Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Gua Sha treatment for heat stroke relief

Earlier this week I had to get Gua Sha, because of suffering from bad heat stroke after hiking in the afternoon, like a madman, bang on midday in the 38c heat. Anyway, people often say it is only stray dogs and Englishmen willing to run around in the midday heat. Well they're not wrong, I did it, and I went down the heat stroke. Anyone who has ever suffered from heat stroke will know that it makes you rather disorentated, you will feel dizzy, faint and just want to sleep. 

In severe cases you will be puking up curled over a bog seat like I was years ago spewing my ring after a very boozy tour around Taiwan where I came close to losing an eye, but the booby prize was arriving home with heat stroke and losing two days attached to a drip in the loving hands of the hospital staff. Which hospital I was in though, I cannot tell you as to this day I was in such a severe condition that I have no recollection of the event. My last memory was throwing up from a taxi window, joy. 

This weekend just gone, I had a more severe heat stroke, but not as severe as the one from my boozy Taiwan tour, so the cure didn't call for being curled over the bog seat and a trip to the hospital emergency room. What this called for though, was some Gua Sha.

Gua Sha, some of you will be wondering what is this Gua Sha and what does it do? Others will be thinking oh yeah, I had that and it is grand. Others will indeed be thinking I had that and it doesn't work. Well it works for me, but alas, everyone is indeed different so it cannot be deemed a miracle cure obviously. 

Gua Sha is a Chinese medicine treatment, where your body will be scrubbed or scraped (whatever way you want to define it) in a certain way, which I believe is a downward motion (but don't give it a bash on my say so, seek professional help) to let out all the bad chi in your body. And a word to the wise, the process involved in Gua Sha hurts.

When I arrived back home from my stupidly timed midday hike, I felt awful. I struggled through the day trying to guzzle water as much as I could but it wasn't helping at all. In the back of my mind I knew I had the Gua Sha done to me in the past, and for whatever reason unknown to me, once the treatment was complete, I then felt like the heat and the awful feeling had been relieved from my body. 

Therefore after the attempts I had made guzzling water had failed, I then explained to the Mrs she was going to have to Gua Sha me. To which she agreed, but insisted I could not back out once the deed was under way. It's a good job she did insist that I could not back out, because once she got to scrubbing the neck and shoulders, I had to hold my head in my hands like my hands were a clamp, clamping the head firmly in place in order for it not release itself from my neck and leg it to save itself because the pain was that much.

Once the Gua Sha process was complete though, I felt like a lot of the awful heat was gone from my body, and I was a lot less uncomfortable than earlier on in the day. Parts of my body ended up bright red where the process had been done, and it's said once the process is completed, that the redder you become, the worse the heat stroke was. However, regardless of the pain, I was overjoyed to be relieved from the effects of heat stroke, and don't be put off by the red marks on my skin as they do not hurt once the process is finished. Relief 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Dadaocheng fireworks

Last night the Mrs went to Ximending to have a curry, usually the curry is top notch and one of our favourites in Taipei, however last night it was average at best which was disappointing. On the way to Ximending though, we noticed the traffic was way busier than usual. Normally Ximen area is busy on a weekend, but this was beyond busy. 

At this point the Mrs declared, 'oh yeah, I forgot they have the Dadaocheng fireworks this weekend, it was supposed to be last weekend, but it was cancelled for the typhoon".

Wonderful eh? Oh well, we were there now and there was no turning back, it was onwards to the curry. After leaving the curry, a little miffed at how poor it was compared to the usual high standards we have become accustomed to, we just wanted to get back home and away from all the traffic, which was driving us a bit mental due to the lights turning green, us moving the equivalent of two steps forward, and then the lights being red again. 

As we got next to Zhongxing bridge, Dadaocheng fireworks just began, and by the time we got onto the bridge they were in full swing. The Mrs told me to keep in the right lane because all the scooters would likely stop to take pictures of the fireworks from the bridge. I was hoping they wouldn't as it would become a hazard, but at the same time I was hoping I could get a few pictures of the fireworks from the bridge because they looked banging (no pun intended).

The Mrs was correct though, and all the scooters did just start randomly stopping in the middle of the bridge, which turned into a massive hazard, as there was no way to move past them safely. Therefore I too, decided to make a danger stop on the bridge. With scooters in front of me, and behind me all stopped I figured if another scooter did smash into us, then my scooter wouldn't have to take the full impact anyway. 

