Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taiwan: Part 2

Vacation time came to an end and it was time to get to work!

We had been staying in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. Taipei is very western and the area in which we were staying was very posh. The tournament venue was in a mall in Taoyaun. The difference between Taipei and Taoyuan is sort of like the difference between Manhattan and Queens.

Did I mention that the tournament was held in a mall?!!! Below I have included some home video as evidence because I didn't think that anyone would believe me. Sorry about the quality of the video: Please don't watch if you get seizures or motion sickness or if you are just irritated by crappy visuals.

The tournament activities got started with a press conference which aired on live tv. It featured an emcee and a Taiwanese rock band. Here is a clip of the U.S. players being paraded across the stage:

Here I am playing Allison Fisher in the TV Venue:

That was my first ever "JumboTron" appearance!

Here are the practice tables:

Note the batting cages and roller skaters in the background and the family of five playing next to me.

Here is the regular venue, it was in the lower level of the mall which was also a sports complex. The tables were situated in the center of a roller rink:

Note my husband's wandering attention... I think he's in love... :)

I was proud of how I played and how strong I stayed mentally in the very different conditions, but sadly I didn't advance out of my group. Oh well... vacation time again! Drinking in the bar with the other also-rans, sleeping late, and gorging on the hotel buffet were all good consolations!

On our last night in Taiwan, Harry and I made it to one of Taoyuan's night markets. There we had stinky tofu (the benign kind) and oyster omelets with some sort of pink goo on top. We couldn't leave until we had finally found and eaten pig's blood cake (since I had blogged about trying it.) The blood/rice combination was very mild and vaguely burrito-like and mostly it tasted like the cilantro and peanuts that coated it.

Our flight back was markedly less pleasant than our flight there, as it was a packed house. I call back seat middle!!!

After kissing the ground at LAX, we headed to the local unmemorable Radisson which we will remember forever for its proximity to Denny's, and for its sweet, sweet facilities where we slept for 16 hours straight and did laundry. The next day we celebrated our homecoming with an Oki Dog: America's own bizarre food.