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Life – Eazychinese https://eazychinese.com Chinese learning the fun way! Tue, 24 Mar 2015 03:04:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Taipei in 7 Days: Your Guide to Making the Most of Your Time + Culture Shock https://eazychinese.com/taipei-in-7-day/ https://eazychinese.com/taipei-in-7-day/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:46:24 +0000 http://eazychinese.com/?p=2752 So you only have seven days to take a vacation. While some people would tell you that you couldn't see much in seven days, and that you'd pretty much just be wasting your time and money, I say: "No problem" You really can do a lot in seven days, but you can't do everything. So […]

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So you only have seven days to take a vacation. While some people would tell you that you couldn't see much in seven days, and that you'd pretty much just be wasting your time and money, I say: "No problem"

You really can do a lot in seven days, but you can't do everything. So you are going to have to be realistic with your expectations. You're going to need to maximize your time. In short, you'll need a plan.

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That's where this guide comes into play. Between these two covers(unless you're reading the ebook version!) you'll find a carefully thought out itinerary for your week long adventure in Taiwan. While each day will consist of its main destinations, dining and entertainment recommendations, I have also allowed you "free-time" to explore on your own(as well as some suggestions for how to spend that time), so I've really taken out a lot, if not all, of the guess work, whereas other travel guides tend to leave you feeling swamped down with there plethora of suggestions. Don't get me wrong, it's good to have options, but sometimes enough is enough!

 

I've also included some suggestions on how to save some of your hard earned cash, since I know many backpackers are on a budget. But if you do,have a little extra money to spend, there are some options for you too! These will be distinguished with the labels: "Cheapskate" and "Big Spender" respectively.

 

This guide is the product of my own experiences living in Taiwan, and what I have included in here are what I feel to be the best uses of your limited time. It is my hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and that you will have an amazing adventure here in Taiwan.

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Now, let's get started!

Day 1

Okay, slow and steady is the name of the game today. After all, you've likely just flown in from the other side of the world, depending on where you're coming from, and you are probably feeling at least a little off due to jet lag. So we're going to take it easy. This day is going to be about recouping, and enjoying you're first exposure to a new culture and language.

 

And Taiwanese culture is very colorful and mysterious to us Westerners, no doubt about it. What, with the esoteric practices of Qigong and Gungfu(traditional Chinese martial arts), acupuncture and other forms of traditional medicine, the mix of modern structures and several-hundred year-old Buddhist, Taoist and Confucianist temples strewn about through the streets, lavishly decorated and very foreign to us, the difference in culinary tastes, and just the way of life on the densely populated island; rest assured that it is all going to feel very novel at first(unless you choose to live there for five years like I did, then it's all going to feel pretty ordinary after a while!). Expect to feel excited, and most likely overwhelmed by all of the new sights and sounds. It's okay, it happens. It's called culture shock, and it hits everyone differently. While culture shock is definitely going to impact expats much more deeply than it will their vacationing counterparts, it's still something that you are going to want to be aware of, just so you will know what you're experiencing is a normal reaction to your new surroundings. In general, there will be a period of excitement or possibly euphoric elation as you experience new and novel situations. These initial "positive" symptoms of culture shock are often followed up by more " negative" symptoms. Below is a list of common "negative" symptoms of culture shock that you should watch out for.

 

Some symptoms of culture shock to be aware of are:

-Extreme homesickness- You may not experience this if you are merely visiting a country for a week, but if you choose to stay or an extended period, like I did, then you are going to feel this way sometimes, especially if you have family back home. I myself have experienced this to a degree.

 

-Feelings of helplessness/dependency- It is common for people to rely on a guide, or a native friend or significant other when they are in a foreign country. While this is natural, especially if your grasp of the local language is poor, though it can be crippling and severely limit what you are able yo do, and when you're able to do it. I for one, in my early days in Taiwan, was very dependent on my boss, and other co-workers, and later my girlfriend at the time (now wife), Ruby. There is nothing wrong with relying on others to a certain extent, but you need to be willing and able to learn to handle things on your own.

 

-Disorientation and isolation- You may feel out of place, you won't know your way around, and you most likely won't know anyone in your host country. And believe me, it can be a very daunting task making new friends in a foreign land, though it is easier for some than others. As such, you may feel like you're on your own. When I first arrived I. Taiwan, I was only really comfortable going to and from work, along with a handful of other places, and I spent most of my free time after work home alone, watching TV or reading. It didn't take me long to branch-out, but unfortunately, some people never get over this.

 

-Depression and sadness- You may feel depressed, or helpless. Like you have no control over what happens, which may lead you to question your choice of moving/traveling abroad. I felt a little bit like I didn't know what I'd gotten myself into for a while, but I got over it.

-Anger- Some people may be come angry, and hostile to others as a way of coping with the changes in their life. I never really experienced anger, though everyone will be frustrated from time-to-time.

