With a typhoon raging outside, the dance floor was jam-packed with a mix of Taiwanese and expats, grooving under a musical trance on All Hallows’ Eve. It was 2005 and deejay Chris Pady was slinging just the right infectious beats to rule the room. It was heady stuff, complete control, a superpower that today lies mostly dormant until he hears La Lupita and immediately he's thrown back to a time when he ruled the world.
When writer Chris Pady decides to slip away for a few hours on a friend's bicycle while vacationing with his wife and kids in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, he discovers the Ai He (Love RIiver) path. What begins as a hot and steamy fling in the form of daily cycling escapes, ends with knowing Kaoshiung a little better. And the best part: No guilt.
My wife, Michele, and I spent much of our twenties in one of Taiwan’s lesser known cities, Tainan, where we soaked up the former capital’s unique culinary, social, and cultural delights. Food and rent were cheap while teaching wages were high. Meeting friends for a lavish feast on a whim was practically the norm.
by Chris Pady
I balance perilously on my teammate's shoulders, wondering what to do next. The crowd below me grows impatient. I would love nothing more than to wipe the beads of nagging sweat scurrying down my face in mini rivers, but my hands are covered in greasy grime. The cacophony of blaring music and people screaming is so loud that I can barely hear myself think.
by Kristin Mock
This is not the betelnut princess I imagined. This woman is sitting outside her one-room apartment tying waxy betel leaves around smooth, ivory-colored nuts while her daughter does math problems out of a textbook and sips a cup of mango juice. She has been tying betel leaves for hours, flinging them onto a waxy mountain of wrapped-up nuts piled high in a cloudy glass case, snatching one every once in a while and placing it between her lips. It is this, the stained lips, the tell-tale pink with a hint of scarlet, the color I’d come to learn as the betelnut smile, that holds my curiosity most as she hands me a paper bag.
We are on the tiny tropical island of Xiao Liuqiu, a wet and humid place off the southwest coast of Taiwan. After driving home on the two-person motor scooter we’d rented that morning, Matt, a Canadian adventure writer who lived in Taiwan for seven years, and I sit on a wooden swing outside of my purple bungalow overlooking the sparkling lights on the shores of the South China Sea, and I learn the legend of the betelnut.