For the first time in many years….Rob has gotten new glasses. Check him out!  Posted by Hello


When you enter the hotel grounds, you have to pass through the main gate which you can see in the background, like everything at the hotel it’s pretty massive.  Posted by Hello


The Hotel was too dark inside for most of the pictures to turn out, but I did get this picture of these two people playing traditional Chinese instruments as the serenaded use during brunch.  Posted by Hello


The whole Kang family celebrating Connie’s brother finishing his Doctorate in Computer Science, the proud Dr. Kang with his Fiancee next to him. Posted by Hello


Rob and Connie in front of the Largest Chinese old Style Hotel in Asia, The Taipei Grand Hotel Posted by Hello


Connie Stands in Front of the Majestic Grand Hotel of Taipei Posted by Hello

Movie Day…

Movies…

I’ve seen a couple movies recently and I thought I’d take a moment to comment on them…

The first movie I saw when I came to Taiwan was ironically called “Kung Fu Hustle”, which is basically a Kung-Fu comedy done by a guy from Hong Kong named Stephen Chow who is supposed to be one of the funniest guys in the HK business. He did the movie Shaolin Soccer, which I generally liked, although I find can’t quite get into his films for some reason, I’m not sure why.

Kung Fu Hustle is the same type of thing, the movie is basically about a small slum in Shanghai in the 1920’s where because of a loser (played by Stephen Chow) and his sidekick a small war is started between the people of the slum and the new Axe Gang who control the rest of the city. The movie is all over the place, with literal Looney Tunes gags, hard edged bloody martial arts fights, and a cast of characters that never seem to have any real point except to wander around the screen and fight. The whole movie feels like an odd throw together collecton of fights and gags which is loosely tied together by what might be called a plot.

That said, if you want to see some downright amazing over the top Martial Arts fights, and a few honestly funny gags then this movie is worth renting/buying or stealing your friend’s copy. I actually liked it more than House of Flying Daggers, which I saw at New Years and found to be an overrated artsy waste of time. At least this time I was able to laugh between amazing fights instead of be bored.

Next on my movie-watching list was Electra, and I have no doubts that many people out there are asking “Rob, why the heck would you go see that when you know it will be bad?” Well, the answer is Connie wanted to see it, and from the ads I actually got curious. Electra holds the distinction of being one of the few older Marvel characters I literally know nothing about and so I was able to go into this movie pretty clean. Actually, I have to say it wasn’t half bad. Despite the 6% rating Rotten Tomatoes was kind enough to give it I really don’t think it was that bad. Although, I have to admit that maybe my low expectations were what saved me on this one.

Simply put, if you went out and bought some old Electra comic from the 80’s, or whenever they published her stories, and read a story from it, this is what you’d get. It doesn’t suck, it’s not great, it’s basically a simple entertaining action move with some good fight scenes and no major plot holes that I noticed. (Which for a modern Hollywood flick actually puts it above most of the movies I’ve seen in the last couple years.) About the only thing of note is the actress playing Electra is realy bad in this role, but since the character stays true to the character (meaning no stupid plot driven moments) I will overlook her bad acting.

End result, another way to kill an afternoon or Saturday night but nothing that you will regret if you never see.

Now, before I go there is one more weird movie note…they’re pushing the heck out of Howl’s Moving Castle here right now, which is the newest Miyazaki animated movie from Japan. (So much for retirement…) I won’t be able to see it because it’ll be in Japanese with Chinese subs, so no English for poor Rob, but the reason I bring it up is that it breaks the Miyazaki mold in a big way. The main character, Howl, is an old woman and there don’t seem to be any young women in this movie at all. I find that really weird, a movie where the main character is a senior citizen and her magical walking castle…What the heck?? I really don’t know what to make of this, not at all….It’s apparently based on a book by an English writer, I’m almost tempted to find the book just to see what’s going on.

My first post

Well, here I am in Citizen Coffee finally putting my Blog into action. I’ve wanted to start a Blog about my life in Taiwan for a little while so that I can share some of the experiences that I have while I’m here with all of you. However, every time I tried to create a Blog on my girlfriend Connie’s computer the menus all came up in Chinese, and which I think I can handle updating things in Chinese, doing a full setup would be a litttle much.

I’ve been in in Taiwan two weeks at this point, and I have to say that I’m really having a wonderful time. Connie and her mother have been nothing short of wonderful to me and I already truely feel like I am part of their family.

I’ve been to a lot of places in the last two weeks, too many to list in this initial posting but I will try to slowly catch up and tell you about this amazing city and life in Chinese culture. It’s interesting really, I’ve already absorbed so much Chinese culture that this place doesn’t seem alien to me at all, it’s actually quite familiar. The only real shock, as usual, is being illiterate, which bothers me a lot. I can’t even guess at the pronunciations of things in Chinese, I either have to know them or not, even if the word I’m looking at is English rendered in Chinese characters. That can be more than a little disconcerting, but I am slowly trying to compensate for it by learning the bo-po-mo-fo Taiwanese phonetic system they use to teach Chinese how to pronounce the Hanzi Chinese characters. I haven’t managed to pass Grade One yet, but I am working hard on it, and hope to pass by the end of the week. *^_^* As I learn them, I am learning more words in Mandarin, and will hopefully slowly manage to be able to really communicate with the people here. All those lessons I took with Min-Min on Sunday afternoons for the past 3 years are finally starting to pay off as I have found I definitely have a “sense” of Chinese grammar even if my vocabulary is still pretty limited.

Just to give you an idea of the weather here, the temperture tomorrow will go down to a frigid 8 degrees….thats PLUS 8 degrees for you Canadians suffering through -20 right now. ^___^ And that is a cold day. Overal, if you want to understand the weather here, Vancouver is the best comparison, except that unlike Vancouver, during the Summer it gets pretty damn hot.

Anyways, time at the cafe is up, and it’s shopping time.

My best to one and all, and I promise to update this page on a regular basis, with pictures too!

take care!

Rob