Friday, December 26, 2008

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

No really!  In Taiwan.  I kid you not. And the smell is amazing.

From Blogger

In Taiwan they use tar pellets and mix them with the chestnuts and then roast them in a wok. The tar pellets insure that the heat gets all around the nuts and not just from the heat under the wok.  I wonder if they know the Christmas song describing this age old treat...

From Blogger

I remember traveling with my wife in south France and eating these. They were a fraction of the price of the ones in Taiwan. In fact, they were lying all over the place in France for anyone to pick and bring home...

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year everyone!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my blog!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Beitou Garbage Incinerator Smokestack Resto

View Larger Map

As you are passing by on the MRT on the way to Danshui, you may notice a large tower near the river. This is the Beitou Incinerator.

And when you think incinerators, you think restaurants, right? Well, boy do I have a surprise for you. You can combine your love for burning trash with delicious food by visiting the Beitou Incinerator!

While walking along the bikepath from Guandu with a friend, we spotted the tower and wondered what it was. Upon closer inspection we noticed that the smokestack also had an observation deck. Googling it on Google Maps, I found out that the building was a trash incinerator.

The story would have stopped there had it not been for a hotpot meal with some corporate students. I told them about the walk and the tower. Then, one guy, to my absolute astonishment, said that there was a restaurant on the tower! (He also mentioned that it was operated by a famous star, who I don't recall.)

Googling the incinerator again I found its website:

Sure enough, if you scroll down, you can see some links for the restaurant. Clicking around the site reveals that the tower also has a viewing deck. There are various pictures of the view there as well.

But here's the thing: do people really equate incinerator with restaurant? I keep picturing sitting enjoying a wonderful meal while thinking the smokestack inside is pumping out poison into the sky around us. Maybe it's just me.

One more thing. Take a look at the art on the roof. It's pretty elaborate when considering that only the people in the tower and Google Maps can see it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taiwan Touch Your Heart or is that Thailand Touch Your Heart?

The visuals are ok but the Islaformosa song is just plain bad. I have noticed that Taiwan is advertising on CNN these days using this jingle as are a lot of other Asian countries with their own songs.

There are definitely really terrible ads. Seoul's advertising (Seoul, Soul of Asia) is pretty bad as well and leaves me feeling loathe to visit.

So far I've only been impressed with Malaysia's and India's songs and Cambodia has done a pretty good job with their commercial as well.

As a final message, I say Naruwan to you if you are coming to Taiwan! And remember it's not Taiwan, not Thailand, bitch!

(If you are wondering what the heck 'naruwan' is then you weren't the only one who misunderstood the last ad campaign thought up by those spin doctors at Taiwan tourism. Google 'naruwan' to see how misguided that campaign slogan was...)

Stores, stores and more stores...

Just in time for Xmas, let IslaFormosa help you pick that special gift for everyone on your list...

For the Samurai swordsman on your list...
From 2008_12_10 Taipei Walkabout

For the boar's head collector...
From 2008_12_10 Taipei Walkabout

For the action figure collector...
From 2008_12_10 Taipei Walkabout

Or the Nazi you may know...
From 2008_12_10 Taipei Walkabout

Or the all-around pleaser: an 'artistic' dining room or living room wall hanging!
(Check the details of the pictures for the bestiality of it all...)
From 2008_12_10 Taipei Walkabout

So many choices... So little time...

Police and Army Uniforms Galore!

From 2008_12_07 December Day in Taipei

I thought there only were these kinds of stores in China. This is a kind of stores where you can buy official (looking) uniforms of police officers and soldiers. It's on ChungHua Road near XiMenDing.

As some people living in China may know, army and police surplus stores are everywhere. In fact, many people who are not police or soldiers wear the uniforms for regular work clothes as they are cheap and fairly durable.

This was a first for me to see in Taiwan. I wonder who the prime customers are: army vets, para-military types or Halloween costume hunters.

