Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Puppet Master

On Saturday night we had an amazing Taiwanese meal at “See-Join Puppet Theater & Restaurant - a puppet show dinner theater just a few blocks away from our hotel. We were brought there by our new friends from last weekend, Natascha and Ryan. Apparently they Googled places in Taipei to bring “foreign friends”, and this theater was one of the first results! It was definitely a good choice. For dinner we shared a big jug of tangerine peel tea (a delicious drink known to soothe sore throats) as well as rice and hot plates of beef, vegetable, chicken, shrimp, and tofu dishes. I regret that we didn’t take pictures of the food as it was all very tasty, but we were eager to finish eating so the puppet show could begin!

A very adorable older man came out to introduce the puppet show. He spoke a fair amount of English and was very welcoming to us and two other foreign women at another table. He used many different styles of Chinese and Taiwanese puppets throughout the show, including some that were specially designed for the black light segments of the performance! He featured a “dancing boy” puppet that thrashed around in the black lights to crazy techno music, and while I obviously couldn’t understand a word of what was said, I’m reasonably sure the puppet was meant to be the Techno Prince, San Tai Zi, who we learned about with Jenny and Milton in Kaohsiung. B suspects I’m wrong about the puppet, but the performance was great all the same.

After the show was finished, everyone in the audience was handed a small puppet made of cloth and wood to learn how to express various emotions and actions used in Chinese puppetry. We practiced running, jumping, bowing, etc, and I even got called up to the front to demonstrate my *cough* superior puppet manipulation skills. Once everyone in the crowd was familiarized with our puppets, Natascha and I were called to the stage along with an ADORABLE little Taiwanese boy and a foreign woman to perform with some larger puppets. Needless to say, I was a clear natural. I looked completely at-ease on the stage, just so long as my entire face and body stayed hidden behind the Great glow-in-the-dark Wall of China.

We had a really fun night with Natascha and Ryan and I appreciate them spending the evening with us on such a special occasion - Taiwanese Valentine’s Day! (Yes, Taiwan observes the Western one as well!) We observed another new (to us) holiday today - Taiwanese Father’s Day! In Mandarin, the number 8 is “ba”, therefore August 8 is “ba ba”. Guess what the Taiwanese word for “Daddy” is? You guessed it! It’s “Ba-ba”! Now you all know something new!

Tonight was our “graduation” from training and we’ve still got all our packing to do! Despite the stress of somehow re-packing all my huge quantities of clothing, cosmetics, and Apple products into an 80L backpack, I’m still extremely excited to see our new city tomorrow! We’ll be hunting for apartments in the afternoon with some Taiwanese colleagues after we have lunch with our new bosses! In addition to all the exciting changes to our routine, we’re also going to have lots of new Taichung experiences to post about! Woo!

I (Brett) personally think I look super creepy in this photo. I assure you it was unintentional.

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