 

-Sleep and eating disturbances (too little or too much)- If you weren't a night owl before, you may become one. If you've never been a binge eater, you may become one. Inversely, you may oversleep, and under eat. I was young, and had always been somewhat of a night owl, but due to my work schedule, my sleeping habits became much worse. This lasted for a few years. I also gained a lot of weight my first year in Taiwan, as I discovered tons of new foods and drinks that I loved. Some people I know list a lot of weight though, because they just couldn't acquire a taste for authentic Chinese food.

 

-Excessive critical reactions to host culture/stereotyping- Things like "they eat with sticks, they're animals" may be some criticisms that people express. Thus is extremely inappropriate, as you are a guest in their country, and as such, should be behaving with  respect and dignity. Remember, you may be their first impression of your own homeland. I am proud to say that I never experienced this symptom. In fact, I have grown to deeply live and respect Chinese people and their cultural traditions. This is the one thing that you MUST be open to if you are going to be spending time in a foreign country. So please, be a good representative of your country. First impressions are BIG.

 

These are just some of the ways symptoms of culture shock may manifest, and keep in mind that everyone is different. Some of the things I experienced might not bother you at all, but rest assured you will have your own struggles if you stay in a foreign land for long. So ease into the water, don't overload your system. What's the rush? You've got plenty of time!

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Anyway, I've kind of run on a little longer than I intended to. In our next installment, we'll be covering your plan for your first day in Taiwan. So stay tuned!

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5 Things I don’t like about Taiwan(WHAT?!???!) https://eazychinese.com/5-things-dont-like-taiwanwhat/ https://eazychinese.com/5-things-dont-like-taiwanwhat/#respond Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:54:47 +0000 http://eazychinese.com/?p=2575 Living in a foreign country offers many unique and exciting opportunities. You get the chance to really get to know your new "home" a lot better than you would if you had just visited it for a week or two of travel. You will get the chance to see and do things that people who […]

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Living in a foreign country offers many unique and exciting opportunities. You get the chance to really get to know your new "home" a lot better than you would if you had just visited it for a week or two of travel. You will get the chance to see and do things that people who are merely visiting will never get the chance to do or see. You'll get to know and appreciate your host culture, discover new favorite foods, and have the best possible chance for succeeding in learning a foreign language. This sums up nicely my time spent in Taiwan.

 

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, however. As fun as it is living abroad, It can be equally frustrating.  As often as I spend time talking about all of the things that I love in Taiwan, today I will be sharing my top 5 "complaints" about what has become my "second home". Enjoy, and as always please share your experiences/opinions below!

 

1. Random old guys backing you into a wall and forcing you into endless conversations:

photo 2I love a good conversation as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's just not a good time to chat me up. But this happens pretty often. You know that feeling you get when you are reading a really good book, intently turning the pages to see what happens next? I love reading, and always brought a book on the train ride from Taoyuan county to Taipei for my weekly martial arts classes. It's a great way to kill the time you are otherwise wasting in transit. Can't tell you how many times I've had a well meaning elderly man sit next to me and interrupt me every few seconds, even after I tried as tactfully as possible to disengage myself from conversation. The results? Me still on the same page ten minute later! This used to drive me nuts.

 

2. People don't understand your Chinese, because you look funny:

photo 3I like to think that I don't have a huge ego problem, but I know that my Chinese is pretty darn good. So it always annoyed me when someone didn't understand my fluent Chinese, because they saw me and expected English to come out of my mouth. It also used to drive me nuts when I was with my wife and someone kept asking her questions about me, even after I displayed that I was more than capable of speaking for myself. I know it's not meant to be rude, but it kinda is!

 

 

3. The lack of concern that many people have for the environment:

photo 4Of course this is getting to be a problem everywhere these days, but I felt it was more so in Taiwan than it is back here in Texas. True, the rapid rate of Taiwan's industrialization has had some negative consequences for the environment, but that's not the whole story. People throw their trash all over the place: streets, bushes, gutters, rivers…no place is safe! I remember vividly one time while I was waiting for my bus, an old man walked by me and casually shoved an empty pack of cigarettes into a bush. Seriously, go hard is it to find a trash can?

 

4. The casual rudeness that people often display:

unnamedIn the big, metropolitan city of a Taipei, people are conditioned to lookout for themselves, and to disregard others around them. When you're in a crowded street, or MRT  station in Taipei, you will get shove, pushed, stepped on, elbowed, and much more. Some of this is, of course, due to the dense population, unavoidable. What I don't like, is how the majority of people won't even give you a simple "excuse me" when they jab you in the kidney as they squeeze by.

 

 

5. The crazy traffic!:

photo 5This one is pretty self explanatory. There are countless cars, and especially scooters in Taiwan, and only a limited amount of space. This leads to heavily congested traffic, a scarcity of parking spaces, an extremely high rate of deaths on the road(especially for those riding scooters) and generally chaotic streets everywhere. To top it off, people generally have very little regard for the laws of the road, , which makes it doubly dangerous, for drivers and pedestrians alike.

There it is. I'm glad I got that off of my chest. Now, don't take this post the wrong way. For everything on this list, there are at least a hundred things I have to say that are positive about Taiwan. I love Taiwan, and it really and truly is my "home away from home", but I'm here to give you the whole story, and sometimes the truth is ugly!

