war memorial

Cute, and yummy!
Stupid United Express terminal… always smells like hot dogs, and everything’s always delayed. At least I got here today in time for the first flight – so I can actually be the one that starts the domino delay for the poor travelers later today. Anyway, if it wasn’t made clear already – I back. Taiwan was, Taiwan. I had a good time as always, but missed home as always.

I felt much more “local” on this visit. The “acquaintances” I’d met on my previous trips have started to turn into full-fledge friends, and where I used to need a local intermediary to schedule outings with them – now we just get together directly and do things. I had a good time with the usual crowd from the hotel bar, and managed to spend some time with Eric and Suzy as well, who are staying in Taiweezy for 6mos. Towards the end of the week, I really started burning the candle at both ends tho… wandering the streets of Taipei as the sun came up, and somehow managing to make it into work. It’s OK though, because all I needed to catch up was my flight over here – which I slept through solidly, I might add. I guess 48hrs of waking-time doesn’t match too well with ~4hrs of sleeping-time. And, the MP3 player on my phone (you’ll read about it below) faithfully served up tunes for the entire ~10hr flight, without a single bar reduction in battery – I was impressed.

And, because I’m lazy and I did the work anyway… I wrote the following paragraphs sometime this week, but never posted them… so here’s the dump.

Well, being in Taiwan, I managed to pick up a 1GB MMC card for my new Nokia 6230 phone. I’ve seen on the web that there are 2GB cards available in Europe – but I can’t seem to locate them here. So, I settled for 1GB, and now I can hold a pretty decent amount of tunes on the phone’s built-in MP3 player. I tested the functions a little bit, and it seems pretty neat. The stereo headphones I got off Ebay have an integrated track-advance button and microphone, and will automatically pause the music and allow you to use them for incoming calls when needed. My only gripe would be that it’s kinda hard to setup playlists, and you can’t do any folders on the MMC card – so everything gets all jumbled. I did manage to make playlists and get albums playing in their right order, but it’s a little bothersome. Also, the phone doesn’t support any kind of “in flight” mode like some other phones with MP3 players. This means that the radio/antenna is active at all times, which is technically not allowed during flight… but… I’m going to ignore that. Anyway, it’s kinda cool to have a reasonably sized MP3 player built into my phone, handy for long trips when you get a yen for some good tunage.

Today (Wednesday in Taiwan) turned out to be a pretty busy day. Had a lot of work to do so spent most of the day at the office doing e-mail and meetings. Also managed to book my travel for the next trip out here, as well as get Sharaun’s ticket and make sure we had adjoining seats. I hate booking international travel, and trying to coordinate my booked-through-work tickets/seats with her normally booked tickets/seats didn’t make anything easier. But, I did finally manage to square things away, and we’re both set for the upcoming trip. I’m actually looking forward to being here with Sharaun, but not really looking forward to being away from home again so soon. On the plus side, since I had some previous engagements back home in mid-May, what I thought was going to be a three-week stay turned into only two-weeks and change. The bad news though, is that my “previous engagement” was yet another travel-trip, this one to Oregon. So, I’ll get home from Taiwan, get one day back at work, and then hit the air again. And, since Breck and her husband are coming to visit the last week in May, I’ll effectively be out-of-the-office for an entire month – a first for me.

All the times I’ve been to Taiwan, and I’ve always assumed the “dark” tofu was just some variant of the regular tofu. Y’know, different ingredients, different flavor, whatever. Only today did I come to find out that it’s just gelatinous hunks of coagulated duck’s blood. Mmmmm… duck’s blood. It’s funny how something can become unpalatable just because you find out what they really are. I mean, I had no problem eating it when it was tofu – but when it was duck’s blood, I had to really work at chewing and swallowing. Scenes of strung-up ducks spilling out their life’s blood into inch-deep pans filled my mind, and thoughts of just how they form liquid blood into little jello-like cubes… ugh. Anyway, Taiwan never really disappoints when it comes to food experiences. But don’t let my tales of duck’s blood and fish eyes and chicken heads scare you off, the food here is really good – it’s just different.

Until Monday then, welcome home.

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