Lets not be friendly

I’m back in Taiwan and still feeling the effects of being home in Prince Edward Island. Since it’s so common to greet and strike up conversations with strangers there I somewhat out of habit said hello to the new neighbour who was moving in next door. Just a simple wave and hello. Naturally he ignored me. I had forgotten for a moment that in Taiwan there seems to be some unwritten rule that you must never make eye contact or acknowledge another expat. I’ve always found it to be the most strange of rules but after almost 10 years here have grown accustomed to all the strange facets of life here.

No Umbrellas

It’s pouring rain in Charlottetown today and as I was being driven into the Food Court, my supplanted office, we made the somewhat interesting observation that no one seems to use an umbrella. It’s almost inconceivable where we live to not have one. In fact we might have eight or more strategically placed between house, car, motorcycle, and office. In Charlottetown rain jackets are the norm.

Urban Eatery Pizza

I just finished another slice of pepperoni pizza at the Urban Eatery in the Confederation Court Mall’s food court. The pepperoni was salty and it was far too oily but compared to the stuff they pass off as pizza in Taiwan it’s an absolute dream. Highly recommended, especially if you like think light crust.
I’ve heard of people asking The Wheel in Antigonish to ship across Canada a large donair pizza. I wonder if the Urban Eatery would do the same to Taiwan?
Note: The meal isn’t cheap, a huge slice and a juice is $7.00CAN (approx. 221NT$) making it at least twice as expensive as most quick lunches in Hsinchu.

Not Pining for Pine

The Confederation Court Mall Food Court is becoming my Island office as I make use of their open wifi set-up here. I’m appreciating this more and more as the days go by here. Someone deserves kudos for setting this network up.
I’m spending my time at the family cottage which while not off the grid is about as remote as I have been in these past couple years. No high speed data and thankfully no TV. It’s wonderful to unplug if only for a short stretch at a time.
I did during the past few days manage to get a dial-up account with ISN, this on a promise for my mother, Connie, that I would have her new MacBook set-up before I left for Nova Scotia and Taiwan. Unfortunately it’s completely unusable. I’ve resorted to using Pine to check email which is somewhat better than attempting to load Gmail and certainly a fun trip down memory lane. I can’t imagine Connie investing in satellite service or paying the cable company to run a line for the road.
Maybe she too will have to resort to using Pine and a feed reader over the summer.

Colour reproduction on a new MacBook

I’m exhausted today after a sleepless night and so decided to spend the afternoon setting up my mothers new MacBook with the goodies that she will need to keep in touch while we are overseas. I’m sitting here in the Confederation Mall food court looking a bit like a poser with two Apple laptops in front of me.
My mothers MacBook is such a pleasure to use, it’s much better than my little 12″ Powerbook. I’m starting to feel the pangs of jealousy.
But the default setting the screen uses reproduce color scares me. I dislike the glossy finish as well – I see all the overhead lights which over time must cause eyestrain.
The colour is way off. My Powerbook is certainly not as bright but the colour is very warm by default. My eizo monitor which I use when at home has been calibrated primarily for text entry over graphic design. In fact while all my monitors at home display colour with subtle differences in reproduction none to the extreme that I see in this new MacBook.
I’m sitting through the colour calibration settings now but it’s scared me enough to wonder if I don’t have to revisit every site I’ve designed these past months to check again for colour problems. I thought I had put those batty web safe palette days behind me.

How things should be

This is what I have been missing. Strangers greeting you and initiating conversations. Cars stopping and letting you cross the road. Cars waiting for you and your kids to be well clear before they continue on their way.
The staff of Air Canada, the waitress at the Town and Country, people working as cashiers, our neighbours, with few exceptions every person we have talked to have been extremely friendly and if needed helpful. Living in Taiwan for so long it seems unnatural. It isn’t. This is how a society should be.

Things to do in Charlottetown when it rains: Tourism PEI says ‘nothing’

The weather has ben extremely cold and wet in Prince Edward Island thus far this July. A far cry from the 36˚C temperatures we had in Hong Kong last month. We’ve been at a loss for activities with the kids. We can have fun in the cottage playing, reading, and doing crafts but it would be great to get out and do something – we can do these other activities at home anytime.
A quick call to Tourism PEI revealed the following recommendation: go to McDonald’s on University avenue. Not the advice we were hoping for.
With some pressing the representative suggested the Confederation Centre library and The Guild on Richmond street but they didn’t have any information on exactly what and when they had something geared towards young kids.
Needless to say it’s a bit disappointing. Weather here is seldom ideal, you would think some enterprising person would think of activities for families when bad weather hits.

Flying home

We left Siangsan district in Hsinchu on the 4th for the 26 hour trip to Truro, Nova Scotia. Driving to Cannoe Cove in Prince Edward Island is a further 2-3 hr drive which we did the next day. The newly named Taoyuan airport is as efficient and uncomplicated as ever. Unlike many airports elsewhere they tend to do without the usual orgy of shopping and fast food and focus on getting people in and out as quickly as possible.
Our first stop was Vancouver. They also seem to try to reduce time in transit but through the use of automated check-ins and baggage check. I know this is popular for many business passengers but I appreciate dealing with humans on long haul flights. The whole process is dehumanizing enough.
I think partly I wanted to vent t he fact that Air Canada had closed the check-in gate near arrivals forcing us to walk across the whole airport with luggage and children in tow.
I was a zombie when we arrived in Toronto for our brief layover and only recall the horror of how expensive everything was. I’m still getting used to just how much more people pay for fresh food (if you can find it) here in Canada.
We arrived in Halifax early, stayed over night in Truro, and have been recovering at the family cottage in Canoe Cove. I’m going to be here for at least 3 weeks, working half days, reestablishing ourselves here for the future, and spending some quality time with the kids.

Waking the dead

I’m in Prince Edward Island, it’s cold and raining, and since it’s Sunday I am taking a break from client work. What better time to resuscitate a long dead weblog.