Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas!

So although it is not a public holiday here, I think this Christmas means more to me than the last year's.
First, I had a great morning spent with Do, Although it is still the night before Xmas there in Montreal. We had a great time playing Diablo II and just telling each other how much we wish to be together on Xmas.

Then I had to give a presentation of my previous work in the group meeting. During the meeting they played Christmas music through the speaker! I think it's because it was lunch time too. So maybe here Christmas is rated and celebrated similar to Halloween in Canada; got the decoration but no holiday.

I think my presentation went well. Some of the students are interested in my work, and it is always good to know that your work is somewhat meaningful. Then I had the treat of candies from the secretary. Yum!! :D

Wishing all of you the very Merry Christmas! Tell me how you spent yours!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shilin Night Market

Shilin night market is the biggest night market in Taipei. A few shot of the crowd shows you this!
All kinds of stall (mostly food and clothing) are open on the street next to the shops; like this one: a hairdresser called "Mafia".. (trust that they won't cut your ear too?)

Of course the food part is great. See this swimming big prawn in a tank? Yum yum! But not all is good. I tried this pork-medicine soup, which is supposedly good for health. "It makes you strong", my colleague said. But it does taste like chinese medicine, the ones that I used to take when I was a kid! Euuuch!!!
After swallowing the pork medicine as fast as I could, I need some fresh sweet fruit which can be eaten with their special sweet-sourish salt.

And for those who like the previous rabbit picture, here are more of rabbits!! Enjoy! :D

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Danshui is a 40 minutes ride on MRT, north of Taipei. First stop, of course, food! As my colleague said it "delicious food". What's here? beautiful waterfront scenery and of course more markets!
I went there with my colleague, 崇欽, who has been a very good host. He showed me around and explain to me the various Taiwanese food and culture. I tried many kinds of food, including: red bean soup (which was warm and sweet), various little free miscellaneous things which I'm not quite sure what, glutinous cake and lastly yam fried balls (this is very 'delicious' and very addictive)

Walking around the market, I found these cute rabbits game machine. We tried.. but didn't succeed. I think they cheated because both time we got the rabbit, but the mechanical hands decided to drop it just before reaching the hole.. Rip off!!!

We then took a ferry ride to this bridge. I think the English name was Valentine Bridge (I don't know what's the Chinese name of it).
And before we got back to the city, we were blessed to see this beautiful sunset over the Danshui river! Now, doesn't that want to make you jump on the next plane and visit me? hihihi...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taipei Computer Expo

So here is how it looked in the Taipei Computer Expo. Full of people (read: guys) surrounding showgirls in stage giving up free stuff.. like bags.

I like this 2nd picture.. it shows the 'action'. It's quite entertaining watching grown men trying to catch free bags in the air :p

And here are some of the beauties.. unfortunately I didn't have the courage to ask them to look at my camera. I should! I promise next time I will try. But don't worry, some of them actually looked better from behind :p

And here they are, the glorious stalls! What a fun day resulting in an 8 CAD mouse and a new USB flash drive :)
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

National Palace Museum

This place is huge! It contains the display of ceramics, jade, and various bronze collections from goodness knows when (very old)! I went here with my housemate last week after the brunch on Shihding with Tony and Macy. Yes, I do need to start working a bit and thus cannot be a tourist all the time, going around Taipei and taking pictures! However, I will try my best to keep this blog updated with all the photos of cool places I have been.
Relatively easy to get here and around by public transport. MRT to Shilin station and taking the short bus will take you straight in front of this museum. An entry of NT160 will get you inside and also the park next door. Beautiful around sunset :)
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Taiwan.. a place too dangerous for the thin walleted!
Yes, because there are so many things here...
There aren't many of "made in Taiwan" stuff, but there are a lot more of imported stuff here than in Montreal / Australia. Cute things from Japan, expensive things from US and super expensive things from Europe!
And look at this shoe heaven... I'm rather glad that I left my shoes in Montreal. I will have a reason to buy another pair here! hihihi. ok, maybe not now.. maybe till I have my first paycheck.

But prices aren't cheap, unless you buy stuff from the night market; And those cheap stuff normally are cheap quality too. Well the girls do shop a lot here, they dress very well. The guys? hihi.. like in any other country.. T-shirt rocks!
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Shihding Saturday

So, last saturday I went with my long time australian buddy Tony, his girlfriend Macy and my housemate Daniel up to a mountain area Shihding (about 30 minutes east of Taipei) to grab some brunch. The cool thing? We went with Tony's convertible BMW whom as the photo beside shows.. not for the faint hearted! I like this picture, it was taken in one of the tunnel.
Then we went and have our brunch under this little tent. The place is famous for meeting of bikers and sports car enthusiast on weekend mornings. The brunch was good. I had a croissant with ham, salad and corn inside! (yes chinese style croissant). The price was quite expensive, but I guess it's the view that we paid for.
Here me and Tony post in front of one of the bikes and then in front of Tony's super car :p
And the last photo is one of the nice view we had during the ride (and one of the nicest un-blurred photo I took considering Tony's mad driving speed!!)
Oh and PS: I've been using Picasa + blogger.. and it has serious problems of uploading pictures and formatting. I'm thinking perhaps I should just link my picasa album to the blog entries rather than uploading here. I only got 50% of my upload quota left!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Physics Department NTU

So this is where I work and spent 1/3 of my day at. The physics department building is the tallest building in NTU. Which helps, because I got lost in the campus quite often. The campus is just huge! People rides bike to one building to the other and perhaps I should too. Considering... considering whether to embarrass myself with my newly acquired amateur biking ability, or perhaps forcing myself to walk (read: exercise) each day.

