Thursday, December 30, 2010

Santa comes to Taiwan

Looks like he was running late... wonder where he was headed next?  Oregon maybe?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thanks ya'll!

All your votes paid off - we won Taiwanderful's popular vote for Best Personal Taiwan Blog and Best Central Taiwan Blog!  Thanks so much for all of you who visit and appreciate our blog.  This whole thing started, and still is primarily for, our families but we've definitely gained a lot of readers in the last 6 months.  I'm glad that we are able to share some of Taiwan and our travels with others.  

Speaking of travels - we set out for Bangkok in a few days so probably no updates on the blog for a bit.  Happy holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Expat christmas

While our stockings may not be hung by the fire with care, our silver tinsel christmas trees, unique ornaments collected from near and far, and paper cut-out stars have made an appearance in our effort to be festive.  I'm on my third viewing of The Family Stone, and of course Elf is in the queue.  Hot chocolate, marshmallows and candycanes are in the cupboard.  All these things don't quite make up for the fact that we will be half-way around the world from our families on Christmas, but makes it a little easier to swallow.

Are you an expat?  How do you celebrate the season in your home away from home?

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are your ears burning?

I'm afraid this guy's is going to be soon!

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Longshan Temple

We were in Taipei Saturday and got off the MRT at Longshan Temple stop, not knowing what Longshan Temple was but headed for a restaurant we wanted to try (more on that to come).  I'm glad we stopped by the temple itself to check it out - it's huge and ornate, and there was a lot of activity going on inside.

Along with burning incense and candles there was a lot of food offerings:

Outside there was a waterfall and fountains, these little girls were checking out the dragon and the koi:

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Long-Tien Butterfly Museum

Taiwan has many different varieties of butterflies, about 377 in fact, maybe more.  When I was in Taitung for a field trip we visited the Long-Tien Butterfly Museum.  While this "museum" wasn't much to look at on the inside (though the family running it were very helpful and clearly passionate about butterflies), outside we were able to see many varieties of butterflies in all stages up close and personal.  

Pretty awesome!

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rainbow Village

An old military dependents’ village in Taichung has been transformed by Huang Yung-fu, an 86-year-old veteran, into what is now known as Rainbow Village.  Apparently he had some time on his hands and saw the walls of these drab buildings as a huge canvas.

Recently the buildings were slated to be torn down, but after protests Taichung Mayor Jason Hu promised it would be preserved.

This area is tiny, two small alleys, but every inch is covered with paintings - it's amazing.

From the articles I've read it seems it's all been painted very recently, and he may even still be working on it.

The area was a little tricky for us to find, and luckily we found another person who showed us the way.  If you are in the area and would like to check it out yourself have a look at the map:

View Larger Map

The map and the picture below are the entrance we were shown - there may be an easier way to get there.  Follow the arrows (you will go through a small walkway between this green wall and the fence and feels a bit like you are trespassing) keep walking, veer right, and soon you will see the bright colors.

Not the most welcoming entrance, but this is your farewell image:

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Double your wardrobe

Awhile ago I wrote about preparing for cooler weather in Taiwan.  I failed to mention that you can also follow local fashion and simply wear tights or leggings under your shorts! 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Food vendor

I think the pearls are a nice touch

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The mutual love bean?

When I saw this necklace on shu flies' blog I remembered the seeds I had safely stored in a dish on the shelf, not sure what else to do with them.  I was given the seeds at the Jhihben National Forest Recreation Area by a guide who in broken english explained to me that they were special because they were shaped like hearts.  I looked them up last night and they are Saga seeds, also called love seeds.  They are often used in making jewelery because of their amazing color and in China they are known as xiang si dou (相思豆), or "mutual love bean" (I don't know if they are known by the same name in Taiwan - perhaps someone out there knows).  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with mine, but I sure love the color.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

At the airport

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taiwan blog awards

In the spirit of spreading the Taiwan love around, and promoting great Taiwan blogs, is again hosting the Best Taiwan Blog Awards.  If you've read our blog and like our stuff, consider voting for us: visit this link and click the little plus sign under the number box.  Like last year, each person can only vote once per day.  Thanks so much!

(If those of you are wondering what happened to the Go! Oversees voting that happened awhile back we were ranked 4th - yay!).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leave the gum at customs

Being in Singapore almost felt like we had left Asia.  This is largely due to the people living there - a large part of the population (42% wikipedia tells me) are foreigners.  Walking down the street you see people from all over the world, and we heard languages ranging from Chinese to French with a lot of English.  On our hotel TV there was a channel in Chinese, one in English, one in an India language (I'm not sure which) with a variety of subtitles on each.  We also felt the British influence - people drive on the left, signs ask people to queue, and people spoke in British English.

