Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Won't you be my neighbor?

Day shoes off, house slippers on. It's the end of another day here at FCA Bougis Bloggery, Inc. And it's been a wondrous day. I went to bed late last night (oh, blogging) but got up pretty well rested. I had some nice, albeit not very long, time with God this morning.

Then I headed out for lunch and enjoyed the sunshine. Back at the shack (yeah, click on the pics from last year), I cleaned for a solid two or three hours. Forget dust bunnies; I eradicated entire packs of dust wolverines this afternoon. I removed the floor carpet and beat it up outside on the balcony. While there, I also hung up a new clothes line. (Dynamo!) Then it was out the door and to the curb (metaphorically speaking) for some junk and trash bags. (Yoink!) To top it all, not only did I get two loads of laundry washed and hung up but I ALSO folded and hung up my dry clothes. This was an astounding feat, since, as some of you know, I DESPISE hanging and folding clothes.

Once the cleaning was mostly done, and my floor once again a totally and virtually dustless barefoot-only sanctum, I sat down to write some emails and blog a bit. As KTV time was drawing near, and as I was hungry – I hadn't eaten anything but a small section of grapefruit and some juice since lunch – I took a shower, got dressed and sat reading Dahl as I waited for my friends to come over. We ate at Orchid near the girls’ apartments (Carrie and Terri now live right across from Stephanie, Amanda, Heidi and Enffie, where Carrie, Stephanie and Denise lived last year). I had a very tasty seafood curry pasta dish and enjoyed the special late hours at Orchid due to Moon Festival.

It is the night before Moon Festival and Teacher's Day and my heart is warmed to see the families and neighbors crouched over their little grills. (How I've come to LOVE Taiwanese BBQ!) It was another luxurious night: cool, breezy, clear, not too humid, not too dry.

I'm home again, listening to Cake and, as promised, I wanted to update you with some pictures from my recent travels.

These first pictures are from my Viator trip to Alishan. We actually only reached Mt. Ali at night, but spent the day hiking on another nearby mountain (not Jade Mountain but... the name escapes me).

Here I am! At Jade Mountain! Ready to hike! Rwarrrgh!

No, actually this is a stuffed carcass of a Taiwan bear. They have very broad heads and what looks like a wide afro. I'm not sure if they are limited to Taiwan, but people kept insisting they are Taiwan bears.

It was a cold rainy day (a typhoon was having its way with Taiwan), but I enjoyed the Twin Peaks feel of it all. Of course, that doesn't mean everyone else did.

Taiwan's "tame" hiking trails have their advantages.

Sorry folks, it was a mushy day spent mostly on the bus, so that's all I got from there, other than a hat and some very nice memories. If we'd left ten minutes than we did back to Taichung, we'd have been stuck on the mountain. The authorities closed all exit roads, but we made it out. "!"

Next up we have my trip (with a bunch of total strangers) to Taiwan's luscious and luxurious Green Island.

On the road to Taidung nearly to the harbor. I was invited on this trip by a coworker, even though she was the only person I knew (and that, not well). It was nice to make acquaintances, but I'm pretty sure I'll never see most of them again. I was the only foreigner in our group, which I loved, and I saw only three other foreigners from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, which I also love.

I took this photo after being woken for breakfast from the only good sleep I got -- down in the luggage compartment -- on the bus ride there. I was sick and I can almost never sleep on a vehicle, besides.

Ah, the splendor of nature! Green Island is the epitome of Taiwan's scooter frenzy. EVERYONE gets around by scooter and you'd see whole travel groups cruising in packs wearing the same color helmets. My group had light pink helmets. We had quite a rumble when Mr. Brown showed up. (*Reservoir Dogs*, anyone?)

Like Bach's music, this speaks for itself.

I love the ocean.

A typical strip in Green Island. The little girl (right) had a lot of heart, squeegeeing that window like it was the only thing left on earth to do.

Another kind of typical stretch in Green Island.

A nice walkway at a nice park where were yelled at by a (drunk? brain damaged? merely extroverted?) man. My first Chinese drunken heckling. Score!

Kill whitey!

You are HERE.

This was some treacherous footing to the ocean. My true element. I felt like a hairless, bipedal, anthropoid mountain goat (with sandals), I did!

Whitey asks himself: “How the heapin' helpin's did I end up here?” (Notice the indispensible triumvirate of pens in my shirt pocket. It is one of my best-known idiosyncracies here. "Hey, I need three colors. I'm a teacher.")

No commentary needed.

These two rocks are the sleeping dog (left) and the sleeping beauty (right). Pretty clever. Only the Chinese could get a huge stone dog to sleep so peacably at the head of a massive stone woman sleeping on the beach. (This angle may help you see the dog. Look for the big bloodhound ear and wet doggie snout.)

The day yawns its way to bed.



and this are why you come to Green Island. It was these very images that led me to ponder the Holy Trinity as I hope to tell you more about later.

Green Island harbor. Unfortunately, my private yacht is not visible in this picture. Maybe I can show it to you some other time.

Goodbye -- sniffle! -- Green Island! :snik! snik!:

Hello, Taiwan!

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