Notice anything strange about this picture? This little pagoda-like structure in the lake is not connected to the land! The stairs doesn't go anywhere. Yes, the story goes that long time ago in 70s there was a girl who committed suicide and jump to the lake due to unrequited love. Then the university decided to cut the bridge in between!
And of course.. like a typical picture perfect lake: white geese! Here are some geese enjoying the sunset in the lake :)
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Taipei MRT

Taipei MRT is probably one of the cleanest MRT system that I have encountered. To me it has the similar feeling to the Singapore metro. This one is GongGuan Station, the station to my university. Several things to note: it's very clean, and it allow mobile phone signals (unlike Montreal STM). The fees depends on the distance normally around 20-30 NTD each way which is paid through a magnetic card (similar to Montreal STM) for the frequent traveler or a blue plastic single token journey which has to be surrendered at the exit.

I have acquired myself the metro map with all the listing of point of interests for each metro station. I'll see if I can get through all of these an take a picture for your viewing pleasure! :)

PS: And oh, I didn't get stomach ache from yesterday .. hihih. Time to try something else?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The suspect

So this is the suspect of my stomach ache the other day. And so why did I buy it again? Of course to try and experiment whether this really is the culprit or perhaps rather that I have gotten the anti-bacteria in my stomach to fight it for the 2nd time around!
I will report tomorrow morning! :p

My new flatmate

Meet Daniel, my flatmate. We went to a restaurant called something something pasta. hihi. I can't remember the name! We went to the Shida night market for dinner. He's a nice fella, currently studying chinese and working in animation. Yet another computer geek in my life!

And the next picture is of course my chosen dinner last night :) Angel hair pasta with XO sauce, $150 but includes tea, soup and all you can eat salad. Most restaurant here gives free ice tea so we don't spend the crazy amount of money in drinks; Which what usually happens in Canada / Australia. There they make the money from selling the overpriced drinks, while here.. i don't know how they make money! Maybe just constant volume of transaction?

My new home

Meet my room! Finally everything is out of the suitcases and installed properly in its places. The bed is soft... and with no plastic cover underneath! Yeaaah! And I have a little balcony too (which i'm not sure for what, because it's not overlooking anything worth to look... to hang my laundry?!?)
This is the living room. The good thing living with the 2 foreigner is that the house is clutter free! Unlike many asian apartment. Yes, I'm sure you're familiar with your chinese friend's house or your gradma's house if you're asian.
Shower an toilet. Good water pressure, and high enough mount to cater the tall housemate. I've only met one so far and he's very nice. They're both from Uk and it turns out that they were neighbours back in their home country. So I'm in the odd one out in this house!
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Daan Park

We went to Daan Park on Saturday morning. First we bought some 'buffet' meal. Buffet here doesn't carry the same meaning to back in Indonesia / Australia which normally means all you can eat and still pay the same. Here it is all you can take (and afford to pay) in a cartoon box. This, of course I found out later after taking the nicest, biggest looking 1/2 fish on display! NT 120, not such a big damage.
We then walked around the park for hours and find these phone booth. Taiwanese like their 'cute' things. Snoopy and piggy bank.
And of course, the occasional westerner spotting brings smiles. We found this guy amongst kids at rollerblading ring in the park. Check out his 4 wheels rollerblade. I guess you can tell his age from that!
My 18 years old friend Danica, of course, does not now that these pairs doesn't come from the future. She was amazed and thought it was the newest, coolest model of roller blade. I, didn't correct her :D

Lastly, apparently it was a big family celebration that day which includes kids drawing competition. This brings back the old forgotten memory from the girl who used to go to too many drawing competition with his sister! I walked around, check out the picture, pretending to be the jury and the journalist with the camera, finding the 'best' one. Here is one that I thought could win. It has the element of cheerfulness, bright solid Pentel colors; "Kak Alex" style.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

A new friend

News flash.. I got my first stomach ache here!!! Woo hooo.. hahaha
Thanks to the Shida night market dumplings.. I think!
So last night I tried something more conservative: pork+fried egg and rice in a restaurant.

Also, Introducing my friend Danica, from Palau! (yes.. go ahead and wiki it if you don't know where it is! I will be quite impressed if you guys know!).
I met her when she visit my current temporary accommodation to rent it. The landlord didn't come on time so I was the one showing her the apartment. She's still 18 years old.. and I don't know if she realize that I'm much more than 18.. hihihi. I do realize that she is 18 though.. from the thing she talked about, the way she talked. It's so different than my friends in Montreal whom are 30+ (Yes, you guys are old! hahaha).

There are a lot of things you can just not talk to an 18 years old. I'm not being condescending but it's true. The way they view the world are so so different. Nevertheless, she's a great girl and I'm friends with her, we ate this awesome dinner at "Jamaica coffee". My meal was 105NTD with free ice tea. It was yummy! We were going to meet up again for lunch Saturday afternoon.

And may I add, drinks here are awesome :D. I am going to try as many drinks possible and documented them for your pleasure :p They each cost about 15-35 NTD.. normally either flavoured tea, flavoured milk, flavoured soy milk or flavoured yoghurt.

Ah, such a flavoured country!