Monday, January 22, 2007

A Night at the Grand and other meanderings

This info is to go with the Grand Hotel pictures posted below. I know Sturgeon Bay HS is in financial straits but on this one the contrast is just too great to not mention. Unlike some Board members at SBHS who feel they can raise their professional rates but God forbid that a teacher claim the right to participate in any wealth expansion, the board of TAS decided that it needed to have a social event to try to bridge some past major decisions that resulted in a toxic environment. In the fall, the board hosted a major food and drink and music and pool and conversation and wine and food and wine and social event at the American Club.

Did I mention food and wine? This latest event was held at the Grand Hotel which is the most prominent social landmark in the city of Taipei. Google the descriptions and/or look at the pictures but let me tell you it was GRAND. Truly the event was to facilitate healing and communication between the board and teachers. The school provided tour coach buses to take folks to the hotel. The food was past OH MY GOD!!! But really only *** in quality. They had (ahem) chicken velvet corn soup, roast prime rib, a table with Mexican seafood salad, tomatoes and mozzarella with balsamic, assorted veggie salads, sashimi with salmon, shark, wahoo, crab, mussels, oysters, clams and sauces, aspic of eel with egg, assorted sushi, beef with mustard sauce, house made pate, smoked barbequed eel. THEN at another table, they had chicken in lemongrass, tongue in wine sauce, stuffed crab au gratin, short ribs Asian style, a table with shrimp and “stuff” to be placed in lettuce cups, ANOTHER table with lemon snapper, fried rice, blah blah blah (I stopped after 20 items) .

THEN THE DESSERT TABLE with 4 long tables of fattening delicacies of tarts, pies, puddings (including MANGO) fresh fruit including pineapple, dragon fruit, star fruit, Asian pears, etc etc etc and , and and and THEN there was the open wine and beer bar AND the life music band… and great conversation with many folks who are too busy to get together during the school day.

Speaking of which, I got the calendar for next year and started entering the dates and (I am soooo ashamed) when it came to the school start date, I truly uttered the phrase “ COOL” as I anticipated the restart of school. Doctor, take my temperature!

On A days I am finished with classes at 10:30 so I have more freedom. I do not finish until 5 ish with class prep and stuff but I do go roam around the neighborhood for lunch. Today I stopped at a ????place and pointed to a roast pork chop, and some green vegetable (spinach like with stalks) and yellow mass (bamboo shoots) and an eggy looking thingy (scrambled eggs with scallions) and they also threw in a plastic mini bottle of something (acidophilus yogurt and a citrus juice) that was really good. I am sad that Carol has an allergy to seafood because that cuts off some of the spontaneity that I can have on my bi-daily quests. On the other hand she is doing well are is able to enjoy Indian food anytime, Thai food with caution, Shi Lankan food with many vegetarian entrees and many Chinese dishes. And then there are the bakerys..which one has the best western style bread. There is Wendell’s who makes fabulous European style breads, the French patisserie whose spinach buns are steamed then baked, and Johan bakery in the bottom of the Shin Kong Mitsukosi department store that has the world’s best cheese and ham French bread and a flatbread loaded with black sesame and Indian seeds. The choices are TOO many.

And lurking behind all this foody discussion is still the specter of DANIEL THE TRAINER! I wake up in pain almost every day from the beating I get from my friend Daniel at the fitness center. I do love it even though all my new cloths that I bought when we moved here are about 4 inches too big. (Yes I am bragging a little) I had an interesting discussion with him the other day. He may go into the Taiwan military system in a year or two. I asked him, since he is part of the KMT or party of Chaing Kai Shek and the rulers since the 40’s who do NOT believe in Taiwan as a separate country….”Could you fire a gun a soldier from mainland china?” For purpose of security I will not offer his response but think about the dilemma he and many other native Taiwanese face in defending their country against their “brothers”.

On a different note, check out www. and search on TIEN MOU specifically 88hawai for a scooter trip to TAS that almost comes into our apartment. Also he takes a trip to Danshui (remember squid on a stick). There is lots of info for you if you want to look at it.

