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.
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.”
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.
Summer in Taiwan, much like those I sweat through in Hong Kong, are a tad on the scorching side. Thirty plus degrees with 100%humidity can never be described as a particularly dry experience, but I do have to admit you grow accustomed to perpetually sweating. The secret to surviving any hot summer day in a tropical climate is to head straight to the mountains, find yourself a particularly blue creek and jump head first into it (check depth first). There’s nothing that quite rivals it.
Having made my dumplings, (see previous post) it came to my attention that no dumpling is ever fully complete without the help of its trusty sidekick, soy sauce – the heart and soul of nearly all Chinese cuisine. Naturally, on my way home from work, I stopped by the supermarket to quickly pick up a bottle of it before heading home to catch up with my bestest, Lo – a conversation that I was looking forward to for reasons besides the fact that dumplings would accompany it. Continue reading “213. Some missions are harder than you expect them to be.”
If, like me, you are dumpling mad, then I highly recommend making your own on a rainy Sunday afternoon. What better way to taste a dumpling than with the seasoning of your own hard graft?
(very little graft necessary)
I know this title isn’t the hopeful, motivational rubbish that you’d love to see to get you through your day, but keep reading anyway. This weekend in Taiwan is Dragon Boat Festival – a celebration that traditionally mourns and celebrates the life and death of Qu Yuan, who according to legend, drowned himself in the Miluo river after being exiled from China. Locals were sad at hearing of his death and so rowed down the river searching for his body, hitting the surface with their paddles to scare away the fish and throwing lumps of rice into the water in the hope that the creatures below wouldn’t eat his body. Nowadays it’s acknowledged with rice dumplings and dragon boat races, or if you’re like me and my friends, with a camping trip to the east coast. Continue reading “211. Try, give up, go home. It’s okay.”
I know that somewhere along the line I’ve been told, or read somewhere, that being outside and doing exercise is a great way to lengthen your life. Those that run and those that hike tend to live longer than those that don’t, providing you don’t hike amongst poisonous animals when you attract every sting on earth (ask me if I got stung by a wasp and three jellyfish on the same day – go on) or on high cliffs when you have a knack for falling over (overall it’s a miracle I’ve made it to 23).
I’ve read that in Japan, there’s a genuine encouragement for people to go walking in the forest on the basis that the peacefulness will calm you down. I’ll be the first to hold up my hands and say that part of the reason that I love to be in nature so much is for that calm feeling – it’s just you and a hill and your thoughts can be left at the bottom. But, this weekend, I can’t say I got the thrill quite the same as on a normal hike. Continue reading “209. Walking through a forest is not always relaxing.”
It’s that time of year again – the humidity is up and the cockroaches are out, armed and ready to ruin your day wherever possible. I hope that any day now, I’ll wake up and realise that they’re just bugs that in the grand scheme of things do very little harm to my day, but as it turns out, I’m still in the zone of sheer panic upon seeing one. Yes, I am 23 and a ridiculous amount bigger than it, I know, but simply telling me this will have no actual impact on my reflex to freeze or bolt. All in good time. Continue reading “208. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself (and cockroaches).”