Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cafe Gigi:Shameless Plug

One of our favorite places in Danshui (淡水, or Tamsui) is Cafe Gigi. On one of my sick days, Philip and his friend, who was visiting, were trying to find the Fort San Domingo 紅毛城. The fort was originally built by the Spanish in 1629. The literal translation of the Chinese name, Red Hair Fort, was in reference to the Danish, who took over the fort in 1642. Like always, when we try to find something, we rarely find said thing. Instead, they found the lovely Cafe Gigi. Cafe Gigi is like how I want my house to be if I was artistic, had any talent for decorating, or a green thumb. The tea is delicious and lovely, it has the only wine I've had in Taiwan that wasn't a little too well aged, and the food is scrumptious and filling. If you ever trek up to Danshui, you must stop here.

The first thing that catches your attention are the paintings on the crumbling stucco outside of the place. They are so not Taiwanese and stick out amidst the Taiwanese architecture. Taiwanese architecture is hard to classify. They seem to be going for the very boxy, stapled together, corrugated tin roof, and if you have the chance to cover things with pool tiles, you really should style. Needless to stay these paintings kind of stand out.

Also, you can't beat the patio on a sunny day.

The tea is yummy and brewed with fruits and roots and comes out looking beautiful.

The dinner selection is limited. There is curry (meat or not) and also the pork meatballs. Both are delicious, reasonable, and filling. She also has small, but tasty selection of wine.
In Taiwan, disgusting, big-enough-to-eat-tropical-sized-cockroaches, spiders mean good fortune. At the lovely Cafe Gigi, we were lucky to have a lot of good fortune on the wall 2 feet from our table, who-wa.
Getting there from Danshui MRT

It's pretty easy to get there in that impossible sort of way. Exit the MRT, turn left. The road you want is Zhongzheng Rd, but of course, that road sign is in Chinese. Basically, there is a fork in the road. You want the road to the left of the bank on the corner and to the right of Starbucks. Keep walking until you see the first temple on your right hand side, Longshan Temple. On the wall of the Longshan Temple you will see the Cafe Gigi sign. It looks like this:
Take a right, and head up the steps:
(handsome Filipino-American tour guide not included)

Follow the steps until you see another sign directing you to your right:
Take the right and walk up the ramp until you see the paintings. You will see the cafe sign just past the paintings. The garden entrance is on your left-hand side.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pingsi Lantern Festival

The lantern festival pictures are up.

This fest was probably one of the most beautiful things I have participated in. The idea is to write your wishes on the lanterns, then send those puppies to the heavens. The colors of the lanterns have different meanings. These seemed to vary depending on where you purchased your lanterns. The result is awesome (literal meaning, not Bill and Ted interpretation) - a sky illuminated by wishes.

*If you click on the slide show, it will take you to the Picasa album.

Home Coming

We have purchased tickets!

We'll be flying into LAX on April 15. From there, we will be driving up nothing no later than April 19th for Greek Easter celebrations. Plans, living situations, and whereabouts get a little fuzzy after that.

Originally, we were planning to fly into Amsterdam for a week or so, then head home. But we have decided to stick around Taiwan and really see the country here before we head out. I told the school I am working for that I am leaving, so of course they are taking away my hours like it is going out of style. (Bastards.) The good news is I have more free time to travel.

Behold the Taiwan Bucket List in no particular order:

1. Snake Alley
2. Alishan National Park
3. Taroko Gorge / Haulien
4. Tainan
5. Visit Josephine
6. Visit Tammy
5. Kenting
6. Scuba diving of some sort on Green Island
7. Ride the high speed rail
8. Ride a bus line to nowhere
9. Eat as many different kinds of snacks as my innards will take.
10. Take my bike down the bike path as long as my little legs will peddle me
11. Koashung
12. Yoali
13. Ride scooters up the southern part of Taiwan

Monday, February 16, 2009

This is what we are exporting

We get Tai-chi, they get Elvira. Behold, in all its glory.

Today feels like...

In case anyone was wondering, today feels like this:


Now, off to Chinese class, where I will finish off the day feeling like this:


I hope all is well with you. I love you and wish you all sunshine, puppies, and red wine that has not turned because it doesn't exist in Taiwan.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Next up...

Lantern Festival.

There are 2 options. The first option is this:

2009 Pingsi International Sky Lantern Festival


The second option is this:

Yanshui Lantern Festival also known as the beehive of fireworks. See the video at the link below.


I must be getting old because I don't really want someone shooting fireworks at my face. Pingsi it is.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Birthday!

This one goes out to Grandma Frances. It's a little early, but hey it's a cool song.