Thoughts of a Canadian Exchange Student

Alishan (阿里山)

Posted in Culture, Food, Outdoors, Shopping, Sightseeing, Taiwan, Thoughts, Transportation, Weather by J on December 31, 2008

Alishan sunrise
Alishan (阿里山) and Chiayi (嘉義) were visited: July 7 & 8, 2008

When we arrived in Chiayi (嘉義) we had some of that famous Chiayi Chicken Rice (嘉義雞肉飯). Although the Chiayi Chicken Rice in Taipei’s Gongguan area is good, Chiayi Chicken Rice just tastes better in Chiayi XD.

Transportation to and from Alishan:

We didn’t spend long in Chiayi (but we had enough time to go shopping while waiting for our bus to Alishan XD) because we were destined to go up to Alishan (阿里山) that afternoon so that we could see the sunrise the next day. Ah, it was raining cats and dogs as we boarded the bus to go up to Alishan. A few things here: The train and bus tickets sell out quickly. If you get to the depot too late in the day, there might not be any tickets left to get up to Alishan. And, be sure to take pills if you get motion sickness. The road the bus takes up the mountain isn’t kind to those with weak stomachs.

For the fun of it, on the way back, we took the narrow gauge train from Alishan back down to Chiayi on the Forest Railway. It takes 3.5 hours and 399 NTD as compared to about 2 hours by bus and 214 NTD. I was really hoping to ride the train with the historical engine, but no cigar. On this train, we discovered that train seats could also be made to face backwards. As the train is also slower, we were able to better appreciate the drastic change in foliage due to the large change in climate from the top of the mountain to the bottom.

Accommodations:

Our accommodations were alright, but the service more than made up for it. The young proprietor of the place was very personable. It’s a cosy little family business. For example, as we didn’t bring enough clothing for the cold weather, he lent us jackets to wear. Also, he let us try driving a scooter around the parking lot. Driving that scooter was just as fun and thrilling that I had imagined it to be =). Also, he helped us buy our tickets to ride the train to see the sunrise and, we had a wake up call at 04:30 too!

Also, it was only about 800 NTD to stay for two people. Another plus was that our hotel was located right where the bus dropped everyone off at the top of Alishan beside the 7-11 of the main parking lot. From our lodgings was only a short walk to the train station that would take us to see the sunrise early the next morning.

It’s too bad that I can’t remember his name or the name of the place we stayed at.

Alishan sunrise

Things to see:

Make sure to rush to get on one of the two trains to see the sunrise! I initially thought that we were early, but when we arrived at the station, we were actually some of the last to line up. Eek! Anyways, the sunrise was lovely, and so was walking leisurely around the top of the mountain after viewing the sunrise. The trees are twisted in some very interesting shapes. I like the heart shaped one best. The copulating (the sign really says this!) dragon and phoenix tree (龍鳳配) was just too trippy for me to see.

Ah~ I can’t help but think of how we went from a lovely sunset in Kaohsiung to a very nice sunrise in Alishan. Simply serendipity. And, that was the end of our trip visiting Tainan to Kaohsiung to Alishan.

Tainan (台南)

oden

Tainan (台南) was explored: July 5, 2008

A couple of days after returning from Japan, my sister and I set off to visit some places in Taiwan. I didn’t have too much time left before I had to return to Canada.

Our Adventure in Tainan (Or, the Kindness of the Taiwanese):

Getting to Tainan was a fantastic little adventure! We took the high speed rail, gaotie (高鐵) from Taipei to Tainan. Sitting on that train was really something else. Such a fast, smooth ride, I just stared outside the window the whole time watching the train outpace all the different kinds of weather that everyone else had. I remember watching as we approached storm clouds and in the time it took to turn my head around to watch it go the storm go by, we were already past it.

