2012年2月2日 星期四

Blog Archive 17 很久很久以前的文章

Older entries from Taitung Style and Taiwan Style.  To minimize space, I've deleted most of the pictures.  Ready to time travel?  Let's go!

1. The Surfing Trip 三隻衝浪的貓 (Taitung Style, February 二月 2012)

Read the story below, and answer the questions.  The answers are at the very end!  先看下面的故事, 再回答問題.  正確的答案在最下面.

The Surfing Trip 三隻衝浪的

Jojo, Sammy, and Christmas were in a car, driving towards Dong He.  You might think that three cats driving a car by themselves is very strange, and you would be right.  Fortunately the cats had had a lot of practice, so that Sammy could work the pedals, Jojo could steer, and Christmas could shift and work the parking break quite readily.  Each cat took turns looking out of the windshield, and honking the horn when necessary.

After twenty minutes or so they arrived at Jin Dzuen Harbor, where they intended to go surfing.  It was a clear, beautiful day, and even though they were cats they were still looking forward to a few hours in the water.

Sammy was the first to jump out of the car.  "Great day for surfing!" he said.

Jojo followed him out to the sand.  "Yes," she said, "I can't wait to try out my new board!"

Christmas was the third to jump out of the car, carefully closing the car door with her paws.  "I know what you guys mean!" she added, "Let's get to it!"

With the car door closed, the three cats went to the back of the car, where Christmas used the car keys to open the trunk.

It was here that they encountered a problem.

"Oh no!" said all three cats, "Maybe we can drive a car, but we can't lift surfboards!"

And so, saddened by this oversight, they closed the trunk, got back in the car, and drove home.

Questions 問題

1. What were the cats' names?
a. Jojo, Sammy, and Christmas   b. Jojo, Sammy, and Jin Dzuen   c. Jojo, Taitung, and Sammy

2. Did they go surfing?
a. yes   b. no   c. maybe

3. Where did they go surfing?
a. Taitung   b. Jin Dzuen   c. They didn't go surfing!

4. Which cat closed the door?
a. Jojo   b. Christmas   c. Sammy

5. Do you think this story really happened?
a. yes, I am crazy   b. no, I am not crazy   c. maybe I am crazy.

Answers: 1(a), 2(b), 3(c), 4(b), 5(b)

2. The Other Side of Ping Tung 屏東 (Taiwan Style, February 二月 2012)

 I love maps.  Maybe you feel the same way.  Maps, to me, are like promises of places I have yet to go.  They are also a record of places I have been.  For me, maps are so much more than a picture of some part of the Earth's surface.  They are almost mystical things, guarded over by both memories and secrets, hints of adventures yet to come.  Like I said, I love maps.

Those who've studied any map of Ping Tung 屏東 have probably wondered about Highway 26 or Highway 199.  These are roads that pass into the most remote parts of that county, and as such are not easily accessed from the more populous parts of Taiwan.  Even for me, living in Taitung 台東, it took a few years before I made it out there.

Highway 26 (in theory) winds its way around the southernmost part of the island.  It once stretched all the way from Kenting 墾丁 to Nan Tian 南田 in Taitung County, though parts of it are now impassible.  Those studying a more recent map will find dashes instead of a solid line for stretches of this highway, and those dashes are no joke.  Driving over this road today, we came to a cliff where this road once led into Jiou Peng 九堋 from Shu Hai 旭海.

Just the same, a drive along this road is very interesting.  There are a lot of Paiwan 排灣settlements south of Nan Tian and Shia Nan Tian 下南田, some cool, abandoned military facilities around Jiou Peng, and some great dunes near "the end" of this road.  Anywhere along the way offers a great view of the ocean, though garbage in some of the less settled areas is obvious.  I don't think this garbage all originates in Taiwan.  Some of it may have floated here from the Philippines.

I especially like Shu Hai, which is probably the least accessible fishing port in Taiwan.  A lot of people enjoy hiking around this area, and there is a hot spring just outside of town.  Shu Hai lies at the junction of the highways 199 and 26, with only a frightening drive down narrow roads in every direction.

