224. The only thing that is better than an egg waffle is two egg waffles – particularly if it’s free.

雞蛋仔 (gai dan zai) or rather Hong Kong’s most delicious of street eat treats, the egg waffle, is one of the greatest things to grace the planet – it really is and if you haven’t ever had one then you simply must go and search for one this instant. So you’ll imagine my happiness at recently finding a great stand approximately a 3 minute walk from the door of my apartment block here in Taiwan – dangerous stuff for someone who loves them as much as I do.

It’s a Saturday night and you’re going in for an early one, and you stop by said stand to purchase a singular egg waffle to round off your busy day perfectly. On this particular day I wanted a plain one, nothing fancy, just the good old fashioned original. However they accidentally gave me a chocolate one, the worst of things to happen as you can imagine. They handed it to me apologetically and proceeded to start cooking another one for free. Now, a person who likes egg waffles now and again/ who is a little indifferent to them perhaps/ who has something terribly wrong with their tastebuds might have said something along the lines of ‘No, don’t worry, chocolate is fine, don’t trouble yourselves with making another one’. Sadly, I am not one of those people and those words did not and will not ever exit my mouth.

Two egg waffles for the price of one – no brainer.

223. A layer of skin is one too many.

I think I’ve mentioned it before that it’s a tad hot in this part of the world at the moment, but I’ll say it again for good measure – it’s really hot. But if you’re like myself and you enjoy hiking this won’t phase you all that much – simply bare in mind that within the first few seconds of your ascent the sweat will be dripping off your nose, your hair will resemble you having jumped in a pool and your clothing most likely something similar. It’ll be hard and it’ll be hot and your skin will feel like a layer too many, but it’s sure as anything an achievement that you made it back without being bitten by a snake or died from a complete lack of water in your system because you sweated it all out.

Here’s to many more.

PS. Those cool fancy fabrics that are supposed to wick away sweat have a limit that is reached early on in any daily activity here – including brushing your teeth.

222. Twenty minutes is a perfectly acceptable amount of time to queue for an ice cream.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Taiwan in the summer but let me quickly paint a picture for you – it’s hot and it’s sweaty and no amount of showers or lack of clothing can ever combat your rate of perspiration.  Continue reading “222. Twenty minutes is a perfectly acceptable amount of time to queue for an ice cream.”

221. A ‘swimming’ area is not always a swimming area.

You know, tropical island life is magnificent. It really is and I have a sneaky feeling that my time in Taiwan isn’t going to be limited to a singular year. Who can give up a life of mangoes, dumplings, mountains and deep blue waterfalls so readily – not I, I say.

And when Sundays come along and you’re staring at another week of kids in the face, the first thing you want to do is go some place where it doesn’t even cross your mind, and one of those places is of course, the Pacific. The big, beautiful Pacific.  Continue reading “221. A ‘swimming’ area is not always a swimming area.”

219. The sun will leave its mark.

I am eternally grateful for having skin that doesn’t turn into a typically red British mess when it meets the sun. I’ve always been quietly thankful that I’m not one of those glaringly white people on the beaches in Europe, quite obviously from the UK, who you need sunglasses just to look at because their skin is so white. That being said, having skin that turns to tan within an hour does have its drawbacks – chief being that you quickly end up fashioning the outline of whatever clothes you’ve been wearing for the next three months.

This summer, I’m sporting a nice big white X on my back from my running vest – it’s this season’s must have. Shoe lines to compliment it – in the shape of two white strap lines across my feet. Anything else? Of course, add a nice shorts line to that equation. Doesn’t that sound just wonderful?

 

218. 8am is too late.

As it so happens, I am in fact a morning person. You’ll rarely catch me sleeping past 8 nowadays, even on the weekend. I simply find that before noon, I’m doubly as productive as I am after it, and thus it really benefits me to get out of bed. I also find that with the hot summer days now in Taiwan, the mornings are cooler and anything in the afternoon needs to be completed with air conditioning or a cold mountain river to jump into. Continue reading “218. 8am is too late.”

217. There’s no better season than mango season.

The perks of living on a tropical island are numerous – the perkiest of said perks is most certainly the seasonal tropical fruit for you to sink your teeth into. I’m talking about fresh passion fruit when you exit your building, and truck loads of the sweetest pineapples you’ll ever taste, and now that it’s summer, some incredibly large, incredibly juicy mangoes. And I can hand on heart say that there are few things better than a mango on a hot, humid and sunny morning.

216. When it rains, it pours.

It’s rainy season here in Taiwan and as you may have guessed that means a rather large amount of water to cope with. Being British, you’d think that maybe I’d have learned to deal with the vast amounts of water that pour themselves over the British landscape throughout a much too large percentage of the year, but British rain and Taiwan rain are merely distant cousins, baring little to no resemblance of each other. Continue reading “216. When it rains, it pours.”

215. Practice your Chinese under the pressure of an audience.

The other week, after my Chinese class, the teacher and myself headed out to get some traditional Taiwanese food. Now, I pretty much always eat local food and whilst I often am the only foreigner present, it rarely merits me getting stared at apart from by babies, which seems to happen to me in whatever country that I go to. However, for whatever reason, this particular joint that we walked into did that thing you see in movies where everyone goes quiet when you enter, at which point my Chinese teacher announced that I was here to learn Chinese.

The remainder of the meal was spent speaking Chinese, eating Taiwanese food and the rest of the restaurant sat listening and watching.

I took a bow upon leaving.