Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Taipei After Dark

These images have been gathering dust on my hard drive for a long time. Although I'm certain I've seen them on other Taiwan blogs before, one more time can't hurt.

Man, Taipei sure ain't what it used to be!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We're back!

Vanessa and I flew into Taipei at 4:45 this morning, cleared customs and immigration quickly, got into the car Vanessa had arranged to pick us up, and made it home in record time. Things are very windy here - Typhoon Kaemi arrived in Taiwan roughly the same time we did, but a little further south. Our landing was a little precarious - wobbling from side to side and dropping and rising by several metres very suddenly, which made for a lot of white-knuckled passengers, but otherwise everything was fine.

Heh - we even managed to bring a lot of stuff home with us, including boxes of books and two jars of mom's dill pickles. At security check-in in Toronto, the guard wasn't too happy about these mason jars of pickles in my carry-on luggage - only labelled foods (read: store-bought) are normally allowed. I told him that they were my mom's dill pickles and his eyes softened a bit.
"Would you mind eating one now, sir?"
"My pleasure!"
After he heard the crunch of me eating the pickle he looked thoughtful. "My mom makes some pretty good food, too. Ok, you can go."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Janice's Birthday Party

Today was Janice's 29th birthday, so we had a big celebration. Kris and Peter made scores of absolutely sensational kebabs, beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian, Mom made her famous potato salad, and of course there were also great hors d'oeuvres and salads . Dad had us well stocked with wine and beer, and to finish everything off, there was coffee and Napoleon Torte!

Jer and Janice had invited some of their friends, great people who over the years I have been fortunate to count as my friends as well. Matt Tiessen and his girlfriend Petra were there, Joel Regehr and his wife Vania, Tom and his wife Kelly, Pierre and Maritsa, and their 20 month old daughter Vania, Grandma, Paul and Hilde Tiessen, and of course everyone in my family. It was a great evening, and I think everyone had a wonderful time. Happy Birthday Janice! We all love you!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blue Mountain

Vanessa and I took off for a few hours to explore the area. I especially wanted to show her Blue Mountain, where I had done a fair bit of skiing when I was a teenager. We took the chairlift up to the top, and then had lunch in the Village at Blue which is being developed by the same company that did Whistler.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Georgian Bay Party!

We had a good time today. Jer and Janice and a bunch of friends came over for dinner. Present were Joel and Vania Regehr, Tom and Kelly Enns, Pierre and Maritsa Shantz, and their little girl, Vania, and of course our whole family. The food was great - Tom had brought over some fresh whitefish which we cooked over the barbecue, and of course there were salads and vegetables, etc.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baby shopping and lunch

After breakfast, Mom took us out to some baby stores to get some stuff for the baby. Clothes, a chair for infants, some blankets, etc. I took a look at some strollers as well. Of course the guy in me wants to get the biggest, most high-tech stroller available - something like this:

Or this:

However, Vanessa will probably want to rein in my aspirations and get something affordable. ~sigh~ Women just don't get vehicles.

After the shopping, Vanessa and I took Mom and Dad out to lunch, to Solé on Erb Street. Vanessa and I shared the soup of the day (she can never finish whole orders of anything it seems), she had linguini tossed in a baby clam and tarragon rosé sauce with roasted garlic, red onion, sweet peppers and shiitake mushrooms garnished with seared jumbo sea scallops, and I had wiener schnitzel. Dad had roast beef on a spinach salad with a buttermilk dressing and garnished with necatarines and blackberries, and Mom had the calamari. We had a nice bottle of Italian white with our dinner and cappuccinos after. The grand total, with tip and taxes was $130, which was pretty reasonable for the level of service and quality of food.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saturday at home

Today was a nice day. The weather was warm, and the evenings pleasant. Vanessa and I have been enjoying Mom's Volkswagen bug. Convertibles were made for weather like this.

As you can see, we're continuing to eat well!

This is Vanessa and Peter de Sousa, Kristine's boyfriend. They've been going out for over two years already, but I hadn't met him until this week. He's a nice guy, and it's been good getting to know him.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Niagara Falls

Yesterday Vanessa and I went to Niagara Falls with Mom and Dad. V wanted to ride on the Maid of the Mist. We did that, and it was fun, but I'm good for a few years before I need to do that again.

It's great seeing the ethnic diversity in Canada. On Centre Island, I saw Hasidic Jews sharing a roller-coaster with Muslims and their veiled wives, and at Niagara Falls I saw a dreadlocked six year old kid with skin as black as coal holding hands with a blond kid with impossibly fair skin. They looked like they were best friends. They could also have been subjects for a Benetton commercial.

Canada also has tons (Ha!) of fat people. Now anyone who knows me knows that I'm not exactly slender. Hell, let's face it - I'm fat. In Canada, however, I fit right in. In fact, I'm average, or even smaller than average. It's kind of disgusting, but the sheer abundance of foods here, the lifestyle of convenience which everyone lives, and the incredible selection of foods means that waistlines here aren't going to get smaller anytime soon.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Centre Island

Vanessa and I went in with Dad to Toronto this morning. He had to finish up a few more shows of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera at the CBC, and we were wide awake at 6:00 am, so we decided to go in with him. Once there, we went to Centre Island and rented a quadricycle for two. It was fun and the weather was perfect. See for yourself!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Summer Evening Barbecues

Last night was fun. My parents invited us along to a barbecue at John and Arlene Groh's place. John and Arlene Groh are old family friends from Rockway Mennonite Church, as were the other guests there: Lorna Sawatsky, Marg Reimer, Marg Janzen, Chris Brunk, Henry and Irene Schmidt, and of course Mom and Dad. It was a cool evening, but the food was good, the wine kept being poured and the conversation was great.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Taipei's Terminal 2 is a big improvement over Terminal 1, but it still can't compare with major airports in the west. And I'm not sure how well local food is being represented either - gruel and dishes? Mmmm (insert Homer Simpson drooling sound)...

Our flight on Eva was great in that we arrived safely and with all of our bags. It was terrible in terms of food and service though. No individual video monitors, too-small seats, surly service, no magazines, and the meals were really awful. Neither V nor I took more than one bite of the food served, it was that bad. By the time we got to Vancouver, we were both pretty hungry. We had just exited the plane when V said, "I wonder if there's a Tim Horton's here?" It turned out there was, but then V saw an A&W restaurant with poutine on the menu and her mind was made up - we shared an order of poutine and a large root beer. It's funny - she's become more Canadian than me! I wonder when that happened?

Monday, July 03, 2006

We're outta here!

Well, last day of school was Saturday, we've paid all our bills, cleaned the house, packed our bags, and now we're waiting for the limo to take us to the airport. Jaboney is going to be house-sitting for us and taking care of Gustav, Mitch, and Babs. We'll be gone for three weeks, and we're both happy to be out of here. It's been a hectic couple of years, and we haven't had a vacation in a looong time.

This is going to be good.

I love science

Who knew that Diet Coke and Mentos could be educational?

Be careful, however. Some people have made the mistake of trying to duplicate the results internally! Video below: (Not for the squeamish!)