Highway 199, which branches off towards Shu Hai, is also a cool drive.  This highway begins in the southern mountain range, right where the Southern Cross-Island Highway 南迴公路  crosses from Taitung County into Ping Tung County.  Most of the interesting spots on this highway are in and around Dong Yuan Village 東源村.  There is a lake there, some interesting marshland encircled by mountains, and a nice trail through the marshland just south of the village.

There is also an abandoned Forest Recreation Area on the hill above the village.  They've taken the sign for this place down, but it is easily reached from the long flight of cement stairs on one side of the lake.

Many people will tell you that Kenting is the best place in Ping Tung County.  They are of course entitled to their (entirely reasonable) opinions, but I beg to differ.  For me, the best spots in Ping Tung are the least visited, and the least visited spots in Ping Tung would have to be somewhere on highways 199 and 26.

I encourage you to visit this part of Taiwan if you have a (good) car.  Buses, trains, and planes are not an option.  Scooters or bikes would be an option, albeit an exhausting option.

Oh, and don't forget your map!  You'll need it.  Maybe you'll even learn to love it, if you don't already!

3. Drinking Whisk(e)y in Taiwan (Taiwan Style, February 二月 2012)

Whiskey is very popular in Taiwan.  It is one of those "status drinks" that a lot of guys drink for various manly reasons.  It is also appreciated by less pretentious Taiwanese people, so don't feel like you need to drive a Lexus to enjoy a glass of whiskey.

Scotch (that would be whiskey from Scotland, for those who don't drink it), is very popular in Taiwan, though the selection is a bit more limited than what you would find in the States.  Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Ballantine's, Macallan, and the inevitable Johnny Walker are easy to find, but less generic brands of scotch are much more difficult to track down.  I once managed to find a bottle of Springbank in a Taipei department store, and I have often cursed my lack of foresight in having only bought one bottle.

Another thing to watch out for in Taiwan is FAKE scotch.  In this matter, I know whereof I speak.  One of my in-laws was imprisoned not so long ago, his crime being the selling of "whiskey" in Scottish bottles.  In other words, he was adulterating or even replacing the scotch in that bottle of Johnny Walker with horsepiss from who knows where.

Not that I would worry about this outside of certain KTVs.  I wouldn't worry about whatever Carrefour or RT Mart or 7-11 are selling, mostly because stores selling the fake stuff face serious consequences.  If you were in some weird KTV in some weird part of Taiwan, then I would be wary of it.  There's a lot of money to be made from this practice, and most owners of most KTVs are well aware of what they are selling.

Aside from scotch, there are other whisk(e)ys - some Irish, some American, some Japanese, and some Taiwanese.  Jameson can be found in specialty stores, though other Irish whisk(e)ys can be harder to find.  In my opinion, Jameson is better than most scotches, and if you locate a store selling it, you can save yourself a lot of money by drinking Irish.  I've seen Bushmill's a couple of times, and Ken Loach once, but that's about it.

The Taiwanese selection of American whiskey (bourbon) is pretty much limited to Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and (inexplicably) Early Times.  I've also seen Maker's Mark and Knob Creek around.  I'm not a fan of JD, and Early Times is VILE, but Jim Beam is good, and Jim Beam Black is even better.  I tend not to drink Maker's Mark and Knob Creek in Taiwan, because department stores selling them charge twice as much.

Suntory is the only mass-produced Japanese whisk(e)y sold in Taiwan.  At least I think so.  I've never seen any others.

Local, Taiwanese whisk(e)ys, are usually anything but.  The TTL whisk(e)y is actually rice wine, mixed with their peculiar brand of eleven herbs and spices.  They make a whisk(e)y in Kaohsiung by the name of Bacchus (terrible!), and the nationwide Farmer's Association makes their own brand (also terrible!).  Regardless of the packaging involved, locally produced whisk(e)ys are usually aimed at people who don't know any better.

An exception to the "fake whisk(e)y" warning above is Kavalan.  I believe this whiskey is distilled in Yilan.  It's not bad, but it's not one of my favorites.

Fortunately for those of us who like to taste what we drink, the Taiwanese market for whisk(e)y is only going to get bigger and more diverse.  There are a lot of good whiskeys around for those who enjoy them.

