Taiwan Day 2

Continued from Taiwan Day 1.

Well, last night I woke up at 2am due to jet lag and couldn’t go back to sleep. Lucky RL was able to sleep in until 4am. As I am typing this right now(a day ahead) I managed to somehow wake up even earlier at 1am, and can’t go back to sleep. I suck at managing this jet lag thing.

Anyhow, got up in the wee hours, did some blogging and took care of some emails. At 6:30am the breakfast downstairs opens up, yeah free breakfast coupons!!

Frankly, it was quite a bit nicer than we both had expected. The selection was pretty awesome.

Don’t worry, there’s duck meat camouflaged under those greens. See the wax apple on the left hand side? Delish!

Hard boiled egg marinated in tea leaf and other spices. Miss these things.

Eye smile. Smile now while you can, because it’ll be miserable in the afternoon when jet lag kicks in again. We held back on the amount we ate for breakfast. We’ve got a really busy day of eating, meeting family, eating, taking care of business and eating ahead of us.

We are supposed to meet my grandma this morning, so before we left the States, my mom had suggested to RL that she should wear a dress when she visits my grandma for the first time. In my mom’s world, a dress is more formal and respectful. So, packing a travel friendly dress(wrinkle free and durable) had been on RL’s packing list. This morning, she pulls out her dress to put on. Wrinkle free, check. Durable, check. See through, check.

Upon putting on the dress, RL realized that it needed a slip, but she didn’t bring one. Oops. Add buying a slip to our to-do list this morning.

View from our hotel window.

First stop was to my sister’s apartment, so into a taxi we go. This taxi was more reasonable with his number of windshield gadgets.


My sister’s beloved dog Asa. He’s cute, smart and a brat. Bad!

Conveniently, a short walk from my sister’s apartment is the government agency I have to visit to take care of my tax thing. My aunt will be meeting us here to help me with the process(I can’t write Chinese)…Literally as I am walking up the steps into the door, I realized that I had forgotten the one documentation that I was supposed to bring, my passport. SHIT!!!!

So, my sister had to get her car and went with RL back to the hotel to get my passport while I waited at the agency with my aunt.

While waiting, my aunt pulls out her tablet computer. Upon closer inspection, I realize that it’s not just a tablet, but it’s her phone!!! Here it is next to her face for size comparison! Hahaha. It’s comically big!!! Though, she uses a bluetooth headset with it, so she doesn’t actually hold it like a real phone. It’s funny to me that there are people walking around holding tablet sized phones up to their heads. Heh.

The face mask is so she keeps the germs away. This is socially acceptable in Taiwan.

We wait while my passport gets fetched. As luck would have it, while we were waiting, the agency’s whole computer system goes down, and stays down for 30 minutes.

When RL and my sister came back with my passport, the computer system came back up right at the same time. So, even though I had forgotten my passport, we would have had to wait for their system to get back online. So really no time lost.

Done with tax stuff, and now buy some gifts. Traditionally, when visiting relatives, you bring a gift, usually in the form of a vice, sweets, cigarettes or alcohol.

Speaking of vice, this is a motel that “rents by the hour”. Not too many windows…

While we were at the government agency, my cousin SH meets up with us and gave us this gift. The cut out says “Happy Happy” which is what you give to couples who are newly wed.

Now, we drive to go eat lunch.

Heading to a small town, where one of my dad’s favorite restaurant is located at.

RL took this photo and asked me why there’s so much trash right here. There’s a lot of trash here the same reason why there’s a lot of useless trash in some people’s yards.

Photo credit RL.

If you read our California Road Trip blog, you’ll pick up this reference. KL points. We are now at the restaurant, located in the middle of a bunch of homes with no frontage to the main street. It’s really out of the beaten path.

Super down to earth traditional Taiwanese restaurant. Nothing fancy about it, except for the delicious food.

We got to the restaurant a few minutes too early, so they weren’t ready to sit us down yet. Photo safari time.

Ha! Right next to the restaurant is this grey utility pvc pipe. For others this is just another pipe, for me, it’s different. This is a pipe manufactured by my dad’s pvc pipe company back in the days. A blast from the past.

When in Asia…That’s my cousin SH on the left.

Pick out the white person. My cousin is just as fair skinned as RL.

Time to eat. The restaurant has no menu, but has a glass fridge that contains all the fresh ingredients for the day. You pick out the ingredients, they prepare the food for you.

I want to eat that ingredient in the center of the photo.

