Honk Honk

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I have this burning need to post about Taiwan. I went for a week, and I was confronted with how spoiled and annoying I am. That was not pretty. I should not have to get whiny over dirty public bathrooms or lack of toilet paper - I've traveled so much that this should be normal for me! It's just that I wanted to expect more from Taiwan - my people think that they are very civilized.

Here is what WAS pretty: Taiwan. It is a hot, humid armpit of an island in the summer, but it is a beautiful armpit. We toured the outer coast of the island, so I had the joy of seeing blue water in all of its glorious and subtle shades. That was lovely.

There are these marble quarries that are surrounded by swift, clear water. They have done a lot of work to make the place safe for tourists, but one still has to wear a helmet in case of rockslides... MARBLE rockslides. Fantastic. This was in Hua Lien. I loved it there - the weather was beautiful, the drivers were only a little nuts, and the landscape is so foresty green and ocean blue.

Also, Taiwan is known for its corrupt government and delicious food. I did not have to deal with the former, but I definitely indulged in the latter. I forgot to take pictures of that because I snarfed everything the moment it was put in front of me. The fruit is so gorgeous that I wanted to keep it forever. Except that it was also so sweet that I inhaled it by the pound. Mmmm.

Here is a picture of my mother wearing the monkey helmet. I have two things to say about this special little thing.

One: All of the helmets that we saw were white, until we got to a special bag of quite colorful helmets with cute designs on the side. Mom saw the color, but apparently not the design that should have tipped her off that these cute articles of headgear were meant for children. I kind of just let her do what she wants because if you know my mom, she is quirky. This is the woman who taught me important life lessons with finger puppets. Yes, the sex talk, too.

Okay, so we start walking, when she notices that a few children approaching us are wearing the same helmet as she is - but the causality does not register until the third kid. The first time, she says, "Oh, that kid has my helmet." The second time, she looked at me and said, "we're so fun," implying that I am not fun. The third time, she realized that she had stolen protective headgear from children, and asked me why I didn't tell her at the time. I informed her that she is nuts, and that I just assumed this to be more insane behavior on her part. She called me a shit-dickhead.

Second: As you know, I was born in the year of the golden monkey, so my mother likes monkeys. This is interesting, because my mother and I, according to the astrology chart, are supposed to be mortal enemies. She forms a trifecta with the horse and the dog, which, coincidentally, are my father's and brother's signs.

This further reinforces my belief that feng shui and astrology are mostly bunk, with some common sense thrown into the confused mishmash of auspicious how's-yer-father-right-up-the-arsehole. Because my mom and I are BFF and not even the cosmos can really do anything about changing that.

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