Off we hopped to snap a few pictures and enjoy the fireworks show, these things are happening more frequently lately, and it kind of shows how when you begin to positive again, then good things happen. Even though the food was below the standards we have enjoyed in the past from Indian restaurant we love, we just knocked it on the chin as a one off (we hope it's just a one off). And then because we were in a positive mood, we ended up on the middle of the bridge just at the right time to enjoy the fireworks. And enjoy we did, the danger stop becoming a necessity in the end because everyone else in the right side lane doing the same. Therefore turning the danger stop into a safety stop, and positivity the order of the weekend. 

The fireworks at Dadaocheng Wharf happen every year, and attract large crowds to watch them. The first couple of years I tried to go but ended up being sick of all the hassle, pushing and shoving. We were extremely happy to see them from the vantage point of the bridge and it ended up being a wonderful way to wrap up the night. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Taiwan adds two more confirmed Covid-19 cases

Photo: Focus Taiwan

Taiwan today added two more Covid-19 cases to their tally, increasing the number to 34. Confirmed case 33 is a fella in his 30's who returned from a trip to Japan (where I was booked to go, but thankfully the company I booked with cancelled our return flight, so we cancelled our trip and got refunded).

He reported himself as being sick on his return from Japan, and said that he was in a group tour with 31 people. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) have determined that the timeline he give them means the likelihood is that he caught the virus on his trip to Japan, in Osaka. The exact location of the holiday I had looking forward to for months! Thanks Covid-19 for ruining it.

The other case - number 34, was a woman in her 50's with a history of chronic illness. She has no case history of travel abroad, and the CDC workers are currently trying to trace her timeline to figure out who she has came into contact with other than the care workers who have been treating and looking after her.

From reading what little info has been released on the two cases myself, it seems that case 33 has a chance of infecting his tour group, which is unclear now if they are Taiwanese, or if the tour was a group tour from Taiwan. The potential for the flight to have someone else infected seems high, is a logical thought process.

The other case, number 34 seems like she may have spent a lot of times in hospitals and being cared for, which shows that the temperature checks put in place at hospitals aren't that great when it comes down to spotting who is infected and who isn't.

The potential is extremely high for a lot of people to be infected in the hospital, for example, if she infects some doctors, then just think how many people a doctor will have contact with for the 14 day incubation period to set in.

The risk for a big spread of infections, that have been seen in Italy, Japan, Korea, Iran and China is getting higher each day in Taiwan. The fight continues to not let it happen, but as each week passes it becomes more difficult.

I also read in the Guardian that masks do help a bit, and no matter what people are telling you online, it is worse than seasonal flu! Any little help a mask gives us for not getting infected is worth it, but the key point is wash your hands often and don't rub your eyes, or face often without washing your hands.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The underbelly of Taiwanese society rears its Brexit crew styled head with patient 32

Taiwan is a fine place, generally, most people who come here to visit, work or for whatever other reason enjoy it, and the majority of Taiwanese people are friendly to all visitors regardless of nationality, race, or sexuality.

Then there are the others, when you scrape the surface there are a discriminatory and arrogant minority. This minority, tend to look down on South East Asian labour at best, and at worst are outright racist or abusive to them.

This hypocrisy is often witnessed and is very real. Folk are happy to have a cheap imported workforce, or people willing to do the jobs that Taiwanese aren't willing to do, but equally happy to point the finger when any 'issue' arises or is 'created'. They are akin to the Brexit Crew in their views of immigrants.

Today the news has been awash with one such case, Taiwan's CDC (Center for Disease Control) released the locations where patient 32 had been in Taipei and New Taipei City. It then transpired that patient 32 turned out to be an illegal immigrant working as a carer for the elderly.

She was caring for the old chap in the latest family cluster, however once it became aware the whole family was infected with COVID-19, afraid of being found out that she was illegal, and obviously worried. So she did what most illegal workers will often do in similar circumstances, she did a runner.

Then what happened next, is an indicator of how happy Taiwanese are to hire an illegal worker, she had already found another job caring for an old codger in some other family. Families are happy to hire an undocumented worker, but equally as happy to lay the blame at their door too. If the family had have got the worker the correct documents then she wouldn't have felt the need to run off in the first place.

