Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Night with Tina

I was fortunate enough to get to spend another night with Tina before she heads back to the US. I joined her, her mom and their friend at a fabric place near Di Hua and Nanjing W Rd. It's just northwest of the Zhongshan (中山) MRT stop and a couple streets east of the river. On the way, I walked down Di Hua with Tina from MinSheng and got to see all the traditional herb shops (dozens of them all next to each other) as well as some classic styled buildings.

We got to the fabric shop and I'd nearly suggest bringing a compass. This place is HUGE - it's easy to get lost. Though we only walked around one floor, apparently there was another floor just upstairs. This reminded me of the shopping area that Tuyet brought me to in Da Nang where her aunt works. Only this place was way less crowded and ALL dedicated to fabric (in Vietnam the lower floor had food and other stuff). Again, I had the desire to have a job so I could get some income to buy some fabric and a sewing machine and get working on some projects. If I could get access to Peggy's old blog site, I might even be inspired to do some hand sewing.

I was pretty much disoriented as soon as I walked into the fabric shop. In fact, we ended up taking one too many turns and one of the shop owners called us on it - "What are you two looking for? You've already walked this way!" Afterwards, we walked around the neighborhood a bit and then caught a cab to another area. We ended up on MinSheng W Rd again at Yuan Huan Night market. Tina's dad joined us at a small table.

They ordered about a dozen plates (5 of which are shown here - Taiwanese oyster dish, pork, beef, chicken, and thickened soup). We happily ate most everything, while protected from the rain under a tent. I wasn't always sure what was going on, but we ended up getting up and getting drinks - my first mango juice - and it was divine! Surprisingly, we sat down at another table and got more food! This time just one dish - another type of soup. We got up once more and walked down the street to a dessert place - they have dou hua, which Judy had pointed out to me last week. Tina's parents got the ice version, and Tina and I shared a dou hua. Another excellent dish! I think I like dou hua better than ice. We got peanuts and da (大) hong dou (big red beans). Yum yum, I'm looking forward to having more.

Tina and I spent the rest of the night walking around the neighborhood. While she did some shopping, we stopped in interesting stores and she pointed out her favorite places to eat and hang out. Since she pointed out so many places, it was a bit much for me to remember everything. I managed to get a picture of the restaurant signs that I want to try - the forefront one (behind the cow) has excellent dumplings, and the one with the chicken on top is also good. I probably wouldn't have known we were walking through a red light district except for Tina pointing it out. It certainly wasn't as obvious as in Amsterdam!

We also stopped by the former US consulate building turned movie theatre. It was recently renovated/semi-restored, after being in a poor state ever since the US abandoned it when they agreed China is the governmental power. It's got a small Eslite bookstore in it and a cafe (which according to Tina is a good date place). The theatre runs independent films - we couldn't tell if they were dubbed in Chinese or kept in the original language with subtitles. I figure it's too hard for me to watch a foreign language film with Chinese subtitles since I can read about 15 words in total. But if it's Mandarin/English language or with English subtitles then it'd be worth it for me to check it out.

I need to go back to the area and try another Taiwanese dish (ou-wa mi shua, an oyster noodle far I've only had ou-wa jian ??), a mian cart, and look through some of the malls (which apparently have Taiwan brand clothing - otherwise I'd avoid shopping in a mall). PartyWorld for KTV (private karaoke rooms) is also nearby.

On my bus to and from school, there are 2 TVs. Sometimes there is a segment called "Daily Phrases". It's a cartoon to teach people English phrases. Yesterday's was "Today is not your day". Today's was "Leave it to me". They set up somewhat silly cartoon scenarios and people use the phrases over and over. At the end they have the English subtitled with the Chinese. This isn't as strange as the show I keep catching parts of - I can't tell what's going on. It's another cartoon and the kids tend to say "My neck hurts". I always get on the bus or off the bus before completing any episode.

I've had another 2 days of classes. Yesterday there were only 5 people in class, when previously there were 9! One of the Japanese girls dropped to a lower level, the Canadian went up a level, and I don't know what happened to the other Asian girl who popped in for the second half of class on Tue. The American TLI guy apparently was sick, so he was thankfully there again today. It seems like the class might settle on the 6 of us which lao shi says is an excellent number. She feels that 8 is too many.

We got to writing today - we learned stroke order for 5 words: , (wo3 = I) (ni3 = you), (ni3 = you feminine), (ta1 = it/he), (ta1 = she). We were also tested on listening skills for sounds and tone by writing in BoPoMoFo. It was challenging. I can write BPMF from listening but I'm an incredibly slow reader. It's much faster for me to read the pinyin in class to keep up. However, the BPMF is handy to correct some of the more ambiguous pronunciation challenges, where I tend to use the incorrect English interpretation of the pin-yin instead of the actual rules of the letter combinations.

As you can tell from this post, I've figured out how to input traditional Chinese characters using the built in IME (Input Method Editor) in Windows XP. I have the option of using various keyboards and either using BoPoMoFo or PinYin. I tried both and as BPMF is still rather new to me, pinyin is much faster, so I'm using that for now.

大 安 (Da'an) Park
I walk through this park on my way from the Main Public Library to ShiDa MTC
I didn't go today though since the library is closed on the first Thursday of every month.


Catherine Kai-lin Shu said...

Oh my goodness, I've been looking for a giant fabric shop in Taipei. Do you have the address for this shop?
I'm hoping to buy a sewing machine, which is ridiculous because I won't have time to sew while I'm at Shida, but at some point it'd be nice to make some things for my apartment.

Lin said...

No address but a vague idea of where it is. Go to the corner of Di Hua and Min Sheng (the one north of Nanjing). Then walk south on Di Hua. I think before you get to the big temple on the left, take a left. And then there's a building on the right with steps up to it and then you can see an escalator (out of service) and steps on either side of it. Go up one flight to the floor I was on.

I've been meaning to go back, so when I do, I'll try to post back with some pictures and better directions for you!

snowtweety said...

You know you're gonna have to take me there the next time I visit :)