Taiwan 2012: Day 2 (Sisters shopping and TSO meet up)

It's Day 2 of my trip to Taiwan, and I was the only one out of my family that escaped jet lag.  So I was bouncing around at around 7am, haha~  :)    It was time to go explore the Taoyuan train station area, and Connie and I shopped around the stores there.  Since it wasn't night time, most of the stores weren't open yet.  D:  But there were a few stores that we dropped by and spent a lot of time at! ^_^v

At one of the bookstores, there was a huge shelf full of Jeremy Lin things, like window decals, stickers, wallets, and everything @_@  The stand was like a mini-slice of heaven sitting in a shop for any Linsanity fans out there :3

Ooooh, and I love shopping!~~  ^o^  Usually I like to browse, but I never buy much... but on the other side of the world, it's totally different!  I'll browse (of course!) and I'll buy, buy, buy :D:D:D  Hehe!  I think a lot of the shirts are cute / don't make sense, so it makes me want to buy them :P

One of my favorite stores is 4 stories tall, and each floor is covered in clothing racks!!  There's a floor for guy shirts, girl clothes, fancier (umm.. dresses I guess?) girl clothes, and pants.  I took so long that my sister was done picking out everything she wanted and ended up waiting for me on one of the stair cases.  Later that day, she told my friends that she felt like "my fricking boyfriend!"  Durr..  =_=''  I hope I don't treat my guys like that...  I usually avoid flipping through clothes to my heart's desire when I'm with anyone other than family, haha  ^^''

Connie bored to death waiting for me :P

We explored the area a bit more, passing by a bakery.  At the store front, there were pans and pans full of egg tarts!  I think there were different types, because they were of different colors as well as textures :O  But I was too afraid to go and look at them more closely, because one of the shop ladies would try persuading anyone getting closer to buy some.  There were also sliced up egg tarts for passerby to sample too!  I think it's pretty common in Taiwan for shops to offer samples, even if people don't really buy anything.  Sampling free food is called "shirr-chirr" (haha, but in pingyin it's shi4 chi4 = 试吃)~  :)  All the people walking past would nab a piece and keep walking, including my sister!  But that's only because I told her that there were free samples and pointed at the loads of yummy nom noms on the table outside ;)


Connie got hungry, and she waited air conditioning ASAP.  We headed back towards the department stores and went down to the basement level where the food court was located.  It was around 3pm, and we were meeting Debra, Ryan, and Michael for dinner in less than 3 hours!  But we were both ravenous, and two large plates of tonkatsu arrived at our table within a few minutes of ordering :)

The pork was soooo good!  Very tender and I like the way they fry it because the breadcrumbs used are super fine and fluffy :3  Nom nom *heart*!  Underneath the massive pork chop is omurice (a ketchup rice mixture wrapped in cooked egg), which was Connie's first experience with that type of rice.  She liked it a lot :D  *happy*~  I filled up after drinking the soup and eating a single piece of pork =_=''  probably too hungry, so I ended up giving the most of the pork to Connie.  Ughhh, just looking at all the meat left on my plate was nauseating.  Does that mean I'm unconsciously becoming vegetarian?!  @_@  ....  but I'd always be up for eating a 大鸡排 / Giant Chicken Steak, so... I guess not :P

There was a Coldstone's in the food court (Yes, American food!), and our table was pretty near the shop.  They were passing out a sample of one of their promotion products to nearby tables, and we each got a tiny cup with a piece of strawberry ice cream Swiss roll cake.  It had a huge punch of strawberry flavor, was ultra creamy, and super delightful ^^  I'm not even a strawberry ice cream fan either!  (Cookies 'n Cream or Vanilla Bean!!)

Pretty cakes, right?  I don't think they have this cake shape at American Coldstones :o

I didn't want to be late for our TSO meet up, so we hurried and scarfed down our food before running towards the train station.  We caught a train but didn't have places to stand (as usual), and there were so many people that we couldn't even stand in the aisles!  Tonnnns of people were squished in the in-between spaces between train cars, and we literally could not move or figet without being smushed with someone nearby.  I was pressed against the bathroom door, and Connie was close beside me @_@

