Wednesday, May 12, 2010

702 Two Surprises

702 Two Surprises

A version of this item appeared in the Centre Daily Times newspaper of State College PA.

I. Would You Eat Here? Yes and No.

(Taipei) – We have our share of restaurants, local, national, fast, slow, good, bad indifferent. But here there are things no one back home would think of. Or if they thought of them, never would actually bring them into being. So, would you eat here? First, there’s the


It’s called “Forker’s.” The natives probably don’t understand the word play, but Dennis, who started the joint and another one like it does. Dennis may not be his name, but he looks like a Dennis. He’s from Windsor, Ontario, which is in Canada, but south of Detroit. He came here from Windsor to coach amateur hockey. When he thought it was a good place to stay, he became a teacher of English. More lucrative, he says. Then, the restaurant. Big, juicy, American style burgers, real fries, real cake. Yummy. The place is in an alley. The alley is very much like Calder Alley, in that it’s not just a pathway, but a mini-street with commerce. Dennis says his biggest problem is staffing. The waitress girls of Taipei don’t have the maturity or the work ethic of the North Americans. Maybe D should visit his home town to double check that observation.

Then there’s the


We didn’t actually go to this place. But here’s the ad the restaurant placed on a tourist map:

“Modern Toilet. A unique restaurant featuring bathroom and toilet equipment. Enjoy a truly innovative and revolutionary dining experience.” This is followed by pictures of ancient and modern potties and sinks and bowls loaded with Chinese food. Modern sanitary measures were employed; we’re sure, in purifying the porcelain. But some risks are not worth taking. For more information, hurry on over to their website: The thought of scooping food out of an American Standard Bathroom urinal is… um… unacceptable.

Now, for Surprise number two.

A Fast but Leisurely Rush Hour Trip on a Bus In Rush Hour Bus

A What? Yes, a fast but leisurely trip on a rush hour bus. The machine was made by Isuzu. Its nine feet tall. Its seven feet wide. It’s more than 50 feet long. Bigger in every dimension than a CATA bus. Bigger in every dimension than a New York City Transit Authority bus.

This is Taipei bus #605, Young Mr. Han at the controls. This machine is king of the street. And in rush hour on a Wednesday evening, Mr. Han, about 35, is squeezing this monster between tightly packed lanes of cars, missing them by maybe a foot on the right and three inches on the left. The notorious scooter drivers apparently know better than to fool with Mr. Han and his Isuzu. At this hour, 6pm local time on a Wednesday, the subways, good as they are, are packed wall to wall. Mr. Han’s bus is not especially crowded.

In New York, we have a saying, “Do you want to walk, or do we have time to take the bus?” Implication: it’s sooooo slow. Here, no worries. Take the bus. Its fast, it’s comfortable. And even for those of us who dislike buses on principle, this is as good as it gets. At least until they come up with an aerial pogo stick.

Like the Taipei subway, this burg does traffic control right.

I'm Wes Richards. My Opinions are my own but your welcome to them.®

©WJR 2010

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