Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Taiwan day one

My Taiwan post finally. I seem to be saying finally a lot recently when I talk about Taiwan. The last time I set foot on Taipei, Taiwan was probably 10 years ago. So long. As a kid, I took those trips for granted. Daddy paid and I thought of Taiwan as going back to visit my grandpa, aunt and cousins mostly. Eating, playing, having fun, buying things..without a single thought.

Back then, we mostly went during school holidays, which means we stayed about a month. We didn't have to worry about accommodations since we mostly stayed at my grandpa or aunt's place. 

Fast forward 10 years later in 2012, I am married and I went back to TPE with my husband and his family. This time around, I stayed with them at Rainbow Hotel for a week. How time flies..


 On arrival at Taoyuan Airport. I find it so nostalgic stepping back on Taiwan soil that in the beginning, I am sometimes quite irrationally happy for no reason.

For example, for no reason at all, being in the airport makes me smile. I mean that I look around and recall familiar sights. I remember that I sat on those seats over there with my cousins and aunt. I remember arriving here with my siblings many, many years ago.

But enough with those memories. Upon arrival this time around, we went to buy a SIM card first at the airport. Most of the signs are in Chinese, so if you want to come, better come with someone who can read Chinese.

Which means that Cs has the pleasant job of reading out a lot of signs to impatient me. Including all the street snack signs, all the food menus, and most of the directions to go here and there etc etc. As well as where to buy the SIM card, and where to go to buy the bus ticket that will take us to Ximending, which is where our hotel is. Lucky him. :) Or should I say lucky me.

I thought I missed winter. After that first day, I don't miss winter anymore. It sucks. Sucks having no heater. Sucks to have to wear layers and layers just to sleep.

Before, Nifer, Shirley and I secretly laugh at Nifer's friend who was based in Taiwan then, because he was complaining of the cold when it was about 14 degrees. We look at each other in disbelief cos he is siao one. How can 14 degrees be cold? Its fucking warm lah. Compared with London then.

Now, I take it back. 12 degrees is fucking cold compared to 35 in Kuching. Haha! It was actually cold on the first day only. The next few days were ok, not that bad that we had to hug each other in bed shivering.

Years and years ago, I remember that construction works were seemingly ongoing all the time, everywhere. It seems the same this time around too. Not everywhere lah. Just that there are alot of these below.

On the bus to Zhongxiao Fuxing.

Changed to MRT at Zhongxiao Fuxing to Ximen Station. The whole journey took about err..30 mins or less? Sorry I can't be very accurate now. It was my first day and I was delirious from lack of sleep, and excited from being in Taiwan. Finally!!! After soooo long!!!

If you must know why I keep saying Finally!!! when I talk of Taiwan, its because mum always goes to Taiwan with Winnie (lucky bitch for being the youngest), and Kevin (fucker). No lah. Its my fault. I was in London after college and when I came back, I started working so no chance of a long leave. Boo hoo.

Until now, that is. :)

Cs' parents kept raving about this bitter gourd juice at Ximending. Of course we had to try it asap.  OMG. I can now say that one of the best tasting juice of all time is bitter gourd juice. They make it pure. Didn't add water. Just added ice (can opt not to for no extra charge, which is what I did), and honey. Nicee..very refreshing. Costs about NT 50. RM 5.

And of course the famous rice noodles at Ximending. Mien sien in mandarin. Awesome awesome. Cannot get enough of this. Hot, slurpy noodles soup on a cold day. Awesome-ness!

They don't provide tables or chopsticks. So you eat when there are stools available or you eat standing up.

 Mee sua.

The queue gets longer at night. We stay in this area. A-chung mien sien is about one minute walk from the hotel so we are here alot. By night, the queue can get quite long, and this whole street area is crowded, but you get served very fast. So no worries. We ate here almost every day.

I ♥ their 7-11. So many varieties. Its difficult to choose which drink I want. So many different types of tea and juices and all in Chinese.

The Taiwanese love their dogs apparently. Cute dogs everywhere, and many big dogs walking on the streets as well. Almost all of them are wearing clothes. Damn cute.

This was at Wufenpu. No make up, and I look like shit. Wufenpu is a wholesale area that also sells to normal customers. The clothes are cheap and I would have bought more if not for the crowds, and the cold.

It was so cold that first day and drizzling. My jacket and Cs' were inadequate. Both too thin and both wearing short sleeved t-shirts inside. We just stepped off the plane what. That's our excuse. Just arrived from KK.

Raohe St Night Market is close by so we walked there.

Dog clothes. Damn cute. I bought 3 outfits for Cherrie. Wanted to buy socks and shoes too but in the end decided it was too impractical. We bought a Tiger outfit for her, fur lined. Hahaha probably impractical too but it suits her. Wild cat that she is.