Our adventure really started when we disembarked from the gaotie. One of us accidentally misplaced our ticket, so when we tried to pass through the gates, we weren’t able to. So, after talking to an attendant, we waited until the train we had taken stopped at Kaohsiung. The train was searched for the missing ticket, but unfortunately we had no luck. We ended up paying full price for another ticket from Taipei to Tainan so that we could leave the station. Ai~

High Speed Rail

Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (高鐵)

Oh, another funny thing. I had forgotten to ask my friends that we were meeting up with in Tainan for the address of the place we were to spend the night at. And, as the communication wasn’t so clear between us, we ended up spending a while in the station trying to figure things out. Also, as my Chinese isn’t so great, I had a bit of a trying time to figure out where to go. And, what’s more, I knew absolutely nothing about Tainan, nor did I have a map. The ones in the station weren’t too helpful. I was trying to do the whole spontaneous adventure thing, and I really did get it! ^^

After spending a while at the information booth trying to get some help on how to get out of the gaotie station into the actual city portion of Tainan a well dressed older lady spoke to me. (My sister thought she looked like a snobby rich woman.) She asked me where we were going. I told her that I didn’t know. At that point in time, my friend called me on my mobile, and completely unexpectedly, this older woman spoke to my friend and helped us figure out where exactly where we were supposed to go. I couldn’t believe the kindness of this woman.

Outside the Tainan Confucian Temple

Outside the Tainan Confucian Temple (台南孔廟)

To my shock, after speaking on the phone with my friend, this woman offered to drive my sister and I to where we needed to go! In her words, since she was at the gaotie station to pick up a guest that she had to drive into Tainan, she might as well take us. Now, if this was Canada, we’d be entertaining visions of dismembered bodies the instant she offered to take us in her car. I have to admit some of those pictures did creep into my head, but seeing as we really did need some help (the heat was making things worse), we took it. And besides, Taiwan feels so much more trustworthy for some reason.

So, we followed her and her guest out to her car. Our jaws just about dropped when we saw that it was a new Mercedes-Benz. To this day I still can’t believe that she let our extremely sweaty selves sit in her car and seemed to make no bones about it at all. While making some light conversation in the car with the lady and her guest, the extent of her kindness was truly revealed. She said that if we already didn’t have a place to stay, she would’ve let us stay at her place.

Although my sister and I wished to repay her with more than just a “thanks” we can only hope that we have the opportunity to pay such a kindness forward. Thank-you.

Chikan Tower

Chikan Tower (赤崁樓)

The Places We Saw:

After dropping our luggage off, we headed out to eat some food. We ended up eating 2 NTD Taiwanese oden. Oden is food on a stick cooked in a Japanese style hotpot. Yum! It tasted better than the stuff you can buy at the omnipresent 7-11 stores.

Chikan Tower

Chikan Tower (赤崁樓)

For our first stop, we checked out Chikan Tower (赤崁樓). Built in 1683, Chikan Tower is like a big mansion to explore. In emphasis of this point, while we were visiting, there was this lively little boy from who knows where that ran up and down and all about the stairs and the bannisters. It almost seemed as if Chikan Tower was his home. I had a fun time half playing hide and seek with him and looking at the site itself. He was kind, too. There were carp in the water and as he was feeding the fish, he gave us some stuff to feed the fish too.

Afterwards, we went to the Tainan Confucian Temple (台南孔廟) and managed to take a quick peek around the red buildings before it shut its gates for the night.

Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre

After meeting up with some more friends, we wandered around somewhere in Tainan and came across a musical theatre. It was so cool because there were so many people gathered outside in front of the temple watching the theatre. As it was sung in Taiwanese, I didn’t understand a single word, but it was nevertheless entertaining because while it had some sort of traditional folk singing, they suddenly burst into a rap, complete with a chorus line! If you’ve ever seen Hong Kong Lunar New Year films that take place in the ancient past, you’ll have some idea of what we saw.

After the show, because we were all feeling adventurous, we went in search of Fort Zeelandia (熱蘭遮城), now Fort Anping (安平古堡) in the dark. When we found it, we quietly hopped the fence and stealthily ran to check out the fort. While playing with our shadows on the watch tower at the top of the fort, we could hear the strains of the musical theatre that we had just left. It was awesome that we had the fort to ourselves at night.

