Sunday, 28 October 2012

The war...

There seems to be a distinct war between scooter riders and car drivers!! The cars beep at the scooters (I'm not always sure why), the scooter riders laugh in the faces of the cars by weaving past them. And no one really pays any attention to the laws of the road. The number of times you see riders with no helmets. Or a mother and three children on one little scooter!! Running a red light is nothing here. So when it comes to rush hour, it's a ruddy nightmare! Just a bit of a free for all and hope that you make it through! (Not a big fan of scooting in rush hour, I fear for my life.) And if you attempt to be a should fear even more. I'm so confused by the pedestrian crossing. You wait for it to go to the little green running man before you cross...but whilst you have a green running man, the lights are green for the cars and scooters too. So it's not exactly all that safe crossing the road! ODD!

Scooter riding is going much better now I use it more. By jove, I think she's got it! I love scooting at night here...though there are far too many flashing lights, making it a tough call on which are traffic lights and which are shop lights! 

Is PSY -Gangnam Style big in the UK? It's a horrific Korean pop song, with a crazy dance (reminiscent of Super Junior - Sorry Sorry Sorry.) Well it's massive over here, the song itself is appalling but to dance it like a loon with some crazy people can be a laugh. 

But an actual good song to listen to...Alt J - Taro.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Random musings...

Puppy training has been fun! Sometimes she understands sometimes she doesn't. Fortunately the flooring in Taiwan houses is laminate or accidents are easy enough to clean up. I'm not sure what happened, before I would never want to clean up after a dog, but now I have this little madam to look after I just do it with no second thought. She's super fun but I will be happy when we have found a proper home for her. And I am sure she will have more fun too! 

So most Taiwanese people are Buddhist and there are temples pretty much everywhere. There is one just over the road from my place. I find the temples to be overly elaborate and showy, but when you ask a Buddhist what they believe, each one will tell you something different. But each temple is also for a different god. When I first got here every Friday for about a month every Buddhist family would prepare a food table and burn paper money and incense, in the hopes that all the things they burnt would go to their dead ancestors. I don't know how many of them actually believe this or just do it because it's tradition. It's interesting trying to understand where they are coming from...but it still makes no logical sense to me.

But this is the thing I have found here. Most people don't really have their own opinions on things, the majority do what has been ingrained and passed down through tradition. Coming from a culture and a family that encourages you to have your own opinion, I find that tough. All very homogenised...which as somewhat of a quirky person, it's my worst nightmare.

I have my own scooter now. So I have been a lot more adventurous with the scooting. Which did lead me to falling into a van once, but since then it's been all good. So I plan to make my own adventures now! Yay!

Tune of the day...Soft Bullets - Posterity. Stunning piano!

the incredibly cute, incredibly hard work pup

elaborate temple...

my wheels...(have to kick start her and the fuel gage doesn't really work, but we get around ok)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

There is no small dog in my bag...

I have decided I like the food in Taiwan that isn't Taiwanese. Friday I went to a French restaurant (which plays French music in the background and has a very interesting lighting piece made of umbrellas) and today I went to a Japanese restaurant. The food was good at both places. Most Taiwanese food I find to be very samey. Pleasant enough but all tastes the same.

Today I did something very irresponsible! So in Taiwan I despair at the way animals are treated. In my street there is a rabbit in a cage outside, the rabbit fills the most part of the cage pretty much and is constantly shaking from fear. Then the dogs...this is what gets me the most, there are stray dogs everywhere that just look sad and unhealthy. But the worst is when there are fully grown dogs in cages, or tied in chains outside their owners house. If there was an RSPCA out here, they would have one heck of a job on their hands. I was with my friend up in the mountains and this tiny black lab looking puppy comes out of nowhere, covered in dirt. Her mum had abandoned her and she was super scared. So we ended up feeding her bread and milk. This was a bad move...because now we have kinda adopted her! OOPS! (This happened to another friend of mine a few weeks ago too, she ended up taking in a puppy they found on the street and now Linus is a bundle of fun!) We gave our little puppy a bath, so now she is the cutest black bundle of fur ever!(Anyone know how to house train a puppy?!...) It's all incredibly irresponsible but I like the idea that us Westerners are saving the dogs of Taiwan one puppy at a time! I'm just taking care of her until either my friend can take her (her housemate is scared of her but is moving out next month) or we find a better home for her. But I have the fun job of training her. 

interesting lighting at the french cafe...

my wonderfully sophisticated coffee at the french cafe also...i shall be going back here...!

badly treated animals...
my puppy...she finds cameras intriguing...

