Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday mountain trip

This morning we woke up earlier than usual on a Saturday (well, Alexander anyways) had French toast for breakfast, showered and headed into the mountains.

People often complain about how much city there is in Taiwan and how little nature. But on the contrary, in pretty much any city in this country you are always less than half an hour from mountains with incredible forest greenery and clean fresh air. All you need to do is get onto your bike and head in the right direction.

It was Alexander's first time into the eastern mountains of Hsinchu and Miaoli county (I think we were in bordering Miaoli...) and luckily he brought his camera with to capture some of the scenery, like this tree covered in white egrets...

... and farmers working their rural rice paddies viewed through verdant bamboo. We stopped at a cafe along the way, an old favorite where I used to stop for coffee and cheesecake on mountain trips years ago. We enjoyed light sandwiches for lunch and a river view.

On the way home we stopped by this friendly lady to buy a big bag of passion fruit. She spoke no English, but I understand enough Chinese to know that she was explaining that her spot was just gorgeous and loads of people stop there to take pictures of the scenery.

Of course, we took Japie with for the ride. He has to ride in the basket otherwise he moves around too much. Don't worry, he enjoys the basket and viewing the world go by from it. And yes, he is giving us all a side-eye in the picture on the left.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guest Blogging- A Perfect Moon

I've been invited by darling Dorothy Black (fellow blogger and seriously good friend) to do some occasional guest blogging over at her blog A Case of Nerves. Here is an excerpt from my first entry on her blog...

Earlier this year, when Alexander and I were visiting Taiwan for the winter, I was talking to a guy online.

He lived in a city northeast of Taipei and was on break from school for the winter holidays. 

He was single and complaining to me about how small his prospects are for finding the right guy. I couldn't understand why he was having such a hard time finding a boy for a relationship or just some fun. There are loads of very handsome and very available men in Taiwan. Just look at any gay-dating website around here, plenty of handsome and available men looking for love or a good time.

For the rest of the entry go here. And do yourself a favor and check out the rest of her blog. It's full of insights and musings on sex, being a woman, dating, men, single life, dating life... a bit like Sex and the City, only better and way more real.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dapper man at the market

We moved! We found an awesome place and we've moved in and are settling in nicely. More about that in a later post.

First, I was walking home after a coffee out through the morning market on our lane yesterday (!), when I spotted this handsome gentleman walking a gorgeous Frenchie and carrying a beautiful traveler's palm behind an old lady zipping through the market.

I kept an eye out and spotted him again later, this time without any obstructions. Of course I invited him home, who wouldn't? He said yes and moved in with the dog, plant and lots of style.

Yes I know it's my husband but allow me the fantasy please. Don't you think this picture could work for Sartorialist?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Typhoon pancakes

After a summer that's been otherwise dry and incredibly hot, we are currently feeling the effects of three typhoons in the region. Kompasu, Lionrock and Namtheun have all been making their presence felt since Sunday night with constant rain, sometimes hard, sometimes soft.

It makes for unpleasant driving on scooters, but it does bring a very welcome relief to the heat and the world is looking clean and fresh again. Both Alexander I noticed how you could smell food being cooked everywhere yesterday, instead of the usual exhaust fumes.

I'm not working this week and decided to make some simple banana pancakes for breakfast this morning. We enjoyed it in bed with cloudberry jam from IKEA and a heavenly sweet and thick caramel Alexander's parents got me in Bali on their recent trip (some pictures of the trip that Alexander joined here), while enjoying views of the green hills and the rain.

We're moving into our own place tomorrow. We've been house-sitting for friends who's been away for two months and trusted us with their house and dogs. I'm excited about having a place of our own, but I am going to miss the area they live in, surrounded by lush forest with the sounds of tropical birds during the day and frogs at night.

I'll try to post some pictures of our new place very soon. I can't wait to move!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I desire- a Butt towel

The first time I saw these fantastic towels I was in the company of my sisters-in-law and Alexander. I was so excited that I shouted "I want a butt towel!" My enthusiasm for a butt towel was met by shocked giggles from the ladies and a disapproving look from Alexander, who was actually the one who pointed the towels out to me.

It's a few months later and I still find myself desiring a Butt towel. Who wouldn't want a towel in this sexy magazine's (site NSFW or Starbucks) instantly recognizable pink with a hot man sprawled over it? You wouldn't? Curious, I can think of nothing that would make me happier.

So if my happiness is important to you (and it should be) hurry on over to American Apparel's website and order me one of these babies. Or two, one for me and one for Alexander. It's still summer season here and we need to give those people at the pool something more to look at besides us.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Since Wednesday I've had Bjork on random on both my iPod and the computer. It has been a long-long time since I've listened to her, and now I can't seem to stop. I'm loving every second of driving around Hsinchu with her voice in my head. Beautiful.

Bjork, some Tori Amos and a bit of U2 helped me survive my final year of high school back in the early nineties. Mostly Bjork helped me survive my first year at university which was potentially the worst year of my life. So we go way back. And I still love her and her music every bit as much as I first heard her voice in my high school dorm room in '94.

Here's some vintage Bjork for you on this lovely Friday.

And then something more recent, a beautifully haunting collaboration with Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons.

And if you're interested, go here for a short NPR interview with Bjork for 50 Great Voices

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tropical fruit cake

Hear this, the Chinese name for passion fruit is 百香果 (bai-shiang-guo). It literally translates as hundred-smells fruit. Our good friend Jing-guo explained that it means it is the fruit that smells better than a hundred other fruits. Beautiful isn't it? I'm only using it's Chinese name from now on.

百香果 is in season at the moment, along with lots of other tropical fruit delights like mango and banana. I bought a bunch of all of them at the market one afternoon, but in the crazy July heat everything ripened incredibly fast and the next day I was sitting with some over-ripe fruit on my hands. What to do, what to do?

Bake, of course!

So I trawled the web for some banana bread recipe, decreased the banana and added some mango. Baked it, made a passion fruit syrup and poured it over the cake. The leftover syrup I mixed in with our cereal and yogurt in the morning. I baked the cake for Jing-guo and his sister who were helping us in our apartment hunting. His little nephew insisted on having the cake for breakfast, so I guess it was popular with him at least!
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