The Other Side of the World: Jan 10, 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Pink Shirt

Because no-one actually wanted to see the hair, right?

Xie xie

Taipei City. 6:30 a.m. 10 degrees C. My first error was that I briefly mentioned to my dad I needed a haircut before I arrived. As soon as I got out of the shower, I was whisked (half dressed) down the street where a guy suspiciously named "Freeman" steamed my hair straight and tried to put chemicals in it while I attempted to politely, but firmly mime "over my dead body". Suddenly, an even slimmer, more heroin-chic man swept (literally) into the store, waved his hands at the peons surrounding him in awe and began flamboyantly snipping away. All I could do was peer myopically in the mirror and pray. And my apologies to Karen re: comments made about her last haircut. I too have now experienced the wrath of the Chinese hairdresser. And also of the pedicurist. Why the flowers? Why? Why is the gesture for "no" so difficult to interpret? Peering up from the narrow-as-an-alley-but-still-double-parked-on streets The "Living Mall". Apparently the dead ones are not worthy of my time? Lunch. Blood. Mashed up with rice and solidified. Yes, it is heading for my mouth. (Don't worry Mammachi, not Avian Blood). I was told that "foreigners are scared to eat this". An irresistable bait. Because every girl needs some high boots from Taipei. Shabu Shabu - where you dunk whatever you like in your own personal hot tub of broth (temperature controlled by the dial under the table). I had the seafood. My 8th seafood meal in a row (and counting). Please note - the crab in the center was hacked in 5 pieces, but *still moving*. I hid behind my dad and squealed while he dunked the twitching legs into the broth for me. Then I ate them all. The wire scoop in also noteable because my cousin and I bought one in Saigon once - convinced it was the most useless utensil ever. Apparently we were wrong.

And while we enjoyed our Shabu Shabu, the news playing in the corner of the restaurant was showing a story on a cat restaurant. Where people, not cats, ate. As in, the people ate the cats. Just throwing this in so you judge my recent meals less harshly.

*Xie xie - "sher sher" - thank you

Sushi, Chocolate, Rain

Because what else are you supposed to do with 5 hour stopovers in Vancouver? Geoff picked me up at the airport (which is always a lovely thing in of itself) and we ate at Hapa Isakaya on the advice/directions of an architect from Toronto and the concierge at the Westin Hotel (perhaps my good hotel karma in action?). And yes, it was very dark and swanky. We fit right in. Third salmon meal of the day. Omega 3 fatty acids and bliss all at once. Also the best daikon salad I've had (with lemon balm and red and yellow peppers). And raw squid. And raw prawns from which I sucked the delicious brains. Geoff can be commended for remaining at the table in light of this horror. A twenty minute walk in the rain down Robson St., sushi, a bar of G&B's Maya Gold Chocolate and good company. Almost as good as the stopover where I stared at a wall in the Charles de Gaulle airport for the corresponding length of time. Or possibly better.