The internet has been in a rage with how this 'illegal' ran away when she found out the family was infected, but also they're in a rage because she live streamed herself in quarantine, and some crafty bastard saw on the drip that the hospital name she was at was wrote on it. Which she also got blamed for. Should she have been live streaming, probably not. Is it crime of the century, probably not. But it does show Taiwan's underbelly regarding the fascination with 'cheapness' in regards to their attitude about hiring 'cheap labour', but are equally as quick to throw them on under the bus too.

The lady didn't order the infection on Shopee, she caught it while not being supported by the family for legal documents therefore not really being protected by the any kind of laws, all while caring for Taiwan's elderly, something Taiwanese families don't seem overly keen to do themselves.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Breakdown of Taiwan's COVID-19 cases

Infographic: CNA

Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) have released a new infographic showing the breakdown of all the COVID-19 cases that are currently confirmed in Taiwan. As of the 25th February 2020, there are 32 confirmed cases, with the most recent case being a foreign caregiver who was taking care of patient 27.

As is clear on the infographic, the last nine confirmed cases, the source of infection is unknown. This is a worrying turn of events, because until case 24, the Centre for Disese Control (CDC) mostly managed to locate the original source of infection for the majority of cases.

For now, the last 9 infections are at least all infected, in a case that is determined a 'family cluster' but the worry is it may turn into 'community infection'. How these two differentiate is that a 'family cluster' is infections spreading through families only, but on the other hand a 'community cluster' is a host of cases spreading through a whole community, like what has been seen in the cult church in South Korea, which shows how tragic a 'community cluster' can end up. South Korea had 51 confirmed cases this time last week, then after a 'community cluster' confirmed cases in South Korea are now over 1000 and increasing each day.

This shows how quickly the virus is spreading once it gets into the community. Therefore the major concern regarding the last 9 cases are that the CDC cannot locate the source of this families' infection. What does this mean for Taiwan? Does that mean the virus is already spreading in the community already? If so we could see cases increase daily.

What apparently bumped the infection numbers in Korea, and Italy was a super spreader. This is someone with a high viral load, who infects more people than the median. If the coronavirus is spreading in Taiwan (because it has been reported that people can have no symptoms but be infected) all it would take for the numbers to blast up like Korea and Italy would be one of these super spreaders.

In my opinion, the virus has broke past the CDC's superb efforts in Taiwan to keep the Coronavirus out, but people getting infected without knowing where from is a big red flag which is a major concern.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Desensitized to Traffic Accidents

Photo: Focus Taiwan

I have lived in Taiwan for 8 years and counting, and in that time I have seen copious amounts of traffic accidents, either the accident itself or the aftermath with scooters, cars and people smashed and broken strewn all around the road.

I don't recall seeing one accident in all my time living in the UK but for all my time living there, I didn't drive so I guess if I did drive i'd probably have the seen the odd few but nothing on the scale of what I see on a weekly basis since I began riding around on a scooter in Taiwan. My guess is I see 3 to 5 crashes or aftermaths of a crash a week, and that is an insanely high number when you consider I often just hop on my scooter head to work and back most days.

I myself have been involved in a handful of 'crashes' I see it lightly because I only consider one of them to be mildly serious, the others were more like bumps of some sort. If the guy I hit in the slightly serious one wanted to press charges I would likely have been blamed for it, but I would only put my portion of the blame between 10% to 30% per cent because of how ridiculous it was. 

It was pissing it with rain, and I was heading home from my morning job, I wasn't speeding or going slow; I was simply just keeping the same speed with the rest of the traffic heading in the same direction. As I got closer to my home, and looked forward to getting out of the pissing rain the guy in front of me did something completely moronic, as the traffic approached an intersection, the lights began to change to red. The guy in front of me however was right at the traffic light and when it switched from green to amber, he slammed his break on to skid to a stop in front of me. The word that come out of my mouth at this point was fuuuuuuuuuuck! And I tried to quickly turn to the left to avoid him, but if you have no experience of riding any kind of bike or other two wheeled vechile you cannot suddenly turn left at speed otherwise you will come off anyway regardless what you try to stop it happening.

As I tried to swing left and avoid the moron while attempting to also break without killing myself in the process the front right side of my scooter slammed into the bloke in front of me. I don't recall how it happened as I just closed my eyes and braced for impact once I realised I had no chance of missing the idiot. Next thing I recall I'm picking myself off the floor, as the traffic is flying at me in the middle of the road. Yes, that's correct even though I am dragging myself off the floor and the other bloke looks like he could be dead due to being motionless - the traffic is still flying at us at great speeed. 