What has your experience in Taiwan been like? Please share below!

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Every Dog Has Its Day https://eazychinese.com/every-dog-has-its-day/ https://eazychinese.com/every-dog-has-its-day/#comments Sat, 23 Nov 2013 01:00:40 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=1710 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP40g_OjxRY] Have I mentioned that I love dogs? Well, I do, and this week I am going to fill you in on two awesome places that you can bring your dogs for the day in Taoyuan County.   The first is called 綠風草原, and it's located in Zhongli. You'll need to take a car there, because […]

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP40g_OjxRY]

Have I mentioned that I love dogs? Well, I do, and this week I am going to fill you in on two awesome places that you can bring your dogs for the day in Taoyuan County.

 
The first is called 綠風草原, and it's located in Zhongli. You'll need to take a car there, because its pretty far from any form of public transportation, though you could take a taxi. This place used to be a golf course, but has since been re-purposed into a dog park, though its pretty obvious what it was originally intended to be. The scenery is so beautiful, with trees dotting the walkways and grassy hills surrounding the pond(which must have originally been the water hazard!) your pooch is going to think he's died and gone to doggy heaven. It's a popular place on the weekend, so get there early to ensure that you get a good spot, and watch your worries melt away. Make sure you bring a sheet or towel to sit on, as the grass can be quite damp, and why not enjoy a picnic while you're at it? The entry fee is 150 NT and this can be used towards purchasing food or drinks, though I recommend you bring your own snacks as the food is pricey and not very good.
 
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(In these pictures you can clearly see the park's golf course roots!)
 
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(When I went there were ducks in the pond, and then there were these great big inflatable ducks. Looks like the management decided to cash in on the recent duck-craze that has gotten ahold of Taiwan.)
 
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(The dogs absolutely love this place!)
 
The other place is called 老爸的後花園 Located in Longtan, you are going to need your own wheels to make it there, but it's worth it! The feel is a lot different from 綠風草原. As you enter the garden and follow the vine-covered walkway to the brick-house restaurant, it feels like you are going to pay a visit to a rich family at their country-side estate. The whole place is surrounded by trees and gardens, and it feels like you're in a small forest, especially for Taiwan (having a large yard is very rare here). The restaurant is beautiful and has a relaxing atmosphere, and oddly you will see dogs freely roaming around indoors. The food is not great here either(though the dessert was quite delicious), but that wasn't really why we went there. The garden outside is awesome, and your dogs will love it. We went on a Tuesday, so there weren't a lot of other people there, but I've been told it is another story altogether on the weekend. It's fun to chat with the other guests and see their dogs too anyway!
 
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(The restaurant it beautiful, but the food wasn't great…good thing I brought a snack!)
 
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(We had a lot of fun with the dogs in the garden. The poster is about supporting animal adoption, something that I hope you will consider after reading this!)
 
I highly recommend making it over to either of these spots at least once (even of you don't have a dog, you can play with the ones you see there!). Let me know what you think if you make it over to one of them, and share your experiences here!
 
 
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How To Get There:
 
 
綠風草原– Here is a link to their website, it's in Chinese, but there is a map.
 
 
老爸的後花園- Here is their Facebook page with contact information.
 

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Chinese phrases of the day:

綠風草原= Green Breeze Prairie

老爸的後花園= Dad's Backyard Garden

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I Get Cranky if I Miss My Afternoon Tea… https://eazychinese.com/i-get-cranky-if-i-miss-my-afternoon-tea/ https://eazychinese.com/i-get-cranky-if-i-miss-my-afternoon-tea/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 09:28:46 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=1608 [youtube=http://youtu.be/qZivq1IgyQU] …So I had to go get my fix, and it was FANTASTIC! In fact, I decided to film the experience and let you all take a glimpse at every-day life in Taiwan. Now I do love me a nice, hot cup of traditional, loose-leaf tea, but the stuff is expensive and much better to […]

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[youtube=http://youtu.be/qZivq1IgyQU]

…So I had to go get my fix, and it was FANTASTIC! In fact, I decided to film the experience and let you all take a glimpse at every-day life in Taiwan. Now I do love me a nice, hot cup of traditional, loose-leaf tea, but the stuff is expensive and much better to enjoy with family and friends. I decided to go the cheap and anti-social route today, so I headed over to the neighborhood Coco (dōu kĕ 都可 in Chinese, but everyone just calls it Coco).

 
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(I need my tea!)
 
 
They are located near the Welcome dĭng hăo 頂好 down the street from the Puxin train station pŭ xīn huŏ chē zhàn 埔心火車站. Coco is my favorite of the millions of teashops chá diàn 茶店 you can find crowding the streets in Taipei, Kaoshiung, and pretty much everywhere else in Taiwan. The reasons are as follows:
 

1. The staff diàn yuán 店員 at the stores that I frequent have excellent attitudes and are friendly and very helpful.

2. Their prices are affordable, and they don't short you on tea by overfilling your cup with ice like they do at qīng xīn 清心, another popular chain of tea-stores from the south of Taiwan.

