December 19, 2009

Taiwan, Day 3

By day three jet lag had fully set in. I woke up at 5am and watched a vintage kung fu movie.

The breakfast buffet continued to provide novelty with delicious pancakes that were served with rose flavored honey.

Happy work continued at the museum.

Our colleagues did a press conference in the morning. They did us proud and some of us felt a little teary-eyed watching.

After work we went to Cijin Island, which I've learned is actually a peninsula. The cab ride to the ferry took us through some cool looking scruffy areas on the way to the waterfront. It was one of those experiences in which you wished your eyes were cameras.

The ferries are amazing. Most of the traffic going to the island was on scooters. Few pedestrians rode. No smoking is allowed on the Spirit of Kaohsiung, or any of the other ferries. Not a problem.

However if you want to partake of betelnut, just look for these multicolored signs.

The city's oldest temple is there. Hundreds of paper lanterns illuminate its courtyard and the effect was mesmerizing. The rest of our group took photos, and I sat on a bench and blissed out.

More amazing feats of food ordering took place when we found a seafood restaurant open. My colleagues selected our dinner from the friends on ice out in the cases on the sidewalk. We had lobsters and scallops and fried rice and bitter leafy greens and Taiwan Beer. We did not have the two items on the menu that made me laugh out loud while reading it: Areola Babylon, which sounded completely made up but is actually a type of whelk, and Halitosis somethingorother. You know by the sound of it that *that* can't be good.

I was inspired by my love of Anthony Bourdain to sample the eyeball of the whole fish we ordered. I was probably emboldened by the previous night's pig intestines, also. I ate it in segments: first the vitreous humor, then the colored bits, then the weird white thing which had the consistency of laundry detergent clumps. I ended up spitting that out. It was o.k. Not life-changing. Just texturally challenging, and definitely easier to get down than pig intestines.

After dinner we walked on the beach and saw a home-grown fireworks display, and then made our way back to the ferry.

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