Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time Traveling

I still argue that it was only 2 days away, not 3, until I get home. Time traveling is for realz. Now it's just one long day until I get home, not 2.

Speaking of time traveling, Back to the Future is the greatest movie of all time.

*Picture c/o here

Friday, February 26, 2010

Exhibit

So the da Vinci exhibit turned out to be a disappointment, which I had a strong sense it would be. sigh. But it was nice to get some alone time today. T-2 days!
*edited*
I forgot to mention that I also got to see the lanterns they set up at CKS for the lantern festival. I'll be leaving right after the festival.

From Taiwan - Randoms

Pretty!
From Taiwan - Randoms

Apparently sending off sky/flying lanterns is a big tradition here, except according to the news, it has nearly lit an MRT station on fire/scorched a police officer/caused airport delays (this is what the TV news told me. Couldn't find any web articles on it.) It's a very pretty sight, but disturbing when you think about all the things that could go wrong with so many flying up at the same time.
Anyway... before I left for CKS, I took everyone out for dim sum. We were trying to take a photo of my aunt & uncle but this is what my uncle gave us. Favoritest picture ever.

From Taiwan - Randoms

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hello Kitty

She will always have a special place in my heart. I've stopped collecting, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy looking at and seeing all the things that Sanrio can plaster her face on. I especially wouldn't mind getting a birthday cake from here. Though eating Hello Kitty's head seems morbid to me.

From Taiwan - Randoms


From Taiwan - Randoms

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rain

It's supposed to rain through the weekend. Stupid island weather.
Edit: the weather miraculously cleared up today (Sunday)! 

Namesake

There really isn't much to say about my time in KaoHsiung. It was a whole lot of being dragged around visiting friends of my aunt's that I would've been fine not meeting and having awkward dinners with said friends that I would've been fine not being present for. Anyway, the only thing that I got excited over was meeting my namesake.

From Taiwan - Kaohsiung/Tainan

Er, more like a likeness of my namesake since it is a mythical creature that has changed in appearance throughout history. The part of my name that I share with the Qi Lin (pronounced "chee ling") is the "lin" part. In Japanese it is called "kirin". Read more about it here.

From Taiwan - Kaohsiung/Tainan

I've never actually seen what a qi lin looks like until now. I don't know why I've never looked it up. I guess I was satisfied with my dad's description from 15 years ago, saying that it's a mix between a tiger and a dragon. It's appearance has been up for debate for centuries, but it is commonly said to have the head of a dragon, antlers of a deer, skin & scales of a fish, hooves of an ox, and tail of a lion. So basically a creature of awesomeness.

South

oi. We just got back from Kaohsiung (1.5 hr train ride/5 hr drive south). A cold front swept in so we came back to a cold & rainy Taipei. Sigh. Photos to come later. Just want to relax for now! Hope everyone had a good week so far =)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

HOLA!

Not sure why they named a home store in Taiwan a Spanish word, but anyway...

Today was a lot of standing, waiting, bus-riding, & walking. oi. The 204 bus does not come very often, which is annoying since it gets us to most of the places we want to go. I can't wait until the subway extension is complete. There's going to be a subway stop a couple blocks away from the apartment, which will make life a lot easier here. I digress... so I was a bit wrong about HOLA. It's like a hybrid of Wal-Mart & Bed, Bath, & Beyond 'cause they sell a lot of home furnishing things but they also have some groceries/snacks/cleaning products/hair stuff etc too, which is where the story of my bobby pin search comes in.

For the longest time I've been looking for curved bobby pins that don't have ridges. I haven't seen them since I bought a pack years ago at Claires. Anyhow, I finally found something that comes close to mine.

From Taiwan - Day 24

Top: new bobby pin
Bottom: old bobby pin
I would argue that my old ones are still a better design and nicer to use simply because of the rounded tips, unlike the new one that has fairly sharp ends, but I don't think I'll ever find my old ones in stores again so less-awesome bobby pins it is. I hate how easily they get lost. What the heck. I mean, I started out with a pack of about 60 originally and now I only have 10. Sigh. So ANYway... we went to Yong Kang Street for dinner/dessert. We got red bean on shaved ice for dessert. It's so hard to find shaved ice in our neighborhood 'cause it's a more traditional Taiwanese area and they don't serve cold stuff in the "winter" but the Yong Kang area is more westernized so they have shaved ice places open year-round here. Ahhh, how good it was to taste that slushy red bean-goodness.

From Taiwan - Day 24

Jealous? I would be too if I were you ;) Oh, and that's my 25NT bubble tea beside that red bean shaved ice, hehe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A little bit of sugar

Tomorrow we're going to HOLA, a home-outfitters-type store, for some towels. In the meantime, read this. It's sweet and a nice reminder of what love is like, in case it's slipped your mind <3

Monday, February 08, 2010

The day

Nothing notable today, other than the fact that I slept like crap last night. I got the new Badly Drawn Boy album "Is There Nothing We Could Do?" and it's just what I needed... something to unwind to =)

Completely off-topic, but this week is house-cleaning week! Apparently it's tradition to clean the house in preparation for CNY, much like spring cleaning in North America. I used an exclamation mark because I'm actually excited. I know what you're thinking "Oh Ling, you're so silly with your love of cleanliness" except this is not me getting excited simply because I enjoy a clean house, but because this place is actually dirty. Like I said before, Taipei's air is the one thing I hate about being here. It brings out my allergies & it makes everything filthy because the windows are always open and all the sut from the exhaust of passing vehicles drifts in. Plus the floors here are this shiny white stone tile that reveals every little bit of dirt and crumbs and hair and it just creeps me out when the floor is speckled with black stuff from whoknowswhat.

