Daily life….

I wake up at 9am most days. It’s cold at night now and there is no central heat in most apartments. I use two portable heaters (used, found on Tealit) to heat my bedroom and living space. I get up, have some hot tea, make my lunch (usually a chopped salad and fruit). NOTE: my two new favorite fruits are the rose apple and passionfruit. I shower, dress, and get ready to leave. Often that means I am packing all sorts of stuff (lunch,  stuff I have to take to work, workout clothes for after work). I have to leave two windows open for ventilation and am out the door. I walk downstairs and to the little store next to the temple where they make me a mocha protein shake and fill a GIANT pitcher with guarana tea. Then, depending on the weather, I either walk 17 minutes to work, or take the 235 to the Anhe street stop. At work, I hit the ground running – there is ALWAYS something going on, not always strictly related to work! I take a lunch break maybe once a week. Today one other vegetarian and I went to the “Green House” on Heping where I had a vegetable soup, pesto rice (yum!), and roselle tea (made with some flowers I have yet to identify but turns the water a lovely deep ruby color and tastes a bit sour). Total for lunch: 209 NT (<7USD). After work, I go to yoga, eat dinner (mostly I fix something on the one-burner stove) and then relax (read, watch TV, play Words with Friends). On the weekends I sleep in, shop, do laundry (when it’s humid outside it can take DAYS to dry), clean the apartment, and dream of warmer weather…

6 months in Taiwan!

I’ve enjoyed my time in Taiwan, though I’m looking forward to coming home! There is a lot to love here. For a small island country, they get a lot of things right! The stellar customer service, those cool glued-on cup tops and angled straws, fresh-squeezed juice, 45NT vegetable noodles, Loving Hut’s toon pancakes, 24-hour Eslite (bookstore) , Watson’s (pharmacy) and Wellcome (grocery), the brightly painted utility boxes, NO TIPPING, real Chinese medicine – did I mention the customer service? And then there is the low cost medical and dental services, and cheap and plentiful public transportation, cheap taxis, how helpful and friendly people are, the night markets, the day markets, the flower markets, the jade market, how SAFE it is to live here.  The temples (large and small) and lanterns, and everything red and gold. How beautifully all purchases, not matter how small, are wrapped. Being able to pay all my monthly bills in a single hour. 7-11. Dish dryers. Taipei 101. High-speed rail. I’m sure I’ll think of more….

There are things I’ve missed. Like clothing in my size! And being able to read signs and menus. And my car – well, I don’t miss DRIVING. The quiet in the great outdoors, wide open spaces with no one around. Stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, garbage pick up, central heating, thrifts stores, the Goodwill, Ulta, free samples, and my Neptune!

Cole Porter with an Asian flair

Broadway comes to Taipei. Enthusiasm. Several co-workers and I decide to check it out and bought tickets. Theirs were on the 5th level (read: far from the stage) and cost 1500NT (50USD). I didn’t want to be in the nosebleed section of the 3000 seat Taipei International Convention Center, using opera glasses to see the action, so I spent 3200NT to sit in the 2nd section center stage. Excitement. We met up at Taipei 101’s food court for dinner (I had a salad from Jason’s Fresh Market). Anticipation. Afterwards, we walked to the Convention Center. It’s chock full of other musical theater fans and HUGE flower arrangements, Taiwan’s custom for sending good wishes.

break a leg

Hundreds of people, in a very orderly fashion, ascend elevators to find their seats. While I waited in my plush seat, I browsed through the program and watched a music video of the title song performed by the show’s lead performers on two Jumbotrons! (That was anti-climatic.) I wondered, would the live musical performance be shown on the large screens? (As it turns out, it was, making it a distraction to the action happening on-stage.) Hmmmm, I’ve attended Broadway shows before (NYC, LA, OR) and don’t recall ever seeing the show being broadcast on-screen. 15 minutes after the show was due to start, the 11-piece orchestra filed in.    Yeah, here we go!

And then….disappointment.

The good: the musicians, under the direction of a spirited band leader,played their hearts out.  two of the supporting cast turned in stellar performances (too bad they represented only 5% of the cast). the one tap dance number was rousing (despite the spotty choreography). the venue was lovely and a very civilized.

The bad: the sound board seemed to be manned by a tone and decibal-deaf technician. At times, the singers were drowned out by the orchestra and at other times they faded into the background. the leads seemed to phone their performance in (at one point, the male and female leads simple stood and sang – i’ve seen more spirited performances at a concert).

The ugly: what happened to passion? singing what you feel? sharing what you feel with the audience, in song? what happened to artistic integrity? many of the performers were difficult to understand speaking English.

So sad – a classic American musical chopped up and spit out; completely unpalatable. Verdict: it’s a MISS. I should have spent the ticket money shopping 101.

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…