Friday, July 11, 2008

Earthquake rocks Taipei!!! (Kelly)

As I sat in bed this morning being lazy and reading Harry Potter, I felt a sort of rumbling beneath me. The bed shook slightly, and at first I wondered whether or not this could be an earthquake. I assured myself that it was not, and that they must be doing some sort of maintenance work on the floor below us. The sensation quickly subsided and continued on with my reading. However, I was wrong; at lunch, I was informed that it was indeed an earthquake. No need for alarm though folks, evidently that is a common occurrence here in the city.

So a little about my day...

For lunch, I took the MRT (subway) to meet Nick and two others from the lab. The nearest MRT station is about a 10 minute walk, but it sure beats walking in the heat. Today it was very hot and humid. It takes me about 30-35 minutes to ride the MRT and walk the rest of the way to Nick's lab. When I did arrive at Nick's lab though, I was definitely sweating quite profusely. A couple from his lab joined us for lunch and we went to a small restaurant that is known for their beef needles. Basically, this is a bowl of broth with noodles and hunks of beef. I had some difficulty getting the hang of using my chopsticks to eat the noodles with 2 pairs of Taiwanese eyes on me. By the end of the meal I feel that I had semi-conquered this feat. At least I ate enough to be satisifed. On the way home from lunch a small rain storm erupted. It was pouring! Luckily I had an umbrella and made it safely back to our hotel. This was only after I slipped about 10 times and almost landed on my bottom. The walkways here are made of tiles that are very, very slick when wet - especially if you're wearing flip flops that have the tread of a pancake. I spent the rest of the day reading and cleaning our small room. I did not dare to venture out again due to the weather.

Nick arrived home around 6, and thankfully, the rain had cleared. We ventured out to a food court in search of dinner. I was already very hungry, and after walking at least 2 miles, I was ready to find something that I thought looked edible. We settled on chicken and rice and some various unknown side dishes. I ate the chicken and some rice and gave Nick the unknowns :) After dinner, we went to Longshan Temple. This was quite an experience, and one that I don't care to do again. This is one of the most famous temples here in the city. The structure was beautiful and looked exactly like something you'd see in a book. There were many people inside lighting incense and making their offerings. These offerings are food, for the most part, with some flowers as well. I think that there were about 7 different gods that one could pray to, dependent upon the nature of your request. I have to say that I find this to be an uncomfortable experience, but I am glad that I was able to it. This combined with the strong incense smell was enough for me. After viewing this temple and reading about the many others that are located throughout the city, I can see why Taiwan is in the 10/40 window. If you're interested in this, you can check out this website

After what seemed to be a very long day and miles of walking, we finally made it back to our hotel. I hope that you found our day interesting. Coming up this weekend, I think Nick will do some blogging :)

- Kelly

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