Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another day of firsts…

Last weekend I enjoyed a number of "firsts" in Taiwan and yesterday I am happy to say I added a few more to the list. I was invited by my employer to attend a wedding last night in Changhua 章化. (The xijiu 禧酒 was actually in Xianxi 線西 {pink block in top left}, a coastal city just north of Lugang 鹿港 {burnt orange block in top left}.) I have been to "xi jiu" before, so I was not exactly ecstatic about the idea, but I was certainly happy to get a free dinner and do a little brown-nosing while I was at it. Over the course of the night three things stuck out for me as "firsts."

First, I did not see a single bottle of Gaoliang 高梁酒 (sorghum). There was (Prime Blue) whisky, red wine, and the perfunctory juice bottles, but strangely enough, no sorghum. For me that was like going to a football game in the States and not seeing any Coors or Bud.

Second, I finally partook of the fabled "shark fin soup" so beloved by the Chinaman and sometimes so loathed by the Round Eye. It was actually very good. I'm a big fan of seafood, and Xianxi being so close to the ocean meant pretty much every dish was seafood. Thumbs up.

Last, it was the first fun wedding party I have been to in Taiwan. Those I've previously attended are very stuffy and cheesy. Lots of talking on the stage, with no one really listening, and then it's over. But last night was different for a few reasons. First of all, it was outside, under a giant breadloaf-shaped awning, which are common in Taiwan (for sheltering dinners, funerals, religious ceremonies, etc.), and the weather was superb. I think I could also get a whiff of the ocean, which always lifts my spirits. Second, there was a flashing stage at the opening of the canopy, which is also pretty common, but the entertainment for the evening was a very good saxophonist, with another two songs performed by my boss's son on the sax, and then a good trumpeter (with one of the most impressive mullets I've ever seen and a golden Afro wig!). And all that is just good taste.

So, here's to a second round of firsts!

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