4. Life is a Highway... (Taitung Style, February 二月 2012)

How was your Chinese New Year?  Did you have a good time?  Did you go anywhere new?  Anywhere interesting?您是否過了一個精彩的新年假期? 去了哪些有趣好玩的景點?

I spent the holiday in Taiwan, and mostly in Taitung.  We drove to Kaohsiung/Tainan for a few days, and also spent a day exploring Pingtung.  In Kaohsiung we visited Yi-Da World, which is one of the newest, most popular shopping malls/amusement parks in southern Taiwan.  We also visited my mother-in-law, who lives in Lu Jhu, and enjoyed an afternoon in Kenting.我大部分的時間都在台東, 我們去了高雄最新和最受歡迎的"義大世界"購物商場和台南, 也去了屏東一日遊.

I cannot comment on other Asian countries, but Chinese New Year in Taiwan has always seemed to me like a colossal game of musical chairs.  All the people from the west coast start driving over to the east coast, all the people on the east coast start driving west, anyone who lives in the north is driving south, and anyone with money to burn is on a plane to Japan, Thailand, or somewhere more exotic.臺灣的農曆年很像"大風吹"遊戲, 西部的人往東海岸移動, 東部的居民則趕往西部, 住在北臺灣的人則往南部度假, 而其他經濟許可的人則搭機往日本,泰國或是其他充滿異國情調的地方.

I was lucky to have an earlier vacation than most, so on our drive west we missed most of the traffic.  During the actual New Year, however, the highways throughout Taitung County were TERRIBLE.  During the height of this holiday, it took more than 8 hours to drive from Taitung to Kaohsiung.  I drove that same distance in 3 hours last weekend! 很幸運地,我比較早放假,所以一路上交通很順暢. 然而春節假期一開始,台東縣的公路交通就很糟糕了, 最糟的情形是平常從台東到高雄三個小時的路程, 居然需要八個小時以上的時間才能到達.

I don't know about you, but after all of that commuting, I don't mind being back at work.  It is good to see my coworkers after the long holiday, it is good to see the students, and more than anything it is good to NOT be in a car, fighting traffic.  Our trips to the other parts of the island were fun, but I am glad to be home in Taitung once again.我不知道您怎麼想,但是在那些舟車勞頓之後,我很高興回來上班. 很開心在那麼長的假期之後看到同事和學生, 也很高興不是在車子裡與路上交通奮戰. 雖然我們去西部的經驗很好玩, 但是我還是很高興回台東.

So I'll be lying low for a while, gathering strength and saving money.  I want to enjoy my time in Taitung, and I'm not thinking about going anywhere else for a while - if I can help it.  I hope you are enjoying your time, wherever you are?  Maybe I will see you... around?所以我會好好休息一陣子,儲備精力並存點錢, 我要好好享受台東,希望您無論在哪裡也很享受您的生活, 也許我們會在某個地方不經意的相遇.

5. Living Well in Taiwan (3) (Taiwan Style, February 二月 2012)

Every time I approach this subject I feel obliged to offer the following warning: No, I am not always happy in Taiwan, and no, I am not the most well-adjusted person in the world.  Most people reading this blog will have figured that out already.  Just the same, I feel the need to attach a warning label to any advice I am foolish enough to give.

And with this out of the way, I thought I might touch upon one of those two subjects that most people avoid in polite conversation, namely, religion.  Religion is of course a pervasive aspect of Taiwanese culture.  It also has a role in the life of every foreign resident like me.

I am not religious, by the way.  I can remember attending church when I was in kindergarten, but I haven't gone since.  I believe in God, but aside from that I am as agnostic as they come.

Taiwanese people are often surprised when they find out that I'm not a Christian.  "What?" they usually say, "Aren't all foreigners Christians?"  "No," I say, trying to be patient, "They aren't."

I do my best to explain the million or so other religions beside Christianity that are worshiped in "the West," but that conversation doesn't usually go anywhere.  In truth, I think there is no end to that conversation, since an understanding of Western religious thought amounts to a comprehensive understanding of Western culture.  In short, you can't often get there from here.

