Sunday, December 6, 2009

A great date!

Today I saw a dog eat puke off the side walk.
Have I ever mentioned the dogs in Taiwan? They are everywhere. Stray dogs, dogs with collars, mangy dogs, healthy dogs, big dogs, little toy dogs. Bitches with their nipples hanging like gobs of gum, dogs with their ribs poking out. Every breed of dog. Savvy dogs that can cross 4 lanes of rush hour Taipei traffic and dodge bikes, cars, scooters and buses as they scamper down the middle of the road.
Today I was walking in the mountains near San Xia with Ashley and a beagle passed us. We were climbing up the mountain. It had a collar on. I looked down the path it came from to see if its owner was in sight but no one came.
A few minutes later the dog came back again and passed us on his way back down the mountain. We saw him again and again for about an hour. At the highest point of the mountain was a park full of exercise equipment and bathrooms (I have no idea how all that stuff got up there but I was happy about it). Ashley gave the dog some water. After that he stayed on her heels the rest of the way. When we got to the bottom he went back up the mountain and we ended up behind a gas station in Yingge (the next town over from San Xia). Yingge is the pottery capital of Taiwan. I didn't have time to peruse the shops. We got on a bus and headed back to the Old Street in SanXia to the little restaurant we'd eaten at last week.
The owner, Michael Lin, sat down with us.
He picked the name Michael because he really likes Michael Jackson. Everyone here really likes Michael Jackson. He commands a little English. He said he learned it in the Philippines. He grabbed my pocket Chinese phrase book and began quizzing Ashley and me. It was a good Chinese lesson and a good meal. He sent one of the women into the back room and she brought out two little fruits. They were green like un-ripe tomatoes, the size of a small woman's fist. They were hard like an apple. He indicated that we should just bite into it. It was crunchy and refreshing and delicious. I'd never eaten anything like it. He told us the name. I had never heard it before.
He continued quizzing us and finally came to the fruit section of the phrase book. He would say the English name and we were to say the Chinese. Finally he came to the word "date". I didn't know the word for date. Neither did Ashley. Then he told us that that is what we just ate. That little green fruit. WOW! I never even imagined what it looked like before it became the sweet giant raisin thing that is so delicious wrapped in bacon. It was a great date.

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