Thoughts from Taiwan

Myworld is having a nice time away in Taiwan.  It is tough to talk about a vacation when you are not working.  Taichung is a pleasant place to stay and I would recommend it for all.  The only downside is that English is not widely spoken, so walking into restaraunts can be quite an adventure with the menu in Mandarin character.  Many of the menus have pictures so one can make do with that.  Some of myworld’s thoughts about Taiwan:

>  Bud Selig would have a fit here about the pace of the game.  Asian players are very deliberate, soaking in all the strategic aspects of the game.  The catchers talk to the pitchers, the managers visit the mound, the hitters take a lot of pitchers.  The games tend to be very long, averaging about three hours.  To top it all off, after the fifth inning they have a 10 minute break to clean up the field and replace the bases.  The players sit in the dugout and drink cool refreshments and the fans all bolt for the limited restroom facilities.

>  Video or gaming is quite big in Taiwan.  It has gotten so big that they have tournaments.  In fifty years you may start reading about champion gaming players similar to the press that is given athletes.  So instead of physically playing baseball on a real outdoor field, you will have champions of video baseball that are able to make made-up players move around a video screen with great skill and dexterity.  These champs may not look so fit, weighing 250 pounds with flesh so loose it bounces around like jello, but they will be champions of the new age, the video age.  Myworld hopes it doesn’t come to pass.

> When I ask where the Taiwan Intercontinental Stadium is they point to a spot on the map.  When I ask how long it would take to walk there they look at me in horror and say it is too far.  I must take a cab.  I walk it anyway.  Walking is the only way to see the city.  It is about an hour and a half walk from my hotel, but along the way I pass betel nut girls, noodle shops and all sorts of retail shops along the way.  It is a true way to immerse yourself in the city.

> Of course, no one in Taiwan would walk.  It seems everyone has motorcycles here, and not of the Harley variety.  They ride the scooter type bikes.  They tend to invade the sidewalk, forcing you to walk on the street.  Everyone seems to wear a helmet, which is good and there are a lot of helmet shops in the city.  Myworld has seen numerous women wearing shorts, exposing her legs to trajedy if she should ever crash, but she has her helmet on.  Or kids aged five or under ride on the lap of an adult, but the kid has his helmet on.

> In addition to the scooter bikes, many of the retail and noodle shops invade deep into the sidewalk.  I will be walking and find myself right in the middle of the noodle shop walking around the chefs that are soaking the noodles in hot water, or try to filter my way past tables where people are parked to eat.  They have underground and overhead passways at some of the busier intersections, but these are rarely used.  People don’t walk that far, or they prefer not to climb the steps and cross through the intersection instead.

> The must have cracked down on the provocative dress of the betel nut girls.  I have not seen any skimpy outfits and many of the woman could pass for grandmothers.  Perhaps these places with the provactivly dressed betel nut girls are located farther in the outskirts of Tiachung.  Of course, if I am a betel nut chewer I would worry more about the quality of the product rather than the quality of the person selling it.  All things being equal though…

> Lots of Shu Qi sightings here on billboards and television when advertising her upcoming movies.  Myworld doesn’t have the television on much, but when we do there is usually a Shu Qi sighting.  She was here for the Taiwan Golden Globes on Saturday, Taiwan’s equivalent to the Oscars.  Shu Qi is still myworld’s favorite actress, so it is nice seeing her here.  She gets no publicity in the states but is usually ranked as one of the 100 prettiest women in the world.  She co-starred in the movie Transporter.

> Saw a cab with its windows rolled down.  Looked inside the cab and the keys were in the ignition.  It appears they have no interest in stealing cabs in Taichung.  I could have driven it to the stadium.  Also saw a piece of paper drop from a women’s hand.  I didn’t think much of it, thought about walking over to her to tell her she dropped it, but thought better of it.  The paper stayed on the ground so it didn’t look important.  When they were about to go into the stadium she had a look of panic on her face and it was obvious she couldn’t find her ticket.  When they started looking around they spotted the piece of paper sitting on the ground.  It was her ticket that she had dropped.  It stayed on the ground for more than 10 minutes and no one had picked it up.  In the United States, if that was a ticket to a ball game, that piece of paper would have been gone 30 seconds after it hit the ground, especially with the number of people that were in the area.

> Myworld has been experiencing dinner at the night markets.  We have no idea what we are eating, but a lot of it is on sticks.  They usually ask you whether you want chicken or beef, but I usually stick with the chicken.  The night markets are a shopper’s dream with all sorts of stuff sold here, many of which are probably counterfeit.  The night markets would be a shopper’s paradise, but I’m not much of a shopper.

> Before the game tonight myworld will take a spin to look at the Confucious Temple and Martyr’s Shrine.  We wanted to go yesterday, but it is closed on Monday.  There must be a Confucious saying there somewhere.

> Myworld was going to post some pictures of the visit, but it just takes too long for the downloading process.  So the pictures will have to wait until our return.  When we do return myworld will breakdown all the prospects that we like in the minor leagues at each postion, starting with the catchers.  December will be a long offseason, but the winter leagues and Cuban baseball are still active.

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