Sunday, November 29, 2009

Living in Taiwan

Well i find myself here in taiwan. I have been living here now for almost 3 weeks. I just moved out of the hotel into an apt. I more or less spent the weekend getting used to the new apt. Life is not easy when you dont speak the language, to get around you have to walk and well...your apartment smells bad.

The apt... Dont get me wrong, it is not bad and i am greatful to have a place to stay. It is almost 2000 sq feet....ah... yeah! 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room, and laundry room. Im on the 14th floor and have some great views of the city. But there is minimal furniture in this massive place, so it feels very empty. Im not kidding, a family 5-8 people could live here. oh and for some reason every time i smells funny. it almost is a musty rotten dead animal smell. I dont know what it is but i bought this aromatherapy thing that makes it smell better...i had too, i would gag everytime i walked in the place, let alone try to eat. They bought me new bedding and it is very nice, i am happy with that. the bed is as hard as sleeping on the concrete floor, i think that is just how they sleep out here.

as for food.... i have found some, i made it to costco and bought too much food. but i also have found a few places near by to get food. i am no longer too worried about eating. however for somereason, i am gaining weight. i assumed i would have lost, but i feel like i have gained. food and eating are still an issue, but getting better and are at least semi comfortable now.

travel...well i have a driver to take me to work..but all the rest of the time i either pay for taxi or walk. i walked for 4 hrs on sat...on the map it didnt look quite as far, but it was. i walked about 3 miles to a mall and then walked around the mall for a couple hours. its funny how seeing something familiar makes you feel comfortable...yes seeing mcdonalds or dunkin donuts makes me feel good, good enough that i had 2 donuts on sat. BTW dunkin donuts is huge over here...they love those donuts....actually wouldnt mind another right now...ha!
Again today i walked to the hardware store and got a plug adapter for my computer. it was about a mile away. Loving the Iphone right now. i just turn on the maps application and it locates me and i have saved my apt in it also, so i can always see where i am in reference to my apt and (more importantly) can always see where to go to get back.

The weather has been really great... it is lite outside by 5 am or around then and it gets dark by 5 or 6 pm. I so far have been taking off around lunchtime and going for walks....but what is funny is that in a city of over a million folks, i will be the only person walking down a main street at 2 in the afternoon. Seems crazy to me, but is totally the case. Not to mention maybe 1/3 of all the stres are open. it seems like everything is closed. but as soon as the sun goes down and it gets dark....everyone comes out, the streets are packed there are people and lights everywhere....everything is open, even the little misc. shop with the small hickamagigers and tiny little whatchamacall its... Everything! and they will stay open until the wee hours of that night and so will the people...everyone stays up late and sleeps in in the morning. sunday morning, things didnt even start to wake up until around noon. i am shocked and surprised with this culture.

was without internet, computer this weekend. might as well not had a phone either as now i have a taiwanese and american cell...yes 2 cell phones.. no one knows the taiwanese number so i dont get calls on that one...and the american one doesnt really work.
luckily i found hbo and stars on the cable...sure the commericals are all in chinese but when there is an american movie(which is most all) then it is in english and it has chinese subtitles. so i just leave the tv on the movie channels...its my second time watching 27 dresses in the last 2 days.

as for overall health...i am doing pretty well. i have this annoying headache that comes and goes and the same with a stomach ache. both have been better since i have been making my own food and getting more sleep. i think it will be better in notime.

ok..more soon with pics!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


HI ya.....well here is a shoe i recently worked on.....the AIR YEEZY.
picture from

an article about this shoe is linked below....

9000 pair are hitting the market starting 4/4/09.

Designers are really the only people who get public credit for product like this, but i was "innovator/developer" who made all of Mark and Kanye's wishes and designlines come true.  Of course i have a team of people supporting me also.....

Execute, execute, execute....move on to the next product and execute, execute, execute!  Thats the life of this Innovator at Nike.

It was a long and challenging process that had a killer shoe throughout every single step!

I wish the shoe the best and I thank Mark for asking me to work on it with him.  It was a pleasure as always. 

Also to the team... Chanhmy, Steve, Marlene, Patrice, Han, the whole sample room, Jaro and all the factory folks who put such a great effort into this program, THANKS a bunch, for your effort, your time, your patience and your laughter! 



Orchid images from international orchid show in Taiwan

Recovery insite!

Well i successfully returned to good ol' Oregon last thursday.  All my flights and travel went very smoothly, despite some 4hrs of turbulence from Narita to Portland.  

I am still adjusting to my new/old time zone.  Sometimes this is referred to as Jetlag....what is that you might ask?  Well you basically feel a little out of sorts because your body is used to the other time zone.  In my particular case, i have been having more difficulty that usual.  For example, it is 1:06am and i am wide awake.  This seems to have been the routine since i have returned....

1st day of return: mostly slept all day and all night, exhausted.  only woke up because i was hungry and that was in the late evenings and middle of the night.

2nd -4th days.  I would stay up until around 10, fall asleep and wake up promptly at 2am.  Wide awake with no hope of sleeping. I would stay up until around 7am and then fall asleep until around noon. (fortunately this was still the weekend, so it wasnt a big deal).  After i woke around noon, i would be up until 10pm or so.

5th  and 6th days (today)- things were looking up, i came home after work, i took a couple hour nap.  woke up for a little while and went to bed around midnight.  To my joyous surprise, i did not wake up until i heard my alarm at 6am.  Great i thought!!  so i go to work and get home.  Take my nap after work (5-9pm, a little long). And now i am up, not exactly wide awake, but definately not struggling to keep my eyes open.

OK so sleeping patterns are definitely an issue with jet lag.  So is food and brain function.

