Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crabby Birthday

Last weekend, our Canadian friend who lives a short train ride away in Taichung County, came into town to spend Saturday and Sunday with us. We went out Saturday night in a semi-celebration of my birthday with a few other friends. We had amazing Mediterranean food at Uzo once again and then went crab fishing!

Let me explain... In Taiwan, there are many indoor venues with big salt water pools that are used for recreational prawn and crab fishing. The particular place we chose (which is walking distance from our apartment) happened to have crab on the menu. You pay either $500 per hour or $1000 for 3 hours and receive a pink slip of paper, then a nice English-speaking girl took us poolside to show us how to bait our hooks with pieces of raw prawn. Staff were throwing live crabs into the pool, old Taiwanese men were chain smoking everywhere, and tiny children were up way past their bedtime. It was chaotic, but in the best possible way. We gingerly balanced my birthday gifts (a big chocolate cake and a bottle of wine!) on a plastic lawn chair and got down to business!

I was seated at the end of our little group and had clearly missed the memo on effective crab fishing techniques, so a chain-smoking local man with full sleeve tattoos sitting to my right took it upon himself to teach me. Using his limited English and my limited Chinese, it was agreed that I should balance my fishing pole on the edge of the pool. Occasionally I'd get a sharp slap on the arm from my mentor, which meant "1, 2, 3, now!" I was also yelled at twice to "WATCH!" Catching crabs is tricky! (Shhh.) They were biting a lot and you could pull them up to the water's edge, but it was so hard swinging them up and into your bucket! Then, out of nowhere, I caught one! It was big, too! Getting it into the bucket was scary - naturally, I supervised as my friends and the Taiwanese man took over for that part.

Then we had a crab in our bucket... what now? It actually made me a little sad. The crab looked scared and was so defensive and upset. They're seriously the tanks of the underwater world. Delicious, tender tanks. Because there were five of us and only one crab, the proprietor's English-speaking daughter suggested we have it in miso soup. We were seated at a table by the water's edge and waited as they cooked our catch of the day. It was pretty awesome to eat delicious crab miso soup before heading back out into the night. Best. Birthday. Ever. Brett will post pictures when he's more organized.

Crab Fishing in Taichung
The Crab Fishing Pool
The photographer had steady hands, everything else was moving.

Mesmerized by the bubbling soup.

The one that almost got away.
Fun Song Bar! at Tiger Bowling.

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