3. I prefer the way their sugar-free tea tastes over what they server at other stores. It has a bitter sè 澀 flavor to it and I love bitter tea, though I guess this may be an acquired taste. Don't worry though, because they have plenty of sweetened drinks for you to try!

4. Did I mention that it's cheap? This is seriously a driving factor for me, as I am currently a jobless bum living on savings!

So there you have it, try them out if you have a chance. And if you already have, what's your favorite drink to get there? Personally, I am a big fan of the yoghurt green tea yăng lè duō lù chá 養樂多錄茶!

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(Thanks again to the awesome staff for being so helpful and putting up with my insanity!)

Please watch my video and comment on it if you have the time! The guy in the video was really nice to let me take this video. At one point he was surprised that I spoke a little Taiwanese, and I was too! Here I am, supposed to be teaching you guys Mandarin! I hope you enjoyed this article, and see you here next time!

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Chinese phrases of the day:
 
都可= Coco (a chain of tea-stores in Taiwan)
頂好= Welcome (a Taiwanese grocery store)
埔心火車站= Puxin train station
茶店= Tea-store(shop)
店員= staff
清心= Qing Xin (another Taiwanese chain of tea-stores)
= bitter tasting
養樂多錄茶= yoghurt green tea (one of my favorites!)
 
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Double Down! 雙十節 https://eazychinese.com/double-down-%e9%9b%99%e5%8d%81%e7%af%80/ https://eazychinese.com/double-down-%e9%9b%99%e5%8d%81%e7%af%80/#respond Mon, 14 Oct 2013 04:33:32 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=1420 Last Thursday  was guó qìng jié 國慶節 Taiwan's Independence Day, also known as shuāng shí jié 雙十節 Double Ten Day because it is celebrated on October tenth, 10/10. Besides the holiday though, there is another reason that this was a special day for Ruby and I. It was our four-year anniversary nián jì niàn 年紀念! […]

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Last Thursday  was guó qìng jié 國慶節 Taiwan's Independence Day, also known as shuāng shí jié 雙十節 Double Ten Day because it is celebrated on October tenth, 10/10. Besides the holiday though, there is another reason that this was a special day for Ruby and I. It was our four-year anniversary nián jì niàn 年紀念! She's the love of my life; she's beautiful and she can put-up with my terrible jokes and childish antics. What more could a guy ask for?

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(She's my pride and joy!)

So, to celebrate we did something we haven't done in a while and we decided to take a day trip to one of the island's many scenic mountain areas…Nanzhuang.

To get there we took a train to Zhunan and then took a shuttle bus over to the Nanzhuang old street in the mountains of Miaoli county. The bus station is directly across the street from the train station and opposite from the 7-11. The tickets ran us 100NT per person and gave us day passes to take the bus to three destinations: nán zhuāng lăo jiē 南庄老街 Nanzhuang old street, xiàng tiān hú 向天湖 Xiangtian lake, and xiān shān 仙山 Xian Mountain. What a bargain!
 
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(Here I am, at the Zhunan train station)
 
The bus ride to Nanzhuang took about 40 minutes, and when we got there we checked out the visitors' center which had a lot of information on the surrounding tourist spots, as well as a little about the local aboriginal tribes yuán zhù míng de bù luò 原著名的部落 and their history. We chatted with the staff to find our next bus, which was just out front, and we headed out to the aboriginal village and culture center at Xiantian lake.
 
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(This is where the bus drops you off, it's also where you can catch a bus to the local attractions, or back to Zhunan station)
 
 
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(Here's a map of the bus route and the local sights, but also make sure to grab a copy from the information center)
 
The bus ride to the village was worth the trip alone to catch a glimpse of the scenery as we slowly snaked our way up the mountain road. It was like we were in another country, or world.
 
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(It is just amazing up there in the mountains!)
 
When you enter the village there are several stands where you can get some aboriginal snacks, such as wild-boar sausage and mă gào dàn 馬告蛋, eggs marinated in mă gào 馬告, a really fragrant type of seeds that the local sài xià zú 賽夏族 Saisiyat tribe uses for seasoning many of their dishes.
 
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(This stuff tastes so good, I had to learn the secret recipe!)
 
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(And here it is! 馬告!)
 
I have a feeling that they don't get many foreign visitors, as one young aboriginal girl kept marveling over my hair, asking me why it wasn't black and if I had dyed it. I am used to this kind of stuff, especially as I live in a county area, though not to this extreme.  This just multiplied the feeling that, even though people were speaking Mandarin and there were plenty of Taiwanese tourists around us, we were no longer in Taiwan!
 
Another thing that the aboriginal people in this area are famous for is honey, and you could see lots of beehives with swarms of bees, placated by the strongly scented smoke that was burning by their homes.
 