Monday, 15 October 2012

Let's go to the beach-each, let's go get away...

Oooooh I had a wonderful weekend. I went camping on the beach with my Western friendlings! ROAD TRIP! (Drinking Corona's in the Corona ;)) We hopped down to Kenting, down in the very south of Taiwan, right at the very tip. We left insanely early Saturday morning and spent the whole day on the beach. My word it was beautiful! The ocean was a gorgeous shade of bluey green (not like the British murky looking sea.) I was expecting the water to be a little cold, but oh no no it was nice and warm. 

We went to the main street in Kenting and found corn dogs. I've always heard of them in American movies, my Canadian friends insisted they were good stuff, so I tried. It is the weirdest thing ever, it's like a hot dog sausage wrapped in a doughnut type dough. Really odd, but not half bad. 

It gets dark really early here in the summer. It's generally dark by about 6pm. So five girls putting up two tents in the pitch black was hilarious! But we did a good job in my humble opinion. Hehe! And it was soooo wonderful to be located somewhere where there was no light pollution at all! The stars were EPIC! It was a beautiful moment, laid down staring at the stars, surrounded by palm trees, with the sounds of the ocean in the background! It felt sooooo good being in such a natural setting. It's so easy to take the beauty of nature for granted. But to just be in such a simple, organic spot was incredible. I can't describe the epicness of the moment! Then in a true camping fashion we drank vodka around the camp fire we made.

Waking up to the sounds of the sea is a fantastic way to wake up. The people down in Kenting are very very different to the rest of the Taiwanese people I have met. Kenting has the best surf beach on the island. So a lot of foreigners come to surf. So most people speak English, and they don't stare at you half so much. We went to this diner shack place for brekkie. I had the best brekkie I have had here so far. All the surfers hang out here, we all had a fry up and iced coffees! It was goooood! The owners were so nice as well and have made the place such a chilled out place. It seriously felt like we were in a different country! 

We went to the beach again and swam across an estuary like part of the sea. It was so calm. We swam half way and then just took in the scenery. Mountain and lush green foliage and palm trees! EPIC! (Totally made me think of some of the scenes from Lost hehe!) 

We went to an aquarium marine biology place too. I am in two minds on that one. I'm a little anti zoo's and such places, but on the other hand it was amazing to be able to see up close what is in our oceans. All the creatures they had there are what can be found in the ocean around Taiwan...including a whale shark, which is HUGE, balugas, seals, puffins (I love them!) and so many stunning fish of all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. I had no idea tuna fish are actually pretty big! There is so much about the ocean life that we just have no idea about! 

The weekend was wonderful. It was great spending time with my Mexican and Canadian friends. We made it a proper Western weekend and had such a laugh! And it was refreshing not being judged so much for our Western ways. A very revitalizing weekend that makes all the craziness of Taiwan bearable.

The tune of the trip was Four Non Blondes - What's Up and also Good Old War - Can't Go Home.

None of my photos show this places true beauty. So I guess you'll just have to come and visit hehe...

we camped just here, the view from the tent...

the sunset at the beach...

Monday, 8 October 2012

The turtle moves forward one step...

Today my housemate and two of her Taiwanese friends and I went to this kinda cafe place. But this is Taiwan so it's not just a cafe...nothing is normal! This cafe has a stack load of board games and cards games for you to play! It's an interesting concept. 

I had the hugest mug of hot chocolate ever there as well! 

So yeah, you just go in and pick which game you wanna play and away you play. You can play as many different games as you want. The interior of the place made me feel like I was in a caravan. So it was kinda nostalgic. At this place, they had pictionary, so I enlightened the girls on that one. (Fortunately the cards had the words written in English and Chinese). We played a whole bunch of games. And well, playing games in Chinese seems to be a good way of learning new vocab! I can now say the purple turtle moves forward one step...紫色乌龟前进一步。I now know the words for cauliflower, cabbage, tomato and pepper! When I am going to get 紫色乌龟前进一步 into a conversation, I don't know. But I like having the option that I am able to do so! Haha!Perhaps I could make it a new idiom. 

It wasn't quite the same as playing Trivial Pursuit in The Beer Engine at Newton St Cyres with a good ale ;) Oh the memories! But it was a pretty interesting way to spend the afternoon. Though I think with random things like this, it's all about the company you are with.