So I tend to be very evasive on the subject.  This is particularly so with Taiwanese friends, but also with human beings in general.  Everyone believes what they believe, and aside from that there's often not much to discuss.

In Taitung, I sometimes feel like the only foreigner who doesn't either surf or go to church.  Really, just about every foreigner in this city would fall into one group or another.  Most of them, moreover, go to the same church, an interdenominational deal on the other side of town.

I get invited to go there all the time.  People are nice enough about it, but I'm just not comfortable with the idea.  I don't believe that Jesus was the son of God in anything but a metaphorical sense, and I disagree with large parts of the Bible, so why would I go to church?  Just to meet new friends?  Just to feel like I belong?

I just can't go there.  For me, walking into a church seems like a monumental act of hypocrisy - given my personal beliefs.  I just can't do it.

Maybe all I'm trying to say here is that if you choose a religion in Taiwan, choose wisely.  I've seen a lot of people get lonely and join a church.  They want somewhere to belong, and a church is often more than ready to provide that feeling of belonging.  I just don't happen to think that friends and personal fulfillment are so easily attained.  To be happy in Taiwan (or to be happy anywhere) takes a lot of work.  You have to look into those dark corners of your psyche.  You have to know what you are about.  Picking a religion without having done this kind of meditation is asking for trouble.

And let me not here speak of Mormons, though I am sorely tempted to do so.  Let me also not speak of Scientologists, followers of Ching Hai, and members of any monastery whose yearly income exceeds that of the Taipei City Government.  O Lord:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.


6. Garbage (2)  垃圾 (2) (Taitung Style, February 二月 2012)

Not long ago I was on my way to the Flowing Lake to go swimming, when I saw an old woman parked alongside the bridge that leads into the Deep Forest Park.  She was throwing these enormous bags into the river beneath the bridge, in broad daylight, for everyone to see.  沒多久前, 我在去活水湖游泳的路上, 看到一位小姐在大白天,當著來往的人車, 在橋上把一大包的垃圾往橋下丟 .

"What are you doing?" I said to her in Mandarin.  "妳在做什麼?" 我用中文問她.

I assume my anger at what she was doing was obvious, because she said, "It's OK.  These are vegetables."  可能她看出來我很生氣, 因為她跟我說: "沒關係啦.  這只是菜而已."

I wanted to ask her why she was throwing vegetables into a river in the Deep Forest Park.  I wanted to ask her about the plastic bags that these vegetables were in.  But she didn't give me a chance.  Before I could say anything else she was already on her scooter, clearly embarrassed, and on her way back to wherever she had come from.  那時候我好想問她為什麼在森林公園裡傾倒垃圾.  我也想問她那些塑膠袋怎麼可以丟進小溪裡.  可是她沒有給我這個機會.  因為她已經覺得很丟臉地騎著摩托車走了.

On another day, my family and I were walking up the little road next to Li Yu Mountain, not far from Mackay Hospital.  As anyone who lives in that area knows, there is a big pit dug out next to the mountain, and many people dump their garbage in this spot.  Despite what they may or may not have been told, there is actually a sign in the middle of this pit, announcing the fine for dumping garbage in that area.  過了一陣子, 我和家人在鯉魚山旁的小巷子散步.  住在東海國宅的人都知道, 那個社區旁的山腳下挖了個大洞.  很多人都把他們的垃圾往洞裡丟.  雖然那個洞前面立了一塊牌子寫著"禁倒垃圾,違者罰六千", 可是他們都視若無睹.

On this particular day, another woman drove up on another scooter, and again, in broad daylight, hurled several huge bags of garbage into this pit.  "What are you doing?" my wife asked her, "Don't you see the sign?"  有一天早上, 一位小姐騎摩托車過來山腳下丟她的垃圾.   我太太問她"妳在做什麼?  妳沒有看到牌子嗎?"

"It's OK," answered the woman, and drove off.  她說 "哪有什麼關係" 後就走了.

