Sunday, August 19, 2012

ktv till our voices die out!!

Today we went to a KTV for four hours - how Taiwanese! Haha. I'm feeling more and more like a local doing things locals do. The KTV we went to was awesome and was actually similar to the KTV places I see in Asian dramas rather than the dingy dirty places I've gone to before. This one was high tech with a large flat screen tv embedded into the wall. An unlimited food buffet was also included in the price! Eating and singing karaoke goes hand in hand. Loved it!

There was hot and cold food and then a whole another area that included just desserts.
only one plate of many: curry, pepper chicken and a dose of veggies!
mint ice cream and chocolate covered marshmallows
Recently, a bunch of the Asian staff have left the Erchong campus which has been super sad and so we've been doing a lot of hangouts together to say goodbye and just to keep in touch. I can't believe I have a little over a month left before my contract is over. It's so weird but I've gotten sooo close to my coworkers just recently and so now that I've found my niche it sucks that I have to leave. Wish I hadn't wasted my time earlier on in the year and that these coworker friends of mine had started working earlier so that I could have met them sooner! Of course it helps that most of my friends will have stopped working at my school so at least I choose a good time to go :P
gonna miss these guys so much!!
Usually at these KTV parties I'm pretty much just there to be an audience member since I don't sing Chinese songs and don't want to sing English songs by myself. This time however I did sing some songs - super badly. Haha Sam and I drove people out of the room several times. Hilarious. I think our friends know now not to let the foreigners sing. I suck at most songs since I only know the chorus and the rest I'm just like ehhh but we paid tribute to the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. :D While we were at the KTV a fight actually broke out in the hallway between two groups of guests. The KTV employees just stood nearby and didn't do anything to stop them. I guess it wasn't a fight but more of a shouting match. All the participants looked like they were in high school. Haha. After all the shouting they just went back to their respective rooms - what a let down. At first when I heard that we were going to singing KTV for four hours I was thinking that was way too long but with all the eating and fist pumping and singing backup, the time passed really fast. Four hours of karaoke, unlimited buffet access and specially ordered foods delivered to our room only cost $360 NT per person. God what a steal! I'm gonna miss such cheap entertainment when I go back to America. :(

Saturday, August 18, 2012

a butler cafe and fan-girling like crrrrrrrrazy

If you would like to know what happen today and skip the rant please skip down to the second paragraph.

So today there was gonna be a fireworks show happening in the Tamsui area which Cody invited Sam and I to. Another friend of hers who I had met previously wanted to go along which I was fine with since we had gotten along the first time we met. We had to meet at 9 am today so that Cody's friend, could go to some temple to pray for her relationship. Even though I hated waking up so early I was ok with meeting so freaking early especially since I had stayed up until 3 am chatting with my mom and auntie about their upcoming trip to Taiwan and then our subsequent trips to Hong Kong and Thailand! So excited about Thailand, it'll be my first time there and I can't wait!! Anyways back today... so just as I get to the meeting point Cody tells me her friend is going to be late. I immediately got annoyed because one of my biggest pet peeves are people who are always late to stuff and on top of this it was her idea to meet so freaking early. Ugh I hate people who are running late without a good excuse, hers wasn't one. So even though I'm annoyed I still greet her nicely and don't pile any shit on top of her cause she's Cody's friend and I'm not gonna treat a friend of a friend rudely. So later in Taipei we end up walking for blocks in the treacherously hot sun to find this mysterious temple which turns out to be located in some apartment building and I guess is privately run. It was all really bizarre. Why was it necessary for us to go with her? I would have been fine meeting them up later or whatever... On top of it the whole time she was on her phone, not even acknowledging or talking to us, she said her English is bad but not even any hint that we are alive or that you know us is pretty freaking awful. What is the point of coming to hang out if you're just going to be on your phone the whole time?!?! Second pet peeve people who "hang" out with people by standing near you with their phones. Then she randomly calls people to meet us up to go to this cafe that she had made reservations at for lunch. Alright so we ended up waiting for her some more... At this point I was ready to snap her head off. Honestly it's one thing to act super rude when you're hanging out with a friend but when you are hanging out with friends of friends you think to not put your mutual friend in an awkward position you would act on your best behavior. UGH at this point I was more than happy to just walk away from this whole mess and entertain myself. Then one of her friends finally arrives and we learned that she invited another friend along and instead of making us all wait for the second friend the first friend would lead us to the cafe without any of us knowing. Alright that's not weird at all but at least he didn't dawdle on the sides getting lost cause he wasn't paying attention due to their phone.