And I had Cs read all these signs out to me. I mean, how can I know what sort of food that is just by looking? Taiwan is full of things like this..and I must know! So yea, better to travel with someone who reads Chinese.

And this is how you cook oyster omelet Taiwan style.

Oh my, I look very hideous.

This is my beloved Taiwan oyster omelet. I miss you. I fantasised and day dreamed of you. Cs and I had this almost every day too. :) Among other things.

Some of the things you see at night markets.

For some reason, guava is quite popular there. Only they call it pala. Yea pronounced like so too. Pa-la. We bought one to try..mm..tastes good. Much better than our guava. I'm sorry I hate it when people say that.

Things such as, their Big Mac is better than ours, or their chicken is bigger than ours, but now I'm saying it too. Their pala tastes better than our guava. Sorry.

Accessories. Had I brought more money with me........

More dog outfits. I also bought a Superman shirt for Cherrie but not as cute as the one above. So cute got a cape and a belt. Hahahha wish I bought that one instead.

Shoes..shoes. SO Cheap their shoes. And SO SIEN cos they Taiwan people have small feet. Unlike me. The giantess. I keep asking for big size but they don't have. And I only bought 2 shoes. One pair of flats and one pair of boots. Boo hoo..of course its not enough. For like RM 20 or RM 25 each for those shoes below ok. How can that be enough??!!! FML. Or Fuck my feet. Haha giantess indeed.

There are many performers/entertainers in Ximending every night. This guy below is one of them. Its because of him singing Rhythm of the Rain that I am listening to it now. Its on repeat on Youtube for now.

Picture this: I was so happy being on holiday, the cold air blowing in my face, CNY feel, the crowd, my shopping, Cs on my arm, back in the hotel room, in my shower, I could hear rhythm of the rain.

That is what I think of. Or at least the scenario that night. Cs and I were walking back to the hotel when we stopped to listen to his song. Walked back to our room and I took a shower. I could hear his voice loud and clear from my room.

This is the view from our room.

Oohh cute socks before I forget. Our companions on cold nights.

Our room was small compared to his parents' room. They shared a 4 person room and it was huge. And price was very reasonable. Hotel name: Rainbow Hotel. Go Google it. Very recommended from me, the Complain Queen.

If you don't mind hearing sounds from the streets below, then Rainbow Hotel is for you. Let's face it though. Taiwan is noisy.

10 years ago, I woke up to the sounds of the temple gong and monks chanting; bicycle bells, and the aunties in the pasar shouting. "Chai shi chang". Oh man what is that term again? Morning market! But even their markets are interesting. So many different stuff from us. I wanted so much to persuade Cs to go with me to Banjiao just to go to the morning market.

Our room and toilet. Clean and reasonable size for the price. Clean towels and free mineral water and housekeeping everyday. Polite service from all the staff. No complaints. So yea, coming from Complain Queen.

I was looking for a way to complain to Air Asia this morning. In the end, I wrote to SkyTrax, the Airline Review and Star Ranking website. Really! Toilets on the air plane was worse than public toilets in Kuching. The smell! I was sitting on the last row some more, kill me now! Service has deteriorated so badly. I know it is a low-cost airline and I am not complaining of the price, or having to pay extra for this and that.

I am complaining of basic neccessities. You don't make customers smell pee for 3.5 hours. You don't. Would you Tony Fernandes sit in a cramped seat and be forced to smell that god awful smelly pee smell, and when you have to use the toilet, (assume you have to sit like a woman), and you find that omg, the seat is broken, the toilet floor is wet, and omg toilet papers everywhere.

You wonder what has happened in here? A stink bomb? And what have the cabin crew been doing? Can they not smell the toilet from where they are standing? Certainly not. Which means, they are used to it. They are used to the smell!!! Oh man!! They are used to the pee smell. Poor staff really. They deserve an award just for working in such conditions.

But I digressed. Again. Sorry.

It was cold so we both bundled up before going out at night for some midnight snacks and drinks..

And yes, new boots and new beanie.

I shall end with this photo of Rainbow Hotel. Right in the middle of Ximending. We got woken up the next morning to the sounds of people testing the mike. Sounds such as: testing testing 1,2,3. This went on for quite a while.

Finally when we got up and dressed, we went to ask the receptionist: what's going on? Some star coming to Ximending? She smiled and told me alas, even the stars have to rest too during on CNY. No shit those were her exact words!!!

Hahhahaha funny. But you can't blame us for being hopeful. Kevin saw Jolin Tsai at Ximending, I saw Pan Wei Bo, and Cs' parents saw ok some band but I forgot their Chinese name again.

I was hoping on Jay Chou. Haha fat chance yea whatever.


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