Sunday, September 21, 2008

My brother Jamie comes to Taiwan; Tainan part 2

While Jamie was here in Tainan city we got to show him some of our favourite sights and favourite restaurants. These photos are all from the same day. Thus I present to you: A Day in Tainan: A rollicking romp through the land of temples and Taoists and random, day-or-night firecrackers and fireworks. I really just liked the sound of "rollicking romp". This is not really a romp, just a rather plain photologue.

I would be kidding myself if I tried to explain this structure. I don't know anything about it besides that it stands sentinel over one of the roads near the beach. Obviously it looks like it was constructed for military purposes but there are no signs telling us how it might be significant. Just another relic of the island's history of invasion and exposure.

On this particular day Andrea was at work and I was enjoying the chance to take Jamie of a tour of Tainan. The old tower stands on the side of a road to our closest beach and running for about half a kilometre next to the beach is a stretch of four-lane highway (2 lanes either way) that is well lit at night, fenced on either side, and pristine in terms of the condition of the driving surface. The strange thing about it is that it terminates in one end suddenly as though it had been cut from a longer stretch of highway elsewhere and plonked down here in Tainan so that now you would drive straight into thick coastal bushland. At the other end is a barrier of gates that are closed most of the time to cars, but seem to be open sporadically to scooters, fishermen in particular taking advantage of the access. Anyway, it makes a fantastic piece of road for driving practice and this is where I brought my brother to let him drive the scooter around. Watch the video.

See... the two lighthouses that mark the harbour entrance.
See... the long arm of the harbour which hosts so many fishing expeditions by guys with fishing rods and the latest in fluorescent jigs.
See... Adrian the road-hog about to punch the air after winning a game or chicken with a blowfish-laden, betelnut-chewing, blue-truck-driving, swarthy middle-aged Taiwanese man. Nah, just kidding. It's just a dream.

The jade market. An interesting place full of more jade bracelets than you could poke a stick at, or two sticks, or as many sticks as you could find. I know sticks grow on trees unlike money so really you could probably find more sticks than there are jade bracelets to poke them at, even if you limited yourself to one bracelet per stick. But then I haven't talked about how many of them are genuine jade and how many are synthetic. There are means and ways of determining the purity and quality of the jade. You should hold it up to the light and look into it; you can tap it with a piece of something solid and listen to the clink it emits; you can ask the jade-monger (if ever there has been such a prosodic construction) but who knows if he or she is telling you the truth or desperate to make a sale. Of course there are other wares available. Jamie did purchase a couple of things. He was happy to find that you could buy beer at the jade market and that he did. Here he is holding a Heineken in his hands while the buying and selling of green rock continues apace.

This is my class, or was my class last semester. They went a little crazy when we arrived. I took a tube of Vegemite and spread it on some bread and handed it out at afternoon snack time. Most of them liked it, the experience helped along perhaps by my qualification that it was salty and not sweet, tasting like a popular Taiwanese dish. Some of them asked for a second piece. I have holidays but for the students, my holidays mean Chinese class for them and for the Taiwanese co-teachers that means teaching instead of assisting. My co-teacher Miranda is very capable but I'm sure she would rather be assisting than doing the teaching.

This is a short video my brother shot inside the markets where I usually buy my vegetables, pig's trotters, boiled chicken heads, and the other good foods that make for a great dinner.

And at the end of the day Jamie cooked us dinner in our kitchen. He made us a Thai dish that he likes. I swear he always pulls the same face when I photograph him on the kitchen with kitchen utensils. The meal was really good by the way.

So that was one day in Tainan. A day well-spent and immortalised forever on my bloggish blog.

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