Across the Flower Garden Night Market

Across the Flower Garden Night Market (花園夜市)

For our last stop, before we headed back to our accommodations, we went to the Flower Garden Night Market (花園夜市). Completely outside and filled to the brim with stalls selling everything imaginable, Flower Garden Night Market embodied “Night Market.” It was loud, it was crowded, there was every manner of shoes, clothes and games situated in its environs, the food was delicious and it was everything that I imagined a night market should be.


Tainan Park

Tainan Park (台南公園)

The next day we all split up and headed toward different directions. While waiting for our train to Kaohsiung from Tainan, we took a quiet breather at a park near the Tainan train station. Tainan Park (台南公園) was quite quiet and provided some shade and respite from the heat. However, it was really odd that we only saw young males, probably Filipinos, at the park. They were leering at us… Yikes!

And then that afternoon, we were on our way to Kaohsiung!

Japan: Osaka (大阪)

Glico man

The Glico man of Dōtonbori Street

Osaka was visited on: June 30, 2008

Osaka is a large and dense city. Even though I use the words large and dense, somehow they still feel like an understatement. Upon arriving in Osaka from Kyoto, it felt somewhat like I was relieving the day I arrived in Taipei from Vancouver – a little bit confused and completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by something so different. Suffice to say, Osaka and Taipei are both large and dense cities. (Both cities have a similar population of about 2.6 million people.)

Hep Five Ferris Wheel

Hep Five Ferris Wheel (Gigantic thing inside a mall.)

Although we only spent a day in Osaka, and spent it mostly shopping in malls and stores ^^, (did you know that we discovered the fabulous Book-Off store in Osaka only to find that there’s one downtown in Vancouver?), we had some baked octopus balls takoyaki and a very good time. Even though I’ve had takoyaki many times I still don’t quite like it. I’d rather eat octopus by itself.

Oh! Osaka’s transportation system is definitely very unique! It’s partially oval. I could not believe my eyes at the number of different routes and connections that were available. Since we only had a day to check out Osaka, we mostly stuck to the tried and true method of getting around: walking. If we had more time, it’d have been fun to try and figure out how the whole system worked.

Osaka at night

Osaka at night.

At night, like Taipei, Osaka is alive with people. Kyoto, like Vancouver, seems to shut down earlier. We wandered around Dōtonbori Street (道頓堀) admiring the neon-lit signs that lit up, moved and came to life. And down the centre of the street were all these parked and unlocked bicycles. Coming from Taipei, you have no idea how tempting it was to take one of those un-rusted, in-full-working-condition-with-the-brakes-not-shot bikes XD. As we had to catch a train back to Kyoto, we didn’t stay too long at night.

After another day and a bit in Kyoto visiting temples like the Chion Temple and the Yasaka Shrine, we headed back to Taipei. And that was the end of our Japan trip!

F4 in Osaka

In Osaka Station: F4 and Taiwan welcome you!

Japan: Kyoto (京都)

Gion

Gion

Kyoto, Japan was visited: June 27 – July 2

Since Taiwan is so much closer to Japan than Canada, it made perfect sense to hop over there for a short vacation.

The Places We Visited:

On the recommendation of a friend, we stayed in a guest house called Uno House. It has a nice location in the northeast of Kyoto and the price was very agreeable. We stayed in a private room. I guess my favourite part about the guest house was that it was like a sort of maze inside and that it seemed quite traditional. We even slept on the floor on futons. Although I didn’t know any Japanese (but thank goodness I could read some Chinese, so helpful when taking busses), we managed to get around fine.

For me, Kyoto was all about the castle, the temples, the shrines, the spiritual symbols (and some shopping, too!). Thanks to the gracious help of my friends, I got to see some of the best parts of Kyoto within a short amount of time.

