Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dragon Boat Festival

A new upcoming event is the Dragon Boat Festival! This is part of Taiwan's culture and traditional sport and it is once a year. We are joining with the "Dutch Team". Our target is not to win the race, there are too many ladies above 40 in our team and beside that, some teams are practising 6 times a week. We're practicing every Saturday morning at the stinky Keelung river.
I am the second person at the right site.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Food, food, food, and a trip to Ilan County (with food)

There’s no question that the Taiwanese love their food. People in Taiwan mainly talk about food. There’s a snack shop every three steps and a restaurant every five. Eating out is a popular activity for the Taiwanese of all ages, I’ve experienced it many times. They like crowded restaurants with bright lights, eating as much and fast as possible, and immediately after that they go outside. I really don’t like chicken with skin and bones, tofu with totally no taste (I always try to order tofu as spicy as possible), duck-blood balls and most of the food of the tiny, dirty, little shops on the markets or small streets. The foods most people consume on a daily basis, what might be called Taiwanese siao-chih, can also be divided into eight main categories:

Poultry: boiled salted duck, roast duck, a-hsiew Yilan-style marinated and smoked duck, chicken stewed in Chinese herbs, “drunken” chicken (steamed in wine), rice with shredded chicken meat, steamed chicken, etc.
Meat: beef noodles, cow viscera soup, mutton rice noodles, mutton stewed with Chinese angelica, dried meat, crispy meat, preserved or processed meat, meatballs, ba-wan (meatballs in dumplings), etc.
Fish and seafood: milkfish porridge, steamed grouper, fried white hairtail, o-a-zen (oyster omelet), mangrove crab porridge, etc.
Rice and noodle dishes: Hsinchu rice noodles, Nantou slender noodles, Taiwanese rice noodles, “slab” noodles, glutinous rice tamales with meat and other fillings, wa-guei “bowl-pasties” (stuffed flour dumplings), and o-a-mi-sua (noodles with oysters), etc.
Bean curd and vegetarian fare: Shenkeng tofu, Dasi dried bean curd, “stinky” tofu, and various kinds of vegetarian dishes.
Sweet and savory pastries: sweet stuffed dumplings such as mua-ji, aboriginal millet cake, and Hakka glutinous rice cake; egg-yolk shortbread, pineapple cake, crispy wedding meat pie, crispy cookie, sun-shaped pastry, ox-tongue-shaped pastry, salty pie, Yokan, white gourd cake, cake made from glutinous rice powder, maltose puff rice balls, etc.
Beverages: honey bean ice, papaya milk shake, taro ice, honey, carambola juice, grass jelly, sugarcane juice, bitter tea, Hakka leicha (pounded tea), jelly fig ice, pearl milk tea, etc.
Sauces and seasonings: spicy soybean sauce, fermented bean curd paste, pickled vegetables, pickled mustard tuber, sesame oil sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, soybean sauce, etc.

We made a trip with our tutor of the hospital. Victor and his friend picked us up early in the morning to make a trip by car to Ilan County. He apologized because he had to the post office to receive a package. He dropped us with his friend at a market and we bought 4 or 5 different kind of fruits. After 15 minutes, Victor came back with even more bags with fruit. So with to much fruit in the car we started our trip with FOOD as main topic.

We went to the East-cost and make a trip through the mountains. After we finished some pieces of fruits in the car we stopped at a city (Ilan) with a small harbour to go to a fish market. Of course we tried many pieces of fresh fish, dried fish, fish candy’s etc. We bought souvenirs as packed dried fish for home. The following activity was eating in a restaurant! Victor ordered 4 bowls with fish and vegetables. The shrimps were on a stick and still alive. The way you eat them? Cook the living shrimps in a hot pot and do it quickly, otherwise the shrimps will suffer too much. The food was really delicious!! However Gertje and I were totally hěn bǎo (full).
Some pictures of the trip:

Together with Victor and a friend

Waterlelies and a windmale

Seaside North-East coast
In-shore fishers
A rich guy build this house with an Arabic architecture.

Fish market at Ilan

Fish market at Ilan
Fish restaurant with the 4 bowls of fish and hotpots

Close up picture of the living shrimps. I am sorry,
you probably still don’t see them moving.

Nice architecture!

Children playing in the river

Talking about the meaning of life…

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Taiwan sometimes hurts my eyes!