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(There were lots of bee-keepers and people selling honey in the village)
 
As we went through the village and looked through the different stalls, we eventually came to the lake which this place was named after. It was a beautiful lake, and there was a tree-shrouded path that led around it. It was a relaxing hike, and any direction that you looked you had beautiful scenery popping out at you, be it the lake itself, the flowers and trees, or the gorgeous mountain backdrop that overshadowed it all. It was fantastic!
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(The walk around the lake is a great escape)
 
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(Just taking in the natural beauty)
 
When we had made our way around the lake, we came to an aboriginal culture center which displayed a lot of beautiful handmade artifacts that the Saisiyat people had used to do anything from carrying children to farming. Practically everything was woven from grass or made from bamboo, and the craftsmanship was impressive. There was even a traditional bamboo house with many artifacts on display for viewing, though, unfortunately, taking photographs was not allowed in the museum.
 
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(The aboriginal culture center is definitely worth a visit)
 
One interesting display described the tribes origins, and the myth surrounding how their people came to be in that area.
 
After finishing up I'm the village, we waited for the bus and headed to the nearby Donghe suspension bridge dōng hé diào qiáo 東河吊橋. The bridge is massive and it is quite thrilling(and a little scary) when it wobbles and springs up and down as you cross. The view of the river below was just awesome from the middle, and on the other side was the head of a promising hiking trail.
 
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(You're not supposed to run on these things, but I was too excited to see the view!)
 
After hiking a ways up, however, we realized it just led to some lucky people's homes. Though I bet there is a trail if you continue on back there,  we chose to turn back and catch the bus back into Nanzhuang.
 
While we waited for the bus, we walked around the area and took a look at a few interesting pieces of aboriginal art, and perused a gift shop where the local people sold their handmade bamboo crafts. The homes in the area were beautiful and the people were very friendly, and I really envy them their beautiful mountain home, but it was time for us to head back into the hubbub of modern civilization.
 
 
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(We didn't get to take photos in the museum, but there was plenty to photo here!)
 
By the time we got back to the old street, we were starving and immediately got in line at the first stand we saw.
 
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(They sell the best huā shēng bīng qí lín juăn bĭng 花生冰淇淋捲餅 I have ever had!)
 
The entrance to the old street is really narrow, but it opens up a bit as you get further inside. Besides the usual snacks, there was one particularly famous stand selling the local specialty, guì huā fĕn yuán bīng 桂花粉圓冰.
 
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(The local specialty. Make sure to bring home a jar of 桂花 jam to spread on your toast!)
 
After refueling we found ourselves at the back of the old street, where there was a gigantic temple and a 100 year old post office from the Japanese occupation period. There was also an old school (the sign said 100 years old, though it looks like its been rebuilt) and a 100 year old stone pathway leading down to the street below. This place is old!
 
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(Taking a break on the temple's steps)
 
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(Here we are at the 100 year old post office!)
 
 
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(Here's the old school…)
 
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(And an even older tree!)
 
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(This path is over a hundred years old too!)
 
Unfortunately it was getting dark, so we didn't have time to go out to Xian Mountain, but I don't mind. It just gives us a reason to go back! Before heading back, we checked out one last suspension bridge in the surrounding area, and then used our day passes to head back to the train station. It was a great day, and I slept like a baby on the way home. Who knew having fun took so much energy?
 
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(Taking one last photo in front of the visitors' center before leaving)
 
Check out the rest of the photos here!
 
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How To Get There:
 
Nanzhuang old street: To get there take a train to Zhunan and then take a shuttle bus over to the Nanzhuang old street. From there you can use your day pass to take busses to the various local attractions. Also, If you stay in a hostel in Nanzhuang, your day pass can be validated for a second day.
 
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Chinese phrases of the day:
 
國慶節= National Day
雙十節= Double Ten Day
年紀念= anniversary
南庄老街= Nanzhuang old street
向天湖= Xiangtian lake
仙山= Xian Mountain
原著名的部落= Aboriginal tribe(s)
馬告= a seed that the Saisiyat people use for seasoning their food
賽夏族= the Saisiyat tribe
東河吊橋= Donghe suspension bridge
桂花粉圓冰= an iced desert consisting of chevy balls of cooked flour and covered with osmanthus jelly
花生冰淇淋捲餅= a ice cream wrap with peanut powder
 
 
 
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Café-liscious https://eazychinese.com/cafe-liscious/ https://eazychinese.com/cafe-liscious/#comments Thu, 26 Sep 2013 11:21:40 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=934 Now I'm not a big coffe drinker, but another great thing about 7-11 is the City Café. Don't get me wrong, I like Starbuck's and the fancy cafés you can find all over the place (especially if they have a view, like the ones by the ocean in Sanzhi near Dansui where I recently volunteered […]

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Now I'm not a big coffe drinker, but another great thing about 7-11 is the City Café. Don't get me wrong, I like Starbuck's and the fancy cafés you can find all over the place (especially if they have a view, like the ones by the ocean in Sanzhi near Dansui where I recently volunteered at the animal shelter), but for a guy who isn't a gourmet coffee enthusiast, the prices at these places are just a little too high(though if you save your promotional stickers you get when you spend your cash at 7-11, Starbuck's often has a buy-one-get-one-free deal măi yī sòng yī 買一送一 which is awesome if you love their frappuccinos like me!).