Food: well i am basically hungry in the middle of the night and not so much around lunch time.  breakfast and dinner, i am kinda hungry.  Its the mid-day meal that is throwing me off.  I must say though, it is extremely wonderful to be eating my normal food again!  although i stand to have more Indian food and mochi!

As for brain functions, they dont work the same when you have jet-lag.  At least for me, i cant always think straight and my memory seems to be lacking at times.  speech can be a bit blurred and stuttery. Overall its probably equivalent to how some folks behave from having too much to drink! : )  

It just takes time to readjust!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Finally hit my turning point

Well it is day ...15?... 17?...18?...37?...43?....... ..who knows but it definitely feels like too long.  I am just about at my wits end after the day i had today.

For starters late last week, I was entertaining the idea of staying 2 more weeks past my 4 week plan, so that i could finish up a bunch of other stuff and stay for a series of important milestones in the project.  because we were so far ahead of schedule, it looked like it would work out.

so i kinda got the ok....and our entire plan was based on when we confirm the product....(now i cant really tell those of you too much about the details because it is all confidential, but i think you will get the point anyways.)...we were set to confirm monday....

well go figure, nope things just did not look right.  being that we have reviewed these same things over and over and over and this was about our 6th time or so. We were all very frustrated.  now we would try to confirm on wednesday....but unfortunately this change made the entire schedule bump out another week.............  YEAH!   sooooo that means 7 weeks!!!! I can tell you right now, there is no way i am willing to stay for 7 weeks...I will not do it and thankfully my team back home in oregon agreed. I said great! now we are scheduled to confirm on wednesday, if all goes well i will return is wednesday...the end of the day............

so lets talk about food. on saturday i went up to sun moon lake with a coworker and her mom.  The mom was the cuties little ol lady...measuring in at about 4 feet something, teeny tiny/super petite, age 77 and wearing at least 5 layers that i can see (it was supposed to be cold).  She was just so cute and she would not let me out of her site as she feared i would get lost.  more about that in another blog.  back to the point, so on sat i didnt have a choice except for chinesse food.  i managed to choke some down and it wasnt too bad. still pretty hungry though....
so sunday comes around and as soon as i wake up, i know i have to get some decent food....(as you will see, decent becomes relative, as is everything, "all relative").  So it doesnt take me long to decide to go to subway and get a sub and starts to cross my mind that mcdonalds IS just beside the wouldnt hurt for just some nuggets and the great buffalo sauce they have. 
So i head was a beautiful walk(extremely relative) to the near by subway (about 3 blocks).  at least it was a very safe walk and i could view the city.  did i mention the low lying clouds that added a special touch to the view...which is great n all, but those arnt clouds, my friend.  That is pollution, smog, ...toxic even.  GREAT!  so i get to subway and its a pretty easy choice. a roast chicken sub, 12 inch.  I can have half for dinner and half for lunch the next day.  You ask about lunch today?  o no worries, i already have plans for that.  So on my way back from the hotel, i stop in at mcdonalds.  hmmm, no english.... and only a few pictures.  Thank God for value meals with numbers...I stand back from the counter and make sure i know what i want to order before i get up there, cause its hard enough to explain what i want, especially if i dont know for sure that is what i that point who knows what they will give you.  So it takes me about 10 minutes to decide....i went in with plans of nuggets, but actually left with nothing because its only 10:45am and they dont serve any chicken until 11. bummer

so i head back up to the hotel and drop off my sub, you would think i would just eat half and call it good and head to mcdonalds for dinner.  NOPE, my mind is made up, I want mcdonalds for lunch.  So i head downstairs to the little cafe and order a kiwi juice.  Just wasting time until 11:15 or so.  I dont want to go right at 11, cause maybe the chicken is undercooked.  but i dont want to wait to long after 11 cause then they might have already cooked it and then reheated 11:15 should be just right for freshness(again relative).
so i am sitting outside in the sunshine (which i am pretty excited about) and the waitress brings out my kiwi juice.  Little did i know when they say kiwi juice, they actually mean they threw 2-3 kiwi's in the blender and added a little water....more like a kiwi and water smoothie.  O well, its just a time waster until i enjoy the tender juiciness of some mcdonalds chicken...
I read for a little while, choke down my kiwi smoothy (its sour by the way, not sour as in bad, but very tart, i especially dont like tart things).  So i finish up and head over to mcdonalds by 11:20, right on time! ; ) i stand back for a sec and make sure i know what i want. Then i walk up in line and stand behind the guy in line. He finishes up and walks away, the moment he takes the first step, this WOMAN comes up and cuts infront of me and starts to order. IM LIKE WHAT?  I look around and several people saw it but they didnt flinch.  Im thinking, did i miss something?  so i take a step right directly behind her, i am crowding her according to american standards, but i wont be having any more cutters taking my chicken!!!
so i get up to order finally and the girl cant understand which number i am saying.  to me it is a clear 9.  "number 9", "NUMBER 9", i say again and again, so finally i hold up my fingers and she gets it.  this is where it gets crazy, im not sure what happened, but when i left i had 2 bags in my hand and a big box of chicken.  I managed to order a small french fry, and the family chicken meal(9nuggets and 4 pieces of spicy chicken).  needless to say, i wasnt really too disapointed....oh and i had a coke too.

unfortunately when i got back to the room, the hole toile situation had occured(broke), so i had to wait to eat my chicken......but it was delicious.  my tummy was singing the praises of mcdonalds.

so then dinner comes and i eat half my sub.....great day for food, i must say.

ah yes, so now it is monday and i am supposed to confirm parts...but no...a few other things didnt go well that day after a rough day, what would i like more than anything??????Mcdonalds! some normal food, especially after forgetting my sub for lunch and having to eat the chinese food in the cafeteria(by the way, did i mention it is free? all the factories offer free lunch to their employees).  So eat mcdonalds i did, actually first i ate the other half sub i had then i ate a number 6 from mcdonalds, a 2 piece spicy chicken meal with a large fry.  To top things off, i walked down to the cafe and also bought a chocolate cake roll desert.  yep ate that too.....ahhhh, normal food!  was very content.

