Hello again, and welcome to the second part of my photo journal! Two weeks worth of photos await perusal by your eyes, dear readers. Just to warn you, its a fair bit longer than the first one (38 photos vs. 24), so be prepared for lots of reading and clicking. Tying Up Loose Ends
This is a photo I forgot to include in the first part, and I really didnt feel like trying to go back and fix it after working for two-and-a-half hours on a slow computer.
I took this while walking back from the Taipei Public Library, on a street with lots of lovely shops and restaurants. Doesnt it look like the hidden gateway to another world?[link] Taipei Garden Hotel
Last week I went to eat at a buffet inside the Taipei Garden Hotel. (I go out to eat a lot while Im here. It really doesnt help my self-esteem when I step on a scale.
) Now heres the work-intensive part. There were lots of things I wanted to photograph for you guys to see, so bear with me please. If you think youre ready, go forth and click!
The hotel sign alongside the driveway:[link]
A cool wooden pavilion just past the sign:[link]
The entrance hall (Sorry the photos so dark!):[link]
A closer look at the wacky chandeliers. Theyre rather similar to one in my local library.[link]
There was this awesomely tall armchair in the entrance hall that reminded me of the Mad Hatter. The upholstery was really soft! [link]
And now for the actual restaurant. Heres what it looked like:[link]
A shot of the light fixtures:[link]
There was a ton of delicious food there. Most of these photos were taken by my sister, since I felt like the restaurant managers were giving me the evil eye after a while.[link] [link][link] [link][link][link]
As is often the case with buffets, I totally stuffed myself. The desserts were especially sumptuous, as you can probably guess. I had madeleines, macaroons, and crème brûlée for the first time, not to mention cheesecake, tiramisu, and Russian ice cream. (I feel like a complete tub of lard looking at this list.
Id heard of madeleines from reading a manga about cooking called Kitchen Princess
, so I was pretty excited to try one. I dont know what I was expecting, but they werent as mind-blowing as I thought they would be.
Anyway, heres how they looked.[link]
My sister didnt get a shot of the macaroons, but they were basically brightly colored biscuits with filling in them. I felt kinda sick after eating one since they were really sweet.
Like the madeleines, the crème brûlée wasnt all that life-altering either. I was curious to try it after learning about it from DUN DUN DUUUNNN! High School Musical
, but after eating a sugar-laden macaroon, I couldnt taste a thing.
Moving on now
Heres the machine with the Russian ice cream. Become one with Russia, da~ (Props to you if you know where thats from.
It was raining rather heavily that day (its raining heavily right now, for that matter), and a leak in the ceiling broke out right next to my table.
Being the classy place that they are, the managers brought out silver buckets.[link]
Ah, buffets. The epitome of too much of a good thing. Going To See Toy Story 3Toy Story 3
came out on the 16th here in Taiwan, so naturally I wanted to avail myself of this wonderful opportunity to see it before everyone else.
My dad agreed to take us, so we went to the shopping center by Taipei 101. Taipei 101 was formerly the tallest building in the world, until that one in Dubai was built.
Last year I went up to the observatory on the 89th floor, but not this time. I got an awesome picture of it, though![link]
This is the shopping center:[link]
Unfortunately, we came a bit too late. The next English dialogue showing wasnt for another hour-and-a-half, and all the good seats were already reserved (they have assigned seating here, darn it). So we left, and at first it looked like I wasnt going to be able to see it. But then, while we were driving around, lo and behold! Another shopping center with a movie theater!
We went straight there, and because it wasnt as crowded as the one at Taipei 101, we were able to snag tickets with decent seats. The downside: a two-hour wait. To pass the time, we went to look for dinner on the food court floor. Id seen a sign advertising a great place called MOS Burger, but my mom didnt want to eat there, so we found a place she was okay with first. Theres a special type of restaurant here that serves sushi and other simple dishes on the glorious contraption known as the conveyer belt. Im not even kidding. You just pick whatever you want when it comes around, and the color of the dish determines how much it costs. Theyre a lot of fun to eat at. [link][link][link]
You could even get a sea urchin![link]
A bit off topic, but the uniforms at that restaurant were cute. They wore matching Japanese-style robe tops and head kerchiefs. Oh, and while I was walking around, I saw these sweet potted plants.[link]
Once my parents had eaten their fill, they took us over to MOS Burger. Its kind of like In-N-Out Burger in America, but better. The interior is decorated with natural colors, and there are cute wall paintings of plants and animals and such. (Maybe its because MOS stands for Mountain Ocean Sun.) They also play soft classical music, and theres even a sink set up so you can wash your hands. The overall atmosphere is very soothing, and the food is fantastic! I didnt get a picture of the food, but I found something on the lid of my drink rather amusing. (You might not get it if you havent watched or read Ouran High School Host Club
After getting dinner, it was time to head back to the theater. If you havent seen Toy Story 3
yet, Ill just say that it was a great movie with lots of funny moments. The ending was bittersweet enough to make me tear up. (I dont usually cry for movies because I have a heart thats three sizes too small.