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They have a good menu, you can order a late ná tiĕ 拿鐵,American coffee mĕi shì kā fēi 美式咖啡,Japanese style green tea latte mŏ chá ná tiĕ 抹茶拿鐵,hot-chocolate rè qiăo kè lì 熱巧克力 and more, but I almost always get the English milk tea yīng shì năi chá 英式奶茶. It's awesome!

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Drinks come in two sizes. They don't have a small , but it is still useful vocabulary to know so I have included it, and some of their drinks only come in one size. Here are the sizes: small xiăo bēi 小杯, medium zhōng bēi 中杯, large dà bēi 大杯.

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You can order your beverage either hot rè de 熱的 or iced bīng de 冰的 drink, and if you don't like your coffee very sweet, you can tell the staff that you want half a serving of sugar bàn táng 半糖 a little sugar shăo táng 少糖,very little sugar wéi táng 微糖 or no sugar wú táng 無糖.

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That's it for now, go enjoy your fresh cup' o Jo…not the person, I mean a coffee, yuck!

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Chinese phrases of the day:

買一送一= buy one get one free
拿鐵= latte
美式咖啡= American coffee
抹茶拿鐵= Japanese style green tea latte
熱巧克力= hot-chocolate
英式奶茶= English milk tea
小杯= small(cup/drink size)
中杯= medium(cup/drink size)
大杯= large(cup/drink size)
熱的= hot
冰的= iced
半糖= half sugar
少糖= little sugar
微糖= very little sugar
無糖= no sugar

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Getting Your Money’s Worth https://eazychinese.com/getting-your-moneys-worth/ https://eazychinese.com/getting-your-moneys-worth/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2013 13:05:25 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=897 If you spend even just a few days or a week in Taiwan, there are a few things that you will probably do. If you are in Taipei, you will most likely visit Taipei 101, even of you don't make it to the top. And wherever you go in Taiwan, I'd be surprised if you […]

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If you spend even just a few days or a week in Taiwan, there are a few things that you will probably do. If you are in Taipei, you will most likely visit Taipei 101, even of you don't make it to the top. And wherever you go in Taiwan, I'd be surprised if you don't visit a night market. But the one thing I can guarantee is that you WILL visit at least one 7-11 during your stay.
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7-11 practically runs the island, and there are so many services offered at each one of their bazillion locations that really set the chain aside from the other big players in the convenience store biàn lì shāng diàn 便利商店 biz, such as Family Mart quán jiā 全家, Hi-LIfe lái ĕr fù 萊爾富, and OK Mart. You can pay your bills, taxes, order items online or mail packages, print, scan and fax your documents, drop off your dry-cleaning, book an HSR(high-speed rail) ticket or even a domestic flight. Heck, they even have a phone and internet service! Just try doing any of that in your local 7-11 back in the states! Though you can't gas-up your car like you could in the states, but I won't hold it against them, will you?

There are often special promotions and discount prices on items in the store, and you can collect stickers when you make a purchase of a certain value and save them towards half-priced, or even free items! But I feel that a lot of foreigners will miss out on these deals, so today I wanted to bring one of them to your attention.

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(Beverages with a certain price sticker pair up with food items, like bread or sandwiches with the same sticker. It's cheaper to buy them together as a set.)

This is just one example of a possible deal you could take advantage of. Another common one are discounts when you buy two of the same type of drink. The staff may ask you to pull a number out of a box to get your discount price (the largest discount is 1NT!), or the discount could be automatically deducted.

Another useful thing to know is that discount percentages are written opposite from the way we write them in English. Where we say "20% off" they say "8 zhé 折", but they are the same thing. The difference is while we advertise the percentage that you get discounted, they advertise the percentage you pay after the discount. So if you ever see a sign that says "79", for example, it means that the item is 21% off, not 79% off!

I hope you found this article useful, now go and get your money's worth!

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Chinese phrases of the day:

= discount (by percentage)
便利商店= convenience store(s)

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You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog https://eazychinese.com/you-aint-nothin-but-a-hound-dog/ https://eazychinese.com/you-aint-nothin-but-a-hound-dog/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 13:52:53 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=829 On Friday Ruby and I met up with my friend Marcus bright and early in the morning at the Zhongli train station, got a quick breakfast from 7-11 and hopped on the first fast train zì qiáng 自強 to Taipei Main Station. The sky was dark and the clouds were ominous, but the rescue shelter […]

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On Friday Ruby and I met up with my friend Marcus bright and early in the morning at the Zhongli train station, got a quick breakfast from 7-11 and hopped on the first fast train zì qiáng 自強 to Taipei Main Station. The sky was dark and the clouds were ominous, but the rescue shelter wasn't going to rest, and the animals weren't going to save themselves. Once in Taipei we transferred to the MRT and took the red line all the way to dàn shuĭ 淡水 in the north of Taipei City.

 
淡水 is a beautiful scenic area with a great atmosphere and view of the ocean. It gets ridiculously crowded on the weekends, and the old street is packed with vendors selling everything from grilled squid kăo yóu yú 烤魷魚, the local specialty, iron eggs tiĕ dàn 鐵蛋, shrimp-flavored chips xiā bĭng 蝦餅 and the one thing I always get there, almond milk xìng rén năi 杏仁奶. There's also a really funny Turkish guy that sells Turkish ice cream. Watch-out, he's a prankster!
 