I run out of the road, then shake the bloke shouting mate, don't die alright! Whatever you do just don't die man! He eventually got up, and I dragged him out of the middle of the road, then he give me some abuse for not seeing him and being an idiot. It's not that I didn't see him, of course I saw him, avoiding him wasn't easy though obviously. Then he rode off continuing to insult me for how stupid I am. Lovely pal, just lovely. My scooter was broke...all the bearings were shot, but I was alive and unhurt result! 

The other times were mainly just bumps, a taxi turned into me, when I had nowhere to move to because I was blocked in the road by other traffic. Apparently, according to the taxi driver; he did nothing wrong because he indicated and I should have moved out of his way. I had a car in front of me, a car behind me, a scooter to the left, scooter right, front and back. So how exactly do I move out of his way, I can't exactly levitate. 

The next time, there was a granny coming at me slowly on her scooter, but she wasn't watching the traffic she was staring in the food shops looking for something to eat, all while driving down the road paying no attention. Luckily I realised she was gonna smash right into me so I prepared myself to boot her when she got close. 1, 2, 3, hooooooof ya bastard! Pay attention! She basically shouted at me, "What the fuck are you doing?" 

After that I was going somewhere with my pal from the UK in Muzha, and a taxi changed his mind in the middle of the road so he turned left then decided he wanted to go right and went right. We were right beside him when he changed his mind, and then I also went as far right as I could but if I went any further I would have been charging right into oncoming traffic. The taxi started crushing my leg, so I started booting his taxi door. All this was happening while moving along the road and trying to avoid being smashed into by oncoming traffic. Eventually he stopped, got out walked to me..."I shouted I'm going to rip your head off!" He quickly got back into his taxi and drove off. My pal was shaken but fine, my leg hurt for a week and half or something but I was fine. 

and the last time, and hopefully the last time ever, I tried to turn left and some guy tried to undercut me and the mrs. He wasn't on the road when I turned but he was flying and when I saw him I just braced for impact and made sure I held the scooter upright so we didn't come off. Everything hurt after that but it would have been worse being smashed off, and I wasn't in the mood for letting that happen. The police told me that I was wrong because I didn't give way to the person coming from behind me. This sounds like total bullshit, which I told the police fella very angrily but the mrs was getting annoyed with me being furious with the police so I accepted the shit offer the dickhead was willing to pay to fix my scooter. It's a good job the mrs was there to be fair otherwise I would have likely manhandled the guy that hit me, as well as the police bloke because of the level of nonsense I was dealing with. 

So those are the crashes and bumps I myself have been involved in, now onto some of the incidents I have witnessed. There is no way I can recount them all, because over the space of 7 years riding a scooter in Taiwan there is just simply too many to remember. Some of the worst and stupidiest ones however are etched into my memory forever, until the day I am 12ft under ground. 

The first terrible one I saw, I was coming home from a job in Xinzhuang, and as I was going past the big Ikea out that way, a car comes flying up the other side of road does a u turn into our side of the road without looking and just smashes right through the scooter in front of me. If I had have been two seconds faster he would have hit me. The bloke in the car didn't look or care, he just turned and was going to Ikea whoever was in his way. Unfortunately the scooter in front of me was in his way, and you gotta get those Swedish meatballs at all costs man, even if it involves near killing someone. 

One day on my way to football in Yonghe, I was sat at the traffic lights, and you could hear the sirens of an ambulance hurtling down the road. For some mental reason a taxi driver decided that he could beat the ambulance and make it across the road, but yep you guessed it the taxi driver succeeded in coming out and smashing right into the ambulance. That level of stupid takes some work to achieve I guess, but he had the audacity to get out of the taxi and shout at the ambulance driver. Even the taxi passenger was screaming at the ambulance driver because she had a small cut on her leg, never mind the fact the ambulance had someone in the back and was clearly taking them to hospital. 

Another time, I was off out with the mrs, and we were in the Zhongshan area going for some food. I heard a massive screech and as I turned and looked I saw a car go over a scooter and bloke. From what I saw it looked like the car or the scooter broke a red light and tried to beat the traffic. I turned too late and didn't see who was right or wrong, just the car going over man and scooter. That shook me up a bit seeing that. 