The Toy Story 3
display at the theater:[link] Raohe Street Night Market
A couple nights ago, my dad took us to a well-known night market on Raohe Street. Its famous enough to have its own fancy gateway.[link]
It was ridiculously crowded in there, so it was difficult to get good pictures. In addition to the stores along the road, stalls are set up in the middle of it as well. That leaves two narrow walkways on either side of the street and me with next to no opportunities for photos. :dohtwo: You can find all manner of things there, from clothing and food to bedsheets and pets. I saw quite a bit of stuff (mainly shirts and shoes) featuring the Union Jack.
One of the many clothing stalls:[link]
One of the many food stalls:[link]
I even passed a stand where a guy was sitting there working glass![link]
We stopped by a shoe store that was having a sale, and I found another great example of Asian typos.[link]
As we were leaving, I noticed these cool owl statues outside the entrance to the night market. Their eyes change color, so while they were blue when I was messing with the camera, theyd turned pink by the time I actually took the photo.[link]
A short walk from Raohe Street takes you to Rainbow Bridge, so named because of the giant red arch that stretches across its length. We went for a walk along it and I snapped some photos there. I apologize for their blurriness, but I tried to use nighttime mode to take them. You have to hold the camera still while it gets the shot, and evidently my hands cant do that. [link][link]
It was getting late by then, so we went back to pick up our car from a nearby parking garage. It works a bit like an elevator system: you drive your car into a slot and its moved to a certain level until you come for it. When your car is lowered down, its backed out on a set of automated runners and then you get in and go. Nifty, huh?[link] The Rice Cafe
As promised, I took a photo of my favorite bowl when I went to eat here a few nights back. But first, a look at the neat menu cover.[link]
And now my favorite bowl! I nearly always order it when I go there cause I dont like the other ones they have. [link] Music Spotlight
For this journal, I thought Id include a section on some of the music Ive heard here. Its mainly whats been playing on MTV Taiwan, though Ive also taken to watching a channel that plays lots of Korean music. Ive tracked down links to the videos in case you want to give them a listen.
NU ABO f(x). This was probably the first video I saw here. f(x) is a South Korean girl band that seems to have some pretty eclectic fashion sense. The one named Amber is rocking a haircut that looks suspiciously like Rihannas. [link]
10 Out Of 10 2PM. One of the many, many South Korean boy bands out there. It used to be part of one big boy band called One Day that ended up splitting into two groups, 2AM and 2PM. Creative names, no?[link]
Bonamana Super Junior. Apparently Super Junior is one of the largest boy bands in the world, boasting thirteen members. Theyre South Korean as well. The title translates to Beauty.[link]
Love ya SS501. Take a wild guess. Yup, another South Korean boy band. The songs alright, but what I really liked was the aesthetic of the video. I love the chandeliers, the orchestra surrounding them, and their outfits. (Im a sucker for formalwear.
Monster Arashi. Theyre actually a Japanese boy band, in case you didnt know. My favorite part is near the middle (beginning at 2:47), when they start dancing to sweeping ballroom music. This video has romaji and English subs![link]
LOVE C.N.Blue. Yet another South Korean boy band, but far and away my favorite. I really like their music style (maybe because it sounds more Western
), and I think all of its members are quite good-looking.
The intro of the video is about a minute long, so be patient.[link]
After watching copious amounts of them, Ive come up with a list of criteria that the average South Korean boy band music video seems to fit into. I present it here for your edification and entertainment.
1)The boy band is usually quite large. (By large, I mean upwards of 5.)
2)All the members are introduced at some point in the video because there are so many of them.
3)Theres always synchronized dancing.
4)While theyre dancing, the screen flashes and theyre suddenly wearing different clothes, even though theyre still doing the same dance.
5)Theyre usually dancing against trippy backgrounds.
6)At least one of them has dyed hair. (I saw a guy in one video whose hair looked a lot like Renos, down to the ponytail. It was pretty cool.)
Its also interesting to note how many of them include English words and phrases in their songs. Its partially because its the cool thing to do here, but it also reflects how many of these countries make it a point to learn English. It makes me kind of sad that a lot of young Americans think they dont need to learn other languages because everyones trying to learn theirs. That kind of attitude makes the US seem arrogant and ignorant, and in such a globally interconnected world, it doesnt make sense to limit yourself linguistically. Yeah, theres my two cents.
Personal opinions aside, I dunno why I didnt get into all this Asian music earlier. Those South Korean boys are hawt. Parting Shot
Whew, its finally over! If you havent keeled over and died by now, Id like to show you these cute snacks my dad bought while on a business trip in Japan. Theyre little peanut and rice cracker packs with the wrappers printed to look like tiny people. Another reason to love Asia: their awesome product packaging.[link]