Sunday, October 26, 2008


Well, this weekend I decided to venture out of Taipei County and head for a spot called Taichung. In Taiwan there are three main city's, Taipei, Taichung, and Tainan. Taipei means the north, Taichung means the middle and Tainan means the south which makes perfect sense seeing as Taipei is on the north end of the island and Taichung is in the middle and Tainan is in the south. So I went to middle on the sickest train, but I am going to have to get to that perhaps tomorrow. After work on Saturday I packed up a small satchel and headed for the high road. When I got there I met up with Queenie (one of the girls I teach with), her boyfriend Reagan who is a badminton wizard, and his friend Lee who can also hold it down on the court but is actually a taekwondo ninja. It was Reagan's birthday this weekend so Queenie wanted to get down there early on Saturday, so I covered her class on Saturday morn and hightailed it down later on in the afternoon. Upon arrival we first hit up a solid Italian restaurant and ate like kings, it was quite succulent. After, we walked around town. Taichung, although still very large is not quite as busy as Taipei and has the feel of an island oasis with its flowing palms and smooth breeze.

Here is a pic of Queenie and Reagan after we ate.

This is Lee

There was a Halloween festivity going on in the park.


After we ate and went to the park we drove over to another park where there was an unreal Jazz Festival going on. We stayed there for a few hours and soaked in some smooth rhythms. There was this trumpet, drums, and piano combo that was just killing it, and I was loving it.

It looks like Queenie was loving it as well.

There was also a guy playing a guitar for a while, he looked just like this.

After all of this we went back to Reagan's house to get the scooters and made our way to the night market for some delicious food.

Put another shrimp on the barrrrbeeeee.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This one goes out to my brethrens from the DRC who just collected a silver medal down in Boston this past weekend at the Head of Charles Regatta in the LWT Mens 4+. Big ups fellas. Yale University took the gold, but the DRC still over came other university powerhouses such as Harvard and Princeton, as well as U.S club powerhouses such as the New York Athletic Club and Riverside Boat Club out of Boston. Here is a little Taiwanese representation, what what what what.

The boys in action.
Bow to stern.
1- El Tanko Grande International
2- Stevie Dizzle (DRC Refugee)
3- Tommmyyyyyyyyyyyy
4- Linus

Cox- Shecky Shabo

Monday, October 20, 2008

Express Yourself

I think my level of authority is starting to rise at school these days. I was recently given a bulletin board space that I am allowed to do anything I want with. I think each month I will have a new theme.

Here is my board, I usually have my students draw some pics in class, so I picked some of the best ones and tossed them up. It is kind of hard to see, but these pictures are of people and on the side it says what colour their clothes are. The board was inspired this month by a classic N.W.A track, check it.

Bellow is my creation for Halloween, it is a hit with the kids and all of the parents that come in. He sits right in front of the door, so you can't miss him when you walk in. I used newspaper to stuff his pants and shirt, and a balloon with with a pumpkin cut out taped to it for his head. Normally I would use leaves to stuff a scarecrow but there were no leaves so I had to resort to newspaper.

After class one day the kids all seemed to be in the mood for monkeying around. Luckily I had my camera and could capture some of the glory.

Kiki seems fairly subdued here but let me tell you she is one of the funniest.

Candy keeps it real with colours and is currently trying to master clothing.

This is Jason, personally I feel he is a bit of a queef. First of all he can never remember my name and second loosen those trousers son.

Good old Chuck, he is a menace in the classroom but sometimes I can't not laugh at his antics.

Sandy has also got her colour game down pat, her artistic skills are currently topping the charts. I believe a piece of her work is featured this month on the "Express Yourself" board.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Well it seems as though basketball is a pretty big sport here in Taiwan. There are courts all over the streets and there are always kids playing. I think the talent level is pretty low but everybody seems to love it. I was walking through the local park in Jhonghe the other day and stopped by the court to scout out some of the local ballers.

Check out those two philly's on the left watching the fellas play.