gluteny is brutal though and things always have  a way of working them selves out.  I woke up at 2am in the morning after this horribly frightening, yet vivid dream and my stomach wasnt feeling too good.  I managed to fall back asleep, slept thru my 5am alarm and woke up after 6am.  Still not feeling well at all, nausious and other things. I was strongly considering not going to work.  I hung around the hotel for awhile and left a bit late.  had a little breakfast down at the hotel free breakfast place(rice, eggs, toast and banana).  All i could remember was that those things were easy to digest.  and I knew i needed to eat or i would be in trouble the rest of the day.
I get to work only about 15 minutes late.  Pretty quickly people are asking me if i feel well, because i am really pale.  no i dont feel well, matter of fact it feels like i am getting a fever. I eat about 3 bites of lunch(free cafeteria chinese) and i cant take anymore.  I was also sitting bymyself which is even worse because not only do i not understand the language to know if they are making fun of me, but now i am sitting by myself, feeling sick, hating the food and just plain ol irritated.  a little bit after lunch, my friend and coworker irene stops in the middle of our meeting (6 or so folks in them meeting) and says "Tiffany are you feeling ok?"  at this point i said, "what?" i was feeling pretty dizzy and didnt understand her.  So she asked again and i said "no, i think i have a fever and im real naseaous"  She puts her hand on my forehead and says yeah, i think you do too.   She says ill get you some medicine.  I kinda say, uh what kind of medicine, she says chinese natural medicine, it will make you feel better.  As skeptical as i am about this, i dont say to much because if they think it will work, then i will take it.   Pretty soon they are asking if they can use my driver to go get it i said sure.
As i am finishing up with the meeting and starting a new meeting, someone hands me these two small plastic grocery bags with clear fluid in them, a string tied around them to keep them closed and a straw.  Now i had seen people drink fluid out of a small grocery bag before, but until now i had not tried it.  
so i put the straw in  and took a sip.  It tasted like fresh coconut juice, and in fact it was. I thought well thats a relief.. I have had this before.  slowly but surely after drinking it i started to feel better.  Apparently all day i had been talking about how much i didnt want to eat any more chinese food, so lynn volunteered to take me to tgi friday's for dinner........mmmmm it was good, very bad, but very good.

ok...enough about food.  you get the point, i will do anything not to have to eat any more chinese food.  not sure why i got so sick, but am still feeling better.  I went as far as getting breakfast and dinner at starbucks today.  lunch was basically a pile of white rice.

as for the was wednesday and we were supposed to confirm.  we had some minor changes in the morning and we were able to confirm in the afternoon.  that is for 1 part of the project, there are about 6 other parts, that did not confirm today and infact all facts are pointing to monday or tuesday before they will ......that.....means....i  probably have to stay thru then. Definately not too happy about that.  And there is no way i can keep eating the mcdonalds and tgi sure i already gained 5 lbs from it.  not sure what i will do....but i am sure  i will keep you posted!  
Good Night!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

things i have done during my lifetime

Things I have done during my lifetime are in big letters.
1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. (I played in the concert band...clarinet.:)

4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. (mom, billy and me sat in the back of bill's truck in the driveway at 2am.)

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain. 
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. (definately in grade school, was a mortifying experience!)
11. Bungee jumped...never will!
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. 
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitchhiked. (to mt hood meadows to snowboard, during my interview with nike)

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.

25. Held an alligator.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon. does half marathon count?
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language. enough to get by
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. ( was only for a couple days)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke. 
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (thailand)
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. (just call me ralff!)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.

55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check. (oops, sorry mom!...just kidding)
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. 

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Been to Canada. (should this really be on the list?)
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. (my arm)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. (Thanks, Steve and Jenn!)
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. (5- tacoma, tacoma, tacoma, hylander, fj)
83. Seen Bon Jovi in concert.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. (sports and wearing bridal gowns for my moms bridal shop)
85. Read Gone With The Wind.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury. (last year was an alternate, loved it!!!!)
91. Met someone famous. (many, but my favorite is still Dave Matthews)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee.

100. Totally copied a post from someone else's blog to your own. (first and last time, thanks Kristen and seth)
Im adding some to the list
101. has watched each and every friends episode more than 20 times!
102. has tried something many times that scares you to death!(kiteboarding)
103. has knowingly eaten raw duck liver and assumed they would not get sick from it (yeah, threw up daily for weeks! Taiwan!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


My apologies to my loyal readers for me not being able to post since tuesday. I feel so behind and i have so much to share...but as usual work comes today is sunday and i am hoping to make back posts for the last few days.  So look down below this post and before march 10th post....thats where i am adding them....

some quick corrections on prior posts:
so the folks here in taiwan do not call the "scooters", scooters.  they are called bikes.  To them a scooter is something different and me not being up on my bike.scooter jargon creates confusion...anyways you know what i mean! there are still alot of little "bikes" all over the place over here.

some more fun:
 so my toilet in the hotel stopped flushing sometime last night.  at first i thought it may be a way to save water because they were having a drought and all(even though it has rained a ton), but this morning, it still didnt work.. so i called in housekeeping....they came in and i went out while they were cleaning and fixing and came back with food (mcdonalds!?!) they said it would be 5 minutes....but now it has been at least 15 and my mcdonalds is cold and they are still working....I am tempted to leave and go eat elsewhere, but i dont think it would be polite to let anyone see me scarf down this american mcdonalds food, cause that is what i am going to do.......

cheers and happy sunday!

btw - the post times are wrong cause it is noon here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

day 6

So here is a picture of the hotel i am staying in Taichung   It is a night shot from inside the van, so it is not great! The hotel is really nice...and quite pretty at night.  The view of the city of Taichung is also very pretty. I get to see it every night on the way home from work....

so some more fun facts about Taiwan.. This country has around 24 million people...i am not sure of the size...but i do know that it takes around 6 or 7 hours to drive from end to what?.... that is about how long it takes to drive from portland to idaho, or about 3/4 of the way across it is very densely populated!!!!

