A Story of War (Part 2):

After getting a full view of the battlefield from the fighter jet, I felt over-qualified to be joining the infantry on the Taiwanese main assault. The skirmishers had gone in already, I’d flown above the battle and missed most of my Japanese targets, and now we were going in for the first frontal ground attack.

The commanders gathered us into attack squads of about 10 each. Training with the commanders since last weekend, I’d come to realize that they were incompetent. They were hesitant to give any orders, had little control over the Taiwanese infantry, and preferred to wait for the generals to step in instead of just doing something first and questioning it later. Last saturday, I’d almost complained to the generals about the commanders’ incompetence.

We were thirty minutes late to intercept the incoming Japanese troops. We were quickly briefed, again, on this new weapon called “water dumplings”.

“How do you use this weapon on the Japanese? With English?” The commander of my squad said, half testing us, half hoping that we would tell her what to do.

“You wrap the filler with the wrapper, then nuh-nuh-nuh,” one soldier said, gesturing with her hands, intentionally failing in the last part of her sentence, just like the commander, because she had split intentions. Half was her being scared of being correct, and half was her not knowing the words in English. I wanted to jump in.

“Yeah,” the commander said, suddenly seeming like a soldier herself, lowering herself to our status by not taking control.

The enemy was upon us and we frantically deployed the “water dumplings”. They were coated in an incendiary called “Taiwanese culture” which made the new weapon even more devastating.

IMG_6978

The weapon seemed to be effective, as you can see in this action shot. Look at their cheeks! Water dumplings!

IMG_6983

With my 99% English ability and one squad member’s 70% Japanese ability, we successfully stopped the enemy from advancing using the water dumplings dripping with Taiwanese culture.

After the smoke cleared, my squad was still good for the most part, but a few members had some burns. The Japanese enemy was hit more than we were, which was good, and they had fled toward the hills in the distance. The commander stumbled next to me and pleaded that we continue with the attack. We trudged forward, the generals rumbling past us in their jeeps, and the commanders lagging behind us with the weight of their fears and insecurities.

Advertisements

I Crave Traditional Breakfasts in Taiwan

There are two types of breakfast in Taiwan: Western and Chinese. Western breakfast is popular among young people and are sold on main streets while Chinese breakfast is more popular with older people and is sold in side streets and alleys.

Western breakfast: Sandwiches, always cut triangularly, very white bread, no crust. It is often three slices of bread. Ingredients often include this like ham, fried chicken, egg, and 肉鬆 (the best I can describe it is meat powder). Very few sammiches have vegetables.

IMG_6628

Here was a not very tasty western breakfast that cost NT$70. I’d ordered the same thing as my classmate. That is my Lactaid pill.

Chinese breakfast: Soymilk, stuffed buns, 饅頭 (buns without stuffing), dumplings, 蛋餅 (translates to egg wrap, basically egg and your choice of meat filling (often tuna) wrapped in an crepe-like pancake). I like Chinese breakfasts because it is warm (sandwiches aren’t) and I can drink soy milk (I am lactose intolerant).

IMG_6348

Pan fried dumplings with soy sauce and hot sauce, plus soy milk in the background.

One cool thing that I slowly realized eating breakfast here is that the soy sauce is almost always soy sauce paste. It is thicker and easier to dip into because it sticks better than watery soy sauce.

IMG_6321

Egg wrap with soy sauce paste inside a typical breakfast carry-out container.

IMG_6318

Breakfast is cheap here. I can get one egg wrap and a medium soy milk for NT$40 which is less than $2 USD. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6614

A fancy breakfast with dumplings, white carrot cake, and egg with basil. And soy sauce paste of course.

I drink soy milk every morning instead of milk or coffee because I am lactose intolerant, as I mentioned before. Soy milk at a breakfast shop always comes in a paper cup with a plastic covering like the ones on bubble tea. People here don’t usually drink cold soy milk, and I get mine warm.

IMG_6616

The jokes on all the soy milk cups in this shop were really bad. This one says: Q: What color is spiderman? Red? Wrong! A: He’s white! Spider man (is a Caucasian). 

Second Trip To Yi Lan Pt. 1

The first time I went to Yi Lan was the day after I arrived in Taiwan. Last weekend, I went there for the second time, this time with family friends instead of my host mother. Last weekend was a three day weekend because of 10/10, 雙十節, double-ten day, Taiwan’s Independence Day.

The family friends had an apartment in Yi Lan. It’s supposed to be a retreat location so there is no Wifi or TV in the apartment. To pass the very small amounts time between activities in the apartment, we played card games and read books.

IMG_6251

The red apartment in the distance looks like a castle overlooking a moat. The green pasture in most of the photo is actually a floating carpet of water lilly-type plants on top of a lake.

IMG_6257

I later learned that this plant is called Heat Seed, which makes a ton of sense.

IMG_6267

Started off the second day of the weekend with breakfast in a bag. From the top, going clockwise: Sunny side up(荷包蛋), pork bun(豬肉包), and veggie dumpling(素餃子).

Eating out of a bag isn’t that uncommon in Taiwan. In night markets I’ve seen Indian chai poured into black bags and tied at the top around a straw.

My favorite part of this trip to Yi Lan was going to the beach.