Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday's Excursion -- The Rest of the Story

After we left the street fair and Buddhist temple on Saturday, my gracious hosts took me for a scenic drive in the mountains, stopping at this popular spot -- a cold spring. You can't really tell from the picture, but there were hundreds of people wading in the spring, splashing with their children, playing fetch with dogs, generally just enjoying the cool water on a hot day. My co-worker explained that there are many hot springs in Taiwan, but only two cold springs. No wonder this place is so popular! I told her about the cold springs in Austin, which are 55F (13C). I think the ones here are a more pleasant temperature.

We didn't get to wade for very long before it started raining. That turned out to be for the best. We got back in the car and drove to the coast to watch the sunset. We had thought there would be too many clouds, but it was beautiful, and we got there just in time for a fantastic sunset.

While we were at the park watching the sunset, we ran into another co-worker, who agreed to come to dinner with us. The four of us went to a seafood restaurant for dinner. It turns out that at this particular restaurant, you pick your fish before your dinner. Many of them are still swimming in tanks. It reminded me very much of the Douglas Adams book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, in which the cow comes to your table to inquire which of her cuts you'd like to have for dinner. Surreal.

In any case, these were some of the non-swimming fish that we perused. (It's had to take flash pictures of fish in tanks.) I was told that I would be eating fish heads while in Taiwan. My co-workers have been gracious enough to inquire about my tastes in food (no fish heads, no tofu) and act accordingly, and I do appreciate it.

Dinner was served in courses, and there was a huge amount of it! Here are plates of mussels (or something similar) and sliced papaya. Yum.

This is a platter of fish with vegetables. I have no idea what kind of fish it was, but it was very tasty.

I told my hosts that my favorite fish was shrimp. As it turns out, shrimp is served a little differently in Taiwan than it is in the U.S. Fortunately, I wasn't expected to shell them with my chopsticks! They were coated in salt, which explains the white in the picture.

I had made a policy of not posting pictures of co-workers to respect their privacy, but SC gave his permission to use this photo. I think he's the poster boy for Taiwan beer!

Here is another platter of fish with vegetables. Note that the head of the fish is removed! I protested that it's OK for them to leave the head if they want to eat it; I just don't want to partake myself. My co-worker's husband is the son of a fisherman and enjoys eating fish heads, but she said she does not. I was happy to hear that I wasn't the only one!

The last item to be brought to the table was fish soup. Truly, I was starting to wonder if the food would ever stop arriving! With only four of us, we didn't finish the soup, although the two men tried their best. We finished up everything else I think -- a valiant dinner effort.

OK folks, it's 1:30am here. I had a three hour nap since I was exhausted after work, but I think it's bedtime now. I still have all of Sunday to tell you about, although there are many fewer pictures from Sunday (none were allowed in the National Palace Museum).

Good night all... more posting tomorrow!

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I have to say I am SO PROUD of you for being so open with your food choices! Some of the stuff you're showing, I'm thinking - she HAS to have a hard time choking that down, but then you say it's tasty! That's it - next time you're here, we're going for sushi.

What a beautiful sunset! Reminds me of our hometown [insert sarcasm here].

Miss you here! Keep these posts coming - they're great!!