Saturday, November 17, 2007

shots from the PIT Cam

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" Mom, I got an ORCHESTRA to play with!"

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jOnce Upon a Mattress Taipei American School

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Intro from, a week that was

This weekend was so full we both cried Uncle. Carol started out with her new class in Tai Chi swords. She has been officially fitted for her as yet unnamed sword and studies with about a dozen Chinese ladies who are VERY serious about their activity. Check out the pictures. This is a real sword so I am trying not to think Joey Butafuoco and Lorraina Bobbet when she comes home.

After swords we went to the Taipei Flower show to see more orchids than one could imagine. And Carol charges up to the head of the Bonsai association of the country and gets an invitation to her home which is near us in Tien Mu. The lady insisted she have her picture taken with us in front of one of her prizes. In typical local fashion, part of the show was wildly beautiful and stunning while a portion just could not resist going way over the top bordering on gaudy with an excess of everything.

From the flower show we went to CKS National Concert Hall to see a new opera entitled Firmiana Rain. Carol and I describe it as John Adams and Alban Berg do Wozzeck in China. Rich and elegant with all the elements beautifully presented But not really that musically memorable.

From there, we spent time in the CKS square to look at an arts fair and circus before leaving and finding ourselves in the very middle of a huge political rally. I was given a very special golden lighted torch with a fan to blow the cloth flame. I quickly stuffed it into my pants so the police could not see that I might be participation in a political rally.
After grocery shopping it was home to collapse. So we have had enough fun.

It is great to hear from all of you who are reading the blog. Please know we can not get your email address from the blog site unless you put it in the body of your response.

We will post more about the completed musical and our visit with Eric B. For now, I am tired, good night.

Noodle Soup judging info

Okay I am sitting in a tent in a small park just down the street from Taipei 101 getting ready to participate as a judge in the “Taipei Newrow Mian Contest’ which is beef noodle soup your way. I have no idea what we are going to eat, how we are going to judge, although ping pong balls are involved, or what is going on. There is an MC who seems to be giving away stuff by yelling “e, er, tsan” (1 2 30 and people raise their hands. I have my hand in the air but to no avail. No breakfast but have no fear, as one add states, ‘The top soup which is stewed with in the beef shop over 8 hours, is fresh and sweet. And the only T-bone beef chops noodles in Taiwan is the first choice of gluttons.” what can I say. We get 5 bowls of soup with various mysterious cuts of beef, noodles, dark spicy broth topped with green onions and then put our ping pong ball someplace to indicate our choice. There are categories….clear broth, dark broth, creative, and who knows what else. Many videographers and expensive cameras hovering over all of us and the smell of 5 spice and spice hangs in the air and we are eager, hungry adjudicators. BUT NO, we wait for an hour while the bowls of hot soup are brought to everyone, prizes are given (I won a mug) and dignitaries recognized. The do not give us the complimentary souvenir chopsticks and spoon set until they are ready for all to start and then at last, the moment is here. No criteria, no guidelines, just dig in.

There are three groups represented: spicy dark broth, clear broth, and creative. We vote by dropping the ping pong ball into a jar in front of the kitchen of the chosen soup. There follows an exchange of business cards and much bowing and Xie Xie’ing.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say that this was one bit of Taiwanese local culture that continues to endear this place to us.

Pictures are below.