Jhonghe is finally starting to feel like home. The maintenance level here is off the charts. I have to say, at first I thought ohh man what am I going to do here. Everywhere you go something stinks, and it is always a smell that you have never smelt before. Think of the worst smell you have ever smelled and multiply that by about 10 and you will start to enter the realm of some of the smells I have encountered. I wish I could post some kind of device on this blog that when you push a button the smell I want you to smell comes wafting out of your microphone and you can catch a whif of what I am talking about here, serious odours. Anyway other then that people go to the park, sit around, drink coffee and Taiwan beer, and generally just maintain. There are always people on the steets and the vibe is generally quite pleasant. Also, being a minority is not as bad as it seems. I mean sometimes I feel kind of weird, and think that some people think this (watch the vid), but in general everything is pretty good.

Friday, October 17, 2008


So my celebrity status is ever increasing at the local supermarket. I almost know everyone in there by name and they all know me even if I don't know them by name. Last week I rolled in there around noon and Jessie the girl behind the meat counter handed me a some folded paper.I paused for moment before opening the letter and then proceeded to take a peek. It was quite hard to understand, but just so you get the gist of it, I will let you in on a few sentences.

"Because my English is not good. Must therefore probably depend on the computer to turn meaning which English expressed me to need to say. I thought that you very brave person comes to Taiwan to work. My work hours are 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. I team up work hours am 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. If before you must come to ask me to chat 2:00 pm. Because she goes to work we not to be able to chat again. Understands my meaning? (not really) I believed that you are best. Knows you very happily. Wish you have a nice day."

So there you have it, I was stuck in the middle of the supermarket with about 5 people watching me as I read this note. I wasn't entirely sure what it meant so I didn't draw any conclusions until later she told me that if I move back to Canada and forget about her she will be heartbroken. I don't want to paint a bad picture of Jessie here, she is very sweet, and I am pretty sure shes not mental or anything. But this was a little much. I need to find a way of telling her that I am cool with us being just friends or else I am going to have to switch supermarkets. If you have any suggestions toss them my way. On a side note I finally found some milk that I like. I have been having this problem where the milk is just to creamy. I think I might have been drinking whole milk or something and didn't know. I started buying small cartons of milk to sample, and I think I have pinpointed my favorite one, its the little one next to the big one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Double Tenth Thanksgiving

So sorry for the lack of posts over the past weekend. I was busy working out a few details on the status of all my permits. It turns out I don't have the HIV and I am aloud to stay in the country for 1 year, wooooooooooo. Ok, so Friday was a holiday for us over here. The day is called Double Tenth Day and it is Taiwan's birthday. There were flags all over the streets and I heard that many parades were suppose to be happening, but I don't think I saw any. I think I might have seen what looked to be something resembling a parade but I wasn't fully sure. There were some rickity floats, some costumes, and a guy barfing in the corner, all signs pointed to parade but I couldn't be sure. Anyway here is a Big Up to Thanksgiving home style.


Photos courtesy of F. Loek - Mississauga News.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Billy B.

I just picked up a new pair of runners on the weekend so I could go to the local track and just jog out a few laps. I reviewed all of the different shoes that I thought I would be able to find and picked a few pairs so I would know what to look for when I got to the store. I ended up going with the Nike Bill Bowerman Series Air Span + 5. All of my life I have steered clear of Nike in any of my shoe purchases for some reason, but this time I just decided to go for it. Partially due to default and also partially due the box saying just do it on it, I decided to try them out. All in all I feel it was a solid choice. Every time I run on the track and start feeling bagged, I get this image of Billy B. in my mind telling me to lift my knees higher and I start running with the high knee lift until I can no longer take it. In case you are unfamiliar with Billy Bowerman, he was one of the founders of Nike with his original waffle iron shoe sole design. He was the coach at The University of Oregon and coached the likes of Steve Prefontaine who reigned supreme on the track on the University and International stage until his untimely death.

Here are a few pics of Billy in action.

This is where I reign supreme. Banciao Stadium.
C'est un stad.

With this guy. He likes the high leg lift.

