Life of Pi – according to Google translate

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Several months ago we went to the electronic market and purchased a few DVDs. They cost about $1. The following is the synopsis on the case of the movie, Life of Pi. Pretend you’ve never read the book (you really should) or haven’t seen the movie. Would you choose this DVD based on the following?

The story begins in Montreal, also ended in montreal. A seeking inspiration author inadvertently learned that sent – patell legend. Sent father opened a zoo. Due to the special living environment, young party faith and human nature has its own set of views. In 17 years old, his parents decided to family migrated to Canada in pursuit of a better life, and he must leave his lover. In Canada ship, they meet a cruel by nature of the French chef. Later that night at sea, originally to send excited extremely stormy moment became engulfed ship disaster. Pie was miraculously survived, ride a boat in the Pacific drift, but also a most beat all companion — Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger. Amazing adventures that accidentally started… …

There are no spelling or grammar typing errors on my part. This is exactly what it says. As I was typing this I realized that as crazy as this is they used its properly. Of course I don’t know to which it they are referring but it does not say it’s.

10:15 PM – 81º

Unique chosen names

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It’s been so long since I’ve written regularly that I don’t even remember what I’ve written about. The good thing is that I have an extensive amount in my archives so when I leave I have this to look back on. The bad thing is that I have an extensive amount in my archives. I don’t have the time or inclination to see if I’ve already written about names or not. I’m fairly certain that I have not included this awesome list that Anders, my friend NN, Chinese teacher, and I have been compiling for 2 years now.

When Chinese students take English classes (it’s mandatory, hear that USA?, it’s mandatory that they learn English and they don’t complain about it). I apologize for the rant. ;-) they must choose an English name to use in class. Many of them keep this school name if they have contact with westerners when they join the work force.

Frequently they choose something similar phonetically to their Chinese name. Ben is an example. I don’t remember what his Chinese name is but I do remember when he said it that it sounded a lot like Ben. They sometimes, especially women, add ‘-ny’ of ‘-ly’ to their name. Fanny, Wenny, and  Lily are common examples. Then there are those people who like to be different, set themselves apart from the crowd and express their individuality. They are the ones that I appreciate the most. It’s easy to be like everyone else but it takes strength of character to be your own person. I’m just not so sure I would make the same choices but to each his own. My teacher assures me that they knew exactly what they are doing and made a conscious choice with full knowledge of the name’s meaning.

I commented to my Chinese teacher that I think they should keep their Chinese names, even if they need them for work. I asked why they don’t and she said mostly because it’s easier for us AND them. But it also avoids some difficulties or giggles when we mis-pronounce their Chinese names. She gave me a few examples and the best one was Yao Ming, the famous basketball player. When said without using proper Chinese tones and in our natural English intonation it is the same as saying I’m gonna kill you. Uh-huh! Her father’s name is another example of why they sometimes change their name. In China the order of names is reversed; last name first, first name last. If you reverse her father’s names (as is customary in his work) it means dust, as in a speck of.

I successfully avoided speaking/learning/taxing my brain with Chinese in my class on Friday for 20 minutes while we had this discussion. I haven’t forgotten that old trick of getting the teacher off on a tangent. :-)

Now that I’ve educated you let me give you the pleasure of reading our favorites. These are all true, no names have been changed to protect the identity of the innocent. I have broken my rule of not supplying full names because in some of the examples you need first and last name to get the full effect.

Sure

Country

Kinki Huo (gotta have both names)

Sugar Tang  ****sorry to those who read this post with just Sugar before I edited it. This is one that absolutely requires both names and I forgot to add it the first time around.****

Orange

Sunshine

* Mushroom

Diva

Rainbow

Sunny

Shiny

Kitty

Swallow (we think/hope like the bird but not sure)

Wing

Silver

Echo

Neo

Suker (it is spelled correctly)

Omi (God?)

Richer

Witty

Maine (US state?)

Pally

Lucretia

Arrow

Peter Pan (see? Only funny with first and last name)

Alger (not –ia)

Lego

Bird

Bobo

DoDo

Queena

Seven

Eleven (2 different people)

River

Phoenix (see Seven and Eleven above)

Windy Wang

Zephyr Zeng

Total

Kornie

Wheat

Petite

Devil

*McKey (formerly known as Mushroom – she obviously thought this was a better choice since she made an effort to change it)

Which one is your favorite?

1:00PM – 90°

Easing back in

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I’m back from my extended stay in the US, and the new apartment is organized and looking fine. The only other things I need to do are start blogging, go back to work,and resume my Chinese lessons.  I start both work and lessons tomorrow so I decided to check all three boxes.

Because it’s been so long since I’ve written anything and I barely recognize the new and improved WordPress web-site, I think it’s best to start off nice and easy.

