I mean, the chicken-heads, y’know…

Again today was a fun day for food. I’m getting pretty used to eating animals while they stare up at me from the plate. In America I guess we don’t like to see the animal “form” of the meat we’re eating: our chicken is in breasts, wings, and thighs; our fish is in fillets and breaded sticks; and in general the food we eat doesn’t look like the animals we killed to get it. Here it’s totally different. When you eat some meat (seafood or turffood) it looks like it was just walking along and fell into the deep-fry or oven before getting to your plate. At first it’s a jump to just bite into the back of a whole fish, but after you realize that the taste is the same it gets easier. I was seriously crunching down on some fish backs and cheeks today, because really… who cares if it still looks like a fish or chicken, either way I’m eating dead flesh. They keep telling me I’m unusual in that aspect, and that most white-boys are squeamish about horking down some crazy whole-animals. Whatever, I think I’m just a practiced eater – bones, skin, and faces fear me – not the other way around. If it don’t taste like poo, I’ll eat it up. And even if it does taste like poo, I’ll try it once to find out.

While presenting to the fellas here in Taiwan, it’s very evident that the society (and even corporate society) is very much hierarchal. There may be twenty to thirty bodies in a room for a presentation, but only one or two individuals will speak for the group. Even if you question the directly, only the highest seniority folks reply. It makes it kind of hard to solicit feedback about some things, since some folks won’t even speculate on things which they may be familiar with – all because there is a more senior person in the room and it would be usurping their authority to answer. So you’ve got thirty people, twenty-eight mutes and two who can speak at will. I know a lot of it has to do with the language barrier, but it also helps to break out into a separate room with certain lower-level but knowledgeable folks so they don’t feel like they’re doing anyone some dishonor by directly answering questions. See, you just got a lesson in marketing to Taiwanese companies – take note.

Tonight I finally met up with Ben again, our schedules have been off just enough to miss hanging out each night. We met down at the bar for beer and cigars, nice Cubans – no trade embargoes here. We marveled at our luck, two young jet-setting yuppies having drinks and cigars in a swanky bar while a string quartet plays in the background and people that don’t we don’t understand bring us nuts to eat. Hells yeah, international playboys… or something. The week is going by incredibly fast, and there’s still no word on a possible extended trip to Shanghai – but I’m doubtful since I’d need a visa and haven’t got one yet. Who knows.

OK, I’m done for the night. Gonna watch the rest of this crazy fake “Tales of the Crypt”-ish movie on Cinemax and hit the sack. Dude, I just found the webpage that shows what this horrid Asian Cinemax lineup is like, check it out. Dave outta here.

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