The city was pristine (except for that gum I ironically stepped in after our cab driver told us it is true that gum is not allowed in Singapore). The metro was easy to use to get around the city.  Everybody was very nice and helpful.  All things that make for a great trip.  And it was a great trip.  Except... the malls.  Now I admit our hotel was located on Orchard Road, the shopping area, so our vision of Singapore may be skewed compared to others'.  But there seemed to be malls where ever we went.  Upscale, really nice, expensive malls.  On a 15 minute walk home we counted 3 Dolce and Gabbana stores.  The feeling of constant consumerism wore me out.

What did we love about Singapore?  The food, the diversity, the colors, the pretty authentic feel of the Little India area, the reverse bungee ride, and the view of the city at night.  And amidst all those malls were Christmas trees and decorations, which, being a sucker for Christmas decor, I loved.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Abroad

Since we were working through our Thanksgiving holiday break, the chaperones of the trip decided to celebrate with as traditional of a meal as we could get.  Luckily, Singapore had options for us.  We ended up at the Hyatt Hotel where in addition to their normal menu, a special Thanksgiving set meal was served.

Everyone walked away satisfied and almost uncomfortably full - just as it should be on Thanksgiving.  We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Greetings from Singapore

Hey folks, that's right, we're in Singapore for work.  Can't wait to post some of the pictures we've been taking - let me tell ya, Singapore is ready for Christmas!

PS Hello to all the new readers from Matador Abroad!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best tofu ever

We eat at a Japanese restaurant near our house often - sometimes a few times a week.  The menu is all in Chinese, so we've depended on the kindness of the staff to help us and boy have they come through.  I communicated early that I was vegetarian and for quite awhile I stuck with udon noodles and a tofu that wasn't my favorite.  One day Jeremiah came back with sān bēi dòufu - three cup tofu.  In its normal form this dish is sān bēi jī - three cup chicken, but our friends at the restaurant offered to make it veggie for me (though to be quite honest I'm not sure how veggie the sauce is that they cook it in).  It is now one of my favorite dishes - cooked in an earthenware pot and chock full of basil, whole cloves of garlic and ginger (which I don't usually like but it works for me in this dish).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Team waiguoren

This weekend Jeremiah and a friend played in a badminton tournament.  They play with a group of Taiwanese people and always joke about how bad they are compared to everyone else.  So naturally, they went in pretty sure they would get smashed but held their own and ended up winning one of their games.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have an announcement?

Share it with the world, or at least those passing by, with these awesome signs.  I'm pretty sure they are used for weddings and funerals, perhaps more.  Whatever the occasion, they sure brighten the sides of the streets!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I'd never had a guava before, and when I first got one at the market shortly after arriving in Taichung I didn't like it.  But lately, paired with plum powder, this is my favorite snack.  I've gone through 4 this week!  I scoop out the seeds, but some of my students have told me they like to eat them.  I've heard there are pink varieties in other places in the world, I'm keeping my eye out to try them!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dried plums

The package says "it tastes sour and sweet" - they aren't joking about the sour part. I hated these at first but they've grown on me.  They are kind of like the candy warheads - sour on the outside but once you suck on them long enough they are sweet.  I enjoy them just as they are; sometimes they are served in tea (yuck!) and even in the middle of candies.
I'm pretty sure you can get these at asian markets in the states - I encourage you to try, just for the experience.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Le Jardin du Petit Prince Restaurant

Finding new restaurants in Taichung is always a good thing, because we often end up going to the same ones over and over. Yesterday I was taken to a new vegetarian restaurant - Le Jardin du Petit Prince - and I really hope it stays open because I loved it.

Between the 4 (and 1/2) of us, we ordered Fried Rice with Pinenuts, Risotto with Porcini, and the Quesadilla. Each meal came with a salad chock full of fruits, soup and bread, sesame pudding, brownie, macaron and drink (juice, tea or coffee) for around $380NT each. It was all fabulous.

Logistics (taken from Compass Magazine):
(04) 2295-6488
178, ZhongPing Rd
Hours: 11:30am-9 pm
(closed Mondays)
Credit cards not accepted.
*There are dairy products used in many of the dishes

View Taichung in a larger map