Sunday, May 1, 2011

My belt is pink!

So following from where Amanda left off...

Yesterday was a lazy day of recharging our batteries. After almost two weeks of air travel, jet lag, long days sight seeing and walking, crowd battling etc. we felt like we needed a downtime day to recover a little.

Other than a walk to Taipei 101 for something to eat and a stroll through the night market we did very little. It was much needed and we feel better for it. The temperatures are not too hot, 28C-31C during the day, but the humidity is the most difficult adjustment, running near or above 90%.

Today, feeling much revitalized from the previous day, we went for a long walk to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as well as the National Concert Hall and National Theater. Chiang Kai-shek was another of the founders of the Republic of China (not to be mistaken for the Peoples Republic of China). Pictures below.

It sounds like a fairly uneventful day but it was a 10km round trip with some stops in between (such as the Daan Park and a Taiwanese bakery) and the temperature, humidity and rain made it all that much more tiresome than it would otherwise have been!

Before leaving the hostel for the day I started out by doing about an hour of Rosetta Stone Mandarin study on my computer. I'm trying to get into the habit of doing at least an hour every morning before we leave. Rosetta Stone is an immersion style software where you see pictures, then hear, read and repeat words or sentences, but there is no English translation. To date I have been pleased with the purchase if only a little frustrated that a very large part of the beginning of the course focuses on situations that I wouldn't consider essential for the traveler wanting to navigate their way through simple every day situations such as ordering food. By way of example, this morning one of the modules covered different items of clothing and colours and how to say things such as "my socks are green", "your pants are blue" or "my belt is pink".

To all those out there who think they might want to travel to Taiwan or Mainland China, in case you find yourself in one of these two locations and you do have a compelling need to explain to a local that your belt is pink, let me edify... wǒ de pí dài shì fěn​ sè de.​

Well the point of the story is not to gripe about what I'm learning but rather to say that I'm happy at last that shortly after having learned how to talk of my pink belt, the module moved to much more useful content such as how to say I am / am not hungry, thirsty, cold, sick, tired or well.

If only I had covered this material two days ago Amanda and I could have avoided the lunch buffet fiasco by having indicated right from the start that we were thirsty and not hungry, hence saving ourselves the embarrassment and the three cafe workers PLUS the mystery person on the other end of the phone from having to figure out what to do with the clueless tourists!!

Oh well. My belt is pink.

Taipei 101
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
National Theater & National Concert Hall
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
National Concert Hall

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