Last night's dinner: Yum!
Well, it’s been a few days, so I guess it’s time to update. My classes start tomorrow, so I figure now is as good a time as any to catch up on the past week.
I went to the Liuhe Night Market again on Saturday and Sunday nights, both times with an empty stomach. Here I discovered some of the best grilled chicken on the planet. You get a chicken breast with two skewers through it for about $2 U.S., which is pretty large. They season it to perfection and you have to hold it at an angle because it drips juice on you if you hold it straight up. On Saturday, I tried a few other things, but nothing compared to the chicken so on Sunday I just pigged out on chicken. I have decided to try the frog the next time I go. Now I have eaten my share of frog back in Missouri, but here they cook the whole frog, not just the legs. I also thought about trying the duck, but after seeing the whole head grilled, it didn’t seem as appetizing. The fishy dumplings and rice balls were good, but they looked much better than they tasted.
Another favorite for everyone was kind of blended fruit soft drink that seems really popular here. They take crushed ice and blend it with fresh fruit juice, then pour some kind of milky liquid (maybe soybean milk?) on top, and top it with fresh fruit. I tried both strawberry and blueberry, of which blueberry was my favorite. The fresh fruit toppings include strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, and mangoes. This is seriously one of the best dessert items I have ever had! It beat the Turkish ice cream by a long shot! (Yes, they actually have “Turkish ice cream” here. It is basically regular ice cream sold by a Turkish guy who spins the ice cream cone around in his hand and speaks Chinese.)
On Sunday night we also stopped by a night market that specializes in clothing and other consumer goods. I have a couple of interesting pictures of it on flickr, so check them out. It wasn’t too exciting, so we headed home early and watched some American TV in my dorm room. Note to the FOX Network – you should consider broadcasting Family Guy in Europe. Nobody had seen it before (save for those who had seen it while in the States) and everyone really liked it. If you do decide to begin broadcasting in Europe, you can contact me on information on where to deposit my paycheck for consulting. I think a 10% share of all advertising revenue is fair…
On Monday, we had to take care of some paperwork for the school and pay for our dorm and some school fees. Although I don’t care for dorm living, it’s hard to argue with less than $240 for a semester of rent and school fees.
That evening, we went to Chichin Island. There is a ferry that picks up right outside the tunnel exit to the university. For about $0.30 and four minutes, you can take the ferry to this long, skinny island with plenty of seafood restaurants. Junpei, one of the Japanese students here, told us we should eat at one of the restaurants that the professors had recommended. They have a ton of fresh seafood out on display (again, check out pictures on flickr), which you pick and they cook up for you. We had oysters, shrimp, some kind of delicious mountain vegetable, breaded and fried fish, fried rice, and one large fish between six people. It was one of the best meals I have had in a while! I would have liked to try the lobster, but like everywhere else, that is the priciest thing on the menu. Still, they had the largest lobster any of us had ever seen for about $136. That might sound expensive, but you should have seen it! It was a monster!
Yesterday (Monday), I went to a brief welcome party for new students in the political science department. I gave a brief introduction to the president of the school and the dean of the social sciences department. Although we only met for a minute or two, they gave me a warm welcome. I then enjoyed a free buffet lunch and chatted with some of the other political science graduate students. I met a doctoral student from the U.S. (I can’t remember his name at the moment. Sorry!) who got his M.A. here and is doing his PhD here, too. Needless to say, his Chinese is fluent (as far as I can tell anyway). There was also a German M.A. student who is going to get an M.A. both here and at his university in Germany. I am still amazed at the internationalization of the student body here. They were both really nice and I look forward to seeing them over the course of the semester.
Other than that, I spent most of the day lazing around the dorm. My throat has been a little irritated the last couple of days. I think this is due to the smog here, which is really bad. Unfortunately the recent typhoon went to the north and we hardly had more than a few drops of rain. I was hoping at least to get a few thunderstorms to wash the air out, but oh well. I am enjoying my last day of vacation, so to speak, by staying at home and organizing my room and my Japanese emergency management notes. I will only have classes on Thursday and Friday from 9:00 am to noon for the first two weeks, but when our Chinese classes start, I will have Chinese class from 12:10 to 2:00 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This means that on Thursdays, I will have almost five hours of class in a row! Ugh…
The political science classes I am taking this semester are “Cross-Straits Relations and Asia-Pacific Security” and “Taiwanese Government and Politics”. They both sound very interesting, but I will have a better impression after I get the syllabi in the next couple of days. Don’t worry, I will be sure to share my thoughts of my classes once they get underway.