We were left standing there, wondering if it was really OK.  I didn't think it was.  I still don't.  I have yet to understand why people want to dump their garbage all over Taitung.  In this beautiful place, why would people want to do that?  Why would they want to see their trash everywhere they go?  Why would they assume that this is OK?  我們看著她離開,  這麼做真的沒關係嗎?  錯 !  我不知道為什麼那麼多台東人要亂丟垃圾.  在這個好山好水的地方怎麼可以做這種事?  他們喜歡走到哪裡都看到垃圾嗎?  他們真的覺得沒有關係嗎?

I have yet to find any satisfactory answers to these questions, but I hope that in the near future we can see local people (and local government) take action on this issue.  I know that the Taitung County Government is working very hard to attract businesses to this area.  I know that the Taitung County Government is working very hard to attract tourists.  Garbage is an issue related to both of these endeavors, and the need to tackle this issue is immediate.  我沒有辦法回答這些問題.  我只是希望台東人民跟台東縣政府開始解決這個問題.  我知道縣政府很重視台東縣的經濟發展, 希望吸引更多的觀光客.  但是"垃圾"這個環保問題跟台東未來的發展息息相關.  是我們需要立即採取行動改善的.

I can't say what Taitung will look like in 5, 10, 0r 15 years from now.  My feeling is that it will look pretty much the same.  I just hope that in 5, 10, and 15 years I will see less garbage everywhere, and less people spreading their garbage around.  If this one, small thing was accomplished, I could call myself contented.  我不知道5, 10, 15年後的台東會變成怎樣.  應該跟現在的台東差不多.  我只希望5, 10, 15年後的台東的垃圾比較少, 還有亂丟垃圾的人數比較少.  如果我們能達到這個目標的話, 我就很滿意了.

No, it's not OK to litter.  But we all know that, don't we?  我們都知道不能亂丟垃圾 ! 但是......

7. "The Lin-gend of Lin-sanity" (Taiwan Style, February 二月 2012)

Clever title here, yes?  I was in Family Mart last night, and saw it on the cover of a sports magazine.  One wonders how ridiculous this fad of adding "lin" to English words is going to get.  Yes, one does.

So unless you're not Taiwanese, not living in Taiwan, and probably living under a rock, you likely know that Jeremy Lin 林書豪 is a big deal.  He is currently the first "Taiwanese" player in the NBA, and as such has supplanted Jian-Ming Wang 王建民 as the most popular sports hero on the island.

I put "Taiwanese" in quotation marks because he was born in the States, and is only Taiwanese by ethnicity - not nationality.  His parents moved over to the States to pursue Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness before he was born, so Mr. Lin is really more American than I am.  I'm told he doesn't even speak Mandarin that well.

Though he is, nevertheless, a near-god among many Taiwanese.  His image is on TV constantly, and many of my Taiwanese Facebook friends have actually changed their names to reflect their undying love for Jeremy Lin and the Linsanity he represents.

What I find particularly amusing is the coverage of Nicks games on Taiwanese media.  If you were to believe what you saw on TV, it would be hard not to conclude that Jeremy Lin was the only player to score in the majority of Knicks games, and that the remainder of the Knicks roster was just running back and forth, making him look especially gifted, for the entirety of this year's NBA season.  This situation is even more pronounced on YouTube, where Jeremy Lin scores basket after basket to the cheers of Taiwanese everywhere.

I can't say I follow the NBA these days.  My television only works in conjunction with my DVD player, and the only time I watch televised sports is when I'm in a bar, which isn't often.  I lost interest in the NBA after Seattle lost the Sonics, and since that time my knowledge of professional basketball is marginal at best.

I just think it's funny, all this worship of Jeremy Lin.  I suppose you could pick worse role models, and I suppose his cult of celebrity might encourage more Taiwanese people to exercise (a very good thing), but I have yet to fall victim to Linsanity.  He seems like a good guy.  He's handsome.  He's rich.  That's about it for me.

I have heard people abuse Taiwan because Jeremy Lin's NBA dreams could have never been realized here.  In my opinion, this assertion ignores the very fact of his origins.  It was Taiwanese money, culture, and opportunity that put his parents in the States from the beginning, and without these it is hard to imagine that their son would have gone on to such success in the NBA.  Jeremy Lin might not be Taiwanese, but he has roots here, and yes, that is something that all Taiwanese should be proud of.