After I hit the track for a few laps I usually like to stop off at the supermarket in the Global Mall on the way home for a bev. Every time I go there I get something for free, one of the ladies that works behind the meat counter points at my face and says "you" "you", "sooo handsome", and then proceeds to give me a sample of some meat. Well sometimes its meat, once she gave me a banana, and today she bought me a bottle of Orange Fanta. She speaks almost no English and is probs about 50 but is by far the nicest person probably in the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fixed Maintenance

Oh hi there. I came home from work yesterday to Ted going completely ape in his tank. He was ripping up the plants and pushing his snail shell all over the place. I yelled out woooaaahhhh Ted whats the problem man, and then he paused and looked at me, pushed his snail shell one lest time and resorted back to his usual state of maintenance. I wondered what the problem might be and the only thing I could think of was that perhaps he is hungry, so I fed him again and that seemed to do the trick. This weekend was pretty good, Saturday I mostly maintained all day by myself but on Sunday I met up with these cats from this shop called Nabiis that all ride fixeds. I met them at this placed called Ximen and we just kicked it until about 11 p. First we went to the shop, they have this layer designed just for maintaining above the shop. It was just an open room with a couch some chairs and a table with a few desks and computers in the back. Behind the computers there was a door which led to a room of bike frames and parts, it was siiiick. I showed them pictures of the Peug and they nearly all creamed their jeans. After, we went to this restaurant to get some Chinese food, there was a Lazy Susan in the middle of the table and they just ordered all kinds of different stuff, I have to say it was the most succulent dinner I have had since I have been here. When dinner was over we got the bikes and went over to this park and just rode and maintained for a few hours before packing it in for the night.

This is Hawk, he really whales on his bike. I think he can do almost every single trick in the book. He is the same age as me and is in the army. If I was Taiwanese I would also be in the army right now. Luckily you only have to stay in there for one year.

This is Ad Word, solid guy. He is only 18, but he is a photographer and is just finishing up high school. He will also have to go to the army in the next 4 or 5 years.

This little tyke was getting in on the action as well.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Local Wildlife

It has become official that I am now a recognized face when I walk down the streets of Jhonghe. Just yesterday I was walking out of the supermarket with a new jar of peanut butter and some bbq Pringles chips when all of a sudden I hear Teacher Jon, Teacher Jon. I look up and there is Kiki with her mom. Naturally I sent out my greetings and salutations and then continued on my way. Later I decided to go to McDonalds for some lunch, and the same thing happened. I was standing in line and some kid walks by and says "Hi Teacher Jon", I didn't even recognize this one. Anyways, at McDonalds I had a spicy chicken combo but I was feeling pretty hungry and I didn't think just the combo alone would fill the void. So I decided to top of the meal with an apple pie. I totally had forgotten about the McDonalds apple pie until yesterday, and man am I happy I rediscovered it. It is so delicious, next time you are in McDonalds I would suggest picking one up and rediscovering the goodness. I also made a discovery when I was sitting eating my lunch. I looked over at the table next to me and there was a guy reading the newspaper, and I realized that Chinese people read right to left. As soon as I saw this I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Jewish people and Chinese people. They both read from right to left. Weird discovery eh. Throughout my stay here I have noticed many types of wildlife in and around the streets of Jhonghe.

These two creatures were both together in cages along side of the road. I guess someone was trying to sell them, but as far as I could see they were just sitting there by themselves.

No matter where you go here, you will always run into some kind of a dog. Usually the dog will just be maintaining like any other person would, no collar, no leash, just walking around enjoying the day, or night. As you can see above, dogs even ride scooters.

I was down at the day market buying some vegetables the other day before class when I heard many sounds resembling the sounds of a barn yard. I curiously followed the noises until I stumbled upon this giant cage of roosters. You can pick which rooster you want while it is alive, and they will kill right there and then prepare it for you. The whole operation looked fairly dotty.

Finally, last but not least this is Ted. Ted is my new roomate, his tank sits right beside the couch. So far he has been pretty solid. There is this fish store right beside my building, so I went in there the other day and came out with this. When I first got in there I was trying to talk with the clerk, but he didn't speak any English, so I was speaking English and he was speaking Chinese, so we didn't make it very far. I was trying to ask him about some of the different fish when all of a sudden this other guy pops out of nowhere and starts speaking to me in English. So I was like alright tell me about these fish. He knew everything there was to know about these fish. His name was David and he got me fully set up. He even came over after when I had it all set up to put some drops of something in my tank. I gave him a brew and we watched a little baseball.