No specialty tools needed to debone Salmon, an off the shelf needle nose pliers will do.

While at the restaurant, we met up with my grandma, SH’s parents and her brother.

Marinated and roasted pork belly. This is their signature dish.

Water spinach, yum.

Some sort of bamboo I think.

Yes!! I don’t know why I like this, but I just do, it’s chicken testicles.

RL eats balls for the first time. Heh.

There were a couple of black balls. They tasted just like the white balls.

What do balls taste like, you ask? RL says that they taste, “Kind of sweet!” They also have a little bit of a creamy consistency.

Salmon belly.

Yeah! Fish eggs with sweet mayo and sprinkles on top. Sprinkles is the key!

My happy place. I stuffed my mouth with so many balls.

My grandma eating ice cream, she’s 84. It’s sad to see, but I think she’s suffering from dementia now. She has a tough time forming new memories and repeats herself a lot. 🙁

RL looks like a giant next to my grandma.

After lunch, it’s time to fight jet lag and stay awake until at least dinner time. Ugh.

Guess what this place is? RL thought that it was a photo studio. Nope, it’s a massage place…

We drove by this cemetery on the highway and RL thought that it was so interesting looking and took a photo of it. She like cemeteries, I don’t get it.

Drove by my childhood home. This is where I spent the first 9 years of my life, and where that grey pvc pipe was delivered from.

We had to get some coffee, and since we are in the more rural part of Taiwan, there were no Starbucks. Micky D’s McCafe will have to do.

Hit me baby one more time.

Got some caffeine, and it’s now time to find a slip for RL. Since we got delayed at the government agency doing my tax thing, we didn’t have time to buy a slip for RL before visiting my grandma. But, no worries, we will see my grandma again for dinner, so hopefully we can find a slip before then.

This is the only way to park in Nantou, in the fire lane; otherwise, you’d circle for hours, and I do mean hours trying to find parking for 5 minutes. I would say this offense is equivalent to people driving 5mph over the speed limit in US.

We parked across the street from my favorite childhood bakery.

Are we here to buy a slip, or play with a super cute friendly miniature Pomeranian??

We went to a couple of stores, but did not find a slip that fit. They were either too long, or in the wrong color. I guess the dress won’t happen for grandma, sorry mom.

No slip, but that’s ok because there’s plenty of baked goods! Remember, we just had lunch not too long ago.

Happy with her red bean mochi.

Jet lag is starting to get us. Everything feels so tiring. We drove around the area to show RL where I grew up.

My old elementary school. More or less still looks the same.

RL buys something in Taiwan for the first time.

It’s time to sit and relax. Don’t know why my sister is making that face.

Really tired, but trying hard to stay awake.

Shit, there are fucking mosquitoes. These are the notorious small black mosquitoes(like the size of a gnat), and their bites itch like crazy. We gotta move and find somewhere indoors.

Ah, this will do. It’s a coffee house in the middle of the rice patties, and it’s got an indoor section with AC, which means essentially no mosquitoes!!

How nice to be in a little island in the middle of rice patties, and also free from blood sucking bugs.

My iced coffee comes with iced coffee ice.

We hung around the coffee shop fighting off jet lag. RL and I feel miserable, but it’s almost 5, which means it’s almost dinner time. The earlier we eat, the earlier we get to go back to the hotel and sleep. Yes!

This is my favorite restaurant in the world.

It didn’t always look like this, they’ve since moved to this larger location from my childhood days.

They’ve also since added a buffet.

This is what I’ve been wanting to eat, pork chops with an egg scrambled in the sauce on the hot skillet. Been eating this dish for close to 30 years, and for sure this would be my death row last meal. I ate two portions…call me a fattie, I don’t care.

Too tired to smile for the camera. Stupid jet lag.

Dinner is over, but wait, there’s still yet more relatives to meet and greet. AAHHHH!!!! I just want to sleep!!!! We went to a tea house to meet up with my uncle and my cousin’s husband…well, after about 20 minutes, we were holding it together no more, and had to call it a night. It’s almost 8pm now.

Right down the street from our hotel sits this giant brightly lite building. It’s where you can hire girls to drink and party with you, so in other words, a thinly disguised whorehouse. My sister told me that the owner of this place also owns a very highly sought after private school for the kids of the elites. Who knew that the same management skills for a whorehouse can be applied to a school. To my many friends who are teachers…If whores work in a whorehouse, and teachers work in a school, then teachers must be…

Shower and sleep, night!

To be continued in Taiwan Day 3.

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