Metros and Vending Machines

The first memorable movie that has been engrained in my head to this day is called My Neighbor Totoro. It was probably my first anime I’ve ever seen and I just remember from then on, my childhood has been surrounded by watching anime over actual cartoons. I know more classic 90s anime shows than I do American cartoons. giphyI could blame the fact that my mom is Taiwanese so I was surrounded by all things Asian. This is actually probably true but I didn’t protest and complain about it, in fact I’m kinda glad things happened this way because I probably would have never grown an interest to travel as much as I have.

 

Living in Taiwan has given me this grand and splendid opportunity to travel throughout Asia, I wish I had gotten to travel more, or rather stop going to Hong Kong and voyage off to another part of Asia. But unfortunately, I love Hong Kong a little more than I should, seeing how I’ve been there three times within a year. But I did make a change from last weeks trip though. As I mentioned before, anime played a part of my life from my childhood all the way through high school. After high school my interests switched up and I became interested in arts, travel, and food. I finally got the chance to go to Japan.

DSC03577 DSC03538I was thrilled when I bought my ticket to Japan. Two days before I went I was feeling restless, I was so excited I wasn’t thinking properly. Going to Japan was something that I held interest in for years. I’ve always been so close while living in Taiwan, yet so far away as the same time. But now though, having been there has been a dream come true. It was better than what I expected Japan to be. So much that I could actually see myself living there. While in Japan I was blessed by having a friend in Tokyo to take us and show us around. Thanks so much Wesley! I hope I’ll see you again soon!

I do plan on going back, hopefully within the next year. I do now have to make my way to Korea first though. But going back to Japan. While there, I had the most frustrating time there with the public transportation. It was so incredibly confusing in Tokyo. I though I was pretty good at getting around in foreign countries. Japan though…not the case. Its incredibly easy to get lost in the metros as well as the city itself. Paris is incredibly hard to get lost, as in Taipei. Barcelona, I didn’t have a problem either. Same with Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but that was because we were using a tuk-tuk the whole time in Thailand. But Tokyo….I had never been this frustrated when it came to public transportation until I got to Japan. There are about 3 or 4 different metro companies throughout Tokyo so you would have to transfer to another line. There are multiple stations within the same area…Safe to say was that by the end of our Tokyo trip, I was beginning to understand how the metros worked. If I was given another two weeks I would have mastered the metro systems there. Taipei’s MRT only took me a day. See the difference?! So frustrating.

But to make up for the frustration and stress from the metros, Tokyo had the most exquisite ramen I’ve ever had. Yes, exquisite. We ordered the ramen in front of the store through a vending machine. DSC03570From there you’ll be given a ticket which then you can proceed into the restaurant. This here got even more cool! Ever customer had their own stall at a bar table which no eye contact would be made among the customers as well as the waiters and waitresses. DSC03565

There was just a call button, that if you wanted your bill they’d take it. Other than that you see the small bamboo screen roll up and a pair of hands holding a nice hot bowl of ramen carefully place it on the table in front of you. I know I talk about food in my posts a lot, and that goes to show how much I love and adore food. But I have to say once again. That was the best ramen I’ve ever had. And it came from a freaking vending machine. Kind of.

The broth wasn’t too salty. The noodles were cooked perfectly the way I like it. It was so nicely seasoned and even for someone who typically doesn’t eat pork, I can see why my friend Monica,  who is Japanese-American adores pork. Pork had never tasted so good before. My brother even offered to eat my pieces which I vehemently denied him. I thought I liked Japanese food before, now its not the case. I love it. I’m sorry Thailand….but Japanese food just replaced you on my list of favorite cuisines. DSC03567

I feel that I should continue on with this post…but I’m going to annoyed the readers by talking about food rather than the experience. I promise I’ll talk more about the trip itself next post.

PS: OKONOMIYAKI IS THE BEE’S KNEES!

 

 

 

Not a wink

Its currently 7:10AM. I haven’t slept at all…I’m incredibly tired yet I have no idea why I’m unable to sleep. Since I have an abundant amount of time until my plans take place later in the day, I decided to take some time and write about my life. 

