19 October 2005

Big city for this big boy

I posted about our trip last weekend but I forgot to mention the struggles I had. I found it very difficult to enjoy the smaller city, more rural part of Taiwan. The two big differences being communication and food. In Taipei and Kaohsiung most people can manage a bit of English and if you're lucky a lot of English. This is not the case in smaller centres such as Hualien. When our friends went back to Taipei and left us to fend for ourselves it was tough. None of the taxi drivers spoke English and none of restaurant staff spoke English. It's not a huge surprise I guess. So I referenced my low level chinese skills and tried to communicate that way....only to receive blank stares or responses in Chinese that I didn't understand. I'm not sure if my Chinese abilities are that bad or if they were speaking Taiwanese....which is a whole different language. Needless to say it was a struggle. The second thing that wore on us was the lack of western food options. We're very spoiled in big city Taiwan to have western food options at our fingerstips everyday...we can get almost everything we could want in Taipei. (except for perogies..aaahhh!!) We ate Chinese food with Andy and Audrey while they were with us but Nevada and I can only handle so much Chinese food. When we were touring the town on our own it was tough to find western food options besides fast food and we're trying to make a conscious effort to stay away from that stuff. So we wandered around looking for anything familiar and it never came. Finally we settled on a restaurant that apparently had Italien food but to our chagrin all of their dishes had seafood and we don't eat seasfood. So we had to leave and find something new....we went to a nice looking restaurant and made sure they had an english menu...most items sounded sketchy so I ended up ordering the chicken nuggets and french fries. The irony is that we walked around trying to avoid fast food and here I was in a nice restaurant ordering fast food. I'm glad to be back in the big city with a fridge full of western food and options galore on every street.

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