October 19, 2012

Taiwan style

It’s been 7 years since I’ve been back to Taiwan. This time I was lucky enough to be back at same time as my aunt and cousins. Also the weather was a bit less torturing than Singapore at (23-28 degrees), but I was still melting away whenever I was outside or eat anything with hot soup.

If there was only one thing you do in TW, it was to just eat. Eat everything; there’s always food available, from awesome breakfast sandwich with milk tea to tons of night market stalls, little corner deep fried chicken nugget stands to random cold noodle shop that opened from 2-8am. The usual daily routine was to eat breakfast, lunch for 3 hours, find dinner, snack at night market or somewhere. There was even 24 hour dim sum! My schedule was super full for the whole 10 days I was in Taiwan, ate out pretty much everyday with relatives. Jap style tonkatsu meal, night market food, hot pot / mongolian grill, beef noodles etc. Had a chance to play MJ one night too, where I lost all my money, and then won it all back by 自摸 twice. Then after MJ we all went to eat cold noodles, at 2am.

I got to meet up with my “model” cousin a few times this trip, I haven’t seen her ever since she came to Canada when she was a little girl. She took me to 九分 for a day trip, it was this town on the mountain, bit traditional/old looking, but a really nice place to visit. We walked the whole town, ate super tasty 滷味 and taro ball things dessert, then we stopped at this town 十分 and lit sky lantern thing. The town was tiny and right next to the train track, and you had to move out of the way whenever train comes. We wrote our dreams and wishes on the lantern and sent it off, probably landed in someone’s backyard lol. I always wanted to do one of these lantern thing though, it was pretty sweet.

Annie came to visit TW for 5 days too, so I moved to Ximen with her and we went to all the major tourist spots like CKS Memorial, Tamsui (thanks to my aunt Emily for driving us!), Shilin night market, National Palace/Museum, Taipei 101 (third time visiting and I finally got to go up to the top). I also learned a good deal about fancy Asian cosmetics with multiple trips to Watson, and how expensive they were – buy lots of face masks if you’re in Taiwan, really good deal supposably.

We did a day trip out to Yilan with her friends on Weds, which was the Taiwan Day – missed all the celebration in the city ;p. We started with fish foot bath thing that Annie really wanted to try, it was so cheap, $100 for 30 min, and it felt so weird; little bites all around your feet, not to mention we had like twice as many fish than Annie’s friends haha. We then rented scooters and went to a waterfall, did hot spring in a hotel, ended the night with dinner at Lodong night market. One famous food in this city was this special green onion (3 star green onion), so everything we ate had green onions – beed skewers, some cake thing, some roll thing, all so tasty.

Next day, we did a trip to Hualien to see the awesome scenery at Taroko. Thanks to my aunt Cindy we got train tickets last minute. I looked up on tripadvisor and found a private hire for a day for $3000 (about $100 cdn), and she drove us around the park for the whole day (about 7 hours, which I didn’t think it was that bad at all). I loved it, so pretty, too bad the previous typhoon caused some rock slide and some of the passages were blocked off. We got to go to this mini hike to see waterfall, and went into this cave where it was pitch black and the spring water was just gushing out of the walls. Got dropped off into town in the end, and we ate delicious wontons and one of the best XLBs ever. It was not the usual small thin dumpling ish skin kind, but more like an actual meat bun, with soup inside too. It was only $5 a bun! That’s like… 6 for $1 cdn!

Last night before I left I went clubbing with my cousin and his friends haha. It was quite a fancy place, very happening, packed still at 4am. It’s been so long I just couldn’t keep up with these young kids anymore, I didn’t get home til 5am after some post clubbing dim sum, and then I had to get up 8am again to go visit my grandma with my cousins (dad’s side). So brutal, kept dozing off on the MRT, and then my cousins were late! I could’ve slept 45 min more lol, oh well, all good. I haven’t seen my grandma for ages too, and I was told that she has really bad memory now, but… well it wasn’t as bad as I thought, she remembers me at least ;p Then the day ended with me rushing back to my aunt’s to pack up because I had to line up forever for this ferry to get back into town, and there was a mega dinner gathering before I leave, so stressful lol, but delicious peking duck solved all the problems.

After a very eventful trip, my flight back to London was one of the shortest flight ever, because out of the 13 hours I slept for probably 8 of it #BEST

Would I go back

Hells yeah.

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