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August 17, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 35

From a store? Nope- HOMEMADE. My aunt’s late night cooking for me =D

I have one of the coolest cousins. It’s funny how much a person can change in twelve years. Or maybe it was just my perspective of him that changed since last time we met. Joseph, or Dui Dui, used to be one of the most annoying brats I ever met. Of course, I was still an immature kid back then too, so my memory is probably biased. But it’s hard to believe that after just twelve years, the caring, chill, and humorous guy in front of me was that same cousin from so long ago. I’m currently in Joseph’s room that he completely lent out to me for the duration of my stay, and just reflecting over today. It was a good day. I got to eat a lot of new food, relax a bit on my own, but most importantly, spend some quality time with people that I love.

I woke up late after falling asleep accidentally again and finished my internet-ing before eating a light brunch of dragon fruit and rice wrapped in tea leaves. I also got to take their motorcycle out for a test ride, which was really fun. Makes me want to go buy a motorcycle to ride around in California!

 

Afterward, my aunt took me to go shopping with my grandma. One thing I learned today: Taiwanese people take their Costco’s very seriously. The one we went to was huge. And packed. Throngs of people were everywhere, taking carts, holding goods, standing in line, milling about sample stations. It was quite a sight. Apparently sometimes there are so many people that they close the front gate until some people leave in order to free up space.

 

On a mission to buy snacks to bring back for my family, my aunt and grandma proceeded to load me up with goods, all the way grabbing samples for me to get full off of. One testament to the crowdedness of Costco’s was the fact that they ran out of whole milk on the display cases. Milk is actually very expensive in Taiwan, one of the only things that I imagine is cheaper in the US than in Taiwan. One gallon hovers around $7 US! And still people were rushing to grab what was left.

My new favorite writing pen =D

I came home with boxes and bags of goods, from hot wasabi peas to milk tea powder. I’ve learned that if you visit a foreign country with relatives, they will stop at nothing to shower you with gifts, souvenirs, and things to bring back home. I was so grateful and a bit guilty at the same time for receiving so much stuff.

Another reason for me to be grateful and appreciative of my relative’s unending kindness: milk tea! It was a nice end to some tiring shopping. I came home and took a short nap, skyped with my brother and played him a couple of times in an online typing game. I lost all three times. But it was good to finally see him again.

For dinner, I went out again with my aunt, and we met up with Jessica, Tiffany, and their family. We had dinner at this really fancy place. We ordered a lot of small dishes and tried each one. It was delicious.

Shrimp+crunchy stuff

Watercress… I think. It was delicious.

Fried shrimp roll, covered in toasted almonds

Sesame balls! The ones in Chinese restaurants here are total posers compared to the real thing

Soup with sprinkled green tea (or was it seaweed?)

Coconut milk with taro and tapioca

It’s pudding, but not really pudding… DELICIOUS.

My only regret is not having a bigger stomach to eat more of everything! And on top of their generous hospitality, Aunt Limei and Uncle Kuo then took me to go shopping for even more snacks to bring home. There was no end to the amount of cool and tasty things at the RT-Mart.

Hahaha the creativity of Taiwanese people… nothing surprises me anymore

Escalators for your shopping carts! Makes sense, the grocery store was only like 4 or 5 stories, no big deal

Eventually I was loaded with two more bags, which is expected to all fit in my luggage. It’ll take some efficient packing and perhaps a bit of magic to get it all to fit, but I’m not too worried. I said goodbye to Jessica and Tiffany and wished them luck. And we talked about it earlier, but Taiwanese people are actually very hesitant to show any sort of public affection. Hugs are not considered to be normal or expected. I can understand the culture to a certain degree, but it still leaves me confused as to what to do at the end of a conversation or meeting. Shake hands? Too formal. Hug? Too personal. Hi-five? Too childish. So I don’t really know yet. But I sadly said goodbye to Jessica, while Tiffany I would see one more time.

During the evening I had time to unwind and loosen up. I skyped with Tiffanie, even if she did just wake up in Cali and even if she couldn’t talk through her mic, and even if she did make fun of my mandarin >.> But she recognized that I got a hair cut, so I forgave her. Joseph joined me in skyping her and was surprisingly funny. We had some good conversations, and that’s when I discovered his sense of humor. It’s really chill, and it’s fun to talk to Joseph. So now here I am, enjoying the AC and needing sleep but refusing to go just yet.

Yup. Awesome picture of the day:

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