We're kind of opposites in a way; my hands are usually cold and I get cold pretty easily in general, but Connie's is what my family calls "a great ball of fireeeee!"  She's always warm or hot and gets into a sweat pretty easily.  Well, I guess I have the bad sides of both, because I definitely sweat more than probably 90% of the people I know... and when I exercise, please don't stand near me or I'll feel very self conscious of sweating all over the place XD  Anyhow, standing next to Connie in a train cart without air condition with probably 20 other people squished into a place the size of my bathroom while the train is jolting and halting in the Taiwanese humidity is just *a little* uncomfortable...  Happily, someone opened the train car doors a bit, so the AC from the train car rooms flowed slightly into the place we were stuck in.  I think not talking helps me cool down or at least keep from getting super hot, and Connie was complaining the whole 40 minutes there, so no wonder she was radiating heat like a stove ORZ

Everyone sighed in relief when we reached Taipei.  I had to unstick myself from the arm of a boy standing next to me who was sweating too before I stepped onto the platform x_x''  I led Connie to the MRT (magnetic rail train, I think?) transfer station and tried to find which train to take to meet the crew.  I think running around at the stations is a lot of fun (as long as you don't get lost) :)  There are a bajillion of people, which means tons of fodder for people watching!  You can see all sorts of people and muse over the way they dress, talk, and act :D  

Very blurry~  Getting bumped along :P

We arrived at the right station, but the next step was finding Debra, Ryan, and Michael at TASTY (the restaurant we agreed to)!  I walked around, but we couldn't find it, and Connie was demanding air conditioning, so we slyly slid into a 7-11 before I made myself ask for directions.  Blah, I don't like talking that much in Taiwan, because then everyone starts staring at me =_=''  Well, it's like people stare at me when I don't talk (clothing doesn't fit in with Taiwanese fashion!), and then there's a legit reason that they stare at me when I open my mouth and weird-accented Chinese comes out, and then it's awkward XD  

When we finally wandered onto TASTY's premise, the lady asked us if we had a reservation before we were allowed to go and use the elevator to the 2nd floor to get to TASTY.  I told them we did and that our friends were already up there, and they kept giving me Chinese names.  I don't know who reserved it or Ryan and Michael's Chiense names, so I was trying to listen very hard for Debra's last name.  Hahaha!  So fail XD  Finally, the lady told us to just go upstairs and look for them.

Connie rejoiced once the AC washed over us on the 2nd floor, and we were two sweaty bumpkins snooping around the elevator trying to catch a glimpse of my friends.  Sooo funny, because a second lady tried giving us a list of names, and none of them seemed to match Debra's!  Finally, after a phone call, I realized that Debra and them were still back at the train station!  

The elevator doors opened, and some guy waved at me.  Then I realized it was Michael!  His hair changed a bit, so I didn't recognize him for like 5 seconds.  =_=''  *must get better at recognizing people without paying attention to their hair*  I quickly introduced them to Connie, and the TASTY hostess hovered around us awkwardly.  Annnnnd then we found out that there was no reservation.  HAHA, oh my.  I felt like a retard, durr~~  ^_^''

Soooo then we eloquently made our escape back down to the streets, and we walked to a ramen place nearby that Debra had been to.  Actually, Debra sent me a picture of her meal by email a few weeks ago while I was still in St. Louis, so I felt very special *mwahahahaha*~  :P  The place's name is called "Mian Tong Wu," and a direct translation would be called Noodle Bucket House.  Hehe :3

They sell ramen!

And white broth ramen it is!  There were several varieties of ramen, but my sister and I were still stuffed from eating only a few hours before, so we split a combo order of ramen and gyoza.  Mmm, I bet if I were hungry, the ramen would have been heaven!  It was very tasty; the meat was ultra fatty/tender, I enjoyed the weirdly colored egg yolk, and the broth was very flavorful :3  Connie said that she wanted to come back another time, so she enjoyed it a lot too ^^  

This was my first real experience with non-Maruchan (instant noodles for those who somehow don't know!) noodles, and I was surprised that the noodles weren't wavy as they are in the instant noodle packets XD  I wonder if all ramen tastes like this, or at least similar to this?  Book had a ramen night this summer, and it was a bit different!  Everyone probably has a different version though ^_^

Say it with me:  OM NOM NOM NOMMMM.  Good.

Michael, Ryan, and Debra ready to chow down!!

And of course, I always love me some gyoza :3

While I was chewing, I noticed a very familiar shirt.  AHH!!  I whipped out my camera and took a stalker photo.  Anyone know who's shirt I'm talking about?  :D

Thinking of you as I eat ramen in Taiwan, hahaha~ :)

Satisfied and quite happy, we left to take the MRT to Shilin Night Market.  We've all been there before (except Connie!), but I don't remember it very well.  Apparently Debra shopped there just last year! :P

Stalker pic of two lovely ladies :D!

