Thursday, July 24, 2008

Welcome to Our Home
The dining table.
The Kitchen
The Living Room
The View from the Living Room
Your Bedroom

Main Bathroom (AKA Eric's Bathroom) The shower is one of those spiffy, car wash-esque showers where you have a regular shower head, a rain shower head, and water nozzles spraying you from the side. My Room. This is where I sweat. My AC doesn't work yet. It will be fixed tomorrow (cross your fingers)

Notice the well placed light switch. (There is also one by the door)

A crappy picture of my bathroom...
I'm very excited about my toilet. Apparently, these toilets are super common in Japan. But anyway, it has a remote control. I can also heat the seat, change the water intensity and temperature for the bidet and torture my unsuspecting guests. This toilet is awesome.
The Apartment Facilities

1. Basketball Court

2. The Swimming Pool

3. Steam Room / Sauna4. KTV Room - Karaoke

5. Gym6. Cafe

7. View from the Top

Oh yeah, there is also a movie theater. So, there it is. Not too shabby, eh? Next order of business, um, when are you coming to visit?

Side note: Some of these were stolen from a professional.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I have a new address and a San Francisco skype number, so it won't cost you a billion dollars to catch up on all things oversized in Taiwan. If you aren't a creepy internet stalker (or at least one I know), shoot me an e-mail and I will pass along my contact information.

I promise I will charge my camera batteries and take pictures of the beautiful apartment I just moved into. And it is beautiful. It even has a room especially for you when you come to visit.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moving tomorrow...

Happy Birthday to Me!

Starting tomorrow, my temporary contact information will be invalid. You'll probably have to talk to my ex-roommate... IF he decides to come out of his room, which is unlikely. So, maybe you'll just listen to the phone ring in a foreign country. Wow, so exotic.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm actually not sure about the blog etiquette of how far you are supposed to let your blog lag behind the real pace of your life. Perhaps I should take the high road to blogging as Bissie said (mind you this is paraphrased with a pinch of reading in between the lines)- some people are skilled at chronicling every day life. You are not one of those people.

Danshui beaches. Danshui is actually on a river. We caught the bus in Danshui to go to the beach. The beach we choose was an hour bus ride away. I believe it was called White Sands Beach. I didn't get the Chinese translation for a couple reasons. 1) My teacher trainer, George - Taiwanese, brilliant (phD from Cambridge in linguistics) recommended this beach. Here is a reinactment of the conversation:

A:"George, do you want to go to Fulong beach?"
G:"Ewww, so dirty. When are you going?"
A:"We'll probably go on Saturday. Ewww? Why, what beach should I go to?"
G:"You should take the MRT (Taiwanese BART) to Danshui. Get off the train. Walk across the street. The bus you want has no number. It is all in Chinese. So, you must rely on the kindness of strangers. They will help you go to a nice beach."
A:"Why don't I rely on the kindness of you?"
G:"I can't swim."
A:"You live on a fucking island."
G:"I know how to put on a life jacket."

I have met a lot of Taiwanese who don't know how to swim. Curious, curious indeed. Harold, our other teacher trainer, proceeded to tell me that going to the beach in Taiwan is like putting on a hot, moist blanket to bake in the sun.

However, I think the trip was totally worth it if only to see this...
Oh man. You have got to love speedos. Most of the women were in t-shirts and shorts. I'm not sure if this is due to modesty or a fear of getting tan. The Taiwanese women (in general) are anti-tanning. The whiter, the sexier, which I just love. Being beautiful is a very confusing endeavor. Beauty product companies have of course jumped on this desire to stay pasty. There are a multitude of skin bleaching creams and products available. Yipee! I wonder if they turn you a weird really light shade of orange instead of a dark shade of orange like the tanning creams in the states...

The beach was lovely. We were able to rent some shade (tent) and a beach mat.

(Roomate Eric's ass and our beach tent.)

The water was perfect. Cool enough to give me some reprieve from the heat, but warm enough to make it a pleasant experience. There was only 1 problem.

Jellyfish. Hundreds of tiny jellyfish.

I spotted the little buggers early on. My roommate and I seemed to be the only ones concerned about them. Everyone was laughing and playing without a care in the world. My roommate, Eric, and I both got stung. It wasn't traumatic and life threatening, but it definitely wasn't pleasant. And also was definitely not something I would be excited to endure more than once.

One girl was swimming next to us. She also seemed to be looking at the jellyfish, so I asked her,"Do they sting?"
"Can I touch them?

She then proceeded to go back to frolicking in the water without a care in the world.

Regardless, the beach was beautiful...