Kinkaku-ji

Kinkaku-ji

The places that we went to were:

For a map to see where all the places are: http://kyoto.asanoxn.com/info/kyotomap.htm

Ryōan-ji

Ryōan-ji

Funny thing, it was raining most of the time we visited these sites… I swear the rain clouds followed me from Vancouver to Taipei to Kyoto XD. I really liked visiting all these places, and the most funny thing was that since they’re all major tourist sites as well as places of quiet contemplation (supposedly), the contrast between the noise of the tourists and the quiet of the sites was, well, funny. ^^ Outside of our first day in Kyoto, the weather for the rest of our trip was very good, very sunny, and very hot.

Torii at Heian jingu

Torii gate for Heian jingū

Of all the sites that we went to, I liked the Nijō- (seriously, a castle in the middle of the city?? Cool!) and Kinkaku-ji the best (Gold. Building.). Nijō-jō had nightingale floors for protection against night attackers. When an invader walked on these floors, due to their special construction, they’d squeak. No matter how lightly I tried to step, I could only make the floor squeak when I walked on the floorboards. Very cool and ingenious. The site of the Kyoto Imperial Palace is actually much larger than it seems because the boulevard leading up to the palace is massive. The vastness of the boulevard neutralizes the largeness of the palace. Ryōan-ji was very nice, but I don’t think I’m meant for Zen Buddhism. I didn’t draw out much meaning from sitting at the rock garden. Ginkaku-ji was under renovation when we went, so there was much to see. Oh, Heian jingū was pretty cool. The torii gate was so big! I was pleased to find that the shrine was orange. I thought that they were supposed to be brown for some reason.


Chion Temple

At Chion Temple

The day that we went to Chion Temple, we had the opportunity to see practising monks. When we were walking around the temple grounds, after the many stairs to get up into the temple grounds, we heard the chanting of monks, and on a whim, we joined a line and went inside a building to take our turn in turning something around (like turning a totem pole or something). That was interesting. The main hall was the best, though. It was very dark and shady inside, a welcome respite from the heat, and you couldn’t wear your shoes inside. The prayer area was very large and solemn. It was difficult to see the relics that you’d pray to. It was just massive inside that one building. Oh, and at Yasaka Shrine, we had a glimpse of practicing shrine maidens, miko!


Gion back alley

A Gion back alley

After wandering around for a bit, we ended up in Gion without knowing it. I thought I was just in some very old section of Kyoto. Despite not knowing that I was actually in Gion (I got tired of looking at the map), I was very impressed by the whole area. It felt like what Japan had been before skyscrapers and all the industrialization the world experienced. Oh, this fall I watched a 1936 film called Sisters of the Gion (祇園の姉妹) (good film), and I realised how important the district was to the geisha culture. Although we didn’t see any geisha in the area, when we were walking by the establishments, one of the doors was open and I took a quick glance inside. It looked like the traditional houses in Japanese movies. I wonder how the whole area prevents fire hazards… For that matter, I wonder how the place we stayed in, Uno House, prevented fire hazards…

Food:

The first night in Kyoto, we ended up eating at a yakitori place. It was probably a pub or late night sort of place – like a more upscale version of an university pub. We figured out that yakitori was basically chicken grilled on a skewer. Haha! The whole menu was basically chicken. We had the chicken knees with sake.


Sushi

Sushi!

We also had sushi while we were in Kyoto. The restaurant’s waitresses were dressed in traditional Japanese clothing – something that the Vancouver restaurants don’t do. Although, I think we may have offended them when we asked for wasabi. Are we not supposed to eat it with sushi? Anyways, it was very good. Kyoto’s and Vancouver’s sushi are both very good. But, Kyoto’s sushi is miles better than Taipei’s. Sushi Express? Nooo~ Sadly, we didn’t get around to eating any eel while we were in Japan.


Colonel in Kyoto

The Colonel in Kyoto

Some Thoughts:

Kyoto is a quiet, beautiful and clean place. It’s vastly different from the hustle and bustle of Taipei, even though we stayed over the weekend. Kyoto felt very subdued and relaxed. From what I saw, the clothing that the people wore in Kyoto was much more subdued in colour and style than the clothing in Taipei. The clothing in Taipei pops loud, bright and vibrant colours. There’s also no scooters zipping in and out of traffic or night markets.