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(L: I won that inflatable mallet in a game of ring-toss. I rock! R: A view of the coast at night. Those are my folks and that's 八里 behind us.)
 
 
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(One of my friends ordering Turkish ice cream…this guy loves to string you along trying to get the ice cream. His stand is worth a visit just to watch, even if you don't eat any)

 

 
There's also a really cool old Dutch fort you can go take a look around, and another popular activity is to take the fairy over to the Fisherman's Wharf in bā lĭ 八里, where people often rent-out bicycles and enjoy the sunset.
 
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(This bridge over in the Fisherman's Wharf is a great place to watch the sun set, and catch a beautiful view of the ocean. It's also a great place to bring a date!)
 
But we weren't here as tourists. Like I said, we had a mission. We crossed the street and waited for our bus, number 862, in front of the McDonald's. After around a  thirty-minute ride we arrived at the chē zi qí 車子崎 stop and walked the rest of the way. If you think it sounds a little complicated, then you're right. This place is really far out-there.
 
The shelter is on a secluded mountain road, which is great because the noise pollution caused by the one-hundred and thirty odd dogs would drive even the best of neighbors to the brink of insanity.
 
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(The sanctuary is just up this hill, let's check it out!)
Besides the dogs, the shelter houses cats, pigs, rabbits, squirrels and even a hedgehog!
 
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(As we entered the garden, we were soon surrounded by a lovable pack of pooches!)
 
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(These dogs are all great, don't you want to take one home?)
 
We spent most of the day checking the dogs for fleas, washing them and just playing with them. A lot of the animals at the shelter are pets that people had  thrown away when they got too big or because of physical deformities. One dog was born with its legs twisted around each other, which was painful for me to see, but he was happy and well taken care of, and many of the animals were missing either their tail or one or more of their legs. These are animals that have had a tough life, but the man who runs the shelter, a British guy named Sean, along with his staff have really put their hearts into making a place where these animals can live and enjoy their lives. They have a interesting diet that they put all of the animals on and make sure they get medical care, plus they work hard to find good homes for the animals. if you are interested in volunteering at the shelter, or just want to know more about their operation, check out their Facebook page.
 
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(Check out their Facebook page, or give them a call!)
 

 

After taking care of our first few groups of dogs, we all piled into a car and went to eat lunch at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. The food was great, and the restaurant had a really great atmosphere. Then it was back to work!
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image image
 
 
(This place had a really cool look and feel to it. Besides serving food, they also had  good variety of dried goods and snacks available for purchase.)
 
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(At this point we were pretty tired, but I always have another pose in me!)
 
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(The cooks hard at work in the kitchen)
 
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(Oh yea! Noodles! But hey…)
 
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(Don't forget the watermelon juice!)

 

 
When it was time to go, we made our way back to 淡水. I was soaked from continually being sprayed by the hose when we were doing the washing (thanks a lot, Ruby!) and we all smelled like a pack of dogs…the smell wasn't bad for us, as we had gotten used to it, but I felt bad for all of the people on the bus with us!
 
Back in 淡水, we got some Indian food and traditional cake chuán tŏng dàn gāo 傳統蛋糕 from just across the MRT station, near the Starbuck's and headed back to Taoyuan County. It was a fun day, and I honestly don't remember the last time I slept so well as I did that night.
 
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How To Get There:
 
Take the MRT red line to the last stop, 淡水. From there cross the street and take bus number 862 in front of McDonald's. The bus fare will run you 30NT. After you get off the bus, walk straight a few minutes and the animal shelter is up a hill on the right.
 
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Chinese phrases of the day:
 
自強= fast train
 
烤魷魚= barbecue squid
 
鐵蛋= iron eggs
 
蝦餅= shrimp chips
 
杏仁奶= almond milk
 
傳統蛋糕= traditional cake
 
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Unconditional Love https://eazychinese.com/unconditional-love/ https://eazychinese.com/unconditional-love/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 15:57:53 +0000 http://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=573 That's what our animals give us, right? But how do we repay them? Recently, with rabies, or kuángquǎnbìng 狂犬病 as it is called in Mandarin, resurfacing in Taiwan, the media and government have blown things way out of proportion. When it was originally found in the ferret-badger, an animal that is eaten by the aboriginal […]

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That's what our animals give us, right? But how do we repay them? Recently, with rabies, or kuángquǎnbìng 狂犬病 as it is called in Mandarin, resurfacing in Taiwan, the media and government have blown things way out of proportion. When it was originally found in the ferret-badger, an animal that is eaten by the aboriginal people in the mountains, people went nuts.

Now, I can understand that people were worried. I mean, we are talking about a disease that hasn't been seen on the island in around 50 years, but the poor treatment of domestic animals like dogs and cats that followed was quite unnecessary. But I don't want to dwell on the negative side of the coin, because it's ugly and depressing, and if that's what you wanted to read about, you'd have just picked up a local newspaper or turned on the TV.

