A few weeks ago, I was walking away from the Xinyi Public Assembly Hall (信義公民會館) after visiting Good Cho’s (好,丘), a combination cafe/performance/gallery space/store/cafe that was recently opened by the organizers of the Simple Life (簡單生活) festival, when I stumbled upon a fascinating sight…

My lumps, my lumps, my doggie lumps

At first I thought it was an installation, since there is a lot of public art in the area and another gallery besides the one at Good Cho’s. As I got closer, I marveled at how finely crafted and realistic the details on the sculpture were…

Amazing dogs

… and then I realized, the “installation” was actually three dogs who were happily installed on their grassy knoll for an afternoon nap.

Doggies in a row

It’s unbelievable. I mean, one doggy croissant is cute enough, but three? In a row? EEEEEEE!!! They had collars on, so I assume they belong to people who work at the Assembly Hall or live in the many apartment complexes in the neighborhood.

In other news: I am recovering from the stomach flu. I’ll spare you the nasty details, but needless to say it messed up my week. On the plus side, I’ll be better in time to visit Tainan this weekend, where my parents are currently staying. My Dad flew in to get some dental work done. Even though it is uninsured, it is still much cheaper than it would be in the US (and, of course, my parents have the added bonus of seeing me and other family members). The more I live in Taiwan and am able to get an international perspective on the US health care industry, the more it horrifies me. It upsets me that people who have worked hard all their lives, saved money diligently and done everything they can to protect their families are still just one accident or illness away from financial ruin — even though they pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month for insurance. It is frustrating to read about my friends back home living with horrible toothaches because they can’t afford to get a cavity filled. I don’t want my parents’ quality of life to suffer when they get to the point where they need geriatric care. It is inhuman that children are being denied medical coverage because of something — a pre-existing condition — that was completely out of their control. Yes, the Taiwanese health care system has a lot of room for improvement and the government is still figuring out how to ensure its financial viability in the long term, especially as the country’s population ages and needs more specialized services. At the very least, however, people accept the idea that everyone is entitled to basic medical care as a universal human right.

Where was I before this tangent? Oh yeah, after two days of laying sick in bed while nursing a bottle of Pocari Sweat and being feasted on by mosquitoes, I’m excited to visit Tainan! I’ve read so much about how young artists and entrepreneurs are renovating old structures there and turning them into cafes, hostels and stores. It really sounds like a dynamic, vibrant city that manages to keep a sense of its history. With our schedules, Ron and I don’t have a lot of chances to get out of Taipei, so we’ll be making the most of it. My Dad told me about this seafood restaurant with really cheap raw oysters… mmm… 生蠔…