So of those 24 million people, almost 10 million people own and drive SCOOTERS!!! yes I said is a shot of a woman and her two dogs on the scooter.... they are actually 
driving on the sidewalk.  So in and around the towns and cities, scooters are everywhere, all over the place.  Not sure why this lady is driving instead of walking her dogs..but who knows?  
by the way, is that Spuds Mckenzie??? did he move to Taiwan?

Ok, here is another fun one, so you will hardly ever find ice water over here.  You wont find chilled bottled water or any type of cold water really.  So having noticed this, some of the expats informed me that, the culture here believes if you drink cold water, your body will make fat to help insulate your insides from the cold water.  So basically you will get fat if you drink cold water......uh WHAT?  are you kidding me?  
Since i couldnt believe this, i tried to confirm with several of the locals.....Well I wont say that the locals say it is true..but they do believe that you should not drink cold fluids because your insides are warm and if you drink the cold fluids then it disrupts your its much better for your health to drink luke warm fluids or warm to hot there you have it!  watch out for those ice cold drinks!!!

In case you were wondering, oh i don't know?...about convienence stores? well,  here in Taiwan all i have to say is 7-eleven, 7-eleven, 7-eleven, 7-eleven and 7-eleven....................................
unbelievable, there are around 40,000 7-elevens in Taiwan ....basically one on every block and you really cant travel too far without finding one....there is 1 7eleven for every 4000 people!  
Can you imagine there being 40,000 7elevens in pa, or in Oregon? no way!!!!
There is even a 7eleven at work, within the office buildings....truly surreal.

Monday, March 9, 2009

March 10th - Trip to Taipei

So today I had to head up north to Taipei to visit a couple of companies.  We decided to take the highspeed rail.  I was very excited about this because what would have been a 2.5 hr car trip was now just under and hour by high speed rail.    This is an image of the rail station.  The next image is a photo of the inside of the business class rail car. 
It was very comfortable and moved very quickly...approximately 186 mph.  
In between our vendor visits, we had time to visit the Taipei 101.  It used to be the tallest building in the world, last year.  I did not go up to the top because as you can see it is cloudy today, so we wouldnt get to see too much.  Its really really tall though, higher than the empire states building....
Here is a shot of me infront if the building....
just for proof i was there : ).....

On the inside of this building is a high end shopping center.  We went in to visit a specific store for my project, but i was pleasantly surprised to find a few stores! 

I have never seen nor been to a DeBeers store, so i was very excited about this.  I did not go 
inside, but kinda wish i had now....but we didnt have enough time.

So then when we went up to the next floor, what did i find directly above DeBeers?????????
A Tiffany's odd and coincedental!!!! 

So after we left the shopping center and visited with the next vendor, we headed to Fortune Tellar Row!
The ladies had told me about ancient chinese fortune tellers, so i asked if they could take me to one....just for curiosity....

So when we got here, we walked up and down the row until we found one that would be right for me....once we selected one, i sat down.  Since the fortune teller only speaks chinese, I had Irene to translate for me(she is on the right in the photo sitting in the chair against he wall.  She is a coworker from here in Taiwan.  
So i sat down and Irene told the fortune teller that we wanted the palm and face reading.  because of my age the facial location that would tell her the most were my eyebrows....: ) i hope they are not a mess? : )  So the fortune teller told Irene my fortune and Irene translated it for me.  It was a difficult process because Irene and the fortune teller would go back and forth talking for about 5 minutes and Irene would tell me 1 sentence......
We were finished after about 30 minutes.   overall, the fortune teller told me i would live to be 75 or 80, i would marry between age 32 and 36(in lunar years, which i am currently 31 in lunar years).  She told me all kinds of stuff about the age of the man i would marry and how i would have many choices of men to marry....all the information she provided was slightly random and fairly general...stuff that would apply to just about anyone...For example, she told me if i did not keep exercising, i would develope a disease.....: ) ok, and thats not happening with everyone?  it was a fun experience.  Oh and she advised me to watch out for men who lie about being married.....Duh!

ok another busy day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8th - International Orchid Show in Taiwan

So today is Sunday and we are headed to the International Orchid show.  I have no idea what to expect, except alot of orchids???
Indeed I was right, but before the orchids, let me tell you a little about crowd control.  So we left early because we knew it started at 9am and we wanted to get there at the beginning.  Note: I am with a couple of expats that have been here for 5 year, so they have some experience with this. What they know from experience is that the Taiwanese like to stay out late at night, so they dont get up and going too early in the morning.  So us being at the show by 9am would make us beat the crowd.

so apon arrive to the show, you travel down these roads that literally have an orchid show sign posted on every single electric pole along the road.  So these electric poles and about 10 - 15 feet apart, so there are hundreds down this long road and there is an orchid show sign on each and every pole.  Not kidding!  There were a ridiculas amount of was crazy.

So we get to the show and are looking for a place to park the car.  we drive past the show buildings and they keep directing us past the parking fields to the way way by now we have driven at least a half mile past the buildings and still noone is parking ....and we keep going. so they are parking people from the back to the front, so the first people in have to park the farthest away...seems a little backwards....after we figure this out we take a quick left and head down the road to exit the event.  We drive all the way back down to the main buildings
 and park in the very first row.  