I saw the aftermath of two crashes that looked brutal, both times the scooter was lodged underneath a back wheel. One was a car, the other was a bin truck. Imagine that, even seeing the mess left behind was brutal, the scooter was under the back wheel of a bloody bin truck god knows what happened to the person on top of the scooter. 

A week or so ago me and the mrs saw the aftermath of a crash, and there was a woman lying in the middle of the road completely passed out, motionless and not looking in a good way. We hoped she would be ok, but its not good seeing that. 

Other than these that I have listed, I see the aftermath of crashes pretty much on a daily basis going to and from work. The odd thing is, Taiwan's law says if there is a crash that nothing can be moved until the police come and have a look at the scene. So if there is a crash, you can't move the car or the scooter from the middle of the road, this means all the traffic is still coming at you while you're stood in the middle of the road, that alone is pretty scary, and it also creates a massive hazard. 

When I first started seeing crashes, or aftermaths of accidents I wondered why Taiwanese people never seemed bothered about them, and now I do know why. It is because they're a common every day occurence and now I have become desensitized to traffic accidents in the same way that Taiwanese people obviously have. When I see them I just think nothing of it but another accident. Never thought I would think this way but I do. I wish the police and authorites did more to ensure the traffic functioned in a safer way but they don't and it is what it is. So some of you may think I am mad for continuing to ride my scooter everywhere but at the end of the day I love having my own transport and the freedom it gives me so therefore I tolerate the risks invovled, stay alert and concentrate all the time in an attempt to not be in anymore accidents. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pull Ups of Death

Recently I have been getting into mountain climbing in a big way, well more like hiking but in Chinese they just call all types of going up a mountain 'climbing'. Anyway, I often see an older Italian fella doing pull ups at the bottom of the mountain on a bar and the fella is ripped, big time ripped.

Therefore I decided, well if he is that ripped maybe I should give it a go. I didn't want to do it on the bar where all the other folk were because I assumed (correctly) i'd struggle to even do 1 pull up and I remembered seeing some rings in the trees at the top of the mountain where I go hiking. There's not many people linger about in that spot, so I thought to myself i'll start the ripped look there. After waddling slowly to the top of the mountain, I get to the rings and as usual there is no one there, or anyone using the pull up rings. That meant I had them all to myself for the struggle of lifting my body up with only the strength my arms occupy.

I head towards the rings like a man possessed, I mean business this is it; I will do 1 pull up successfully. I grab the rings, and pull...and pull....and pull. Oh my, lifting up my 100kg body mass was clearly going to be a lot more difficult than I had ever imagined. I was so determined that a pull up would be completed, so I pulled and pulled and pulled then completed a half of a pull up. A half! Unbelievable...I couldn't leave it at just one half pull up so I decided to have a rest, get some energy back and try again in a few minutes.

After sitting down and admiring the wonderful views for a whopping 5 minutes I was now adamant that I was refreshed and would have no problem completing 1 full pull up because I am proper mighty and all that. Off I toddle to the rings, stretched up and pull...yep you guessed it, the same thing happened again. My body mass is more than my arms can lift, therefore I again pulled and pulled and pulled to no avail. I did however manage another half pull up but I'm unsure if two half pull ups is better than 1 full pull up. Either way its a miserly amount and nothing to write home about.

I completed my mountain hiking and didn't think anymore about it until I woke up the next day, and the pain in my back, arms and shoulders was unreal. If I moved it ached, how could this be when I didn't even manage a full pull up but the pain was real, very bloody real indeed. The pain has lasted from Saturday until Wednesday and has even stopped my from sleeping well which never happens even when I am ill. I am a bloke who loves a good sleep. This got me thinking should I try the pull ups ever again because 4 days of intense pain and not sleeping is some kind of bollocks I don't want to deal with again, on the other hand that old fella I see doing the pull ups often is extremely ripped. It's a dilemma and I reckon I am unlikely to ever do the pull up rings of death ever again.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Tissues outside the bog

Have you ever been that desperate for a shit you just need to get inside instantly? Sometimes in Taiwan you get a bit of a shitty stomach from time to time and you need to have a mad dash to the bog. When you do this you need to be careful because a lot of toilets in Taiwan put the bog roll outside of the goddamn toilet. What lunacy is this?

