Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So tell me What is wrong with this picture?

As we listen to the interminable election coverage and hear less and less about real topics like health care reform, we wonder why the great fear of National Health Insurance? If we first get it firmly in our heads that paying health insurance premiums is in effect a tax which supports those who cannot afford to pay the premiums, And get beyond equating anything that supports "the masses" as being a giant stride towards communism And if we can get beyond the belief that insurance companies (AIG) are there to protect us, THEN we might find great and wonderful benefits in a system like we have in Taiwan.

Three examples: I have been suffering with a summer cold for three weeks. When I decided to go to a Dr., I walked into the Dr of my choice, waited 15 minutes, consulted with him and received three meds including antibiotics and paid a total of $6.75 USD. (2) Although the meds helped the cold, I developed a middle ear infection so I walked into the ENT Dr of my choice w/o an appointment, waited 10 minutes, consulted, had a minor surgical procedure, and left with Amoxycillin, Augmenten antibiotics and a powerful decongestant and paid a total of $6 USD. (3) As most of you know Carol had rather major surgery last May. We chose to go to a state of the art cancer research hospital (NO CAROL DID NOT HAVE ANYTHING LIKE CANCER) and we had to pay out of our own pocket $2100 USD for 4 days in the hospital, all meds, all Dr.s including the surgeon and anesthesiologist, EVERYTHING included.....Care to guess what all that would be in the states? The Dr.s were US trained and certified, the facilities completely modern and hygienic and the care tender.

Asian countries are running a Huge medico-tourist business to bring patients for advanced medical diagnosis and treatment.

I think we do not have as much to fear from a change in medical system as those who benefit from status quo would like us to believe.

Just an observation.....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hello for Year 3 of the adventure

Well here we are back in Taiwan. Sorry it has taken so long to update the blog but life moves very fast here. We have already put in a month of school time and are charging towards the middle of the first quarter. Wow.

We are currently on a “Typhoon day” due to typhoon Sinlaku which stretches from Hong Kong all the way into Japan and from East of the Philippines to Mainland China. It is moving very slowly so we will have this with us for at least another 1 ½ days. We are expecting 50 inches of rain here. Right now the wind is just a pest but it is going to be around Cat 2-4 range tonight.

Addendum: The rains have come all night and all day and there is talk of school closing Monday . A 100’ tree with a 9’ girth came down across our walkway taking out many scooters and completely blocking our exit from the building. Very dramatic and impressive!!. Huge chunks of roadway have washed away and there is major flooding around town. We had 31 inches of rain yesterday and night and it is still coming down hard. CNN finally acknowledged that there might be something other than IKE to note on the weather news.

US media really makes isolationism and cultural insensitivity possible: US citizens just do not get access to information beyond USA, Iran, Iraq etc. I was appalled at the Green Bay Press Gazette this summer when all the world news fit on the upper left hand quarter of page of page 5 and the rest of the life important info on Brett Farve was on every page.

Notes in short order on the typhoon:
1. the major department stores are closed
2. most store windows have X tape to protect from flying glass
3. Pizza Hut, Dominos and McDonalds are all still delivering food on scooters
4. Wellcome (our local grocery store) is open a people are stocking up like crazy
5. We are organizing a roast chicken dinner with our building mates
6. Carol is baking snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies so Gary and Rick our neighbors and fellow teachers, will be very happy.
7. It is Moon festival when all Chinese want to be together under the full moon to BBQ….Not going to happen!!!!
8. Camp Taiwan, the Middle school camp, is still on for Monday except for the poor 8th grade kids that tent camp in the north of Taiwan….they leave Tuesday so as not to start the week in a typhoon UPDATE: Camps are cancelled!
9. Scooters are lying on their sides littering the streets and sidewalks
10. Our porch trees are blowing over
11. The cable line to our appt has been flying around so TV is questionable.
12. We all gather at an apartment in our building for impromptu tacos or movie sharing.
13. THE IS FUN!!!!

I love my kids here! My IB (international baccalaureate) classes are so very smart and musically astute that I am challenged. I have so many resources to choose from that I have finally decided I must get organized (Please do not Faint) and am filling up a 500 gigabyte external drive station with all the movies, music and lecture notes so I can be lazier next year. The students have gone crazy with creativity when I asked them to make power points of their class and reading notes. I will try to embed one so you might see it.

And the performance level of most of the kids is out of sight with a repertoire that is broad and deep. In class I wanted a demonstration of a Chopin Polonaise so I just asked, “James go play that so we can hear Chopin.” And James goes to the piano and starts. I tell him to jump to the second theme. He does. I tell him to jump to the coda. He does. And then there is Annie who plays Liszt like she breaths the music daily. And the same goes for all of them. Wow!

I have had a cold for about 2 weeks and finally went to the Dr. and …….(all you who might have an opinion about national health, take note) I walked in on a Friday afternoon, waited 15 minutes, saw the Dr I wanted, received 3 medications including an antibiotic and paid NT$ 220 or about $6 USD. We waited to have our physicals here because they are so inexpensive (max about 600 USD) for a full day of exams, tests, and procedures, breakfast and lunch, and a complimentary track suit to take home along with a CD with all the records for you as well as hard copy print outs of X-rays, sonograms, etc. There are those who are starting businesses to bring folks from overseas to Taiwan for medical care and diagnosis.

We are so happy to be back. We loved our Door County friends and the time we spent there (and NO we are not giving it up) but this is also our home. Carol will tell you of her incredible adventures with Taiwan World Tai-Chi Competition and her All Asia champion private coach, her Shaolin Master teacher and her class of Chinese ladies who think our apt. has great feng shui so they like to have “Family Lunch” in our apt.

Our travel plans for this year include:
1. Green Island Taiwan south coast for 10/10 celebrations (diving)
2. Luang Prabang, Laos for Thanksgiving
3. Bangkok, the river Kwai, and the island of Koh Chang, Thailand for Christmas
4. Ubud Bali (again) for Chinese New Year
5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for choir fesival
6. Langkayan, Borneo Malaysia for Spring Break
7. For our return to US we may go the other way round the world and see Greece,
Turkey, Spain before we get to the East coast and Door County. More on this
later. Just good to have a goal.

For now I will close and attach some pictures of various sights. I will do better at keeping up with the blog. Sorry for those who might have waited

Love to all,

Detail of Buddha above Juming

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Above Juming

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Two Goddesses Talking to Each Other

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Stone Carvings in Tombs

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Big Picture of Tombs above Juming

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Very Expensive Tombs above Juming Museum

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New Slide Show and Buddha Statues

I have added a new slide show to the right.It is of some of the most adorable asian kids we have seen on our unbelievable cute and precious. I know I sound like a doting father, but children here are dressed like dolls with all the accessories and cared for by their parents in ways that are different from those in US.

Please click on the picture in the slideshow to go to big versions of the pictures. Also, when you are at the Picassa Web Albums, click on the upper left PICASSA WEB ALBUMS, I have another album of extraordinary carved statues of monks.

The album is titled "The Monks of Lane 190". Above our apartment, a good LONG walk up the mountain, and out in a field is a buddhist temple, a very plain sort of temple. In the field in front and to the side is a huge collection of several hundred statues of Buddha in every guise. I have no idea why they are there or who carved them. They just are...rather Zen like don't you think. Please enjoy them.

Saturday, September 13, 2008