So the show was very beautiful!  the first building had scenes set up where they were just filled with flowers like the image here.
There were several scenes and hundreds and hundreds of orchids.....
the entire show was a great opportunity to work with my camera and practice my photography skills.  I learned lots from Dan and Thanks Dan! 
Some more photos:
I thought this one looked like something i have seen in the lion king or some disney movie...not sure...but pretty.
I took around 400 photos so here are some more individual shots:

so after we were finished at the show, we headed to the car and all the parking lots for as far as the eye could see were full.  There were thousands of people here. as we were driving out, there were cars backed up on the roads leading up to the event for miles.  There were so many people, it was unbelievable!  Great experience.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 7 - Tainan City - march 7th 2009

Today i spent the day in Tainan city.  It is the most ancient city in Taiwan and was the capitol for many years.  These ancient cities tend to have ALOT of temples.  Our first stop was at a confuscious temple.  Confuscious means it is related to or dedicated to education.  So there was also a school on the grounds that was the first school in Taiwan.  So at the temple and around the temple there are various gates/arches to walk thru that are supposed to mean good luck or they hold ceremonies around them.  For example there is a teaches gate.  so one time per year teachers come here and walk thru the gate.  IT is considered good luck and is very symbolic. Also at the confuscious temple, people pray to the gods or worship  for educational wishes.  So students would come and worship to do better in school...etc   

The temples are typically elaborately decorated with lots of hand painted very detailed woodwork.  You can always tell a temple because the roof line always looks like the one above.  So they have this intricate design with dragons or other symbols. 
Outside of the temple was a prayer wall where you could pray to the gods for something you wanted. So i wrote down a prayer and placed it on the you cant find it!  There also seems to
 be a stamp with a symbol representing that temple or building, so the red marks on the yellow paper are the stamps..

After visiting the temple our next stop was to find lunch.  We were headed to the most famous noodle place in Taiwan.  This place has been around since the early 1900's.
This was my lunch...I am not exactly sure what is in it, but i do know there were super thin rice noodles which i love....this tasted very good.
I think there was some pork also....i cant really compare but it was definatly better than most. dishes i have had and it didnt have the typical taste that i find in so much food here.  Ill talk
 more about the taste of food later....

This next image is of the man that makes the bowl of noodles and stuff.  He hand pulls the
 noodles and throws em in boiling water, then adds a little this and a little that...and BAM you have a great little bowl of noodles...highly recommeded!  Allthe dishes in front of him are the ingredients he adds. Align Left

 I dont think you can see it, but directly in front of him is a bowl of hot stuff with a massive piece of sledge on the top...or course it comes to mind? what is this sludge?  well it is 20 + years of residue from whatever is being cooked in that dish..i think its pork.  Yeah so 20 years ???? i inquired.  The answer i got was that as all great foods in asia, the flavor is in the residue so the longer you can keep it, the better your flavors become.  For example, sometimes for deep fried foods they dont change the grease often, because it contains the flavor....I would consider that the flavor that i find in alot of foods here, that i do not like....its almost impossible to avoid.To be clear these noodles as shown above, did not have that taste, despite the sludge on the cooking dish.  I find myself not being surprised by these kinds of things anymore.  I am always ready to hear it and am usually hungry enough to try it.  I trust my taste buds and instincts to tell me not to eat it.  I run into something daily that i get the warning not to eat and dont eat it. I have been able to tune this instinct during my many trips here to asia. 
Our next stop was to some type of market/temple and war museum.  They all happen to be with in the same block.  This is typical.  So almost all over the place, including outside temples you will find street vendors.  On every street just about everywhere, you will also find these
 street vendors.  Sometimes they are not clean and its obvious.
other times like the image to the right, they are clean and you can just tell it will be ok to eat.  you might not like the taste, but it wont make you sick....
so in this image they are making something like an onion pancake. dough, onions and deep frying it.  90% of food here is deep fried.  They say americans eat bad, but in
 comparison, in my opinion, the food here has SO SO SO much more grease.  everything is deep fried and if it is not, then it is cooked in a pan with many tablespoons of oil. even fresh vegetables.  
the onion pancake was good, reminded me of an onion flavored dough boy....Thats IT!  most of the food here is like we would see at a fair or carnival...all these little vendors cooking whatever.

Here is another street vendor....He is selling these "sea shells".  Despite my absolute disbelief that people bought these and air them, i did see people eating them.  
They would take the shell and suck our the inside...DISGUSTING!  i did not try them nor was able to watch for too long....

Right beside the shell street vendor, was my favorite street vendor!  "Ah yes Dragon Beard Sugar". a sweet delicious treat.  So basically they take sugar that i think has been mixed with butter and allowed to harden back up into a yellowish harder blob.  They take a handful of the blob and start to stretch it with their hands(wearing gloves! yes!).  they make it into a snake (like play dough) and then keep stretching it while dipping it into flour.  so it makes this super
 thin (like angel hair spaghetti, even thinner),
 strands of sugar, butter and flour.....after they
 stretch it enough for all of it to be in little strands they cut it into small sections and stuff it with sesame or peanut powder and make it into a little ball.  Sounds a little strange, but it is great!!!!
In the image you can see she has pulled the dragon beard candy and is filling it with peanut powder before rolling it up and placing it in the little white container.

So i liked this so much when i tried it, i bought one when we were leaving to take back to the hotel in Taichung and enjoy during my week.  Unfortunately, after i returned to Taichung and when i attempted to open it and have a taste, the candies had gotten too hot and melted back into a single blob, so no more angel hair sugar.  I was a little disappointed.  Hopefully i find it again before i leave. 