That's correct, the toilet roll is outside and you need to guess what kind of crap your going to have before you take the plunge on deciding how much roll you're going to take inside with you. Sometimes there's a goody two shoes telling you, "hey you're taking too much!" I once replied to a fella who did this, "Well it's my shit and my arse, not yours is it?" It's really odd that people will even get offended by how much toilet roll you need for a good arse wiping.

I don't know why they can't just put it inside but some people have told me it's because people will steal the whole roll. Now that is a new standard of low, I know there was a load of drama over bog roll price recently but if your going to go around stealing it out of public bogs that's not on. Because of your thievery some poor fella now has a shitty undercrackers all day and that is down to you - the bog roll thieves!

One personal anecdote of mine where I had an issue with the bog roll outside was at a swimming pool in Wanhua. I was bursting for a crap, literally ready to pop, so I dash inside and see there is no bog roll anywhere, not in the bog, not out the bog. The roll holder is there outside, I think thank god now let's do this, but see the roll is completely empty. Then I run outside to the reception and tell her love there's no bog roll. Please give me some, and quickly.

She give me two small pieces. Two pieces for a full arse wiping? What I disaster, but I was in no position to argue. I took the two pieces and ran off to dump the turtles head in the pond but as I only had two little goddamn pieces of toilet roll, I was praying I would have one of those clean craps where they glide out of your arse and they don't involve a great deal of wipes to clean.

It was not to be, today's crap was the kind my dad would proudly proclaim a Klingon! Now I had two options, wipe and wipe and wipe again with the same pieces, or pull my kegs up, charge outside and demand more goddamn bog roll. I choose the latter option, up went the shreddies...and I charged the wifey like Braveheart on a search for freedom, she looked shocked because she already supplied me with ample amount apparently. I demanded more and got more, freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom for my shitty arse!

So when your running into a bog dying for a crap in  Taiwan, make sure you figure out where the toilet roll is first otherwise you may have a massive disaster on your hand, one may say a shitty disaster but a disaster all the same.

Rage walking and a bloke watching porn in Starbucks

I normally need to have a rage walk once or twice every day, it sounds a bit drastic but something really sends me into a rage that much that I need to get outside and calm the shit down.

Yesterday however I needed a longer rage walk than normal, as the nonsense that goes on in Taiwanese companies is unreal. Basically, a guy wouldn’t just tell me the number I needed, instead I had to figure out where to find this number. I’m supposed to receive an email with information about the work but didn’t, and to make the rage even worse this bloke had looked to see if work had been approved, he saw the number, then went to other management system to type a message for me to input the number he needs there. The same number he had seen now two or three times. 

Even though he had seen the number so much he wouldn’t just pass the number onto me or tell me the number so I could finish the task. Because in his words; that’s not his job to do that. That’s my job. So I had to call the woman who deals with the system in the main office located in another city just to get the number for the guy who wants it, the guy who has looked at the number he needs at least three times but won’t just forward the number to me. And they believe teamwork exists in Taiwan, if teamwork does exist I’d happily let you show me where because I’m of the firm belief most of your Taiwanese colleagues would rather take a massive shit on you instead of helping with anything even if it is work they need. 

The reason for this is because schools, companies and anywhere else where people are supposed to be working to achieve a shared outcome make everything competitive. The bosses and people in charge want to generate a working environment whereby your colleagues will refuse to help, even if it’s just finding out a number because they’re not listed to work on that task and even if they cannot complete their task without me completing my task. In a nutshell they all seem to have little man syndrome where they want to look good by making you look shit. All in the name of working their way up the ladder in some soulless company where they’re a number, a company where they cannot go home until their manager goes home, or they have to stay until midnight because of another bleeding made up emergency. 

So as the rage burned, I grabbed my coffee and stormed outside, with no destination or purpose I just wondered aimlessly in a circle as steam was blowing out my ears like a bugs bunny cartoon. I amble right past a Starbucks just as I need a piss, so rush on inside to do the business hoping no one is already in the toilet because if I had to wait 30 minutes the piss might have started to slowly dribble down my leg. 

Luckily no one was inside and unlike the good Taiwanese folk I was swiftly in and out in a jiffy. As I was walking out of the Starbucks something caught my attention in the corner of my eye, a geezer to the left of me was watching porn in the middle of bloody Starbucks. I only caught a brief glimpse, and assumed he didn’t notice that I had clocked him. A did a swift double back and pretended to be browsing the coffees on the shelf but I really I wanted to check I wasn’t going do Lally tap. 

