Archive for the ‘Taiwan’ Category

Be prepared for crap

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Don’t read this post if you’re about to eat a meal or are squeamish about bowel movements. You’ve been warned.

While travelling a few weeks ago, I had a moment of great clarity and dread. I went into a restroom to drop a couple of kids off at the pool. When I finished my business I reached for the toilet paper, only to find the roll empty. I quickly scanned around and found a second roll, but not before I noticed that the toilet I was using was equipped with a bidet.

I’ve never used a bidet before.

Nor do I know how to use one. How do you use one? Do you just splash water on yourself, hoping that the force of the water loosens everything and it all falls neatly into the bowl? Or do you use your free hand to help things along? How do you know when it’s all clean? What about after your done? Do you just “air-dry”? Or do you use tissue paper as well? Which makes me ask, why not use tissue paper to begin with?

Then it occurs to me that I don’t know how to use a squatting toilet either. These kinds of toilets are even more common in Asia. Sometimes, they are just a hole in the floor. Sometimes it has water and flushing mechanism as well. How do you use one of these? Do you pull your trousers to your ankles? What if you have a particularly powerful session? (This is going to be gross) Won’t there be splatter? And what about cleanup? If it’s just a hole in the floor, will there be tissue paper? Or do you need to bring your own? There are just too many questions.

Taipei

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I’m loving Taipei. The city feels very vibrant. There is so much going on. And even though this is Chinese New Years week, lots of things are open and people are everywhere. We spent the first night going to the Shilin night market.

Imagine a carnival, add a few thousand Taiwanese, sprinkle a little Asian spices and shake well. And that’s what you’ll end up with.

One of the most unique aspects of the night markets here is the prevalence of carnival games. Every corner you turn, you’ll find yourself face to face with either a wall of baloons to pop, a skeet ball machine or any other of the thousand variations to win toys or stuffed animals for your sweet heart or kid.

Here’s a small sample of pictures I took to illustrate this.