Today was filled with a crash course on Taiwan every day types of activities: A trip to the grocery store, the acquisition of a sim card (harder than it should be), a cursory walk around the neighborhood to check out restaurants, you know, first day stuff. Most of the travel literature I read before coming said things like don't worry, most people will speak English! I am here to tell you that those are LIES. I am not one of those ugly American travelers that expect everyone in the world to speak English or anything, but HOLY CRAP am I ever in over my head! So far, I have resorted to drawing circles on a map and handing said map to the cab driver who in turn looks at me with what can only be described as polite confusion. I know ABSOLUTELY NO MANDARIN. None. Not even a little. Ok, I take that back, I know the word for thank you compliments of the Gilmore Girls. Starting tomorrow I am on my own to do things like get food and purchase supplies. Also, I must successfully get from the hospital to Julenna's flat every night and that makes me more than a little nervous, I'm not going to lie. The one bright ray of hope is that I have managed to successfully secure a sim card, which as of yesterday, did not look like it was going to be a possibility since one must have residency papers to purchase a phone in this country. So now, when I get lost, I can call someone and tell him or her that I am lost. Not that anyone I know will actually be able to help me get unlost, but at least I will be able to communicate just how lost I am and that is something.
On a more positive and hopeful note, I had a very impressive lunch today comprised of a hot pot and several raw meaty looking products. It was sort of like fondue with an Asian twist. The hot pot consisted of a spicy Thai broth on one side and coconut milk on the other and the raw meaty products could be cooked on either side. I was also introduced to tofu skins. They have thr texture of rubbery bread, but they taste pretty good. Just to make sure everyone knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am indeed a tourist, I decided to take photos of everything I ate. I am breaking my traveling rules, left and right! So Internet, without further ado, I introduce you to My Lunch.
**Disclaimer: All photos taken with crappy point-and-shoot
I'm pretty sure that says 'Coke.'
Raw meaty products + veggies. See those bread-like things? Those are tofu skins.