It was strange because all the people at the beach were concentrated in one area. There was a section for swimming that was buoyed off and everyone pretty much stayed in that area (full of jellyfish). We couldn't find anyone to ask, but there was plenty of beach area without 50 billion people. We, of course, stayed in this area. When in Rome... I found out later that Taiwan doesn't have a continental shelf, so the water gets really deep, really quickly. Because of this, there are some nasty undertows and currents swirling around the island.

It was a pretty awesome day. I absolutely loved the Danshui area. So much so, I'm probably going to get an apartment there. A beautiful, beautiful apartment. In fact, I'm signing the contract in just a little bit. YAY!!

More on that later, too. I think it's safe to assume anything I write about in here actually happened about 2 weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

So I have been doing some touristy things that are probably far more interesting than traumatizing run-ins with German malts.

Oooo, aaawww.
Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world, as seen from Dr. Sun Yet-sen Memorial Hall
Me scaling the tallest building in the world in the observatory in the tallest building in the world.

There all sorts of space-agey things and pretty lights going on in the walk ways in Taipei 101. This is my former roommate Brie walking down a hall on the way to the wind damper ball.

The wind damper ball is a huge pendulum that sways to offset movements in the building caused by wind. Evidently, it is a little breezy up there.

Apparently, the wind damper ball is a whore because there are a bunch of damper babies running around the place that look like this. They are quite frightening and should not be trusted.
There is also a lot of different art pieces for purchase in the observatory. This picture shames the ornate detail in this gold, but you get the idea.

And while at the top of Taipei 101, you shouldn't do this. From the looks of these pictures, it's probably a good rule of thumb never to do these activities in public.

Wow, did the view suck.
The area surrounding Taipei is mountainous and green. The 360 view from the top is just incredible. I can't wait to go back at night time.

More on beaches in Danshui and jelly fish later...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Word to the wise.

No matter how many corner stores in Taiwan place this beverage in the beer section, it is not a beer. You will be sorely disappointed if you drink it thinking it is beer. Yes, it is in a can. Yes, it is from Germany. I don't speak German, but I'm pretty sure Malz is not German for beer. It might be German for corn syrup, but it is definitely not German for beer.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

American Food

Since I came here, I’ve had two breakdowns as far as food goes. The first food breakdown being McDonald’s. I think McDonald’s is gross, and the brand of American un-culture that comes with it equally disgusting. But there is something genuinely satisfying about holding up 5 fingers and someone handing you a tray of food that is identifiable. The pure ease of ordering is sweet, fatty, soy/random meat byproduct bliss.

Today was my second slip up. While I’ve managed to avoid most drugs in my lifetime, there are two things that I am addicted to. The first being coffee - with the physical side effects of addiction and all. The second being cheese. I love cheese, and I love specialty cheeses even more. So being in Taiwan where most of the cheese is in the form of a Craft cheese single or that plastic-y Velveeta cheese imitation, the ordering process can be disappointing.

It goes something like this:
“YAY, cheese!”
A confused looking, but unconditionally sweet service worker brings me my plate of food.
“Yes, that is definitely orange. Yes, that is definitely in a square, cheese-like shape. Yes, it is on my sandwich type item. But I can say with 99.9% certainty that what I am eating is not cheese.” My heart breaks, and my arteries unclog a little just about the thought of it.

So as I was walking home today, there was a Dominoe’s. It had a ray of sunshine beaming down to the front door. The advertisement on the window had a pizza covered in cheese (and an assortment of other things I personally wouldn’t put on a pizza such as carrots, peas, and corn, but I digress. The important thing was it had cheese. A lot of cheese). I ordered a pizza. And chicken wings. And garlic bread. And a salad. (Apparently, one pizza is crazy expensive. The pizza meal is crazy expensive, but cheaper than just one pizza. Yeah, I don’t understand either).

I walked home with my big ol’ stack of food. I felt guilty. I spent more money ordering pizza than I had spent on food from my awesome vendors in one week. Not only that, I felt like the big, dumb, gluttonous American tourist who came to Taiwan to eat fucking Dominoe’s. If ever I had a walk of shame, this was it.

Once the door to the apartment closed, I guilty set down my stack of food. My roommate Eric was sitting on the couch. I could feel him staring at me in disbelief.

“I had a craving.”
“I can see that.”
“Do you want some pizza?”

His chin dropped to the ground, and he then looked up at me.

“I’ve been really craving American food, too.”

This is probably the best pizza I have ever consumed. I recommend a whole heaping side of guilt to go with your Dominoe’s pizza. I assure you it’s the only way to make that thing taste mind bogglingly good.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

So sweet. So awkward.