Downtown Kyoto at night

Downtown Kyoto at night

As Kyoto as a city is really old, maybe that’s also why it was more relaxed. Kyoto was the capital city of Japan from 794-1868 and Taipei became the capital of Taiwan in 1895. Or even more likely, what the cities supposedly represent probably had/have a larger impact. Kyoto’s old name was Heian-kyō (平安京), meaning the capital of peace and tranquility. Although today, Kyoto is no longer the (symbolic) political centre of Japan, its value as a cultural capital seems to have carried on up to the present day. On the other hand, Taipei is the economical and political centre of Taiwan. People gravitate towards Taipei for its opportunities and this makes the city a locus of change, transformation and energy. Anyways, irregardless of the actual economic and political situations in Kyoto and Taipei, Kyoto seems like the happy, stately elderly people that you see advertised in marketing campaigns and Taipei seems like a young adult brimming with endless possibilities for the future.


A Kyoto back alley

A Kyoto back alley

Kyoto also reminded me an awful lot of Vancouver. Actually, it felt so Vancouver-like with its integration of nature and urban structure. Vancouver’s nature spots, for example, Stanley Park, despite looking wildly grown is actually carefully shaped by human hands to keep that wild-untouched-by-human-hands look. Kyoto has a more domesticated, sculpted-looking kind of nature. As both cities integrate nature and urbaness seamlessly, despite the difference in their respective ages (Vancouver was established as a city in 1886), they’re just so similar. It’s such a surreal experience to be able to slip into a park in these cities and the whole urban feel melts away into the background. I’d like to go back when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It’d be fantastic! (As long as it doesn’t rain. XD)

Keelung (基隆)

Posted in Culture, Night Market, Outdoors, Shopping, Sightseeing, Taiwan, Transportation, Weather by J on December 22, 2008

Keelung

Keelung (基隆) was explored: May 25, 2008

Keelung (基隆) is another nice place close to Taipei. EDIT: I think it’s a suburb of Taipei (It’s a city, as was kindly pointed out to me in my comments section.) A major port city in the northeast of Taiwan, I found Keelung to be much less of a tourist place than Jiufen (九份) and Wulai (烏來). Anyways, when my friend and I hopped on a train bound for Keelung, we had no idea it would rain so hard. Luckily for us, it stopped raining part way through our time in Keelung. So, we were only soaked head-to-toe half as thoroughly as we could’ve been.

Buddha's hand

After arriving in Keelung, we got on a bus to take us out to the area around the Keelung harbour to find the cave that had the Buddha’s hand inside. Although it was hot outside, despite the torrents of rain, the cave was cold. It reminded me of the movie The Goonies but our treasure was less of a monetary reward than a spiritual one. Well, actually, it was just out of curiosity that we wanted to see the hand. It sounded better to privilege the metaphysical over the physical, that’s all. XD

We finally found the hand after walking around in the cave for a bit. It was slightly creepy because

  1. There was no one else there
  2. The lights were sensor lights, so you couldn’t se what was ahead of you
  3. Bugs! OMG the bugs!

The cave was really fun, though! For in-depth coverage of the Buddha’s hand, take a quick peek at this article by Richard Saunders of The China Post.

seafood

Shopping was good. Somewhat cheaper than Taipei. But the food! We had fresh crab and snails and other seafood. All delicious. Although, we didn’t eat any frogs. I’ve had frogs at hot pot, and they’re okay. The texture is kind of like free range chicken meat, but stringier.

It was really quite nice to be near a harbour, and all the seafood that came with it. I really wish that I had four stomachs. But, if I did, I’d be a herbivore because cows don’t eat seafood.

frogs

Wulai (烏來)

Posted in Culture, Food, Money, Outdoors, Shopping, Sightseeing, Taiwan, Weather by J on December 22, 2008

Wulai Hot Springs

Wulai (烏來) was explored: May 3, 2008

Wulai (烏來) is famous for its hot springs, and luckily for the residents of Taipei, Wulai just a short bus ride away from Taipei. Although I’ve heard that Beitou (北投) also has very nice hot springs, I really enjoyed the hot springs at Wulai. Perhaps it was because Wulai is a bit farther removed from the city than Beitou.