So for lunch the only thing I knew about the place was that Cody's friend wanted to go because there was cute guys and I thought that that meant the cafe was frequented by a lot of cute customers. I WAS SO FKING WRONG. The first thing that sent warning bells ringing in my head was that this guy in the elevator was wearing an anime-type butler costume. Since I don't speak or even bothered to pay attention to what he was saying I didn't realize he was in the elevator for us. Cody's friend's friend leaves us there and we arrive at the cafe, Wisteria, where we were greeted by a whole bunch of boys who were wearing the exact same butler costumes. None of us had any idea what was happening or what kind of cafe this was exactly. Cody was the only one who spoke any Chinese and none of the butler waiters could speak English. That moment at the door when I saw those butler dudes I immediately thought it was a boy version of those maid cafes in Japan, where the girls wear cute maid costumes. I just stood there in shock thinking seriously we are going to a boy maid costume place really?!?! All we saw were girls inside and I was thinking OMG I'm in some girl version of a maid cafe and none of the male waiters were hot. I was ready to leave right then and there cause honestly I know those maid cafes are expensive and if I wasn't gonna get served by cute male waiters then I didn't want to pay the expensive ass prices. Costumers have a choice of the snack set or the lunch set, costing $260 NT and $360 NT, respectively. Sets included a dish of your choice from the snack or lunch menu, a drink and a fruit of the day which turned out to be an apple, more like 5 apple cubes... I chose the snack menu and got a hot toast pizza with ham (they also included corn on here - Taiwanese people love to put corn on everything so disgusting) and an iced milk tea.
Anyways at this point I was super annoyed having to pay for some expensive ass meal and then being brought to a boy maid cafe where the waiters couldn't even speak in English. But things actually started to become fun when the butlers approached our table and used Cody as a translator. Thankfully I can understand way more Chinese than I can speak so I was able to crack jokes and such. All the butlers had such weird English names and one of them said we were bullying Sam and that the male butlers were going to protect him from us. All of them were gathered around us because we were such a blast. Then Leander the one who wanted to protect Sam was saying how Sam could call him and such and implying a relationship between the two. It was really cool to see a Taiwanese guy joking about being with a guy. Pretty cool. As Sam says these guys are good because they managed to make me, who was really hating this place, actually enjoy it and have a fun time. Good job butler dudes but honestly I don't think I would have had as much fun if I came with all girls and didn't have Sam to push onto the butler dudes and tease about possible gay tensions running between him and everyone. Also the fact that most of the restaurant was listening to our conversations and laughing as I teased the butlers and cracked jokes in Chinese was a huge ego stroke. Dude those butlers were giving Sam compliments left and right calling him handsome and the girls got nothing. The only ego stroker was when Leander thought that I was 20 and that 22 year old Cody was 26! When I told him I was 24 his eyes literally popped out of his head and I was laughing so hardcore. Haha I'm youthful bitches! It was interesting asking the butlers about their jobs and ppls know I have no censure so I pretty much ask them anything that popped into my head like their ages and what was the point of the restaurant. So I was right and this was a boy version of a maid cafe where they treat customers as if they at home rather than as cafe customers. The waiter butlers would cater to our whims and would actually help customers cut their food and swirl their drinks (I actually saw this happen). They didn't cut my food or swirl my drink or call me mistress - just saying didn't really feel like a mistress of the mansion. There was five tables and all of them were filled and I believe you must make reservations beforehand. All the customers were laughing at one point or another so you know these waiter butlers know how to do their jobs. I asked and they aren't hired based on looks. Lol.
You're not allowed to take pictures of the waiters to protect their privacy so I had to sneakily do so and so of course got none of their faces. This waiter is called Mir and he actually chatted with us for quite a bit. Some of the waiters had these fox tails clipped to the back of their uniforms and so I asked how come only some of them had it. Mir says that costumers actually give him the tails (I guess because they love him so much) and I guess the fox tails are a symbol of his foxiness. Haha. I actually had a really fun time here so I should give thanks to Cody's friend for bringing us here cause I would never have done this or have found out about this place on my own. The shittiest thing was when Cody's friend and her fellow friends finally arrived, they sat at a different table because there wasn't any tables that held more than four seats, she didn't even come over to say hi or to introduce her friends. Both groups sat at different tables and acted like we didn't know each other at all. I didn't care one way or the other and had a better time sitting with just the three of us but I thought it must have been super weird for Cody to not even get greeted by her friend...