There is so much more to talk about but I will close before I bore you all. We are way too over stimulated and very busy with way too many activities. We look forward to a visit from our first stateside guests and the tough decisions about where to go and what to show them. (You too could put us in this position)

Keep well and think of us

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Grand Hotel

This is the Grand Hotel...14 stories of traditional Chinese elegance. Our apt is about 10 minutes behind the Mt in the back of the hotel. Posted by Picasa

Grand Hotel Lobby orchid "tree"

This is so astounding to those of us who think orchids are rare and exotic. The tree is about 12' tall. It makes a huge statement of elegance upon arrival as if the gate, the tall red columns and the grand staircase are not enough. Posted by Picasa

Ceiling dragon and phoenix of Grand Hotel

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Grand Hotel at night

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Entrance gate to Grand Hotel

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Another 101 at night

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101 at night

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101 at night

a panorama view of 101 at night Posted by Picasa

Taipei 101 at dawn

I thought I would give you all a perspective on the city of Taipei by posting some dramatic views of the city. Taipei 101(still the world's tallest building for a while) is to the southeast of where we live in Tien Mou. The mountains in the top right of the picture are above our apt. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Our "Altar"

This is Carol's shrine to the boys. We do miss them and felt so happy to be with them over the holidays. I got so sick with asthma etc because I lost all immunity to them and, as you know, I am very allergic to animals. But I still ate Miches face so he would know I cared. Posted by Picasa

Animal Adoption site

Folks gather every weekend with dogs cats bunnies and beasts for adoption by others. The sit on the steps of the big Japanese dept store and "horse trade." (sorry!) Posted by Picasa

Contrasts Taipei style

See the tree? Ho Ho Ho and holiday joy right? but underneath inside the police yellow tape is a stack of barbed wire portable crowd control blockade gates designed to block off protestors against the Presidet Chen after the elections for local office. No police really evident but just a clear reminder that this ain't Kansas...or maybe Kansas should be more like this with more protests against our beloved leader? Posted by Picasa

Just like Piggly Wiggly

So...front row l to r...tangelos, asian pears, Buddha's crown (chermoya, custard apple), dragon fruit, guava and PASSION row fresh plums, asian pear, prunes, jujube (asian date) and more PASSION FRUIT>

Even as we speak Carol is making a Passionfruit panna cotta to serve after a meal of BBQ asian spareribs, fresh lime beans roasted with garlic and herbs, and pan sauted red, orange, and yellow tomatoes....all fresh from the market. At every street market or the multi story ShiDong fresh market building, if you go to the same vendor every time, they give you things like a bag of fresh basil or a handful of cilantro or a stalk of peeled ginger or a bunch of green onions. They try to guess what you are cooking and then give you something they think will add to it. And the more you go the more you get. The people are unbelievably kind.

In the regard of avabilability of fresh produce and the diversity of the greens and fruits, the states will be a big disappointment. We have quickly become spoiled. Posted by Picasa

101 Interior 2

The interior is a cross between a power plant and a factory with the leather drive shaft but it definitely reflects an industrial concept. This is a food area Posted by Picasa

101 Interior

Why do I think of "The Fountainhead? Posted by Picasa

Taipei 101

Before we came to USA we went to the top of the building. The elevators hold the Guiness book of records for the fastest elevators..37 seconds from first to the 89th floor. Carol REALLY loved that. I will include a number of other shots of the interior. It is "way cool" as the kids say. Posted by Picasa

Carol with a Christmas cone in DANSHUI

It is 1Nt$ per inch so about 30cents for 10 inchs Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 12, 2007


Local temple detail. The apartment building was built around the temple giving some idea of the importance of the temples here. Posted by Picasa

Different Cultures, Different Ways

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Taipei 101 Cake

In Carrefour, a french based superstore, the bakery produced a 12 ' 101 Christmas cake complete with decorations for the holidays. If you have not seen the pictures of Taipei 101 on New Years eve, I urge you to go to www. and search Taipei 101 for great spectacular videos of the event. People who went there did not get home until 5 AM because the area was so packed. Moreso even then Times Square. It was very strange to be in Connecticutt watching " home" in Taipei celebrate at 11 AM Eastern time ...good to be in the states a bit but also a desire to be in Taipei for the events. I think this is going to be the way of our life with dual feelings. It is Okay! Posted by Picasa

Jake's for Turkey

Jake's is a local ex pat piece of home if you were raised that way. ...everything from English toad in the hole to mexican huevos rancheros and home made Boston creme pie in between. Notice the Turkey dinner advertised. and as always...the scooters. Posted by Picasa

Hello after Christmas

Hello again. We are back and will begin to fill the ethernet once again. A longer essay will be posted this weekend but we thought you might like some photos to warm you up.

We did Chinese christmas decorations around the apt. Carol cut out paper "dragon" type ornaments with a variety of characters on them. The red trees are a nod to our new environment. It really was quite festive throughout the apt and a treat to come home to. Thanks Carol! Posted by Picasa