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 :)
Posted by Picasa

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!
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

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!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shida night market

What a fun way to go for dinner! 30NTD for 5 dumplings and 25NTD for a huge bread.
I had fun walking around the night market, feeling all touristy... checking out the girls ;)
No no.. not for me! hehe.. I have mon cheri!

And it was fun being surrounded by so many locals, finding out bargains, eating el cheapo food,
the joy!

I also went to seal the deal at my new apartment. I'd be sharing it with 2 guys from UK.
I have only met one chap but I think it's going to be great. I don't have to feel awkward not speaking chinese in the house, having laid-back western style without the owner imposing tight rules about having visitors around or any other rules like the one I have in my current temporary apartment.

And no plastic on the mattress! The joy!

Apartment hunting

One of the difficult thing in settling down is to find a suitable apartment. My current temporary apartment (picture on the side) is quite nice. It's on the 4th level, not too far from university. The streets here are not straight east-west, but they have a cool way of naming. For example my street is a small lane branched from Taishun street.. so it's just Lane number Taishun street. This, of course doesn't help me finding my way back home tonight. I manage to go around the big block for an extra 15 minutes to find my street in the dark evening! Sore feet expected.

Apartment here are quite expensive. Converting it to CAD, it is slightly cheaper than in Montreal, but considering the quality and the space .. almost the same price in Montreal! A shared room (furnished) cost about 400CAD per month. I was looking at another apartment here which is slightly cheaper, on the $350 mark but not that much of a difference. The starting price is expensive.. but for a little bit more, around $600 per month one can get a luxury apartment. So then it is a tough decision! When the case is wanting to save some money for future plane tickets (yes yes :) ), o you look for price, or value?

Similarly for food, the starting point is quite high but then a better meal is not much more expensive. Instant noodle cost $1 CAD (pictured here) and a meal of fresh made dumplings cost $1.50 CAD. Pasta meal at university $4 CAD.
Instant noodle is no longer a worthy money saving option.

It still taste good to me! :D

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taipei, Day 1

Arriving in Taipei was painless.Surviving, though, is another matter entirely.
First, the 21 hours flight. It was bearable with good food from EVA air and movies like Dark Knight (yes, I finally watch it!). Then the silent taxi ride; Silent because the driver only speaks mandarin and I cannot reply other than 'xiexie'.

The temporary room is quite nice. Relatively expensive $500 NT per night (19 CAD), but it's close enough to the university that I can walk around and get lost in the alleys. Which of course.. I did! And may I add, the obsession of keeping plastic covers on things are overwhelming! Hm.. mattress in covered in plastic.. makes me think I'm sleeping in the shop!

Basic simple needs like food becomes more tricky too. I'm not doing that bad for first day. I manage to order this lunch for $115 NTD (about $4 CAD). It was a beef noodle soup; the most expensive thing in the menu. Yes, the only one that has a picture.

Another yummy stuff that I managed to taste is a green tea yoghurt drink. for $20 NTD from the 7-Eleven. Here is a picture of me with it in my new desk. It is a bare minimum office, without computer, buzzing flourescent light, shared with another postdoc.

All in all, it was a nice day. Homesick is quite bearable, thanks to the new video google, words of love from Do and thinking that it is below zero in Montreal for everybody else there.. hee hee! :D