Another stop was outside of the temple/war museum/street vendors....This is a photo of a burial ground.  This is only 1 type of burial ground that is here.  
As you can see in the picture there are tombs as far as the eye can see.  some are smaller which contain urns.  others are larger because they
 contain caskets.  it seems very surreal. almost creepy.  What is odd is that they are absolutely packed in like sardines.  There is only maybe 6 inches to a foot in only a few areas of space.  They are literally side by side and in all directions.  It looks as though there is no organization and very unlike the typical rows that you would see in a grave yard in the states.
This type of burial ground is typically that of the rich here in Taiwan, simply because this type of  tomb costs so much.

The other type of burial ground here consists of a building with small little sections and doors where an urn is stored.  they have rows and rows with many floors.  this is the less expensive type of burial.

Burials, honoring the dead, temples and worship are all a very common practice in the religion here.  For example on the 1st and 15th of every month, everyone worships the land god.  They sacrifice fruits and vegetables, burn incense and worship.  There are temples in every area and town.  So the people of that area will visit the land temple every 1st and 15th, sacrifice fruit and other foods....they will also burn paper money, it is fake money but it is symbolic.  The burning happens near the streets.  So if it is the 1st or 15th, you will see people doing this all over the keep in mind it is the 1st and 15th according to the lunar it is close to the same dates in our calendar but not quite the same days.  Sometimes the dates fall on the same days, but not always.

This last image is of me at the war museum.  Standing on the balcony with the temple in the background.

As you can see it was a busy long day!

funny sign in Tainan

Friday, March 6, 2009

end of day 5 .... beginning of day 6...

FINALLY! it is the weekend.  I cant believe i am still standing...seems like this week went on forever.....
I think my time is finally adjusted...because it is past midnight and i am still awake.
so i also managed to sleep all night last night.  I woke up once and felt very awake, when i looked at the clock it was 5am. I was shocked!...then i looked at the clock again...thought "wait, the alarm should have went off?!? hmmm".  Thats i forgot to set the alarm and what do you know i wake up right on time!   Pretty Coool!  

So lets see...i collected a bunch of pictures pretty much rained all day...and when i say rained....i actually mean "it rain like cat and dog!" or at least that is whatthe locals say... : )  

This first image is of a bus.  These types of buses are on the highway all the time.  the decorations and paint are always random....completely random.  This one in particular was very bright as you can see and had some sort of horse theme.  Check out that horse on the back of the bus....oh and they always have curtain
s with the little fuzzy balls and fringe on them...very 60's.

This next picture(to the right) is in front of the hotel....The mighty Hotel Windsor.  This picture is taken as you are looking to the left side of the hotel....O and what is that i see in the back ground?  the infamous Golden Arches!   ah yes!  you are correct!  yep there is a mcdonalds directly beside the hotel... I would say that with a little excitement, but i have eaten there on previous trips and i have to say its "Dicey" at best.  I dont want to say it, but sometimes i wonder what they are putting in that food. Its obvious that it is extremely greasy...even compared to McDonald's in the states....but really for that matter, pretty much everything cooked in Taiwan (an i emphasize "cooked", only because there is certainly a fair share that is not!) is cooked in oil or somehow oil is added to the recipe...and i dont just mean a dab of oil....gallons of oil... its rough....definitely not a weight loss diet.  i will address more food later...along with some interesting pics...

This next photo is also in front of the is taken as your look to the right in front of the hotel....oh and what was that?  did you ask if that is a starbucks in the background...."yes"  yes infact it is! i will admit, this i am quite excited about.  This was not a starbucks on my last visit, so it is new to me...i manage to stop by for a visit every morning.  Nothing like a recognizable coffee to get you energized for riding thru traffic to work....ah yes, that reminds me...the driving here.....hmmm how to explain the driving.  Well lets see basically, at least to me there seems as if THERE ARE NO RULES!!! by no rules i mean, no lanes, you can ignore a red light and simply pull out in front of on coming traffic. Im not sure there is really a speed limit, but maybe...oh and basically there are about oh i dont know, 10 million scooters!!! yes i said scooters.  I will get some shots of that to show you!...its incredible! Hence the reason nike sets up a driver for basically i have 1 person who is assigned to drive me around.  So he will meet me where ever and take me where ever i need to go.   It is primarily for work use, but an extra trip here or there is no at first this didnt seem to odd. but "the driver"  is actually paid all day for driving me... so that means if he takes me to one factory then he waits there until i am ready to go somewhere else.  Since i am only at one factory for the most part, he will pick me up at the hotel (with a nike van), and drive me to the development center and sit and wait all day for me until i am ready to go back to the hotel.  It is an interesting concept.

and on to another topic.....
so i have always been told when traveling to another country, it is polite to try to speak their language or try their customs.  It gains respect with them, plus broadens my experiences.  so i enjoy this alot....i always ask alot of questions about how to say and do some basic things, like greetings.  How do you say "hello"?  do you shake hands, or bow or nod or what? when you great someone or meet someone?  a couple other things i find out are how do you say thankyou and your welcome.  and it always seems when i try to speak the language, they absolutely appreciate the effort! they are also laughing at me because i butchered the language but at least they are having fun! when you great in the states, you say "hi how are you?" typical response.."im fine, thank you for asking" ...well in Taiwan, they say "hello, have you eaten?"...of course they say it in either Mandarin(Chinese language)  or Taiwanese (Taiwan language)....Interest huh!  well so i further explored this and the reason they ask if you have eaten was because back in the day a sign of good life in Taiwan was having food everyday and getting a chance to fill your belly.  What a difference!  it took be back for a minute on how lucky i have been to have grown up always having food.  Wow and i take it for granted.  here is a culture that struggled for centuries just to have some or a little food everyday.....this is so evident that years and years later, they still great each other and ask if they have eaten today.

think on that!  

ok off to bed...thanks for reading! and thank you for all the responses...I am glad everyone is enjoying my trip : )!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

end of day 4

ahhh...yes the end of day 4....jet lag finally caught up with i was very tired today.  it was very hard to concentrate.  jetlag is hard to explain sometimes, as you cant think straight. things that you normally could think of quickly and memory functions, do not work the same.  it takes me awhile to figure things out on days like today....which makes the days even longer. 
Work is going well still, however we have to work on saturday.  mostly because we are trying 
to meet a deadline on wednesday that is critical to the rest of my stay.  if we miss this deadline, then i will either come back early or stay an extra week.  most likely stay an extra week.....wont know the details on this until a few more days.......

