Thursday, June 25, 2009

new apartment: before

I found a new apartment just in time for the contract on this one to be up! I'm thrilled to have found a place that's about twice as big as where I live now for the same price! Here are some pictures taken with my cell phone. The quality isn't great, but you can get the idea. I'll take real pictures later once I'm all moved in.

Kitchen and balcony, there's a samll bathroom to the right.
Another kitchen shot.
Dining/living room

Going upstairs

Large tatami room: this will be my office/guest room

Upstairs bathroom: like how the toilet, shower and washing machine all share the same space?

Bedroom from door
View from bedroom balcony

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Thailand Post

My apologies to all who have been wondering when I'm going to post! It's been quite a hectic month, with a lot of extra activities, finishing up the semester, getting grades in, and apartment hunting.

The last weekend in May was Dragon Boat Festival, and we had a 4-day weekend! Since this is the the only holiday until Christmas that didn't fall on a Saturday or Sunday,
some friends and I decided to take the opportunity and explore some more of Asia. So we booked our tickets toThailand.

It takes around 3 hours to get from Taipei to Bangkok. We then transferred the next morning (another hour + flight) to Phuket. Then we had almost 3 full days of beach and relaxation there! It seemed to be the off-season when we went, so our hotel was practically empty.

It was beautiful though, with nice rooms, a great pool, and even a cool bar in the pool where you could sit and order food or drinks!

We spent a lot of time on the beach, which I realized was bordering on the Indian ocean! So now I've been swimming in 3 of the world's oceans! And the other two, well I doubt I ever will!
Phuket was one of the places affected by the tsunami in 2004, and we saw some signs for tsunami evacuation routes. If I go
back, I'd be interested in visiting the tsunami museum.

Thai food of course is AMAZING! I love pad thai, and all of their curries. They also had lots of good fruit, and a yummy dessert called banana pancakes! It was like a thin crepe with bananas wrapped inside and smothered in sweetened condensed milk mmmmm.We got some massages, and I got these fun braids in my hair! I actually still have them in, though I'll probably take them out soon.

On the second
day, we spent a half day doing an elephant ride (the brochure called it a "trek" but I don't know if what we did can count as "trekking"). It was really cool, but a little scary! We were up so high! We were holding on really tight at some points, especially when the elephant went down a steep hill into the water. Our elephant's name was Lucky. Oh and this picture was taken by our guide. We stopped at this area and he just clambered right off with the camera and snapped a bunch of pictures. We wondered at one point what was to stop the elephants from running away, but Lucky was well-behaved. When we got back, we were able to buy some bananas to feed them. It was amazing to see how they use their trunks to pick things up and eat them! Lucky even kept one banana hidden in his trunk for later! The elephants were definitely the highlight, but next we saw a monkey show, then hiked to a waterfall. It was so
beautiful! It was really refreshing to get into the water there too! Thailand was really really really hot! I got a little burnt on the last day in Phuket when we spent the morning at the beach.

On Saturday
night we flew back to Bangkok, and spent a half day in the city before our flight home. We visited the grand palace, which was definitely grand in every sense of the word! The decor was so ornate. We originally thought we'd just go in for a quick look and then go shopping, but we ended up staying for about 2 hours because there was so much to see! Words cannot describe how beautiful it was! The picture on the right kind of reminded me of the tower of Babel, which I taught about this past semester. Another interesting thing about the palace, was that if you weren't wearing appropriate attire (meaning not covered up) you had to go borrow either shirts or a sarong before you could go in. My capris just made the cut of being long enough.
It was sad to leave, and the next weekend we found ourselves wishing we were on our way back to Phuket! I will definitely be back soon, maybe with my favorite travel partner! Hopie? What are you doing for Chinese New Year?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We have to go back, Kate!

I have written my post about Thailand, but need to get all the pictures uploaded. You can expect it in a few days. Until then, here's some good news:
My best friend and dear co-teacher in Yuli just accepted a job here in Taipei! Hope will be back for a year!

In honor of her return, I am going to write a comparison between Taiwan, and the island from our favorite TV show, Lost. If you're not a fan of the show please feel free to stop reading now.

  1. People who leave both islands later find the inexplicable urge to go back.

  1. 2. In Lost, there is a smoke monster, Taiwan has air pollution.

  2. 3. The island on Lost has magical healing properties. Taiwan has Chinese medicine. I remember the horrible smelling witch's brew our landlords made when we lived there, Chinese medicine for, they have 3 sons!

4. There are bears on both islands (Polar bears on Lost, the cuddlier Pandas here)

5. Settlers to the island come in waves, first the others, then the Dharma initiative, and finally the “Losties”. This can be compared to Taiwan’s aboriginals and Taiwanese, then the 1949 migra
tion of “mainlanders” and finally the foreigners who have now come to inhabit the island.

6. There are a number of mysterious underground “hatches”
built by some of these previous inhabitants, I’ve been to such places in Penghu (The Swan), Tainan (The Orchid), Danshui (The Looking Glass), and Keelung (The Flame)

And finally......
The ownership of both islands is disputed by two powerful parties....

Monday, June 08, 2009


had a GREAT time in Thailand and am now in the final push to finish out the semester, including grading, singing, baking, planning...
But I will write a blog about Thailand soon with more pictures!
I promise.