Monday, July 2, 2012

Data Busted and Betelnuts

Verizon busted me for blowing through my entire 1 month allotment of data in 1 week. I have to conserve by going on GooGoo's wifi network. I guess posting the pix uses a lot, but I know that is the best part of this online diary!

Today started with Chuni and I attempting to fast walk/jog around the track near GooGoo's house in 98 degree weather and high humidity. We probably made it less than a quarter of a mile when we headed home. Chuni us brilliant, but is a bit direction-challenged. Not only did she head in the opposite direction from home, but she didn't remember what floor GooGoo lives on. (Of course, neither did I as I am merely Chuni's shadow on this trip and take no real responsibility.) a neighbor saw us wandering aimlessly on the grounds and asked us if we were Gooling's family. We said yes and she told us how to get to the apartment. Sheesh. I hadn't even had the betelnut, yet.

Chuni had arrangements to meet a woman she had become email acquaintances with based on their common interest in "Open Space" which is an organizational development model. We were going to have to take 2 subways and a bus, so I figured it was a good time to pop the betelnut.
I checked the fridge to see if Michael had snuck in and taken it in the middle of the night. He hadn't. He's a really nice young man and hard to corrupt. With everyone watching, I bravely popped the sucker in my mouth and chewed it. It tasted earthy, like grass (as in lawns) and a little bitter. You chew it until the pulp is left in your mouth like a wad of gum. I spit it put expecting to start speeding around the apartment or hallucinating or something, but nothing except a little warm tingling in my mouth (which is still here 14 hours later). In fact, I think I actually felt more tired today. The jury is out on Betelnuts. GooGoo says it's
because it wasn't wrapped on the leaf with the mystery ingredient.

After we visited Chuni's friend (who was from Colorado but has lived here 20 years) we stopped for lunch at a tiny little restaurant. Chuni says it is very traditional Taiwanese. I tell them to order for all of us and, sure enough, there's the pig Fallopian tubes again as well as the spinach with stinky bean curd, and sliced beef gizzards. I'm actually getting used to this stuff.

Then we hop on another subway and bus to the amazing National Palace Museum. We take an "English" speaking tour, but this guy's Taiwanese accent was so strong, only GooGoo understands him. No pictures were allowed. Google the exhibits if you want to know what we saw. I'm better at remembering the food..

After the museum we head to another Night Market (the huge flea market with food, clothing, jewelry and game vendors. This one has a bottom floor with only food. Next thing I know we are sitting down to another meal. This time it was some kind of egg pancake with bean sprouts and oysters. The betelnut must be affecting me as I can't remember the other dishes there. We grazed our way through sampling stinky bean curd a few ways (I tried it but am not a fan), a drink called fish eggs which was slimy jello stuff with slimy tapioca balls in it (really good), a mango snowflake, red guava (which they had never had because the ones here are white), buns filled with different things, a thin pancake thing filled with shaved nougat and 3 little scoops of ice cream. Nothing i eat or drink gets the betelnut tingle out of my mouth. MORE shoe shopping as Hannah wants a pair. Michael hits the clothing stores. We are exhausted (and Chuni's adorable fancy high heeled shoes that she wore all day hurt her feet-ha! I knew they would ), but still have to take the 2 subways and one bus back to GooGoo's). Chuni hits the filled corn cakes stand as soon as enter the subway station. Michael, Chuni and I take the stairs as GooGoo races us on the escalators.

When we finally get home, GooGoo's husband is waiting with a big smile on his face. He is excited to show me the leaf and mystery stuff wrapped betelnut HE scored for me today. Their son tells me it's really the leaf that makes you feel drunk and hyper at the same time. I stick it in the refrigerator for tomorrow and wonder if Michael
(or maybe wild woman, Chuni) will steal it in the middle of the night...


  1. Hi mom,
    Sounds like the betelnut experience wasn't quite what was expected. I am slightly afraid for you trying the leaf one! At least you have responsible Michael to take care of you!
    That mango pile look SO good and your pictures are perfect sized now, maybe you didn't use your phone?
    Lastly I SURE HOPE you purchased those last pair of shoes?!?!? They ARE SO SO CUTE!!! Hope your not just teasing putting such an adorable pair up here to torture me ;)
    Get some sleep!
    xo han

  2. Dear Colleen,
    I am sorry taht I forgot to share with you the family mantra "don't follow Zoe" beforehands.
    Zoe is Chuni's nickname and every kid in the family knows that if you let Zoe lead the way, more likely than not you will end up walking a little bit more than necessary, which she happens to like.
    My brother-in-law must know a better place for betelnuts, and betelnut ladies too. Both of those, the nuts and the lady, shown in your previous pictures were not very impressive.
    It is amazing how much ground and food you have covered in a few days. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Colleen!
    Thank you for including me and allowing me to follow your blog for this amazing trip! It looks like you are having a great time and your pictures are beautiful! Have a safe trip and please say hello to Chuni for me.
    Love, Aquisha