My track of the day is Dizraeli and Tom Caruana - People Taking Pictures. Lyrically it's genius and some of the lyrics really sum up my thoughts on being here. And just an awesome song! Love it!  

it's the funny little curtains that give the caravan vibe i think!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Scoot scoot scooters...

Up until now I've mainly driven the car around and just occasionally driven the scooter. I thought it was about time I changed that!

Now we all know that I've only just, a couple of months ago, learnt how to ride a bike. So two wheels doesn't exactly come naturally to me. I love it and think being on two wheels is a far more exciting way to get around and experience life. Driving down the random little lanes is always fun on a scooter. You never know what you will see. Today for example, I rode the scooter down this little alley way/shortcut and encountered a herd of goats! Random! I will choose the scooter over the car every time given the opportunity. But I don't just get on two wheels and go yes I know exactly what I'm doing at the minute. I guess that will come with time, like now driving a car just comes naturally. But when you're learning you're like 'clutch, gas, what, now you want me to change gear?!' I had my first little accident...! Nothing major (mum don't freak I'm fine), I just crashed into a small wall. I'm not the best at taking corners, I misjudged the corner and hit the wall, as I did so I came over the scooter and kinda found myself bent over the wall. This sounds more dramatic than it actually was! But scooters are pretty hardy things! It now has a few scratches and a little crack (I feel sooooo bad about that! Fortunately my housemate, who owns the scooter is very chilled out about these things and was cool about it!) but it's perfectly fine and it rides around fine still. You hit a car and it seems to effect other parts of the car and it becomes one big expensive job to fix. I got myself back home in one piece after that, gotta get right back on the  proverbial horse right! That's what I did and managed to take all the corners fine haha!

Everyone tells me you cannot come to Taiwan and not have an accident, so that makes me feel slightly better! Hopefully I will get better at taking corners though!!! Either that or I'm just gonna have to plan routes that require straight roads only ha!  

Vino the scooter.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Auditory Learning...

Well I discovered something fascinating yesterday. I'm going to be a bit of a nerd today. But I have discovered I am predominantly an auditory learner. Oooh! My friend who is also a teacher enlightened me on this one. So people learn in different ways, the main groups are auditory, visual, kinesthetic. Anyway, why I find it so fascinating is because it makes so much sense as to why I do certain things in life! Ha. An auditory learner learns through audio...well that was a given. But that can be in many different ways. It could be audio tapes, videos, music, rhymes...they remember things by how they sound. But the other thing I find fascinating is that an auditory learner finds it really hard learning things in silence, and this is why a lot of auditory learners need music or some background noise to be able to retain what they are reading/studying. And written information can have little impact on an auditory learner. I don't feel so stupid now, for being able to read something 3 or 4 times over and still have no idea what it's going on about!  Without background noise most auditory learners will talk to themselves! (I have a real excuse for talking to myself now!) I can now feel justified for listening to insane amounts of music and not being able to function without it hehe! 

I will often tell you I have an epiphany when I say it out loud. It's like there is this thought in my head trying to compose itself but it's not quite puzzled together yet. Then I say it out loud and it suddenly makes sense because I've HEARD it! Though this doesn't make sense as to why when my mum says 'do you remember when you were little and we went to....?' Why I will then come back with 'was I wearing (such and such), if so then yes I remember' But hey! 

I think most people are a mix of auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. But it's incredibly fascinating! I am now wondering whether it affects our personality, traits and characteristics in everyday life also! And how do we acquire the method in which we learn best? Our brains are all made in the same way, everything is in the same place, temporal lobes and all that...but it's incredible how we learn, perceive and experience things so differently! Mind boggling!

Onto a less brain engaging topic! Last night we went to a rather nice, posh area of Taizhong city and had a delightfully splendid evening! There was a cool park and restaurants of all different sorts of cuisines. It almost felt like you weren't in Taiwan! It was expensive area, but when I say expensive, I mean expensive for Taiwan. Normally I'll pay little over £1 for a meal that usually consists of noodles or rice a drink and a soup. Well not last night, for one I had Turkish food. The atmosphere and interior of the place was soooo cool, really nice. And I had lamb with different dips, bread, a salad, a smoothie type drinkle and tea. For a tenner. So I say expensive, but I couldn't get all that for a tenner in the UK. We are planning to go back and try some of the other restaurants as a treat every so often. It was really cool seeing a different side of Taiwan. 

Well as I am an auditory learner I have been listening to The Smiths in order to help me learn haha! The Smiths - Stretch out and Wait is my tune of the day.

no noodles on this table thanks! i also took quite a liking to the tablecloth!