His MacBook was open for the whole coffee shop to see, little Apple headphones plugged in and some woman getting he vadge smashed in for anyone to see. I really wanted to get a sly picture of the idiot but unfortunately he had clocked on to the fact that I had clocked him and I wasn’t really browsing for coffees. When he noticed someone saw him he flipped the late down and hastily exited Starbucks. I must say it was a pretty odd situation, why would he watch porn in the middle of Starbucks like that, I’m sure it’s not the advert Starbucks and apple were going for when they target trendy hipster wankers. As for wanking, I reckon Starbucks owe me, because no doubt he was one step away from wapping his dong out and bashing one out while everyone is sat in blissful enjoyment sipping a coffee. 

So Starbucks send your free vouchers to me for being the saviour of the day, ta. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

We are only a couple, and I live alone - Dog Charity in Taiwan refuses to let me adopt a dog

My adopted dog - AnQiang, does he look unhappy to you? 

Me and the Mrs had been thinking about getting a dog for some time, quite some time in fact. I have always loved dogs myself, but the Mrs was never that keen.

Well that all changed after we took a trip back to England to see my parents, my mother had since got a dog since I relocated to Taiwan. When the Mrs met him and spent time with him she was positively sold on getting a dog. 

First of all we had to move apartments from my jail sized box to a real apartment, that comes with separate bedrooms, kitchens and a lot more space. Before the move I was living in a tiny studio with no kitchen or separate bedrooms. Unlike the locals I believe this is no place for a dog to be left alone while I go to work all day. 

Once we found a place, the first thing the Mrs insisted on was to find a dog, my only rule was that if we get one, then we must adopt it. There’s so many dogs that have been abused or abandoned in need of a loving home and family, and I’m not so keen about trusting breeders even at home nevermind here where dogs are often treat as a commodity or the latest fashion accessory. 

So even before we had moved any of our stuff, the hunt for a dog we wanted to adopt was on. I suggested that the Mrs should decide which one we take because she had more things that she wanted to consider before taking one, for example size. If it was too big it would be difficult for her take out. Me on the other hand I could have took any dog and been happy all the same. 

Most dogs up for adoption here are some natural mix of Taiwan dogs, Taiwan dogs are the common local dogs in Taiwan and can be seen everywhere. Most of the strays have some part Taiwan dog in them meaning their features will be visible. They’re are all kinds of weird and wonderful mixes though because most the mixing in the pot has been done naturally. The locals who are fed up with their new commodity or accessory generally take them to the riverside and dump them. Most dumped dogs are some kind of designer dog, with most strays being Taiwan dogs this is how the wonderful mixes that are difficult to see back home are created. 

For this reason we had assumed we would find some kind of Taiwan dog, be it some form of mixed Taiwan dog or closer to how they’re supposed to look. Neither concerned us, we just wanted to find one that was calm and friendly because we are first time owners. So the Mrs got online and found a dog charity a lot of people recommend DogsHome Taiwan and I believe, if I remember correctly their website is or something similar. 

We saw they had an event outside second floor cafe in Gongguan so we thought it would be good to check it out. When we got there we saw a couple of dogs we liked in particular, so we started to ask them some questions which seemed to annoy them. This was the first warning sign, how can a dog charity get annoyed when you ask them questions about the dog you are keen on taking? 

Next they asked about my apartment, which is fair enough that they want to know if I have enough space to keep a pet, but what came after this was weird in the extreme. They said they don’t like giving dogs to couples like me and the Mrs. They asked how we would look after a dog while we’re at work, my reply was, “just like everyone else does, we’ll feed him, leave him water and what he needs and he’ll wait until we get home.” Apparently they hated that, and told us someone has to be there during the day with the dog and again reiterated they don’t give dogs to young couples anyway. 

Their patronizing and condescending attitude was starting to agitate me, and could feel my blood start to bubble and boil. They had all these nice dogs locked in cages but would refuse to let us adopt one just because we are young, a couple and I live alone. I get it, loads of young people must get dogs here and dump them if they break up but you need to apply your crappy rules on a case by case basis because this is something you really can’t generalize. 