Went to dinner last night and had India Food.  Was fortunate to be invited by a few expats to go to dinner.  Indian food remains to be one of my favorite foods.  If you know what to order, it is delicious!  specifically lentle items seem very tasty.

as for dinner tonight.  There was a factory dinner that i was invited to.  Basically both of the factory innovation teams along with some other folks were invited to go to a Turkish restaurant for dinner.  The food was exceptional.  good variety and all was very tasty!  Dinner was craziness as there were about 18 or so people there.  It is not a very formal dinner, people drink and walk around to the different tables and sit together, then get up and move somewhere else and sit and chat.  its very busy, always something going on.  People like to make toasts alot, which seems to be tradition in 
Asia.  make a toast have a sip.  I learned after my 2nd or 3rd trip to simply have a sip, other wise, in the course of a night, you would toast 50 or so times and would have consumed much more alcohol than you planned.  Factory dinners are very fun, however they make for a very long day...considering i get up every day at 5am...not so much because i want to, but more so because i cant sleep yet due to the time change.
Speaking of time change, wouldnt you know it, I am just getting used to the new time and figuring out what time it is at home...when here comes daylight now the time will change again.  so i am sure i will be at least an hour off.  (my apologies if anyone recieves phone calls in the middle of the night.)  Anyways, back to the long after working all day at the develpment center and then heading to a factory dinner, your 11 hour day just turned into 15 to 16 hours.  If you are lucky, you didnt have to make calls back to beaverton in the am before heading to work...I 
 am not so lucky....!  : )

so for those who think i am in Thailand, you are wrong and I have attached a map.

So here is asia.  There is an arrow pointing to taiwan.  Taiwan is a very small part of asia.  It is a tropical island.  so lots of palm trees.....below is also a map of taiwan.  You can see the city named taipei.  this is the largest city in taiwan and also where i fly in and out of.  Taipei used to have the tallest building in the world, called the taipei 101.   that is until Dubai started to grow exponentially.  I always wonder what happens to buildings and how their atmosphere changes
 after they were once the tallest building in the world.  Its such a tourist attraction while they are, but what about when they are 
no longer the tallest, does tourist traffic just come to a halt? below is a map of taiwan....IF you can find Taichung,  that is where i spend most of my time.

the factories are 30 and 40 minutes from taichung, so it is a nice central location to go to either factory.  How do i get to the factory you might ask?  "oh, thank you for asking!" well i have a driver who picks me up everyday at the hotel and takes me to where ever i need to go that day.  Usually visitors like me borrow drivers from expats.  (by the expat is someone who lives and works in another country that they are not native to.) 

I am planning to go to the southern most tip of taiwan, called Kenting for a little R&R(rest and relaxation) at somepoint durring this month.  Kenting is a beach type resort.  supposed to be very beautiful.

well it finally rained today.  Taiwan was only a few days away from running out of water, but luckily it below is the forcast for the next
 few days.
check out those temperatures!!!! that is if you brought your maginfying glass?!? tired to fix the picture.
Good Night!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day 3

Good Morning, or at least it is morning here.  It is day 3 and work is going very well. It is very busy and i am struggling in the evenings to stay awake.  by the time i get back to my hotel, which is around 6pm here, i am starting to feel pretty tired.  By 7, 8pm i am absolutely unable to keep my eyes open.  Keep in mind back in portland it is 4am...for those of you on the east coast 7am...both the day before.  
time calculations...if you want to know what time it is where i
From portland subtract 8 hours and make it the next day. (east coast, subtract 11 hrs).
or just look online at a world clock. look for taipei. plenty to right but i am considerably late for breakfast....
here is a pic of the view out of my room.

oh and weather here has been great, upper 60's and 70's.  bright and sunny!

Monday, March 2, 2009

LEG 3 Complete Tokyo to Taiwan

Well i arrived safely in Taiwan, 20 minutes early.  I was very excited about this.  So now it looked as though i would make it to the hotel before midnight, which is super great.  Cause the longer the sleep before the first day of work the quicker i seem to acclimate to the new timezone.

Here again i feel the amazing race competition beginning. You see, once you arrive in Taiwan, you have to go thru customs. Knowing this plane is holding 300+ people, i don't want to be at the end of the line in customs. PLUS the sooner i can get out of the airport the sooner i can get to the hotel.  So as we are landing, i am mentally preparing. Making sure my documents for customs are all prepared, making sure i have all my stuff put away, so that when the seat belt sign is off i can get up and get my stuff out of the overhead with out having to open it and pack stuff in.  ANd most importantly, I am eyeing up the passengers around me, which ones can i move faster than, which can i shove and which can i just be rude and cut in front of....dont forget, they are all thinking the same thing.  Keep in mind they are mostly mid-aged asia and white business men.  So they are looking at me weird to begin with (female, little, not dressed in business clothes, matter of fact, dressed very causally).  They wont see me when i zip past them...i can do i just slept for the last 4 hours. As soon as i sat down on this flight, i fell asleep and didnt wake up until we started our descend. am curious though if i talk in my sleep on the kinda felt like i did, because i was having uber weird dreams.