After lunch as we split up away from horrible friend and company were heading back to the Ximen MRT stop when what did we spot but a whole bunch of camera crews and a pack of fan girls outside of a clothing store. I had to see what was up and all the girls were carrying this plastic thing with the pictures of two males on it. I actually recognized one of them as Calvin Chen from the boyband Fahrenheit. I was ecstatic to finally get a chance to see a celebrity I recognized in Taiwan after being here for more than a year (officially one year of being in Taiwan last week!!). Anyways there was a whole bunch of people surrounding him as he spoke for the tv crews and he wasn't staring at my direction at all. Finally after he turned to the side I was at I screamed "Thank you Calvin!" and he goes "Your welcome!" Dude so fucking excited cause he spoke and addressed that just to me. One really weird thing was that I was expecting all the fans to be super loud and screaming but everyone was super quiet just taking photos. I was still being super loud and cheering though and more so because I was doing my best and going over the top fan-girling out. It was awesome. I love the freedom of not giving a shit about what people think and being super dramatic for the sake of it. Haha then it turns out they were doing a signing of those plastic board things so Cody and I had to wait in line for it. We totally ignored Sam and he had to occupy himself while we waited in line. Then when I met Calvin we had a conversation where he told me his uncle actually lives in San Francisco. Haha so awesome. I got it all captured on camera so even more spectacular!!!
Calvin stares directly into my camera!! Haha thank you English ability that allows me to stand out from the myriad of Chinese speaking fans!! Wooot! The other guy who is with him is supposedly a celebrity too but no one we talked to knew who he was. So sad cause when I went to get my autograph I totally ignored him and just talked to Calvin. Haha. We saw that happen a lot. Sorry dude. In the end we didn't end up going to the fireworks show because as we were heading there on the MRT there was a hugeeeee crowd and we didn't wanna deal with it and none of us were that excited for the fireworks show anyways so we just went to Shilin Night Market to do some shopping and eating.
Lovely trio!
When we got back to Hsinchu it was raining massively and there was a lightening storm occurring. It seems like every time it rains here there is also an accompanying lightening storm. I find is so normal now when back in the States I could count on one hand the number of times I've seen lightening.

The Details
4th Floor No. 92-2, Kūnmíng St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
tel: 02-2375-8601

Thursday, August 2, 2012

convenience store finds: fruit milk!

So today I didn't have to go to work because of Typhoon Saola releasing massive rain and storms upon Taiwan. This is the third typhoon day I've witnessed since I've been here and for my area this is probably the worst. My first one happened last year and we still had to go to work, only the schools were closed. During that one nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The second one, work was only closed in Hsinchu during the afternoon, people who worked mornings still had to go in. This most recent typhoon day was declared yesterday night. Every time a storm brews the fellow teachers and I always wish for a typhoon day so that we could get paid for not working. In Hsinchu, we don't suffer much from typhoons and usually nothing big happens except a lot of rain and wind. I forget that huge storms like this can cause death and disaster for the rest of the country with landslides and floods. So I should stop wishing for typhoon days because that's basically wishing to ruin some people's livelihoods... It's such an eye-opener to live in a country where storms can shut down the entire country and weather conditions can actually affect businesses especially compared to California where weather is relatively stable and I've never been excused from work or school cause of inclement weather.

I've been trying to drink soy milk lately because occasionally I remember that I need more calcium in me and that if I don't drink as much as I can before I turn 28 I'll stop absorbing it. So on my frequent trips to the various convenience stores I always notice the fruit flavored milk that are next to the soy milks. I don't go to supermarkets much back in the states but is fruit milk a popular item or even sold back at home? I was wondering if they would taste disgusting since in my head milk and fruit don't really mix - totally forgetting such a thing as smoothies. Duh! Anyways I went around trying all the different flavors that I could see and this post is the accumulation of that.
Watermelon milk is really delicious and actually one I would buy again not just because I'm trying to be adventurous. It tastes like watermelon and soy milk and is a good combo of sweet watermelon and smooth milk.
Melon milk but from the picture it might be specifically cantaloupe. This one was also pretty good. Not sure if anyone knows about Melona the honeydew flavored creamsicle but I use to eat one of those creamsicles everyday after school back in middle school. Thanks local Korean Market for introducing me to the awesomeness of those popsicles. Anyways this milk basically tastes like the melted version of a Melona in a carton.
Strawberry milk tastes like strawberries that have been blended together with milk. Pretty good and has a slight milk color to then milk. I wonder if these flavored milk also have calcium in them and the same nutrients??
Banana milk has a strong taste of banana. The initial sip was interesting because of the strength of the banana. The taste is so strong that I immediately thought this must be using artificial banana flavoring because the flavor is so similar to those fruit shaped candies that you get from candy machines at the mall. If you just drink it in a continuous slurp the strong flavoring disappears and then its just milk with the taste of banana in it. Nice tasting but when I stopped and took a sip again the taste was again disorienting.
Apple milk was weird. I did not like it. It reminded me of the time back when I was younger and I ordered a Green Apple Milk Tea because I use to love Green Apple boba drinks and I also loved milk tea so why not try them combined. That turned out to be a disaster of sour apple mixed with sweet milk. Blegh. This apple milk wasn't as bad as all that but I didn't like the sweetish sour taste it left in my mouth.
Ugh this juice milk was the worst! I couldn't even finish it and I was so glad it came in a small carton so I didn't feel bad for wasting it. The juice in this milk comes from bananas, strawberries and oranges if I'm to believe the pictures on the carton. The milk had a slight green tinge to it and I think what made this undrinkable was the orange. Acidity and milk do not mix well even though in the beginning I could actually taste fruit mixed with milk. I couldn't discern the individual fruits but continual drinking left a gross taste in my mouth. There are still two milks I haven't tried yet a papaya and taro flavored one. Since I've had papaya milk at that famous Kaohsiung night market I don't foresee any problems with it but the taro one seems iffy. I'll update this when I get my hands on those two.