8. Dong He Steamed Buns 東河包子 (Taitung Style, February 二月 2012)

How do you say 包子 in English?  I'm really not sure.  Steamed buns?  Meat buns?  Steamed buns is my best guess.  包子的英文怎麼講?  我不知道.  是steamed buns還是meat buns?  應該是steamed buns.

Anyway, the steamed buns in Dong He are the most famous things in that area.  The main restaurant where they sell them is the site of a major traffic jam during Chinese New Year, and during that time those wanting to buy steamed buns are in for a LONG wait. 不管它的英文是什麼, "東河包子"是東河鄉最受歡迎的名產. 過年及連假時候, "東河包子"店前常塞滿了車,人們大排長龍等著買包子.

There are actually three places in Dong He that sell steamed buns.  The most famous of the three restaurants is hard to miss.  It is right across from the 7-11 and the local farmer's market on the highway.  There is a drink stand next to it, a  couple of shops selling trinkets next to that, and usually someone selling fruit out front.  It is always the most crowded.  東河村有三家包子店.您一定能看得出來哪一家最有名.  它位在台11線, 對面有7-11和東河農會超市.  在它旁邊有家手搖飲品店跟藝品店.  也有人在它停車場的位置賣農產品.  是那一區人潮最旺的商家.

Across the street from there, slightly south, there is another place selling steamed buns.  This place is less famous and always less crowded, but if you don't feel like waiting in line for the REALLY famous steamed buns then this is a good choice.  這家店的南邊也有家包子店.  但是沒有那麼有名, 人氣也沒那麼旺, 但是如果您不想排那麼久的隊,來這裡就對了.

There is also a third place selling steamed buns in Dong He.  This place is along Dong He's "Old Street" as you approach the very scenic bridge on the other side of town.  Their steamed buns aren't bad, but they contain less meat than the other two.  東河村內的街道上還有家包子店.  這家店在東河的舊街, 靠近東河村的舊橋.  他們的包子不錯, 只是內餡真的比較少.

Speaking for myself, all steamed buns are about the same, and I wouldn't wait in a long line for steamed buns, no matter how famous they were supposed to be.  I honestly don't know which are the best tasting of the three steamed bun restaurants in Dong He, and I also couldn't tell you whether the Dong He steamed buns are better than the steamed buns in Bei Nan.  對我來說, 所有的包子都差不多.  不管包子多有名, 我不會為了包子排那麼久的隊 .  所以我沒辦法跟您說哪一家的包子最好吃.  我也沒辦法比較東河跟卑南包子哪一種比較好吃.

For me, food is food.  But if you are one of those who enjoy lining up for "famous food," then make haste to Dong He, and its famous steamed buns!  對我來說, 食物就是食物.  但是如果您是會為了名產排隊的人, 那就一定要往東河去了.

9. Almost Paradise (Taiwan Style, February 二月 2012)

About a year ago we took a trip to Orchid Island 蘭嶼.  This was our first trip there, and we were very excited to go.  From Taitung Airport, the flight to Orchid Island takes less than an hour.

We spent three days there.  We stayed in Dong Ching Village 東清村, which is the closest village to the airport.  I don't remember the name of the place we stayed, but I do remember that the owner was from Taipei, and that he was very nice.  He drove us around a bit before taking us back to our hostel/homestay, and was kind enough to show us the sights.

Those who've been to Green Island 綠島 would probably expect that Orchid Island is just a larger version of that.  Orchid Island and Green Island are actually quite different.  Green Island (especially downtown Green Island) is full of stores, restaurants, and people trying to rent you things.  Orchid Island just doesn't have that kind of tourist trade.

Orchid Island is roughly twice the size of Green Island, and only a few thousand people live there.  I believe you need to be a member of the Yami 雅美 tribe to own any land on Orchid Island.  This, and the remoteness of that part of Taiwan, limits immigration quite a bit.  There are goats all over Orchid Island, and one gets a very distinct feel for the local aboriginal culture.  Orchid Island is a lot more interesting, but a lot less convenient.

