Monthly Archives: August 2015

Lessons from Hong Kong.

We watched our last sunset in Asia from the Avenue of Stars in Kowloon today, gazing over the water at Hong Kong Island. While we strolled toward the Star Ferry, Steve offhandedly remarked that this had been a great visit to Hong Kong – we’d hit all our old highlights, and we’d also seen some new things. We had made one extraordinarily bad decision, but everything else turned out pretty well. It was a net positive in total!

Lesson #1: Oldies are goodies. This was Steve’s fourth trip, and my third trip to Hong Kong. We have the restaurants and the places that we go to every time. This time, we reveled once more in Branto Pure Veg, a delicious, delicious Indian restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui that was recommended to us by close friends Kate and Erin. Branto is amazing Indian food that really spoiled me for actual food in India – so good and so flavorful! We ordered peas palak, chana masala, and a paper masala dosa, a giant crunchy roll stuffed with mashed spicy potato. The last time we were here, it was a year and a half ago on Christmas Day, during our visa run from Taiwan. Today, we visited another oldie but goodie location – the Central to Mid-Levels Escalators, which is the longest covered walkway in the world. We traveled some ways up, saw the Jamia Masjid, a lovely celadon-green mosque, and then went halfway back down to sit at a bar with great seats overlooking Shelley Street and the escalators. Steve enjoyed a beer while I had a mojito (okay, it was already 2 pm, you know?), and we people-watched for a while. While Asia is always full of Engrish shirts, we saw our favorite today – a woman whose shirt said “In memory of when I cared”. Man, those good old days! Continue reading Lessons from Hong Kong.

Hello, goodbye, Taipei.

Tomorrow is our last day in Taipei and Taiwan! Steve and I have stretched our 90-day visa-free entrance stamps to the limit, but tomorrow, we board a plane for Hong Kong, and get to hang out in Hong Kong for four more days before finally leaving Asia for the summer. When we first came here for the summer, Taichung seemed strange and made me feel lonely and homesick, but within a week, everything clicked into place. Since then, living here has felt so natural, so nice. Especially being back in Taipei this week, I take the MRT here for granted, being able to zip back and forth through the city in shiny subway cars and ferried through in relative cool A/C. Being able to take a look around at any intersection and find three convenience stores where I can get my fix of tea drinks or cheap sandwiches. When I walk down the street, looking for scooters and cars roaring by has become second nature. Being able to walk everywhere with a beer in hand, having stinky tofu right around the corner at any one of five night markets in a city (okay that’s just me), and cooing at people’s long-haired dachshunds, which is a definite trend in pets here. I mean, the list literally goes on and on. Steve and I will miss Taiwan severely when we leave this summer.

We’ve had a great time this past week in Taipei, staying with Kara and Ken who have been such helpful and gracious hosts! On Saturday, we climbed Yangmingshan together with their friend Eric, a native Taiwanese, and had a great time. On Sunday, Steve and I visited the Taipei Zoo where they have raccoons (yes, raccoons behind bars) and also climbed Elephant Mountain to watch the sunset silhouetted by the Taipei 101 Tower. Yesterday, Steve coded and Ken went to work while Kara and I walked along the lovely riverside park they live near, and bought some fun summer dresses at Gongguan near National Taiwan University. And today, we visited Yongle fabric market and goggled over fun patterns and gorgeous bolts of cloth. Steve and I also took time in the morning to go see Yehliu Geology Park to the northwest of Taipei near Keelung, which my mom had recommended. It was all gorgeous, and we’re a little exhausted from all our travels and explorations. We nearly haven’t enough energy left to see Hong Kong, and miss our dog and a stable lifestyle not a little bit.

I think it’s fair to say at this point that we will be back. Eventually, this blog will become a chronicle of our time living in Taiwan, which would be really nice and different. =) Our hope is that next summer, after I graduate with my master’s degree, we will move to Taipei and find jobs here for both of us. While I don’t know how long that will be for, what’s certain is that this is a wonderful country with a great culture, environment, climate, and excellent cost of living that we would love to be a part of. Goodbye isn’t really goodbye, Taiwan. We’ll miss those hot pots and teas for the year, but come next summer, we’re planning on being here again. See you then!