Taipei is an energetic and busy city. Even though the positive aspects of Taiwan far outweigh the negative, I would like to show you some of the negative aspects of Taiwan. Taiwan is a land that has become ugly not out of necessity, but by choice. Taipei is an example of a rapid urbanization: the traffic, ugly architecture and quite a lot of smog. Despite of the beautiful shopping malls, department stores, theatres, cafés and clubs, most of the buildings in Taiwan are so breathtakingly drab, dirty, cold and ugly. For miles and miles all you see is a flat-roofed, burglar-proofed, grey ugly buildings. Another negative aspect is one can’t flush ones toilet paper in most of the Taiwanese restrooms. Actually I can’t understand how a country that is as developed as Taiwan can struggle with such basic things as a tar road and a toilet that can handle toilet paper.
The following pictures will give you a little impression why Taiwan sometimes hurts my eyes!

Taiwanese abodes Taiwanese abodes

Hualien TaiChung

A house at the North-East coast

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lăo Shī Fedor

This blog has become a so called ‘picture blog’, nevertheless I had the feeling I should share some of my experience during my stay in Asia। I can start with telling about my new experience as an English teacher at a hospital. I am teaching the personnel of the hospital and the focus in this class is on speaking in terms which are used in the hospital. The majority of the personnel are afraid to speak in public, so together with Gertje (my colleague), we are practising dialogues with the group. We are practising the pronunciation of words like ‘N-E-U-R-O-L-O-G-Y department, U-R-O-L-O-G-Y and PRE-EXAMINATION FORM. The class consist of a group of 20+ people with the age of 20 till 55 years old. 2 months ago, I had no doubt in my mind that I will become an English teacher in my life. Now I really enjoy it, despite of the fact that I don’t have the teaching skills of my sister and without being a person with the abilities to be patient, it is going quite well.
If I go to a shop or I meet Taiwanese people on the street, they often say: “Nǐ shì hěn shuài”, which means “You’re a handsome guy”। So my ego gets really a boost during my stay here in Taiwan. A comparison can be made with the first class at the hospital. The first introduction among the students was like: “Hello, I’m Cathy (most of the Taiwanese people have an English name) …. And I am single!” The next one: “Hello, my name is Mrs Wang, I am not single anymore, I am married. I hope my two children will become as handsome as my English teacher.” I was surprised by the fact that it was a formal setting, however they were quite superficial. Even the doctors were saying that. We had to go on pictures with the most famous doctors of the hospital and so on. Anyway, I am enjoying my job as a teacher and I’m exploring a couple of my hidden skills.
My International MBA courses are going well. It’s time consuming but most of the time it is interesting to read. Probably by the time I go back to Holland, I’ve gained quite a lot knowledge about the political situation in Taiwan and China, the business environment and culture and I’ve also developed some ‘soft skills’ by hanging around and working with Taiwanese people.

Reading the Lonely planet at the third-largest
City in Taiwan, TaiChung

One of the streets in Puli
Hot-pot near Sun Moon Lake on Mother’s day

Sun Moon Lake, central Taiwan
Some jellies with ice at the small city Puli

In 80’s style at the birthday of
Antti and Angela, here are some pics
taken at the house of James Palmer,
our CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer)
Angela and Antti with their typical Taiwanese presents
Fabian with my wig
Mark, Xenia and Hugo
The Iron Man Teemu (a.k.a. Jaap Stam)
Chris (his English name)
Angela and Gloriane (G)
Louis, Gertje and Xenia (80’s style)
In 80’s style at the birthday of Antti and Angela

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Queens day in Taipei

Instead of a Dutch Embassy there’s
a Netherlands Trade & Investment Office.
The NTIO is dedicated to the promotion
of economic, educational and cultural ties
between the Netherlands and Taiwan.
It also handles visa applications and
consular matters.

Last Friday we celebrated Queens day
at the house of the representative of the NTIO.
The same day I received some ‘stroopwafels’,
chocolate and cashew nuts from Christine (+ fam.).
Thank you very much! I’ve shared the typical
Dutch delicious cookies (‘stroopwafels’) with
people from allover to give them an little

Below are some pictures of Queens day!
Together with Robbert, ‘haring’,
‘bitterballen’ and Dutch cheese
Minister of Foreign Affairs Taiwan
Mark, Robbert, Gertje, Me and Hugo

Fabian with a girl from Germany Together with the NTIO representative,
Mr. Menno Goedhart.