Bear attack 001

I came across this photo in the China Daily a few months ago and couldn’t stop laughing. Every time I look at it it makes me laugh. I find it highly amusing that the zoo authorities felt the need to have someone don a bear costume to add authenticity to the attack. What kind of bear is that anyway? How authentic is it when the bear is wearing a red hat? Do all bears in Chinese zoos wear red hats? How seriously injured is the victim? Do you think the man playing the victim knows it’s only a man in a costume or do you think he’s really scared? What the heck is the uniformed man in the middle holding: a clarinet, a bamboo stick, or a pirate telescope? Come on, a hose? A hose?! Where’s the dart gun? And if you’re going to use a hose at least spray the bear.  The bear clearly holds all the power in this photo. Why is the victim wearing a helmet when it’s a pretend bear? I watched a man climb into the cabin of a construction crane that is 200 feet above  ground without the aid of a safety harness and this guy needs a helmet? Will the zoo euthanize the bear because it attacked a human? Or is this an attempted case of cannibalism because the “bear” is really a human?

Hey Uncle N. in Virginia, I hope this makes you laugh and that you’re feeling 100%.

6PM – 95 °

Easing back in

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I’m back from my extended stay in the US, and the new apartment is organized and looking fine. The only other things I need to do are start blogging, go back to work,and resume my Chinese lessons.  I start both work and lessons tomorrow so I decided to check all three boxes.

Because it’s been so long since I’ve written anything and I barely recognize the new and improved WordPress web-site, I think it’s best to start off nice and easy.

Bear attack 001

I came across this photo in the China Daily a few months ago and couldn’t stop laughing. Every time I look at it it makes me laugh. I find it highly amusing that the zoo authorities felt the need to have someone don a bear costume to add authenticity to the attack. What kind of bear is that anyway? How authentic is it when the bear is wearing a red hat? Do all bears in Chinese zoos wear red hats? How seriously injured is the victim? Do you think the man playing the victim knows it’s only a man in a costume or do you think he’s really scared? What the heck is the uniformed man in the middle holding: a clarinet, a bamboo stick, or a pirate telescope? Come on, a hose? A hose?! Where’s the dart gun? And if you’re going to use a hose at least spray the bear.  The bear clearly holds all the power in this photo. Why is the victim wearing a helmet when it’s a pretend bear? I watched a man climb into the cabin of a construction crane that is 200 feet above  ground without the aid of a safety harness and this guy needs a helmet? Will the zoo euthanize the bear because it attacked a human? Or is this an attempted case of cannibalism because the “bear” is really a human?

Hey Uncle N. in Virginia, I hope this makes you laugh and that you’re feeling 100%.

6PM – 95 °

No expectations are a good thing

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When I booked the trip to Taipei I knew that I had to visit the National Palace Museum. Beyond that I had no expectations. This is why it’s sometimes better to go into a situation with no expectations – I really liked Taipei. It was clean, less chaotic, and  people followed traffic rules (whether on foot or car/scooter). The weather was beautiful the entire weekend and weather can make or break a trip in my opinion. I don’t want to use the word uncivilized or civilized to compare China and Taiwan but I can’t think of better adjectives.

Having survived the food tasting from the night before with no intestinal issues we were ready for the museum. We got a later start than I wanted and was worried about crowds but it was fine. We took the Metro and then a short taxi ride to the museum. The museum is the only thing I had previous knowledge about. Without going into a history lesson (and possibly getting myself into trouble with the government) let’s just say that the Taiwanese got the good stuff from the mainland. You can read all about the history yourselves. The museum lived up to my expectations and was filled with amazing artifacts from China’s looooong history. Everything was displayed beautifully. All the literature and explanations were in Chinese as well as English. It was the main reason I joined Anders on his trip and I was not disappointed.

We attempted to go to the observation deck of Taipei 101 but were foiled. Taipei 101 was the world’s tallest building from 2004-2010. I like to get to the highest point of any place I visit but sadly so did everyone else and I had to be content seeing it from our hotel room. Anders took me to our favorite dim sum restaurant as a consolation prize and it worked, I was quite happy when we left Din Tai Fung. We did some shopping and walked around the downtown area to enjoy the relatively quiet atmosphere.

Anders had to work Monday so I was left to my own devices until I had to leave for the airport at 12:00.  I had planned on shopping for a bit before I was to leave so I got myself out at 9:45. It seemed a bit quiet and I noticed that there weren’t may people out and about as I walked to the shopping area. I just thought that Taiwanese weren’t early risers. The shops weren’t open and I took my sad self back to the hotel and to my laptop to find out if there was a holiday that I somehow missed in my pre-trip planning. Guess what? Shops in  Taiwan don’t open until 11:00!!!  That would make me crazy if I lived there. I mean, I’m home by 11:00 most times I go shopping.

