Tuesday, December 27, 2011

my daily shuffle

So today I'll be bringing everyone up to speed on how my day usually looks like. Believe you me that when I said there is no variation, there is no variation. I wake up at 11:30 am everyday and either I curl up for a couple more minutes of sleep or I just lie there willing myself to leave my warm bed to face the cold cold air. I arrived in Taiwan during the summer when it was so freaking hot that just walking around left me coated in sweat. Now its winter time and the temperature has dropped dramatically. The temperature drop isn't that bad since it's in the 50s, which is what SF usually gets on a cold day. However in Hsinchu, also known as the Windy City, the wind makes it feel as if my hands are being slapped by ice cubes. Right behind my building is a field of crops or something so there is no buffer from the strong wind that howls outside my window. Not only is it cold but it also rains. I can't think of anything I hate more weather wise than rain and strong wind. Oh right add to that crappily made Chinese umbrellas... I've gone through two cheapo portable umbrellas since I've been here and have resorted to buying those big unfold-able umbrellas. It is such a hassle to carry that big ass umbrella around and the wind is so strong here that it still flips upside down when I use it.

Anyways moving from how bad the weather is. My daily lunch routine includes making a stop at a bakery near the bus stop. I use to go to a mom and pop shop that sold bread for $25 NT a pop. However a new bakery chain How Sweet recently opened and even though it is expensiver at $30 NT a piece, I have transferred all my business there. I love mom and pop shops but the one I use to frequent had a small selection and always felt too oily. That and the fact that around 12:20 pm when I arrive at the bus stop the mom and pop store has just started baking their bread, hence the sparse choices, while the chain bakery store has every shelf filled with a variety of options and more waiting to be shelved! You might wonder why I only choose to eat at bakeries in the morning when there is a whole host of other foods waiting to be tasted. That is due to my crappy knowledge of Mandarin. I have no confidence to go up to those vendors with dozens of people around and try to order food. It wouldn't be so bad if I actually looked like a foreigner because then the vendors would know they wouldn't be able to understand me. Of course with me they just assume I can speak Chinese and when I can't it's this whole confusion and wtf face that goes on with people nearby just staring at me like eh why can't you understand Chinese, Miss Chinese-face person. Ugh its all so mortifying that I would rather just ingest carbs everyday and get fatter than put myself through the awkwardness of it all.  Yes I'm a wimp.

my old bakery joint

how sweet!
What I like about bakeries in Taiwan is that they sell things like garlic bread! A lot of the chain store bakeries in Taiwan sell what I would consider western breads instead of anything traditional. I didn't realize how weird it was until I was video chatting with my mom and realize that I haven't seen anything remotely similar to chau siu bao or pineapple buns in these bakeries. I guess you need to go to the night markets to find those specialties. I really love the fact that I can get fresh garlic bread whenever I want. Back in the states the only time I could eat garlic bread was if I went to a restaurant that sold them or I had to buy the premade ones that you heated yourself.

pizza bread with bacon, cheese and pineapple
Loved how cheesy it all was but not a big fan of sweet and salty with the pineapple added to it. I guess its like the bread version of the Hawaiian pizza?

garlic bread
My all time favorite!! The sides have this toasted crumbly texture that is yummy in its own right. The garlic spread in the center is buttery and garlicky. The garlic breads I've had in Taiwan have outshone the ones I've had in America with their super buttery and garlicky taste!

bacon with garlic and cheese
Another good one. The addition of meat just makes it more delicious! I tend to go for savory rather than sweet but was tempted by the raisin bread at How Sweet because it reminded me of the raisin bread my family use to get at the bakeries in Chinatown.

raisin bread
I liked this because there was so many raisins in each bite! Haha sorry for making this post be about bread. Anyways I usually consume my whole lunch while waiting for the bus but even if I didn't, you can totally eat on the buses here and they even have garbage cans on every bus. One day when it was a Tuesday and I had a meeting at Jhudong, the bus driver had already printed out my bus ticket to Erchong. It was then that I realized the bus driver recognized who I was and knew what stop I had to get off of. He would stop at my bus stop even if I didn't ring the bell. It's crazy to know that even in a big city that the bus driver can recognize me and try to strike up conversation with me despite the fact that I can only tell him that I don't understand.

My work day usually lasts from 12:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Yes I know a super long day but I also get some long breaks throughout the day. Every Tuesday is the staff meeting so classes don't start until 4:20 which means a lot of hours to prep for lessons and just chill. Haha. After 9:30 pm I just catch the bus back home and then spend a ton of hours online watching tv and surfing the internet. Then I go to bed at 3 am. Since I don't have a scooter and no one lives within walking distance of me, I don't really hang out after work. I really miss my car and the freedom it gave me to visit my friends and just do stuff besides go home and watch tv. There are pluses and minuses for having such a late work schedule. It fits my routine perfectly because I'm a night owl and hate waking up so early in the morning. However in Taiwan nothing is open before 12 pm so even if I wanted to do stuff during the day I wouldn't be able to. Also everything is already starting to close up after I finish work. So I don't have much to do before or after work in terms of exploring the area or even eating out, not that I would with my wimpy Mandarin aversion. This is my schedule everyday, rain or shine. Unexciting but I'm comfortable with it and can't say I have any complaints about sitting around doing nothing more taxing than watching tv after a long day of work. No obligations. No nagging. Perfection.

The Details
How Sweet
No.116, Sec. 1, Guangfu Rd., East District., Hsinchu City
tel: 03-563-1919
They have shops everywhere, this just happens to be the closest one to my house.

1 comment:

  1. Remember when you used to be a morning person?