The most recent thing that has happened lately is that…nothing has been going on. What will happen in the next few days is that my brother is coming to visit from the US. In my mother’s words though is quite different. She basically sent him here for a life change. I like to say “She shipped him here”…Unfortunately he won’t be arriving in a package. I’m quite thrilled to see my brother again. We haven’t been really close while growing up. We have our brother-sisterly love every now and then but there has been a lot of struggle over the years when I was living with my family. I know things have changed and I hope they stay that way. Things are much better now than it was before. I’m very please for it to be that way. Getting to see my brother is not the only reason why I’m excited. Alex being here in  Taiwan means that I get an extra luggage to bring all my stuff with me. I can’t even imagine how I’m going to be able to manage with all the stuff I currently have….I do plan on giving away some of my clothes…and I’ve worn out many pairs of the shoes that I own…to the point where I had to superglue pieces back together. 

Another reason why I’m looking forward to having Alex here is that I have an excuse to leave Taipei. I know I’m incredibly lazy and I haven’t done a whole lot to change that but since Alex has no idea on how to get around in Taiwan much less knows whats there to do in Taiwan, I’m here to help him. Granted I’ll only be able to play tour guide on the weekends, its better than nothing. I’m planning on taking him to place I haven’t been myself….It’ll be a great adventure. 

We’ve got plans to go to Japan. I’m really thrilled about that. I’ve been wanting to go to Japan since I was in high school and next month it’ll be a dream come true. I’ll also accomplish one of my life long goals. Which just so happens to be to go to all the Disneys in the world. I know there are plenty of other life long goals such as becoming a millionaire. But so many people have goals like that. How many people can say that they’ve been to every single Disney park? Not as many as there are millionaires. Point made. 

Now this is the part where I drop the imaginary mic that I’m holding in my mind and walking off stage with my chin up filled with pride. But I have more to talk about.   

I’m going through a series of thoughts about what I want to do in the next year or so. Do I want to just work and find a career? Or do I want to go back to school? I drift back and forth trying to decide but I can’t seem to settle on a solid decision. Then I have my problem of wanderlust. How will I be able to do all the traveling I want to do if I’m working and I’m at school. I know I can just easily live abroad and be able to travel that way, but I know it won’t get me to where I eventually want to. I’m living in a different reality from the rest of the world. I still manage to do everything but where people are moving up in work or settling down. I’m on the other side of the world having the time of my life. A part of me wonders if I’m ready to do settle down and begin a career. One part says yes and the other says no.  I don’t know if I’ll be happy when I get back to the states. Thats what worries me the most. I don’t want to live in a life where I’m not happy. I want to be in a place where I know I love and I can find happiness. Where ever that may be. I hope I find it.

 

April 27th 2014

I had made plans the week before to go hiking (walking up a ton a stairs)  up Elephant mountain in Taipei so I thought naturally my body was just excited. I was not anticipating what would happen once I got there. So here is how my epic day went…

I had set my alarm for 8AM on this particular day to be at the bus stop at 9AM.  I woke up at 6:30. I debated on whether I should go for a quick walk around the park to kill time or just lie in bed, hoping that sleep would take over me for another hour and a half. I chose the latter but sleep never came back. When my alarm clock went off at 8 i took my shower and got ready to head out. I messaged my friend Monica who was going with my roommate Etosha up the mountain. Apparently she had just woken up when it’s usually the other way around. I must remind you lovely readers, I’m lazy and I love procrastinating. I love waking up after 10. So its quite funny to see me up and about before typical early birds. I think it was there when I knew I could accomplish anything. When I got ready to head out, Etosha was still not ready so I told her I’d go pick up some water and a banana for us to eat and munch on along the way. I managed to get all that done before 9. I waited 10 mins and missed a bus before everyone else arrived.

When we got onto the bus and then followed by the MRT I could tell that the two of them were so extremely tired, so much that I ended up taking photos of them asleep for the duration of the rides.

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Once we made it to the entrance of the hike. I was pumping with excitement. I had my phone in my head and I was ready to conquer the mountain. It was a lot of stairs. It was my first time hiking in Taiwan…and I did not expect that hikes would be all stairs. It was quite fun though. It took us a good 20 minutes to get to the top and once we did Monica and I decided to take pictures of each other on these huge stones with the view of Taipei 101 behind us. As I was taking Monica’s pictures though, I had overhead two friends talking and I quote “No one loves Taiwan as much as she does”. I started laughing because I knew they were talking about Monica. She was wearing her probably now famous “I Love Taiwan” cap. I told Monica what they had said and they started laughing as well as apologizing. Aside from the hike itself, this was the first highlight of the day. On our way down we came across an older man in just a pair of shorts singing songs as he make his way up the mountain. He sung us “Welcome to my mountain! I sing this song for you, so you can come back again next week. I will sing for you again”. It was shortly followed by him singing “Jingle Bells”. Second highlight.