We hopped off the train and walked a few blocks, instantly crashing into a wall of people.  Well, more like a SEAAAA of people *wavy wavy wavy* ~  The undulating mass of Asians threatened to tear Connie away from me (starting to sound like some sappy romance novel, right? ;P).  It seemed like we weren't the only tourists there; there were plenty of people taking pictures at the entrance.  In fact, Debra said that this is one of the most tourist-y night markets in Taiwan!

Busy, busy!  Just looking at the mass of people and bright lights (and the smell of food!) makes me excited!

Oh hey, it's Ryan and Michael :D

Ryan, Michael, me, and Debra = TSO fun at Shilin night market! ^^

Before we even entered the string of shops, there was a fruit stand selling... lianwu.  Wax apples.  Rose apples.  Bell fruit.  Whatever you want to call those delicious red or green jewels that taste like you're biting into fluffy, watery, yumminess.  But they were for sale!  We bought 150NT's worth ($5 USD) which only amounted to a bag ._.  I realized my mistake when we saw a fruit stand later.  Never buy pre-cut fruit at fruit stands!  They cut it so that you don't know how many fruit you are getting.  And the scales are angled so you can't see the weight unless you ask to see or walk around to see.  But anyways, good experience, I now know for the future!  And plus, I can only eat rose apples in Taiwan, so I was just happy to be nomming on them ^w^ My sister also really likes them too!  Hmm, must be related, haha!  ;)  Hehe, Ryan took several pictures of us rejoicing over lianwu fruit!

Fruit stand with tonnnns of fruit!

Connie and I enjoying Taiwanese Lian-Wu!  Yay!  :D  ... Connie doesn't seem so happy XD

Yay!  Debra seems pretty happy to see me so delighted :)

We later bought another bag from another dealer that had a lot more for a lot cheaper.  The fruit stand owners sometimes provide Suan Mei powder 酸梅粉 , which is a sweet and sour plum powder that makes the fruit tastes not only good, but GOOOOOD.  Haha :p  It was really delicious!

Oooh and Debra stole my shopping bags, harumphh!  She took them so I could have my hands free for a bit, and then she didn't give them back to me until after the evening was over.  First Connie poking fun at me saying she felt like my boyfriend by forcing her to wait for me, and now Debra acting as one by not letting me carry my own bags! @_@  Haha~  Ty Debra for being my bf for the night ;)

Ryan bought earrings, I bought.. I forgot... Debra and I bought contacts (tee hee hee), and Michael and Connie just trailed alongside and took in the night scene.  Wheeeee~  Night market~ ^^  

Michael split to head home in another direction before we took the MRT, so we said our good byes.  When we got to the station, everyone was going different directions, so we nabbed the chance to ask Connie to take a TSO picture!  Debra looked uber cute in this photo, and it was the only one with us three girls in it, so I'll risk looking weird and post it :P  Well, you already get to see me sweaty in all the night market pictures of me, so this won't be too far off hopefully ORZ!

Yay!  Great time~  Thanks for hanging out with me ^__^

Ryan may / may not be going back to STL, so we might not be able to see her for a while :(  But I hope her the best in her job hunting! :D  Connie and I headed back to Taipei main station before getting on the train back to Taoyuan.  This time, there were a few seats, and she sat down and held our shopping bags before falling asleep.  I stood and held onto a pole, and it was kind of funny to watch her sleep on the way back, haha!  Her head would flop side to side, and her arms would go all over the place, so the people sitting beside her would scooch in opposite directions.  He he!  :P  I was just glad she didn't have to suffer through no-AC-ness again, and she's really not used to having people in such close proximity (she hasn't been to Taiwan in 11 years!).  I woke her up when we got to Taoyuan, and my feet were pleading for a break by the time we walked to the bus station.  Whewww, long walking day!  But I love it, because it doesn't seem like exercising at all, but it sort of is!   *goes and scarfs down 29328 pastries*  ;)  We arrived back home at 11:30pm, and Connie passed out on the bed instantly.  All tuckered out, aww my little pikachu XD

Debra said...

Oh my, I look like a retard in the picture with the ramen. >_______<;; (So this is what I look like when I make that face... must keep a mental note)

You don't look weird AT ALL in the last picture! Just compare it with my retard picture!

Josh said...

LOL lets be honest ppl, u guys both look fine.
Ooo feels like im there looking thru ur pixorz. And getting hungry too..

Wendy said...

Haha, okay, thanks hyung! We BOTH look AWESOME. How's that? ;) Tee hee!