xavier in taipei

Alex and I don’t make the best tourists. We’d happily sit in a town for weeks on end, eat nothing but Mexican food and watching re-runs of our favourite sit-com.

At this stage of our short spell in Taiwan, inactivity is not a problem. We study, try to order our tea in Chinese and take in the local culture.

That is to say, whatever culture exists no further away than a five minute walk. That’s only two and a half minutes each way.

We left Hong Kong with countless events, restaurants, mountains, cliffs and cuisine unaccounted for.

And that was with ten months. Here we have half the time and approximately thirty-two times more area to explore.

So, It was lucky for us when Xavier arrived.

Finally, we had a reason for breakfast at breakfast time, Taipei 101, baseball, hot springs and excess drinking.

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the imposter

I don’t have much to offer you from here in Taiwan. I have a routine now, but it hardly brings anything to the table. Literally. Aside from the fact that my current residence doesn’t actually have a table but only a desk, I can’t even post the cute pictures of muffins and other assorted delicacies that I’ve been known to cook up from time to time.

Because we also don’t have a kitchen.

Sure, I’ll make a sandwich or eat a yoghurt. I might even enjoy it. But you couldn’t want to know about that, could you? As mentioned previously, I’ve often considered documenting my culinary expeditions, Taiwan, after all, has some of the tastiest bites in the east, but that’s just he problem, isn’t it? You see, my stomach and my mouth seem to have an agreement, of which my brain is oblivious. As, usually, the food is somewhere between the two scheming organs before I ever think of taking a snap. But perhaps it’s for the best, I don’t think I could maintain a blog about food.

I hardly know any adjectives.

This is also a problem. As for every word I don’t know in English there exists a subsequent word I don’t know in Chinese alongside the one or two characters used to write it.

我知道!我可以用中文写我的博客:你好。我叫葛弘昇,我是澳洲人。我现在在台北学中文,我觉得学中文不太难,可是我们每天学很多汉字。太多得记得。

可是有问题。你不会说中文。所以,你现在用谷歌翻译。Never mind.

I should also note for my Chinese speaking friends, that the above paragraphs were written to be understood by Google Translate, and my Chinese grammar, while still poor, is not quite that atrocious.

fulong

Taipei’s closest and subsequently most popular beach, Fulong, (possibly short for ‘FUcking LONG way from Taipei’) is supposedly busy on the best of days. Last weekend, well, it was ridiculous.

The reason being that our visit coincided with a music festival featuring none other than Taiwan’s Super-Mega-Stars 五月天 aka Mayday.

We managed to find, within the crowds, space enough, not to sit, but to rest our bags, so that we could wallow in the shallows.

There wasn’t a lot of space in the water either.

dong lai cha vs. bing nai cha

On my last trip to Taiwan, I hadn’t really thought about the endless debate amongst tea enthusiast in the Asia-Pacific region. Now, when I say Asia-Specifically I mean Hong Kong and Taiwan and their respective ‘dong lai cha’ and ‘bing nai cha’, which essentially means ‘Iced Milk Tea’, often served in ridiculously large, 700mL sealed cups, containing little, chewy black beads; also known as pearls.

This past year means I’m already likely to lean towards favouring Hong Kong’s contender for best iced-beverage (having uttered ‘dong lai cha’ at least 7 times a week), and after Alex recently pointed out that the Taiwanese favour powdered milk as their source of lactose compared to the good ol’ fashion sweetened-condensed variety, I was reassured in my decision.

Now, I’m not saying Taiwan has nothing to offer in the way of hot-then-cold liquids steeped in picked-and-dried goodness, a.k.a iced tea, but it is most certainly supplied by another avenue.

Hong Kong: 1; Taiwan: 0

The everlasting battle continues…

I’ll stick to buckets of green tea for now.