The hot springs:
If my friends and I didn’t want to spend any money, we could have gone to the hot spots in the river, but because we could, we opted to rent a room with a private hot spring tub for a few hours. After shopping around the hotels in Wulai, we settled on a room that had a bed, a TV, and a nice bath. Split between four friends, it wasn’t too expensive either. It was about 300 NT each for 2 or 3 hours. I don’t know what is the going rate for hot springs, but I think we were able to have a pretty decent price because the day that we went was very hot. (It’s ironic that I’m writing this sitting beside 28cm of snow.)

Wulai

Atayal designs and mountain boar sausages.

A hot day + hot springs. Hahaha~ I think going to the hot springs on a hot day just made us more tired and hungry than usual. So, when we went to dinner later, it tasted that much better. Dinner was great! We had mountain boar and some sort of mountain vegetable. We tried to eat food that we couldn’t find in Taipei. It was a little more pricey for food than in Taipei though.

What I like about Wulai is its proximity to Taipei, and its representation of the Atayal culture. But it felt very much a tourist’s place. It was like I had seen all the knick-knacks before. However, if it was the first tourist place I had gone to, I’d have been enchanted.

Be sure to eat some mountain boar sausages! Mmm… sausage~

Jiufen (九份)

Posted in Culture, Food, NTU, Outdoors, Shopping, Sightseeing, Taipei, Taiwan by J on April 19, 2008

jiufen baoxiantao

Jiufen has this lovely little “Condom World” store. (保險套世界)

Jiufen (九份) is this little town about an hour away from Taipei. We went there to check it out because, well, it’s a tourist attraction. That and apparently the town was used as a model for Spirited Away. (According to Wikipedia.)

Anyways, I found out it’s a pretty nice place to go shopping and to have some interesting food. The view is really nice too. It’s totally a tourist destination. They sell lots of leather goods at Jiufen and snacks like chips on a stick. What I really liked was this ice cream rolled into a parsley-peanutty wrap thing. It’s so Taiwan. By “it’s so Taiwan” I mean it’s so innovative. I forgot to take a picture!

Oh these were great to eat~

Aside from all the good eats, things to buy, and the view, we also went to take a look at the historic part of Jiufen. Historically, it was a mining town but now, it’s mostly a tourist destination. I hope that there aren’t any malevolent ghosts hanging around!

The ghosts did it!

Oh by the way, if you’re ever near the Zhongxiao Dunhua (忠孝敦化) area in Taipei, the food is great there! There’s a larger variety of food to eat than the food around the NTU campus. See exhibit one:

At a teahouse near Luxy: Mmm… delicious!

Shilin Night Market and KTV (士林夜市和好樂迪KTV)

Posted in Culture, Exchange Students, Food, KTV, Money, Night Life, Night Market, Shopping, Taipei, Thoughts by J on January 17, 2008

P1020718

Oyster omelette place. The neon lights. Hunky dory. Taipei is neato.

Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)

This time, I actually went to the real Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)! And not just the area just off of the Jiantan MRT station (劍潭車站) when I went to see the ISWAK 2 promotion. And the other time, I accidentally went to the wrong one at the Shilin MRT station (士林車站).

Food was good, just like last time. The bunch of us ate at the oyster omelette shop where the star of Taiwanese drama, Corner With Love (轉角*遇到愛) was taught how to make oyster omelettes. Yay! I used to watch that show in Canada. The oyster omelettes were GOOD. Oyster omelettes = 蚵仔煎。

After, some shopping at Shilin. Lots of things to buy.

