Evil Steve Invades Taiwan!
My first few days here have been fast and furious, to say the least. The 25 hr flight consisted of several documentaries on the flora and fauna of Asia (production value via 1970), mystery meat dinners (I guessed chicken with a side of sashimi and potato salad), Harry Potter audio books, reading a good chunk of The Fellowship of the Ring, blinding stomach pains, and some nice drug induced sleep (with a little help from my friends). Aside from the knots in my stomach, I arrived feeling surprisingly well.
Here's the thing about Asia. There are Asians everywhere. Who knew? Also its hot. Real hot. Like Taiwan is a giant bathroom, and God is taking a hot shower all day. "But Steve," you say, "obviously its a tropical island and you should have expected it. Plus, it was pretty hot here in Amrrrica when you left." All I would have to say back to that is, shut your mouth. Its hotter and more humiditer-er than anything ever, shut your face.
Back to Asians everywhere. Taiwan is the size of Maryland and Delaware combined (or for my Mid-Western friends, exactly half of Missouri). There 28 million people here. Did I mention that only about 20% of the island is inhabitable? There are Westerners here, but you wouldn't know it, cause when you walk around, there is much pointing and giggling and picture taking. And gift giving. They are cooking, eating, thinking about food, and you need to eat it, too. A lot of it. Seriously, here is a bowl full of it, take it with you. They have a fine niece for you to take home, who may or may not be 14 years old (Is it racist to not be able to tell ages of Asian girls well?). You have a beard; they need a picture holding a thumbs up next to it. Is that your motorcycle? Take a picture of me doing a B-Boy stance on it. In all seriousness, everyone here has been very generous and eager to help. And the food is awesome. Except those little cake things that taste like fish. That's just not right.
Friendly tip: When you come to a new country, and you have friend(s) waiting for you, those friends and all of their friends will buy you an extraordinary amount of alcohol. Which makes for a very, well, hazy/interesting/???? night. Jet lag + tons of free drinks= arguing the futbol style of Holland v Spain with a complete stranger, meeting an old one-legged South African former mercenary who immediately tells you a story about crapping his pants the night before, breaking up to 3 of your toe nails in painful fashion, going to 7-11 for Cheetos (there is no escape from American food), and somehow hanging on the back of a scooter long enough to plop down on your bed and sweat yourself to sleep (we have no a/c ).
I took a trip to the lower mountains on Sunday. Beautiful. Swam in some cold springs, well, waded in some cold springs, impressed the locals with my chest hair, and lost all feeling in my lower extremities from a very long ride on the back of a scooter. Taiwan is a beautiful place, and apparently I seen nothing yet.
All in all, its been a fantastic first 5 days. Tons of great food. Meeting new friends. I am forever in debt to Mike for helping us get everything set up. Which was A LOT. Hopefully I can do the same for someone else out there interested in an Asian adventure. Good night/Good Morning for now.