Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taiwanimania : Part 1

Yeah, so I wasn't going to repeat the Cambodimania thing, but Taiwanimania just looks so fun! And try saying it! Isn't it fun?

So here it is, the first part of my Taiwan trip! I'm so thankful to Paul and his family and friends for being so hospitable and taking me around. They were really great.

I left on a Sunday morning, and I was very tired from staying up late the night before. I really do never learn, do I? I got there in plenty of time (almost two hours early) so I had plenty of time to kill. I seem to gravitate between twiddling my thumbs at an airport and running in terror trying to get there on time, and I definitely prefer the former.

So sad and tired.

My mood is quickly improving.

Waiting for the plane.

Goodbye Hong Kong.

I landed in Taiwan and got through security quickly enough. Paul and his godmother were waiting for me! I hadn't seen him in a long time, so it was fun to catch up. His godparents drove me to a rest stop kind of place where we ate a little food before heading to the next town. One of Paul's good friends is a choir director and was having a concert that afternoon. Although I didn't understand most of it, the music was beautiful. My only worry was falling asleep! After the concert there was a potluck upstairs. There was SO much food; it was brilliant.

Me and Paul!

At the choir concert.

After sampling a lot of interesting dishes, we headed over to Paul's town. A lot of his family members were having a BBQ, and we got there on the tail-end of it. It was already dark, and they were set up on the sidewalk in front of their noodle shop. They had a little portable grill out, and were milling around seemingly in a full, contented state. They offered me a plastic stool and immediately started grilling me up some food. The food at the potluck was good, but this was delectable. I had grilled shrimp, bamboo shoots, and various other meats. My absolute favorite were some clams that came in a thin broth with herbs. Heaven! I wish I had taken some pictures of the food, but I didn't.

Paul's cousin's boyfriend from Canada was there, so I had someone to talk to! His family is from Hong Kong, so we had fun talking about the city and discussing the bits of Cantonese I know.

When things were winding down, Paul and I left with his aunt (we were staying at her house). The next morning I wandered around her awesome garden. She has a really sweet house with a beautiful albeit overgrown garden.

It was the Dragon Boat Racing day, so we watched the dragon boat races on tv while eating these traditional dragon boat glutinous triangle things with black sugar.

After lunch we went with Paul's uncle and one of his friends, Zowan, who's an English major, to visit a pier and its market. It was pretty, but VERY windy. Paul lost his hat at one point and I was afraid it was going to blow into the water!

Zowan and I.

Paul with his cool paper hat.

Inside the market. There was so much to look at!

There were also giant corndogs.

After that Paul, Zowan and I wandered around his town taking pictures and then met up with two old friends of his. We all went to a coffee shop together, but unfortunately I was too full to actually drink anything!

I don't know why these statues are this shape, but they're pretty cool-looking.

At the coffee/tea place.

Then Zowan's brother, sister, and sister's boyfriend showed up to take us to the Taipei Night Market. We played some of those carnival games which was great fun, although I swear that there was something wrong with the gun. I was aiming so carefully, and wasn't hitting very many balloons! Also, I couldn't even see the BB go anywhere or even feel it leave the gun. But oh well. I didn't want to win one of those giant Stitch stuffed animals anyway. Pens are much better.

The sneaky balloon-shooting place.

We had some amazing food for dinner, and I really liked the oyster omelette I had. I tried stinky tofu for the first time, but wasn't a fan. It kind of smells like the animal barn at a country fair, and unfortunately its taste is very similar to its smell.
My delicious oyster omelette.

The food part of the market.

After dinner we wandered around looking at the market. I bought a couple of presents for people, and we got more and more food! Every ten minutes or so someone would buy us something else. We all took turns buying (a cool part of Asian culture) so we ended up having onion cakes, fried chicken cakes, cookies wrapped in dough, cranberry lemon juice, and other things I've by now forgotten. By the end of the night, I was waddling! I couldn't even eat more than a spoonful of the shaved ice cream even though I'd been looking forward it for a long time!

The wrapped cookies before they're wrapped.

What, no handouts?

Shaved ice cream, mango.

Strawberry and chocolate. Yum!

I've heard that if Asian cities were assigned a deadly sin, Taipei's would be gluttony. I believe it.

1 comment:

  1. haha! Loved it! the weird statues in my town I think are actually shapes of stamps... like old traditional signature stamps. And a shot you took of the night market actually said ,"Stinky tofu" on one of the signs... I bet you didn't know that, but its cool you posted that and talked about how much you "hated" the stuff... lol!


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