This might lead some to believe that Orchid Island is some kind of paradise, waiting to be discovered.  This is, as with most "paradises," not the case.  Orchid Island is pretty, but environmental protection is still an issue there.

Most obvious is the fact that Taiwan was, until recently at least, dumping a large quantity of nuclear waste on Orchid Island.  The dump site is located in the southern part of the island.  It looks fairly inoffensive, and it is far from any of the villages, but the radiation from that site is having a serious effect on the people there.  Anyone thinking about visiting Orchid Island should take this into account.  The residents of Orchid Island are working hard to have this waste removed, so far without success.

Littering, as in the rest of Taiwan, is also an issue.  A lot of people on Orchid island will just dump their garbage wherever they happen to be.  The good news is that there aren't that many people there, and not that much stuff to litter with.  There is only one major grocery store on Orchid Island, a handful of other convenience stores, no 7-11s, no Family Marts, and no McDonald's, so there aren't a lot of disposable goods floating around.  Nothing much grows on Orchid Island, and just about everything is shipped in by boat.

There is also a totally unnecessary gas station on Orchid Island, and more affluent residents even waste this gasoline on cars.  Orchid Island is only about 40 KM around, but bicycles are surprisingly hard to find there.  The Orchid Island Airport loans them out to tourists, but they will only lend them to you for a day, and you have to return them before the airport closes each night.  Go figure.

So would I visit Orchid Island again?  I'm still thinking about it.  On the one hand parts of Orchid Island are beautiful, and quiet, and swimming there is like heaven.  On the other hand there is nuclear waste, and the expense of getting there, and the lack of any decent restaurants.  I don't know.   Haven't made up my mind yet.

But I do think that Orchid Island is worth protecting, and also worth visiting, if you have the time.  Perhaps one day we'll see that nuclear waste carted back out to sea, so that I can recommend the place without (forgive the pun) reservations.

10. Sex in Taiwan (3) (Taiwan Style, March 三月 2012)

I apologize if you've been diverted here in your search for porn.  Placing the labels "sex" and "taiwanese" next to any blog entry is bound to generate such occurrences.

So anyway, I know this guy.  Another foreigner.  Let's call him "Bob."  He's an exceptionally good-looking man.  Tall, well-muscled, and everywhere we go I notice women staring at him.  He is the movie-star-made-flesh, the kind of guy that makes most other men nervous.

He comes off very awkward and shy.  Sometimes I wonder how much of this awkwardness is really him, and how much is how he wants to be perceived.  It has occurred to me, many times, that his awkwardness might just be a way of putting other people at ease, much in the way that Superman uses Clark Kent to be a "regular guy."  This might be the case.  I'm not sure.  All I know is that if he was more confident, he would probably earn the distrust of many other men.

This guy, "Bob," has about five girlfriends at the present time.  And these are just the ones I know about.  He may well have more girlfriends lurking around.  I wouldn't be surprised.  At least one of "Bob's" girlfriends is stunningly attractive, others I have met less so.  "Bob's" penis seems to be an equal-opportunity employer.  If a girl has a functioning vagina, and no facial disfigurements, "Bob" will probably give it a go.

I know that a lot of guys would - and probably do - envy "Bob."  I have often asked myself if I am one of them.  Some of his women have certainly turned my head.

Just the same, I think I'm happy the way I am.  After all, "Bob's" life is complicated.  The more women he gets, the more complicated his life is.  I cannot help but feel that trouble is waiting for him somewhere, and that trouble will come in the form of a really pissed-off, jealous woman.  Or perhaps worse yet, a really pissed-off, jealous group of men.

I am also more of a one-woman type of guy, which is not to say that I am extremely virtuous or moral.  I just can't love more than one woman at a time, and sexual relations with more than one woman at a time has (in the very distant past) confused me a great deal.  I have only ever had one serious sexual relationship with one woman at a time, even though I may have had many girlfriends (again, in the very distant past).  I guess that I am at heart monogamous, even though I might envy "Bob" his adventures.

