Taiwan blog #4 – Banana Boats are Not Really Boats

With less than half our journey remaining, I told myself to keep a positive mentality; that the cup is half full and not half empty. We still have 3 weeks to enjoy our time in Taiwan and with all the people that we’ve met here and built connections with.

My research has been going extremely well, the other day I went with my graduate student, John, to a presentation where he went to recruit elderly subjects for my project. John had some technical difficulties with the projector but he nailed his presentation. Afterward, many people came up to him asking to participate in the experiment (they were speaking Mandarin so that’s what I am assuming). To my pleasant surprise, three elders offered to get tested on the spot! John and I took them to the lab, where he explained the protocol. And just like that, we had subject data! During data collection, it was just John interacting with the subject since I cannot speak Mandarin. While it is a bummer to just set up the equipment and stand there, I know that it is important to portray good body language and to study the interaction between John and the subject. Every single subject we had was very interested in what we were doing, and John always had a smile on his face explaining what we are we doing and why we are doing it. I had two more memorable experiences with a few subjects. One subject asked who I was, and we explained to her that I was from San Diego and she told us that her son went to school in Los Angeles. Another subject, after testing, told us that he loves to play tennis and has lower back problems. So, we helped him with some exercises to help with his pain.

After we finished data collection, John and I had a brief meeting to discuss the route of our project, and what we wanted to focus on, since the program that we are using collects a lot of different data. We also had to change the project a bit, since none of the elders were sarcopenic. But that wasn’t really a big deal since we are still comparing motor unit recruitment in young versus old subjects, and the role aging plays.

In terms of exploring Taiwan, this week was Ayri’s 21st birthday and since she’s from Oklahoma, where the beach isn’t as readily available, we all went to Kenting, a beach town. This is definitely somewhere you all want to go! It’s seriously an amazing place to visit; especially if you love natural scenery. Our hostel was right in the middle of a night market, so when we arrived we dropped off our things and went to find dinner! The next day we rented scooters (which are actually really easy to ride and really fun to drive) to go to the beach. We ended up going to three beaches that day. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get any pictures of this. But one of the beaches we went to offered tubing (which is something that isn’t offered on any of the beaches that I have been to in America). I can’t really explain the concept of tubing. But we did the banana boat (which isn’t a boat) and this flying disk one? It’s difficult to explain, but in short all of these activities put you on an inflatable, and then you hang on for dear life as a jet-ski drags you out into the middle of the ocean. 100% a must do if you come to Kenting!



The next weekend was Kat’s birthday so we went to Taipei Zoo. It was pretty much like any other zoo with a wild arrangement of animals. I think we went at the wrong time because a lot of animals were either sleeping or staying in the shade because it was a hot that day. At the train station, on the way home, I was exposed to something known as “pineapple cakes” and I can honestly say these things are AMAZING.


Two more weeks to enjoy Kaohsiung so I’m going to try my best to enjoy every second of it!




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