ok so seatbelt sign goes off, let the race begin. i manage to get into the isle and get all my stuff, cut in front of the 3 people in the seats ahead of me.  am feeling pretty good. its easy getting off the plane and now the fast walking begins.....hurry hurry, its a first in, first out policy in customs. ok i see it, documents in hand, passport in hand....i get in line and yes, i am one of the first from our plane, however another jumbo jet or two landed before us, so there are about 300 people in front of me in line and about 300 or so behind me now too.  Of course customs is the like grocery store because they have 30 "check out" lines available but only 4 open.  what is this, do then not know when planes are coming in?  fortunately i only waited for about 20 minutes. i was clear.
Now the race is still on and maybe even more intensely.  Ya see, now you have to go get your luggage.  Knowing that i have 4 bags, 2 checked and 2 in hand, i am gonna need a cart.  so i was able to identify my baggage claim number while in customs line..#1. I get to the baggage claim and of course the hand carts are not at #1, but they are at #6.  So i make a mad dash for number 6.  The urgency here, is with so many planes landing at that same time, they run out of carts.  And if i have to carry all my bags out of the airport, i am going to be hurting.  So i get to baggage claim 6 and WHEWWW! i get a cart.  Ok i turn and look at #1, and bags are already coming out. so its a mad dash with the cart back to #1. Breathing heavily now. i wait patiently for my bags....o about another 20 minutes. I keep watching because ya never know when the little Asian woman who forgot her glasses happened to pick up your red suitcase instead of her own.   
While i am waiting for my bags, i notice a sign stating Declarations.  I forgot all about having to go thru declarations.  oops.  well no worries. I grab my bags. and head thru declarations.  ya see, if you get stopped and didnt declare something say of value, they will fine you and a bunch of other stuff.  Well my plane is the put my head down, dont look anyone in the eye and just go thru quickly, kinda get lost in the crowd.  
It worked! i didnt get stopped.  Ok now i have to walk thru this hallway and look for my name on a sign.  all the drivers and what not wait in this area to pick you up.  I will be looking for a sign with my name.  And nothing. i dont see it and i walked all the way.  There was another option to walk to the left instead of right and there were some folks down there with signs. but it is kind of one of those spots at the airport where once you walk thru, you cant go back.  so i stand there trying to figure out another plan.  hmm. well its 10 pm. i could take a taxi, but thats gonna be dicy.  i dont really have a contact to call.  I could call the hotel, but i would of had to written their number down, so hmmm...not really prepared for this one.  ill just stand here until someone comes and talks to me......5 minutes.......and 10 minutes.......oh wait! someone is coming my way AND he has a sign...YES it has my name on it! wheww! what a relief!  well into the car we go.  now we have a 2 hr drive or so to the hotel!

more to come!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

LEG 2 Seattle, wa to Tokyo, Japan

Well Leg 2...flying from seattle washington to Tokyo/Narita airport in Japan.  This is the long one.  approx: 10hrs and 45 minutes...ekkkk!!!  no worries though, thanks to nike i was fortunate to be seated in business class.  for those who are unfamiliar with business class, its pretty comfortable.  its about a seat and a half that almost reclines flat....its basically a big recliner. The serve you food and drinks...its all not too bad.  The food sounds way better than it actually looks or tastes..but i appreciate the effort at making an 11hr flight comfortable.  I just imagine that i am spending a day in the chair watching tv : )  The image above is the plane that i flew in to tokyo.  This plane is considerable bigger than the last one.  Lets just say there are seats as far as the eye can see.  I think it was a B777...or something.  Holds around 300 or so people.  so coach class is 3 seats, isle, 5 seats, isle, 3 seats.  business class is 2,3,2.  not a  bad way to fly at all.  
I spent most of my time watching "The Office" (my new favorite show). and reading on my new kindle 2....(its wicked sweet!).  I only managed to sleep for about 2 hours, which is good cause when i get to my final destination, it will be 2am in the morning, so i need to sleep when i get there. aka staying up on the plane is good.  This picture is from the plane window, descending into tokyo.

I am typing this from Tokyo Narito airport. Its funny because...its like this whole adventure when you land....first off you feel groggy, the plane was dark for the last 10 hours, so it seems like it was night and now its morning....WRONG, its actually evening in tokyo. I am not sure what time it is, but i will get to that in a moment.  so you get off the plane and of course, its no longer predominately english you are lies the challenge. Now to navigate to find your next flight....seems simple enough but everyone else seems to be in a hurry so that makes me feel like i might be in for a longer walk than i was planing.  I am thinking its around 4pm and my next flight is at 6pm, but i am not now they filter you into this area like a herd of cows and come to find out i have to go thru security again.  so pull the laptop out, make sure the secret black case gets thru...blah blah blah...whew made it threw with no to find the flight...luckily its close by and oh by the way there is the business class lounge.  So that is where i am now...but i got to go....U see the clocks are in military time, so it makes it confusing especially sometimes after long flights where I am out of it and groggy anyways...ok...will write more when i get to Taipei..actually taichung......taiwan!

ps...the bathrooms are weird and i forgot about that...definately not a high point of traveling in asia. ...but could be worse!

LEG 2 = COMPLETE!!! yes!! :)

Leg 1 Portland, Oregon to Sea-tac, washington

I in fact do sometimes think i am on the Amazing Race for some of these trips.  To the left is the plane that i was on from portland to Seattle.  It was quite small. I was very nervous because there was a big wind coming out of the gorge.  I had to walk out of the airport to get on the plane and the wind was almost blowing me over. after i saw that this was the size of the plane, i kinda thought we would be blown all over the place.....the pilot also said we would be hitting some heavy turbulence on our way to cruising altitude.  I was happily surprised when it was a very smooth flight, barely any tturbulence at all.
to let you know the size of the plane, it was a single row on one side with a double row on the other,  and only about 12 rows total, so about 36 people.

This photo is from the plane window as we were descending into sea-tac airport near Seattle.

LEG 1 = COMPLETE!  yes!