Made In Taiwan

We have been in Taiwan for 6 days now and we are having a great adventure. White is playing in two cities while we are here. Firstly in Kaohsiung (pronounced Cow Shung) and then in the capital Taipei. We are being really well looked after by our host Cynthia and by Carol our interpreter who has just returned home after living in Belfast for the past two years.

Kaohsiung is hot, most days are around 32 degrees but it is the humidity which is the toughest bit. You walk around and within 5 minutes you need to change, but you need to walk to appreciate how amazingly different this country is. Apparently the Taiwanese don’t walk much, the scooter is the preferred mode of transport and you see hundreds of them parked everywhere. At certain times of the day it is like there is a rally going on. I even had a guy yesterday, as I walked along the street, point at me, then point at his scooter and then wave bye as he drove past. I think we were both amused.

The people here are very friendly and have been loving the show. Beck, one of the guys from the front desk of the hotel where we have been staying came to see the show yesterday. It was sold out but he wanted to see it and so we squeezed him in. He bought us a beautiful gift of pineapple cakes and a box of tea and wrote us a lovely card to say thanks. In fact everyone we have met has been incredibly friendly and have been very keen to try out their English after the performance. So much so that even the tiniest members want to try. One little girl answered my “Hello” with a very earnest “abc” – it made me smile. And another child yesterday growled deeply “Awesome” as we opened the houses to reveal the colour. We have done a lot of photos after the show, both group and individual and it’s interesting to ponder is that because we can’t chat to the audience like we usually do or is that just part of the culture here?

Last night Daphne, our contact at the venue, took us over to Chichin Island. Its basically part of Kaohsiung as it’s only a five minute ferry onto the island. We got to try Stinky Tofu – which is a fermented, blue cheese style, deep fried tofu…and yes it stinks. It’s smell is a kind of cross between rotten cabbage and manure and the taste is pretty full on too, a sort of blue cheese crossed with rotten meat. Suzie and Ian managed a couple of pieces. I stuck at one.
In fact the whole trip is a bit of a culinary adventure.

We have tried century egg, which is black from being buried in clay, ash and quicklime – your average kitchen ingredients. Its actually not bad. And we have had fantastic meals the whole time brought from different parts of Taiwan, China and Japan. One thing that has made us chuckle is they are quite partial to sweet with savoury, so we have had several savoury dishes with a liberal sprinkling of hundreds and thousands on the top.

Today we waved a rather reluctant goodbye to Kaohsiung and got on the bullet train up to Taipei. It was a chance to see the rest of the country – if quite briefly as the train travelled at 182mph. We learnt you had to be quick for a photo. As we got into Taipei I nearly jumped out my seat as the suitcase which was I was studying suddenly moved and I let out a scream much to the bemusement of the dog inside and the amusement of Suzie – who I think will still be laughing when I see her later.

The part of Taipei we are staying in looks lovely. Tree lined streets and plenty of good shopping so we are looking forward to exploring that on our day off tomorrow. And I am sure we will have a few more adventures, culinary and otherwise, before we get in to the venue on Wednesday.
So, more Made in Taiwan soon.

P.S. I have just got into my hotel room and realised not only is the toilet seat heated, but it also has a complete jet cleaning system with front and rear settings…I am not sure I will come home.