Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Lost Bao Zi

Monday night my cousin came home and told my grandmother that he didn't have to go to work the next day, nor would I have to go to school, because of Typhoon Day. Popo came in to tell me, but I missed her saying the word for 'typhoon' and thought she didn't know what she was talking about. Of course I would go to school the next day. She insisted, so I asked my cousin and he explained. I realize now I need to pay more attention to each word that Popo says. I think I've started glossing over things.

Advertising is everywhere - this was the lid on Monday's mango juice

So yesterday was Typhoon Day. I ended up studying a lot (the new Chapter 3 words took a long time to memorize), researching travel options, napping and eating. That about sums up my day.

Today, I went into class and Luo Ke Rei mentioned Teacher's Day next Thursday. He suggested we invite our teacher to dinner after class. We all agreed it was a good idea and plan on taking her out next Friday. I had been meaning to organize a group lunch, so this works just as well. I also found out that Li Juan is vegetarian (because she follows yi guan dao). Good thing I didn't invite her out for niu rou mien!

Oh, before class, I went to my local bao-zi shop and got some of my favorites. I took the bus to school and let them cool off on the ride. I forgot my EasyCard at home, so had to use coins. As I was using one hand to put the coins in, I must have hit my other hand holding my umbrella and the bag of bao zi. Once the money was in, I noticed my bag of bao zi on the floor! Aye-ya! I quickly picked it up and noticed that one was missing! I quickly looked around but couldn't find it - so just quickly left the bus. 2 bao zi isn't quite enough to fill me up, so I went to a nearby shop that I had tried out on Monday.

On Monday, I had ordered a jiu cai dong-xi (can't remember what it's called...but I've had it before, and it's very tasty). The guy realized I couldn't really speak zhongwen, so he proceeded to point to things to help me out. He asked if I wanted some dou jiang by lifting the cover off the large vat and showing me the contents. He asked, silently, if I wanted that or the one in the fridge. I said Bing Dou Jiang. I then spotted a fan tuan off to the side and pointed that I wanted that too. All was well. I enjoyed my meal and at the end he gave me the hand signal for six to indicate I had to pay $60 NT. (The sign for six is to close all your fingers except for thumb and pinky.)

So today he recognized me and didn't say a word and just started doing the pointing thing. It was slightly disappointing. I want to hear people use Chinese so I can get used to it! He seemed to refuse to speak. I sat down and saw him not speaking to a Taiwanese woman. I began to wonder if I had ever heard him speak - perhaps he is mute and I shouldn't be disgruntled with his silence. This theory was dispelled when I went up to pay for the food and heard him speak in a clear voice to someone else. However, he does seem to point to things when he can instead of speaking. So it isn't just me.

Since I had already eaten a couple bao-zi I just wanted a little something to fill me up. I ended up getting a bread thing I'd never seen before...but then I spotted the lo-buo-gao and ordered that too. It's one of my mom's favorite dishes and I haven't had it yet in this visit to Taiwan. Then he convinced me to get a bing dou jiang...I was thoroughly stuffed by the end of the meal.

However, the guy I saw there on Monday seemed to have a larger appetite than me. I saw him come in to the room with a steamer basket filled with about 10 little bao-zi. Looked like he was going to finish them all in one sitting! I might try them next time I go. They seem to have a lot of variety (noodle dishes, dumpling soups, sao bings, mantous, etc).

Dan, one of the ulti players I met on Sunday, and I were discussing haikus on Sunday at dinner. Here is one.

Delicious Fan Tuans...
How did I live without you?
You will make me fat.

I probably would have ordered a fan tuan as well if I had seen any. I saw him rolling fresh ones as I was leaving. Dangerous.

After class today, I met Stanley and Christina. Stanley is a student of an English teacher ultimate player, Tom. It was our scheduled language exchange. We met at Rich Coffee, on Minsheng E Rd (which has free wireless!), where Christina works. We must have talked for hours - I had so much fun. I didn't really know what to expect, but it turned out really great. At first I practiced a little Chinese with him, and then we switched to English. I would use my Chinese at times if I felt like I had the vocab to say what I wanted. By far, his English is better than my Chinese. Anyways, I learned a lot about him and he seems an interesting fellow. Christina is super nice as well, so I like spending time with both of them. Towards the end, we played the "Detective Game" -- where one person gives you a scenario and you need to ask yes/no questions to figure out the puzzle. The one he gave me was...

A man walks onto a bridge and sees a sign that says "There is no grass in the water." He jumps into the water, committing suicide. Why?

Boy, it was tough. Stanley gave me a couple hints to keep me going and I ended up solving the puzzle. I then gave him the first one I ever learned...

A man is dead in a room. How did he die?

Then Stanley gave me another...

A blind man takes a train to a hospital, gets an operation that lets him see again, and proceeds to return home by train. Before he arrives, he commits suicide. Why?

I puzzled this one out on my own. I love these kinds of puzzles, and it seems they like them too. I am going to have to rack my brain for the other ones I know for next time.

OK, and now to practice some of my Chinese...

誰 喜歡 包子?
我 很 喜歡 包子!
我 de 姐姐 叫 道. 她 lives in (zai?) 法國. 她 先生 是 英國 人. 他 不是 日本人.
天氣 太 熱!
ming tian 我 去 上 課 可是 li bai 一 我 不 去 上 課.

And that's because it's the Mid Autumn Moon Festival.

My set meal at Rich Coffee, and a sandwich in the background


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