When we made it down we ended up walking to Taipei 101, which isn’t really all that far. Probably a 20 min walk. We were dying for food so on our way over to the food court we were stopped by a group of Taiwanese college students. They walked up to me and asked if I could help them out (in English)  and I was all like….OMG please don’t tell me its for the protest, then they were hesitating cause apparently all they knew how to say in English was “Hello, Can you help us?” So I responded back to them saying I understood Chinese enough for them to speak to me. They quickly changed their posture and went straight into what they wanted. They were on a scavenger hunt which on their list was to find a foreigner and have them sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with them, while being recorded. For proof. My initial reaction was, “I can’t sing”. That was immediately followed by “Neither can we, so you won’t be alone”. I ended up singing….I wonder if I’ve been made famous on Youtube now amongst Taiwanese college students….

After we finally made our way to the food court we were starving. Since Etosha and I are on our vegan diet with two weeks to go, our choices were very limited. We opted out for Indian curry. Not complaining at all since I love Indian curry but I kinda do miss chicken.

After lunch, Monica had to head back home while Etosha and I went to go see the not yet out in the US movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I will not spoil anything besides saying that if you’ve read the comics, you will know what happens. I cried like a baby…and I knew it would happen from the very beginning. It was a pretty fantastic movie. I think I prefer this one over the first one. Its way better than the Tobey Maguire ones as well. Sorry Tobey, I still love your other works though 😀 

All in all though. Every little thing that happened today was fantastic in the most minuscule kind of way. If I could repeat this day again, I would. Over and over again. So as Monica’s cap has finely put “I love Taiwan”.

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Piercing and Mr. Washboard

This week was the most eventful and least eventful at the same time. I really only had to highlights worth talking about this week. The first one happened on Monday and the second was on Saturday. I would like to give a little warning though…I might be exaggerating parts of this story due to the fact that I’m in need to make my life seem a little more exciting.

The weather was gorgeous on Monday night which inspired me to go running. It was a little windy, which I had no qualms with. Having a little wind for a small run is perfect if you don’t wanna be sweaty in the cockroach and mosquito infested country called Taiwan. That saying though I went out and I managed to run (jog) about two and a half miles before I was winded. I began slowing down until I saw this guy come up from another path next to mine. We made eye contact and I swear, he smiled and then lifted his shirt up and gave me a nice display of what I like to call washboard abs. Now I was out of breath for all the wrong reasons. As he passed me I of course had to turn around to make sure I wasn’t imagining anything. Sure enough he still had his shirt up which I can only assume he was wiping sweat away.  Once I got my breath back I was motivated to run another two laps and luckily enough I got to see him again. This time his shirt was off… That night was the best run I’ve ever had.
My second story is much shorter. I got my ear pierced. Well again. So I’m up to three piercings now!  Got myself a helix 🙂 So all in all I’ve had a pretty good week.

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Vanishing Acts and Adventures

For the past three days I’ve been relatively distraught and confused. For some strange reason my memory card for my camera decided to pull a Houdini and vanished out of thin air. I am at a complete lost as to how that happened. I searched high and low to see if for some reason it slipped out of my camera and then out of the case. Still nothing…I’m sure it apparated to Hogwarts or something. The thing is though…memory cards should not have the ability to apparate….apparatemaybe someone accioed it to them :/ I have no clue but I want it back!! It had all my pictures from Hong Kong that I never got to put on my computer…and all of my Thailand videos. The only upside to this revelation is that I just have to relive everything again. I know for sure I’m going back to Thailand. I will most likely skip Bangkok and probably head straight to Chiang Mai. I would love to do the same program with the elephants and I want to play with the tigers again as well. Just thinking about all these adventures makes my life seem so surreal. I wonder how many  other people have done  all the things I have. I wonder how many people I know share similar stories that I have.