On Sunday from the museum to the metro station I got talking to our taxi driver. I managed to negotiate a fair price for him to take me to the airport the next day. It was a first for me and I figured that if it didn’t work out (e.g., he didn’t show up on time, he charged me an exorbitant fee, or robbed me and left me on the side of the highway all chopped up in little pieces :-)) it would be a lesson learned. I had a good feeling about him though so I went with it. So glad I did. On the drive to the airport we chatted the entire time, about 75% in  Chinese and 25% in English. He told me that Italian is his second language. Italian? How/why does a taxi driver from Taiwan speak Italian? I asked the obvious question if his wife was Italian. Nope. He was a roller-skating champion when he was a teenager and spent 5 years living and training in Milan! When he returned to Taiwan he was a skating coach for years and had only been driving taxi for one year. I pretty much got his life story and he was such a nice man. THAT is why I like to travel. Everyone has a story to tell and given half a chance they love to tell it, and I love hearing them. The more different they are the better.

In the end, I’m so glad I went and would go to back to Taipei in a heartbeat. We should also explore the rest of this island nation. Davey the taxi driver gave me a list of places to visit and he would of course be happy to pick me up from the airport. ;-)

5PM – 71°

Shilin Night Market

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My, My, My. It’s been a while, a long while since I last wrote. I now have a new VPN, a new laptop, less work, but still a dodgy internet connection. 3 out of 4 isn’t bad. I’m going to try to post at least once a week.

In January Anders had a business trip to Taipei, Taiwan. Of course I had to go with him. If I didn’t go he wouldn’t spend long weekends being  a tourist. It’s my duty as a good wife to make sure that he gets to experience these places.  These trips are purely selfless for me.

After arriving Saturday afternoon, one of Anders’ work colleagues and his wife met us in the evening  to take us to the famous Shilin night market. You pretty much go to eat food and having locals as guides was a huge bonus. The market is the favorite date night of M&T so they knew the best food to eat and the best place to buy it. We were like puppies letting lead them lead us wherever they wanted. We told them there was nothing we wouldn’t try.

I’m going to ease back into writing again so this is going to be basic. Here’s a list of food and drink:

frog’s eggs 

fried chicken steak

grilled chicken hearts

grilled fish balls

grilled chicken butts

deep-fried taro

grilled eggplant

pig’s blood cakes

oyster noodle soup

honey/spicy glazed grilled corn on the cob

grilled “mystery” meat wrapped around a bunch of scallions

milk tea

pork dumplings (my favorite and the longest wait but worth it because not only were they delicious but we watched them being prepared)

I’m going to let you in on a secret, the frog’s eggs was a drink that in no way contained frog’s eggs. It was a sweet tea with rice flour balls, kind of like tapioca, floating around. It was good. The other things are exactly what they appear to be. We did not have stinky tofu. I was disappointed but the line was way too long. M&T assured us that while they love it we weren’t missing anything.

5:30PM -79°

PS – I apologize for the large photos. I will work on that for next time. WordPress has made a lot of changes since I last wrote and I have no clue, AGAIN!

Frog's eggs

Frog’s eggs

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One of the many shopping alleys

One of the many shopping alleys

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Buying the oyster noodle soup

Buying the oyster noodle soup

This is where we ate the soup - on the steps of a temple

This is where we ate the soup – on the steps of a temple

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Riddle

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Q: What do a hammer and boneless chicken breasts have in common?

A: It’s how an ex-pat breaks up a 5-pound bag of frozen chicken breasts.

Now I still like my warm, fresh, moments-ago live chicken from the wet market but most of my American recipes call for boneless breasts or thighs (hah – I’ll never find them). EVERYTHING IN CHINA HAS BONES so when I found them in the freezer section at Metro a few months ago I was excited.  It wasn’t until I got them home that I realized I had “some trouble”. I had no idea how to break up the 5 pound “sheet” of chicken. Somehow I managed to saw, break with my hands, stab with a butcher knife, and thaw them a wee bit in water and then refreeze the ones I didn’t need. Our immunity systems have never been in better form so something like refreezing slightly thawed chicken doesn’t deserve a second thought. But after tearing a bicep and almost cutting a finger off, I haven’t bought them. ;-) A few weeks ago I caved and they have sat in the freezer, unopened since then. Monday night as I was trying to go to sleep and not think about anything, the idea hit me! I can tell you it works like a charm.

I’m going to explain the proper technique because you may be faced with the same dilemma someday. Your power may go out juuuust long enough to slightly thaw your chicken, not enough to be unsafe, but enough that the juices run together and refreeze into a mass of white breast meat. What will you do?  Wrap the bag in a towel, you don’t want any frozen bits of chicken splattering the cupboards when the bag tears open, and hammer away. They tend to naturally break into individual breasts and not into nuggets.

You can thank me the next time you see me. ;-)

2PM – 74°