From Blogger

From Blogger

From Blogger

From Blogger

From Blogger

Taiwan 2008 Zeitgeist

[translated with Google Translate; original text at bottom]

Welcome to the 2008 Taiwan Top Google keyword list!
Raorao have gone through, the event continued a year, users in the Google search keywords, what difference will it make? Continued to lead the wave of online video, "YouTube" crowned as the most popular keyword list; "104" in keeping up, the reaction of an economic downturn, the unemployment rate or frequency, we thirst job; "Gmail" free up more than 7G The space has attracted many domestic users and the use of inquiry; Interestingly, "Taiwan High Speed Rail" and "Taiwan Railway Administration" search beyond the amount of celebrity or popular Web site, occupies the fourth, fifth, showed that the downturn in online travel The public transport network information or the opportunity to increase the booking. In the rapid popularity of the keyword ranking, as a result of events set off rapid popularity keywords, such as drug formula of the "three hydrogen-amine," "Chu Li-Ning" and "Edison", "Ma Ying-jeou" and other issues before itself 5. In addition, the network's famous "Energizer small love", adding fuel to the flames as a result of the network in the world, the highest in the rapid popularity of the keyword in the second. Quick look at 2008, "the most popular keywords" and "rapid popularity of the keywords" list, the current understanding of the dynamics of this year it!

Top ranking keyword search (Fastest Rising)

1. Li Ning Chu
2. Energizer small love
3. Edison
4. Melamine
5. Ma Ying-jeou
6. Diego velázquez
7.2008 Beijing Olympic Games
8. Chrome
9. Large Hadron collision device
10. Pan when Interior Design

Rapid popularity keyword search ranking (Most Popular)

1. Youtube
3. Gmail
4. Taiwan High Speed Rail
5. TRA
6. Chunghwa Telecom
7. Mobile 01
8. Reunification of the invoice
9. Google map
10. Central Weather Bureau

Top 10 Taiwan News

1. Promontory on the 7th (Cape no.7)
2. Edison events
3. To help Stars
4. Job
5. Taiwan High Speed Rail
6. Cycling
7. Asus
9. China Trust
10. Predestined I love you

3C annual brand search

1. Asus
2. Apple
3. Hp
4. Sony
5. Acer
6. Nokia
7. Cannon
8. Dell
9. Htc
10. Epson

Person of the Year search ranking

1. Edison
2. Tanaka draw thousands
3. Ma Ying-jeou
5. Children & Teng
6. Yang Wei
7. Cecilia Cheung
8. Jay Chou
9. Xu Jiaying
10. Chu Lai Ning

Taiwan's annual tourism attractions search

1. Penghu Lodge
2. Hualien Lodge
3. South of the border
4. Alishan
5. Bora
6. Sun Moon Lake
7. Ilan Lodge
8. Wuling Farm
9. Kaohsiung
10. Hushan sword

歷經紛紛擾擾、大事不斷的一年,網友們在 Google搜尋的關鍵字又有何不同呢?線上影音持續引領風潮,「YouTube」榮登最熱門關鍵字榜首;「104」緊跟在後,反應經濟不景氣、失業率頻 升,大家求職若渴;「Gmail」免費又高達7G以上的空間,吸引許多國內網友查詢並使用;有趣的是,「台灣高鐵」與「台鐵」的搜尋量超越名人或熱門網 站,佔居第四、第五名,顯示網友在不景氣中搭乘大眾交通運輸資訊或網路訂票的機會增多。在快速竄紅的關鍵字排行方面,因新聞事件引爆的快速竄紅關鍵字,如 毒奶粉「三聚氫胺」、「黎礎寧」、「陳冠希」、「馬英九」等議題,佔居前五名。另外,在網路上聲名大噪的「勁量小愛」,因網路世界的推波助瀾,高居快速竄 紅的關鍵字第二。快看看2008年「最熱門關鍵字」、「快速竄紅的關鍵字」排行榜,了解今年時事動態吧!

