Update #: 1
Currently: In a smoke filled Internet cafe surrounded by hundreds of PC's all blaring the sounds of videogame death and destruction in Kaoshiung, Taiwan.
Previously: Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Osaka, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Huelin, Kenting.
I hate to be such a blantant follower, but what can I say - as of late Ricky Williams has consistently beaten me to the punch. He quit his job before I did, he made it to Asia before I did, and now he's heading to India!. Not sure what move of his I'll follow next, although I think it can be safely assumed that shaving dreadlocks is out of the picture. If you had me on your fantasy football team...I apologize. I'll do my best to make it up to you by sharing only the most captivating and death defying details of my trip here on this lil' travelog.
For example, over the course of the last 11 days, I have almost been mowed down by scooters approximately 47 times (ratio of scooters to cars is about 10:1). Apparently the whole 'right of way' concept is not something they obey here in Taiwan. And yet somehow it works. I've only seen one minor accident so far, even though in theory hundreds should have happened. As a driver you have to assume that the people around you could go in any possible direction because, without hardly any warning, they often do.
Speaking of changing direction - I love the whole urban layout here. You'll be walking down a sidewalk and turn into a small alley which all of a sudden becomes this crazy marketplace, filled with outrageous smells and sights (in that order). The food here so far has been...interesting. I've had more soy and tofu products than I ever had in my entire life and I've slowly gotten used to the feeling of strange foods squishing and squirming around in my mouth. It's not so much that the taste is bad, it's just the way that the food feels that makes it seem so different.
There's also the issue of the food temperature - mainly the drinks. Everything is kind of luke warm, if not hot. I think I could stomach some of the 'more adventurous' drinks if only they were cooler. But when you try out something that tastes like tomatoes and clams AND it's served warm, there's just no way you can avoid the flavor. That being said, there's always a local 7-11 to stop at and pick up many of the different types of green teas - which I love. The combination of green tea and milk or green tea and coffee or green or black tea which just about anything else is something I'll be sure to enjoy even outside of Asia.
So although I don't think I'm packing on the pounds, I'm also not going hungry. Some of my favorite foods so far: the numerous pasteries with fruit filling, all the sesame snacks, the rice triangles from 7-11, fresh made pot-stickers and dumplings, bamboo shoot tips, the japanese style meat/egg/rice meals, and of course all the tea/milk combos. Who knows, give me a few more days and I may even crave some fresh seaweed and cabbage.