… when Santa is driving the 235 bus!

You know it's Christmas in Taiwan...

I took the photo with my long lens on the digital SLR my dad lent me when I took off to Taipei. I was afraid the driver would feel self-conscious if I just shoved the camera in his face and end up veering us off the road. One Santa also had a giant sack of candy, I suppose to give out to children.

I’ve been trying my hand lately at taking photographs when I go to press conferences — and what I have found out is that I am not good at knocking people out of my way. Of course, being 5’1″ does not help. But watch out crazed press photographers of Taipei! I’ll be doing special exercises guaranteed to sharpen my elbows 86% and your ribs will bear witness to my wrath!

Self-portrait in front of the Dunhua Eslite

This ornament was hanging off a tree in front of the Dunhua Eslite, my home away from home. The book store is open 24 hours a day and I could probably sleep there if I didn’t care about things like decorum, dignity, personal hygiene or spending time with my fiance. One thing I hate about bookstores like Eslite and Page One is that all of their foreign language magazines are wrapped in cellophane and you have to go to the customer service desk, request that they be unwrapped and then stand there while you flip through them. I think this is because the companies that import the magazines want unsold merchandise shipped back to them so they can be sold as back issues. If you look closely at each magazine’s price sticker, you can see the name of the company that imported them. While I love the international selection of magazines I find at Eslite, I really miss being able to flip through my favorites at will.

Ron had to work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas, but we managed to spend some time together. Christmas isn’t a huge deal in Taiwan and most people don’t get the day off. There are services you can go to if you are religious, but other than that it seems that people celebrate it mostly for aesthetic purposes. It is a very pretty holiday. I’m not religious and my personal aesthetic doesn’t really revolve around pine needles and snowflakes, so Christmas for me represents spending time with your loved ones and being grateful that you do have people who love you — and eating an entire month’s allowance of calories in one hour. Ron and I went to a Christmas lunch that our friend Anthony was hosting at his restaurant and, my goodness! There five different kinds of roast meats, all very good, potatoes, salad, cranberry sauce made with fresh berries… it was amazing.

Ron and I also marked our fourth anniversary a couple weeks ago and celebrated with a fancy dinner at a very classy restaurant called L’Idiot.