Oh and "Bob," if you're reading this, no hard feelings?  I really do think you're a great guy, and it was fun to write about you.  What I say here goes no further, and anyone who can divine your identity from this undoubtedly knows of your exploits already.  You are a mighty warrior, my friend, and I wish you success in battles yet to come.

11. English Literature 英文文學 (3) (Taitung Style, March 三月 2012)

Last time I offered a list of my all-time favorite English-language novels.  Here I offer a list of my five favorites since I last visited this topic.  Longer, English-only reviews of these novels can be accessed by clicking on the titles.上次我列了一些自己喜歡的英文小說, 這次我要分享的書單, 是自上一次到目前為止, 我最喜歡的五本書. 我對於它們的比較完整的感想介紹, 您都可以從書名進入閱讀.

1. "1984" by George Orwell

This is a very famous book, and has been adapted into film twice.  It is a story about the not-too-distant future, where most of the world lives under a dictatorship similar to Soviet Russia.  It is also a very dark book, full of violence, paranoia, and mistrust.  This book is ugly, and sad, and heartbreaking, but everyone should read it. I'm sure there's a Chinese version.這是一本非常有名的書, 也兩度被拍成電影.故事描寫的是作者心中可能的未來,未來的人們的世界類似蘇聯的專制體系, 充滿了暴力, 偏執與懷疑, 描寫了人性的醜惡, 是一本很沉重和悲傷的書. 但是我還是建議大家看, 相信您可以找到中譯版.

2. "The Godmakers" by Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert, like Philip K. Dick, isn't well known outside the States.  His "Dune" was the only science fiction novel to win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction.  "The Godmakers" is about the transformation of a normal, mortal human being into a god.  It is, in my opinion, the best of Herbert's non-Dune novels. Probably not available in Chinese.  It's pretty old, and never achieved that level of popularity. 赫伯特像 Philip K. Dick一樣不是很有名, 他的"沙丘魔堡"是唯一同時贏得雨果和星雲獎的科幻小說. 另外, 他的"The Godmakers"則是關於改造一個平凡人, 使他成為神. 我認為這是赫伯特除了"沙丘魔堡系列", 最好的一本書, 你可能找不到中譯版, 因為它很舊了, 而且喜歡它的讀者也不多.

3. "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates

This book was made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  I still haven't seen the movie, but I have the feeling that it's not much like the book.  "Revolutionary Road" is about a couple living the American dream - they have a new house, he has a great job, and everything's going just wonderfully - except that they hate each other, and their lives seem empty.  This book has a lot to say about America. I've seen copies of this in Chinese. 這本書被拍成電影, 由李奧納多主演, 我還沒看過這部片,我想應該和原書差很多. "真愛旅程"這本書是關於一對夫妻過著人人稱羨的"美國生活": 新房子, 很棒的工作和順遂的生活, 但是他們確憎恨彼此, 而且生活空虛, 這本書探討了美國的許多面向, 你可以輕易地找到中譯本.

4. "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov

This book is translated from the Russian, by a man who knew a lot about oppression under the old Soviet regime.  "The Master and Margarita" follows the exploits of the Devil, as he visits Russia and plays a series of dirty tricks on various citizens.  It is violent, disturbing, and extremely funny.  As it is considered by many to be a masterpiece of World Literature, it's probably available in Chinese.這本書的原文是俄文, 作者了解許多舊蘇聯政體下的壓迫迫害. 藉由書中的惡魔來到蘇俄並在許多人民身上施展邪惡手段, 全書充滿了暴力,不安及黑色幽默. 這是一本世界文學傑作, 可能找的到中譯版.

5. "Life, the Universe, and Everything" by Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams wrote "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," which was adapted into a (very bad) movie.  His books are hilarious.  "Life, the Universe, and Everything" is the third book in his "Hitchhiker's" series, and by far the funniest.  I would explain the plot, but that's kind of beside the point.  I don't know if there is a Chinese version of this available.  Maybe.道格拉斯亞當斯寫的"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"被拍成電影(很爛), 他的書很爆笑. "Life, the Universe, and Everything"是"Hitchhiker's"系列的第三本, 也是最好笑的,不知道它是否有中譯版?應該有吧!

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