March 6, 2011

OOOhh, my aching head!

Well, since the bit of fiasco from yesterday, I decided, since my Sunday class is on hold for a bit, and my friends had left early for the continuation of their holidays, I may as well go out!

A friend of mine owns a ‘tavern’ here in Taiwan. I call it a bar, but apparently, there is a difference in classification when it comes to Taiwan law.

Apparently, and this is what I understood (after the second tequila), is that, if the establishment is classified as a bar, smoking is not permitted inside the establishment. You can however, go outside to fill your lungs with cleaner air than that found on the streets!

If the establishment is classified as a tavern, then smoking IS permitted inside after 9pm! How interesting. So, he doesn’t open the ‘tavern’ until 9pm. BTW, he smokes, as well as most of the patrons – as I soon discovered. For anyone who doesn’t smoke, well, guess what! There are literally hundreds of ‘bars’ that open in Tainan for your ‘non-smoking’ pleasure.

One of the differences I’ve noticed between bars/taverns in Canada (and perhaps the States) and here is, the ‘snack food’ they give you while you are enjoying your libation.

In Canada, and this is not to say EVERY place does it, but many do, they give you either peanuts or popcorn or pretzels, or some other form of crunchy, salty, snack food to enjoy.

Here in Taiwan, or at least Tainan, they give you a couple little dishes of ‘snack foods’. This could include, as I discovered, a dish of a kind of marinated pork pieces. Little bits of cooked pork, marinated in some kind of sauce, with green onions, garlic, red pepper, and God knows what else. BTW, this was actually quite good.

Jerry also gave me another dish of ‘snacks’. This was marinated duck, with some kind of green leafy vegetable. From what I understood, this fairly normal for bars and taverns.

I remember a few years ago, when I first came to Taiwan, a few teachers from Gangshan (including myself), came to Tainan for a night out. At that time, a new place had opened up, and the ‘younger’ teachers (aka foreigners) wanted to see it. Now, the difference was that this place is considered a ‘dance club’, so they don’t serve these little snacks.

I guess the difference being, at a bar or tavern, you basically sit and chat with people. At a dance club, you are walking around or dancing, and not really in one place. OH, and one other thing I did notice, the prices!!

Just like back home, a tavern or bar, where all you do is sit, drink, and chat, the prices tend to be a LOT cheaper than going to a nightclub or dance club. Well, my ‘dancing’ days are pretty well over.

I also started my first classes in Kaohsiung tonight. It was actually quite good. For a first class, there were about 20 students in the conversation class. As this was introductory, there was no charge to the students. They are free to sit in on classes as often or as little as they like.

Most of the class, as usual for a first class, was spent by the students asking ME a lot of questions. Oh, the basics: Where are you from? How long have you been in Taiwan? Do you have a girlfriend or wife? Do you love Taiwan? What do you eat? Can you speak Chinese?

I should just write out all these questions and my answers, and pass it out during first classes. The questions are always the same. However, the conversations did pan out, and it was actually quite nice. It was great to hear people participating, asking questions, answering MY questions.

The second class is a ‘business writing’ class. However, only one person really does any business writing. So, it was agreed that the class would be altered a bit. It wouldn’t concentrate so much on business, as more ‘pleasure’ writing.

Getting to Kaohsiung is interesting. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been going to Kaohsiung to meet with the organization in preparation. I decided to take the train to see if it was more convenient for me.

To scooter from my home to Tainan Station, find a place to park, walk to the station, get my ticket, wait for the train, stand ALL the way to Kaohsiung, walk to the location, and then do all that in reverse, is insane. It takes me a total of 1 hour and 25 minutes (give or take) and costs 68nt each way.

Tonight, I decided to just scooter to Kaohsiung. It cost me 100nt to fill the tank, and I still had about 1/2 a tank when I got home. The trip from my door to theirs, is 55 minutes. AND, I get to sit!

Hmm. Guess I’ll be scootering to Kaohsiung from now on!

That’s it, that’s all… for now.


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