Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Taipei: urban, fast-paced, glittering neon on an asphalt foundation. There's something different though, a shared bucolic memory still impressed into the culture, memories of harder times still lingering in an older generation. Organization is on a smaller scale, recalling a rural past. The modern equivalent of village markets lie huddled in the shadow of looming high rises. Office ladies in high heels and Gucci buy breakfast on the street, served by women who don't have the time to look so nice -- their family business is open morning to night, seven days a week. In the early morning old men and women practice qi gong, revering nature and spirit from a concrete slab.

In America, a Survivor contestant is subject to an epiphany: that fish, as in food that you eat, are the same fish that swim in oceans and aquariums. Same season, but different episode and everyone is freaked out when the young, Taiwanese born girl eats the leftover scraps of their chicken feast -- scraps being any part you can name with a word more specific than breast or wing. I laugh at them, but even so, I grew up on a poultry farm and wouldn't suck the eyeball out of a bird's head if you paid me. How many generations am I removed from someone who would?

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