Busy weekend! On Saturday it was incredibly hot here, easily in the 90’s with lots of humidity. I went to eat lunch with Hank and his girlfriend, and they took me to a Thai resturant. They ordered red curry, and I was a little nervous since I’m not very good at eating spicy foods, but they assured me it wasn’t “that spicy”. I should know by now, that while for Taiwanese it wasn’t so bad, for me, “not that spicy” leads to a runny nose, red face, and coughing. I finished my cup though, and it did seem less hot by the end (although it might have just been my tongue dying). To beat the heat we also went out to get mango ice. What that is is pieces of mango sliced with fruit juice on shaved ice, along with a scoop of ice cream made from sweetened condensed milk. We also tried a chocolate orange flavored one that had frosted flakes all over it.

On Sunday I made plans with Sanju, Tony, Joy, Hesper, and Irene to go to Tainan’s Flower night market. In order to get there, we had to walk about half a mile, take a train for a few stops, then find a bus to take us within a few blocks. The cost for the train and bus was amazingly cheap and ended up being less than 1 USD. Near the end, the train was crowded, but it was nothing compared to the market. People were packed in the aisles so tightly, If someone ahead of you stopped, you were stuck until they kept moving. The smell of the market changed every few feet. One second you smell something incredible, but the next when you try to get another whiff, all you smell is fish and lots of people. We managed to stick together pretty well though. The group separated a few times, but everyone always had someone. I ended up buying some kind of tea that tasted really similar to lemonade and trying winter gourd tea. So far, winter gourd is my favorite kind I’ve tried. I also bought some chicken on a stick that somehow had rice cooked into it. For desert, Sanju and I bought probably around 5 or 6 bags of those fried sweet potatoes. After a few hours, we took a shuttle back to the train station, narrowly missing our train, and eventually made it back around 11:30.

I walked into my room the other night and found what I thought was a large black worm on my floor, and decided to figure out what it was before touching it. As it turns out, it was a brahminy blind snake. Before I could figure out what to do with it, it had crawled back into a crack in my wall. Luckily they apparently eat ants and termites, so it’s welcome to stay. I’ve also been getting bitten badly on my arms and hands while I sleep by something. The bumps are small, but itch really badly and are often close together. I set off a bug bomb yesterday and am doing laundry tonight, so hopefully, I can get rid of whatever it is.

Yesterday and last Friday we took samples of tomato leaves, and then froze them in liquid nitrogen so they could be sent for chemical analysis. Dr. Mohamed Rakha also left to go to the UK, as well as take home leave back to Egypt. He won’t be back until after I leave, but it was nice working under him.

I fell asleep early last night and ended up waking up early enough that I went for a run. I missed doing little things like going for runs, so I’m hoping that by throwing it into my routine it will help carry me through the next 5 weeks without homesickness. Honestly, I haven’t been too bad as far as culture shock goes, and I’m better now that the other interns are around so it’s not always so quiet. Last night the 3 Korean students ( whose names are apparently Bang, Mango, and Blank(Peach)) even invited a few people to come try the food they’re making tonight. Everyone is settling in after their first week here, so we’ll hopefully be going out more soon.


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