熱門關鍵字搜尋排行 (Fastest Rising)

  1. 黎礎寧
  2. 勁量小愛
  3. 陳冠希
  4. 三聚氰胺
  5. 馬英九
  6. diego velázquez
  7. 2008 北京 奧運
  8. chrome
  9. 大型強子對撞器
  10. 磐時室內設計

快速竄紅關鍵字搜尋排行 (Most Popular)

  1. youtube
  2. 104
  3. gmail
  4. 台灣高鐵
  5. 台鐵
  6. 中華電信
  7. mobile 01
  8. 統一發票
  9. google map
  10. 中央氣象局


  1. 海角七號
  2. 陳冠希事件
  3. 星光幫
  4. 求職
  5. 台灣高鐵
  6. 自行車
  7. asus
  8. 591
  9. 中國信託
  10. 命中注定我愛你


  1. asus
  2. apple
  3. hp
  4. sony
  5. acer
  6. nokia
  7. cannon
  8. dell
  9. htc
  10. epson


  1. 陳冠希
  2. 田中千繪
  3. 馬英九
  4. 彎彎
  5. 蕭敬騰
  6. 楊宗緯
  7. 張柏芝
  8. 周杰倫
  9. 徐佳瑩
  10. 黎礎寧


  1. 澎湖民宿
  2. 花蓮民宿
  3. 國境之南
  4. 阿里山
  5. 寶來
  6. 日月潭
  7. 宜蘭民宿
  8. 武陵農場
  9. 高雄
  10. 劍湖山

Friday, December 5, 2008

Attack of the African Snails!

From Blogger
It was a slow week so it called for a sluggish story. East African Land Snails in Taiwan.

I have been surprised a few times in the concrete jungle of Taipei to find these rather large suckers crawling all over hedges at night (during the day they burry themselves in the earth). They are really big when compared to the tiny land snails we have back home in Canada so it makes them doubly striking to find in the middle of the city. I have accidentally stepped on a few of them crossing the sidewalks of Taipei and the feeling of their cracking shells is not unlike stepping on Xmas bulbs.

[Bushman has a good account of coming across one of these giant suckers]

At the time I just assumed that someone's meal had escaped and had managed to find another of its own to reproduce. I was wrong on both counts.

First, what, you say, are African snails doing here in Taiwan? Well they were probably accidentally introduced through trade. The problem is:

"They are a highly invasive species, and colonies can be formed from a single [...] individual. The species has established itself in Temperate Climates also, and in many places, release into the wild is illegal."

"The Giant East African Snail is a simultaneous hermaphrodite."

It is this factor that makes it a pest. All it takes is one stray snail and the right environment for these snails to flourish into colonies.

Even so, Taiwanese have probably responded to the invasion by serving them on the dinner plate. Other infested countries have, though, tried control methods and haven't been so succesful:

"Suggested preventative measures must include strict quarantine measures to prevent introduction and further spread. Many methods have been tried to eradicate the Giant East African Snail. Generally, none of them have been effective except where implemented at the first sign of infestation. Methods include hand collecting, use of molluscicides, flame-throwers [!!!], and the failed attempts at biological control discussed below. In some regions, an effort has been made to promote use of the Giant East African Snail as a food resource, collecting the snails for food being seen as a method of controlling them. However, promoting a pest in this way is a controversial measure, as it may encourage the further deliberate spread of the snails."


So, although not dangerous, the snails are certainly pesky foreign guests whose numbers may or may not be welcome in Taiwan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Build it and they will ride

From 2008_12_03 Taipei Bike Paths

Here's the Taipei Cycling Service Center at JingFu by night. It's where the YongFu Bridge meets the river in GongGuan.

A lot of money has been put into the system in general. Despite the economic downturn, work is still on at the Taipei Drinking Water Museum. A bike path has just been put along the edge of the museum.

While I was in the area there were countless bikers riding in the dark traveling the paths.

From 2008_12_03 Taipei Bike Paths

From 2008_12_03 Taipei Bike Paths

From 2008_12_03 Taipei Bike Paths

I hate it when that happens

From Blogger

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