This charity makes you pay medical fees which is fair enough but there was a story on Facebook recently that someone posted where the charity claimed the dog was really healthy and then the lady took it home but it wasn’t. It was really sick, when she posted what happened her posts were removed. There was also something that blew up on Facebook about them stealing someone’s cat and chopping his balls off then charging the owner for the ball chopping. There was loads of back and forth between the cat owner and the charity of he said she said. In all honesty though why would any person claim a charity stole their cat and chopped their balls off unless they’re mental? If it was just an accident then apologize and hand the cat back instead of pointing fingers. 

This is supposed to be a ‘charity’ but I have no doubt if they find this post they’ll start screaming in fits of rage that I need to remove this post or they’ll sue me, which is very charitable of them, but I have some advice for you and your charity. I’m a big fat bastard called Mark and I don’t give a fuck what you and your minions you call followers think, if you act the twat less then you’ll have to threaten to sue people less. At the end of the day we are a couple who wanted to give a dog a loving home, and now we have done that without any shitty help from you. 

After our misfortune of attempting to deal with doghome Taiwan, the Mrs went online and found a page online which listed all shops around Taipei that had an abandoned or stray dog for adoption. We went to a dog grooming shop which was on the list as having a dog up for adoption, when we went there we thought we couldn’t find or see any dog that looked like it was up for adoption until they brought out this lovely little poodle. He wanted attention from us straight away, the Mrs loved him instantly but I was worried about how his eyes looked. 

I went and thought about it at work for a couple of days then decided I really wanted to take him too. I got in touch with the Mrs and told her call the shop and let them know we want to take him. She did, they ageed but said we had to meet the owner first, I kept pestering her to call the owner because we really want him. We never expected that we would be taking a poodle, picking a breed never came into our minds we were just looking for one we liked that suited our situation but we are now the proud owners of a lovely little poodle named AnQiang. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Walking in Taipei can be an annoyance

If you have ever been to Taipei you know it can be busy, but not as busy as other Asian metropolises. Therefore it becomes a frustrating annoyance when trying to walk anywhere in the city because people often get in your way regardless if you're walking fast, slow or make an attempt to circumnavigate them.

Smart phones and scooters have a large part to play in this issue, people are addicted to using their smart phones in Taiwan and when you walk past people on the street a large percentage of them are still playing their phone games even as they're walking while at the same time not paying attention to their surroundings. If the phone zombies walk into you because they're unaware of paying attention, then they'll give you a look as if to say, "why the hell didn't you move?!?!"

The worst incident I have seen of this lately was upon trying to exit a lift, someone steps out before but only takes one step; after that one step they just stand directly in front of the exit from the lift. No one could get past the guy, and no one trying to get out of the lift wanted to tell him to move or barge through him. The lift people tried to politely squeeze past without causing any kind of scene, or fuss but under their breath they were surely wondering why the guy decided to just stand in front of the exit from the lift and not move.

Now there is nothing wrong with the guy stepping out the lift and playing phone games that is not really an issue normally, but for this guy to either have no awareness or just not care that no one could get out of the lift because of him all to enable him to continue his phone game is a sad reflection of the selfish way the world is headed. All he needed to do was take one or two steps more then he wouldn't be blocking the exit from the lift.

And this kind of action is replicated all over the city when you're trying to go for a walk, people block the way a lot of the time and seem to either lack simple basic awareness of their surroundings or not care that they persistently block the way. If you charge right, somehow they'll amble right, if you charge left, they'll amble left. It often feels intentional but I don't believe it is.

The other problem is the parked scooters, as a scooter owner I likely add to this problem from time to time too. Scooters in Taipei are parked everywhere, and it could easily be said that people getting in the way of each other is linked to the parked scooters. The scooters bump up onto the path and therefore suddenly the space on the path becomes more limited, which is a bit tragic because a lot of the shops have already built out claiming part of the path belongs to their shop and built on it. This leaves people about 3-5 feet of path to share so it's no coincidence that people often block each others way.

A lot cannot be done about the lack of space or how many people there are in Taipei, however people's lack of awareness in regards to their surroundings and what is going on is causing the walking issues. The thing that baffles me is this - are phone games that important in life that they have to be played even when walking? Just knock the game off, plop the phone in your pocket and look where you are walking. Then you might realise people are nearly walking into you, your're blocking exits or escalators or just being a general nuisance.

Gua Sha treatment for heat stroke relief

Earlier this week I had to get Gua Sha, because of suffering from bad heat stroke after hiking in the afternoon, like a madman, bang on midd...