KTV

080117-holiday.png VS 080117-partyworld.png

Lastly, KTV from near midnight to 5-6 ish in the morning. Wow! 6 hours at KTV! This time, I went to a Holiday KTV (好樂迪) place instead of a Party World KTV place (錢櫃PartyWorld). Apparently there’s only 2 KTV chains in Taipei…or so I’ve heard.

Anyways.
I had a lot of fun at KTV.

I’m finding more and more it’s the company you keep and the attitude you have towards things that make things cross over into the very fun category.

For about 400 NTD, the whole 6 hour KTV experience was quite an affordable affair. The buffet was pretty good, too. I still can’t believe we made it through 6 hours of KTV. Wow.

And one of the lovely things we did was have breakfast together. Last time that happened was when we came back from Mint and had a very late night snack. Eating together beats watching television and playing videogames by a longshot. Yatta!

My friends are awesome for knowing about all sorts of things in Taipei and whatnot. Because of them, I think Taipei is really growing on me.

Clubbing at Luxy

P1010725
It sure rains a lot in Taipei.

After all that stamp collecting yesterday, I slept. But when it came time to get ready, I was so excited! My first time! Almost all the exchange students in the dorms were going. My goal: Get picked up. Yay!

However, that didn’t happen.

We actually went to the wrong club firstly. It took a lot of trouble to get into this wrong club… they even asked for our passports. Bah. Not a smart idea to flash your passport around, as I learned. When we arrived at the right club, Luxy, we only had to show our student ids. I’m so glad that we got them today.

Hm… the inside decor was nice. However, I don’t really like hiphop, so I didn’t really like the dance music that they were playing. The music in the other room was better for it was more alternative, but there weren’t very many people in it. Therefore, with a friend, we decided to leave (after checking out the whole club) and come back to the club later when the rest of the people we went with wanted to leave.

P1010743
The 3 bubble tea places.

Now, the more fun parts began. We went walking around at night looking around. Taipei’s awesome for this. Warm temperature with places open to shop and eat in. In the alley/road directly behind Luxy, there were 3 bubble tea places all lined up beside each other. Apparently, different places call bubble tea different things, as in California, they call is boboa or something like that.

P1010738
Eating the red bean dessert in the MRT station. Not my hand.

We went around taking pictures, talking and exploring generally. My friend? brought this weird fruit thing I’ve never seen before from a street vendor and I bought a red bean dessert. It was soooo good! There was hardly any sugar in it, so it wasn’t as sweet as the standard Taiwan desserts I’ve been having, and that was really good. Mmmmm…

P1010732
Inside the very clean MRT station.

The biggest bonus of not staying in the club was finding Burt’s Bees! I sure hope that it’ll help soothe the multitude of mosquito bites that I have. It smells gooood. Also, hanging out in the MRT station at night is cool because it’s so well lit, clean and well, doesn’t feel like a crime area like the public transportation stops at home do.

P1010754
No idea who this is. Luxy washroom.

Apart from that aside, when we went back there were more people than when we originally arrived. Many drunk people. Many smoking people. Many… dare I say it? Skanky people. This is interesting because it seems exactly like the clubbing culture at home, or rather, my perception of it. Perhaps it seemed like a club at home because Luxy is known more as a foreigner club, or something like that.

P1010751
I like this photo. Luxy washroom.

The washroom at Luxy was nice. I have no idea who those people are in the pictures that I took. I was a bit bored, so I decided to be productive. However, I sitting right where the cigarette smoke from the ashtray wafted towards me. Now, I don’t mind smoke wafting towards me if it’s of the campfire kind, but… eww cigarette smoke.

Went we got back to the dormitory at 2:30 am (is it really that early to leave a club?), I immediately took a shower and went to bed for I had class at 8 am this morning. My clothes still smell, though. So, for my first time out clubbing, it was okay, but I don’t think I’ll really do it again because it isn’t my type of fun. So, no getting picked up for me. Unfortunately. Hah! I prefer wandering the streets at night and being able to hear people when I talk to them.

So, clubbing wasn’t really clubbing for me, was it?

P1010746
A bubble tea place.