A part of me is excited to be heading home. Even if its just for a little bit. I get to see old friends again. I can share and tell stories of all my adventures in my version of Neverland. The only flying I get to do is on plane….Sadly I have no Tinker Bell to give me pixie dust. Unless I go back to Disneyland HK again. I can maybe ask her for some there. Yeah…I’d save a lot of money on plane tickets that way.

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Two weekends ago to say the least was quite an exciting story. For my stomach at the very least. It faced a rather interesting and mildly confusing flavor of ice cream. Corn ice cream… Apparently its not new and is relatively popular in the Caribbean but since I’ve never had it before I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was funny since I was the only one that ordered what was considered odd for an ice cream flavor. I’ve had all kinds of flavors before but they’re what typical Americans eat such as , lavender, cheesecake, vanilla, chocolate, mint, peanut butter. I’ve had a fair share gelato and sorbet over in Europe. That included Catalan Creme, tiramisu, stracciatella, Nutella, cactus…etc. Of course since I’m living here in Taiwan I have to have the red bean, matcha, and mung bean flavors. Which I do by the way love and adore.  Image

How I found out of this place called “Snow King” here in Taipei was through a friend of mine who invited me to go after reading my previous ice cream post. This place is so fantastic. Its like having Christmas…that I was gypped out of last year. SEVENTY-THREE FLAVORS! How can you not like that?! I wanted to try them all…I ended up getting a scoop of corn and a scoop of guava. Not extremely strange considering they have Beef Noodle Soup flavored Ice cream but I figured I could take baby steps and give corn a try. Corn flavored ice cream was delicious! It tastes like corn bread pudding. But cold…frozen. haha Still fantastic though. The guava taste even better than I thought it would actually. I would say it is in my list of top five ice cream flavors I’ve ever had. It taste exactly like a guava. I was in love. My friend and roommate Etosha thought the same…since she kept stealing bites of my ice cream. It got to the point where tried to divert my attention by pointing things out so I’d look away from my guava ice cream. Good times.

Image What was probably the most exciting about this day was the fact that there was absolutely no line for ordering, so I was ecstatic. While I looked at the menu in between bites, I wished I had an endless pit for a stomach. Speaking of endless pits…I miss my doggy back home. I can’t wait to see her again!

 The only downfall about this was that my top picks weren’t in season at the time so I was unable to try them out but I know mango will be out this summer….Expect me to be back Snow King….I’m coming back for you!

Not Queueing For Ice Cream

Ice Cream Lines

One of my biggest flaws in life is my lack of patience. But strangely enough I have no problem waiting in line when it comes to food. In fact I find it thrilling. Its like every step I come closer to the shop the closer I get to riding that roller coaster I’ve been waiting a good 2 hours for. Today while I was in Taipei with my roommate, just taking a stroll, trying to kill time before we head back home to do…whatever we could think of, I decided to drag her down an alley suddenly remembering that I have to add money to my Easy card (bus/metro pass). Just as we turned around the corner I found a line for….ICE CREAM! linesSo knowing the foodie I am…who is a sucker for ice cream, I of course got in line, completely forgetting the reason why we went down the alley entirely. Within 5 minutes of waiting in line we discovered there was another line for another ice cream shop. It was then where I realized that my stomach would either love me tonight or hate me. It didn’t matter though, so I devised a plan that Etosha would wait in this line which was only a third of the other shop’s, that way I got to try both. The line wrapped around the corner of the building…where we previously were before we entered that alley. I was ecstatic. This had to be worth it. I didn’t really even know what I was getting in line for until I someone told me. It was for ice cream with honeycomb. I felt my mouth begin to salivate.

It was about 15 minutes before Etosha came back with cup of ice cream. It was good to say the least. But I’d probably never wait in that line again. It was kinda funny though cause when Etosha joined up with me, the family behind us started talking to us asking where she got the goodies. I of course, couldn’t contain my glee and immediately told them it was just around the corner. So they did the exact same thing we did. After waiting a good hour we finally made it to the front. I purchased my ice cream and took the first bite. I had a foodgasm. It was like not having a Reese’s in over a year. I was in heaven. I was seeing stars.

 

My belly was happy…but I don’t think I’ll be doing anything like this again soon…

I did go running tonight though 🙂