In the West, we have the idea that our pets are our family members, and while people in some places in the world may have, and are entitled to their own views on the role animals play in their culture, and some even view cats and dogs as food(something that i don't agree with, but this is not the issue here) I want to assure you that that's is ILLEGAL in Taiwan.

I feel that a growing percentage of Taiwanese people(my future wife and her family included) take the status of pets in the family to a whole new level! My girl cooks more meals for my dog and cat than she does for me!

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(Here are the dogs eating their gourmet meal)

My fiancé's sister has saved multiple dogs and found them homes, most recently a cute poodle mix named Lulu, and we practically feed a family of cats and stray dogs in the neighborhood on a daily basis. Heck, our cat Pumpkin(what can I say, he's big round and orange!) was a poor whelp of a street cat when we found him while riding our bikes around near the Taipei City Hall, not far from the famed Taipei 101.

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(Left: Pumpkin shortly after we found him, Right: Pumpkin now, over a year later…That boy can eat!)

The pet industry is a booming business here as many pet-owners spend tons of money pampering their pooch with food, clothing, accessories, toys…and the list goes on and there are always new devices coming out. Pet salons are all over the place, and a self-wash pet grooming facility recently opened up over by the RT Mart in the Zhongyuan area in Zhongli City. Now, I know we've all heard of DIY car washes, but I thought this was a really awesome and unique idea!

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(Left: Our "children" traveling in style Right: Check out this giant standard poodle, now take a look at Popcorn!)

Heck, there are dog restaurants and hotels where they can go on vacation and get pampered! And if you have a sweet tooth, there is even a dog bakery along the side of all the pet stores at the Tonghua Night Market on Keelung Rd., not far from the Liuzhangli MRT station in Taipei.

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(Popcorn's first birthday cake. They were out of 1s, but do you think she complained?)

Most large pet stores have vets, shòuyī 獸醫 in them and health care for your pets is readily available, and affordable. Check out a coming article on how to take your dog or cat to for a check-up with the vet in Taiwan, including what vocabulary you may need to be able to communicate with the staff and what to expect.

Every year there are also numerous pet shows and exhibitions, the most famous of which takes place in the Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei. We took our dog there a few times, and it was really fun.

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(They had a swimming pool at the pet exhibition…Popcorn went skinny-dipping!)

Some people may be uneducated, or uncompassionate towards animals, there are people like that everywhere and Taiwan is not an exception. But when you think about Taiwan (or any other place really) try to remember the good things first and foremost.

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Chinese phrases of the day:

kuángquǎnbìng 狂犬病= rabies

shòuyī 獸醫= Veterinarian

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Rain Rain Go Away! https://eazychinese.com/rain-rain-go-away/ https://eazychinese.com/rain-rain-go-away/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 15:18:42 +0000 https://lifeasaforeignerintaiwan.wordpress.com/?p=264 With a typhoon set to arrive tomorrow you can count on heavy rains and strong winds through Thursday. In fact, even though it has yet to arrive, we already felt the influence of the typhoon on the weather. Seriously, it rained cats and dogs today! But typhoons, or táifēng(颱風) are just an ordinary part of […]

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With a typhoon set to arrive tomorrow you can count on heavy rains and strong winds through Thursday. In fact, even though it has yet to arrive, we already felt the influence of the typhoon on the weather. Seriously, it rained cats and dogs today! But typhoons, or táifēng(颱風) are just an ordinary part of life on the island that you must learn to cope with if you plan to spend any length of time here. I'm just glad I don't live in Keelung anymore! Expats and locals alike are(or should be) stockpiling food, drinks and various other necessities to get them through the next few days, so get on that if you haven't already! Seriously, if you go to an RT Mart, A Mart, Carrefour or Costco at the last minute, you will be stuck with what you can get, which is usually just about nothing! So, to make sure that my readers are well prepared for their coming Typhoon Day(they're practically like national holidays here, hence the capital letters) I have prepared a short list of a few essentials you shouldn't be without when the milk tea hits the fan.

Typhoon Day Survival Kit:

1. As many packages of instant noodles pāomiàn(泡麵) as you can grab
2. A loaf of bread miànbāo(麵包)and some PB&J huāshēngjiàngguǒdòng(花生醬和果凍)
3. Packages of dried food: cookies, chips, bǐnggān(併港) etc.
4. A few gallons of drinking water, and or any tea or sodas you may want to have on hand
5. A flashlight and extra batteries diànchí(電池) just incase you lose power, and candles wouldn't be a bad idea either
6. A basic first aid kit just in case
7. A stack of DVDs, I'll let you choose which ones(see, aren't I nice)

If you are a hardened veteran, having come out victorious over countless typhoons, then you probably already know it all, but if this will be your first typhoon, make sure you're prepared!
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Chinese phrases of the day:

táifēng(颱風)= typhoon
pāomiàn(泡麵)= instant noodles
miànbāo(麵包)= bread
huāshēngjiàng(花生醬)= peanut butter
hé(和)= and
guǒdòng(果凍)= jelly
bǐnggān(餅乾)= cookies, chips
diànchí(電池)= batteries

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