Anyhow, so it just occured to me how little time I actually have left here. I'm already into the 3rd-last week and then next week we're going down to 高雄 (gao xiong) for a week and then just one more week in Taipei after that and it's home time! Still so much shopping to do so I think I'm going to get cracking on that starting tomorrow.

For those who skim through my entries and look forward to the photos, here's a nice shot of Taipei 101, found on vi.sualize.us. None from me today, sorry!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Market

Yesterday morning we went to the market (5 minute walk). We're pretty lucky to live near this market 'cause most people in Taipei still have to go to regular grocery stores for their shopping. This market is like an Asian-ized version of a farmer's market.

From Taiwan - Day 20

You can buy any veggie & fruit (that is in season), pork, chicken, seafood (for some reason there isn't a beef vendor here, but there's anOther market close by where you can get beef), baked goods, bulk snacks, hair brushes, socks, clothes, bras, underwear... the range is huge. I would say the majority is still produce & street food. The produce/meat/baked good vendors are usually gone by the afternoon. Sometimes you can get a good deal from some fruit vendors who hang around in the afternoon to get rid of their stock. To give you an idea of how densely packed this area is: the road has street vendors lining it along with regular stores lining the inside along the sidewalks.

Rain

It's been raining a lot here lately. According to the weather forecast, we should be expecting rain through until next week with possibly a day or two of a cloudy break. Le sigh.

This photo from Ansel Olson makes rain seem like a magical thing. If only it were such the case here.

Things I'm planning to do within my remaining 3 weeks here: check out the Van Gogh exhibit at the National Museum of History and the da Vinci exhibit at the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. My aunt found coupons in the newspaper for the Van Gogh exhibit to save 50NT per ticket. Saving money = always an exciting thing. I'm really looking forward to the da Vinci exhibit, so I hope it doesn't let me down!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sashimi

I titled this post the name of one of the dishes from lunch today because it was that epic. Maybe it's 'cause I only got 4 slices so I had to savor every little bit or maybe it's 'cause I haven't had good sashimi in a while, but damnnnn... that was good sashimi. There was tuna, salmon, & yellowtail. I think I'm right about the fish...?

From Taiwan - Day 19

Anyway, we went down to 彰化 (pronounced zhung hwa) today to visit an old business friend of my aunt's. Let's call him John for simplicity's sake. We took the high speed rail (aka HSR, as they call it here) from Taipei to 台中 (pronounced tai zhong), which is about a 200km trip, and we made it there in 45 minutes. I'm sure people who've been on these types of trains know how amazingly fast they are, but for those who haven't ridden a high speed train: they are amazingly fast. As a reference, it'd be like going from Ottawa to Montreal in an hour. Or Ottawa to Toronto in 2 hrs. Amazing.

View Larger Map
The next best thing to the highly expansive public transit system here is the extremely cheap cost of the trips via public transit here. A one-way ticket cost around $20 for myself. Would've been cheaper had we not been traveling on a Friday too. Where in Canada/the US can you find such a cheap cheap way to travel?? Besides carpooling with someone & splitting the gas money.

From Taiwan - Day 19

Anyway, so John picked us up at the 台中 train station and drove us to 彰化 for lunch at his uncle's Japanese restaurant. 彰化 is about a 20 minute drive south of 台中. I have no idea what his uncle's restaurant is called, but if anyone plans to go to 彰化 in the future, I will find out the name for you so that you can experience the awesomeness yourself.

Check out more photos of my lunch >> here <<.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yang Ming Shan National Park

Despite the heavy rain early this morning, we still decided to go ahead with the day trip up the mountain since it appeared to be clearing up. My aunt & uncles kept telling me to wear a warmer coat. While it's usually colder up in the mountains, it's been like summer in the city so I just wore the usual jacket & threw a vest in my backpack. In the end, the jacket ended up being a little excessive 'cause it was maybe 1 degree cooler...? =p
From Taiwan - Day 18

Anyway, it was nice being out of the city and getting some fresh air. The sakura trees are starting to bloom in the park so that was a nice sight.
From Taiwan - Day 18

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Gifts

This year I finally figured out something the 老公 would enjoy as a birthday gift and it sparked my long-lost desire to wrap it up in a pretty way.

This was after I finished decorating the kraft paper. I used white & peach pencil crayon on kraft paper. I like the softness in the look of it. 

And of course the bow had to be white to go with the color scheme =p Luckily I still had the huge bow from the gift bag M. gave me. It was the perfect size!

Happy Birthday babe!

RT-Mart

Today we went to RT-Mart (大潤發 da ruin fa). It's kind of like a Wal-Mart Superstore, except bigger (it feels that way at least). I love their use of frolic here. 

From Taiwan - Day 17

I would've taken a less blurry photo but one of the store clerks pointed out their "no photographing"sign so I am stuck with this one. I don't understand why some stores don't allow photographs on their premises... it's silly.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Monday, February 01, 2010

Expectations

Found here.

Mitch Hedberg

Found here.

Pictures are up!

I guess I've hit my limit of daily picture-taking since there are 4 days worth of pics in this one little album. Click here for the latest batch of photos.

My favorite from this album:
From Taiwan - Day 11,12, 13, 14

Hello Kitty mah jong set!!! Holy crap, it is the cutest thing ever.

No matter how old I am, Hello Kitty will always have a special place in my heart =p