Archive for January, 2009

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.

Acronym City. No… Make that country.

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Even though most people tell you this beforehand, nothing can quite prepare you for the level of abbreviations and acronyms people use in a normal conversation.

Take for instance, the following photo. It is a simple street sign near my office. But, in this sign they list three different freeways and expressways as just acronyms.

When my clock radio goes off in the morning, I’m greeted with the traffic report. It’s enough to make you laugh out loud. I’ve even heard the radio DJ chuckle a bit when he starts rambling on about the jams on the PIE, CTE, ECP, AYE or the TPE. How can you expect a foreigner to know how to get from place to place if you don’t even know the names of the places?!?!

Another situation arose a little while back. I went to go see a doctor and needed a note to give to my work to get the time off approved. After seeing the doctor I went to the reception desk and asked for a doctor’s note. They looked at me with a blank stare. So, I tried rephrasing my question.

“Can I get a doctor’s slip?”
“How about a work abscence paper?”

Nothing seemed to register.

So, I described to them what it was that I needed.

A slip of paper with the doctor’s signature to excuse me from work for the day.

A HA!!! What I was looking for was a M.C. A medical certificate. And, why didn’t I just tell them that from the start they wondered? Because, as a foreigner, how the heck was I supposed to know that’s what the thing was called?

Singapore, I swear.

Do I even work anymore?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I feel like I’ve been a lazy bum lately. I haven’t really worked since late last year. Now it’s quickly approaching Feb. In the last two months I haven’t been able to really work because I’ve been travelling. Right now I’m on a flight to Taipei from Bangkok. I’ll spend about a week out here before I get back to Singapore. Then two weeks after that I’ll be on my way back to Thailand to spend a weekend of beach activities in Koh Samui.

Now, it may seem strange to most people that I’m complaining about this. But, anyone that knows me, knows I’m a work-a-holic. It’s strange for me to not have work and to just be travelling.

Well… Here’s to hoping I have work again soon.

I blame Entourage

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I have been severly slacking with posting stuff on my blog lately. An I blame it entirely on Entourage.

Before I left for the US last month, I decided to load my iPhone up with episodes of the tv series. Hoping that it would help me pass the time while I was transiting on planes. It turned into an addiction though. I’ve managed to condense five seasons of the show into a little over a month.

Now, instead of blogging on my phone, I’ve been watching TV. At least now I’m done with the series. But, the new season of television is starting up now. So, I’ll probably be on my Slingbox a bunch now instead. 😉

Word of the day

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Today’s word of the day is actually not a word. It’s a letter. To be specific, it’s the letter H.

I’ve noticed that the locals here can not pronounce the letter H by itself. At least not the way I pronounce it. The way they say it sounds like:

“Hay-ch”

The way I’m used to saying it sounds like:

“Ay-ch”

I think it might be the Chinese influence in the local dialect that is causing this.

2009

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Well, it’s been a year exactly now. I must say, it’s been an adventure. In the past year I’ve been to so many places, seen so many things, and met so many people.

The last few weeks of 2008 were some of the best times as well. I met my nephew for the first time. He’s a smiling, drooling, bobble-headed babe magnet. 😉 I think he takes after me. I also went back to the states for the first time. This has made me realize truly that the thing I miss most about the US is not the food, or weather, or cheap cars or parking; it’s my friends and family. I’m slowly building up a network of friends out here, but it’s in addition to my pervious network. Not in replace of.