06 April 2015

APR: Week One

Currently pushing: Alto’s Adventure. Get on this iOS game. It’s a beautiful endless runner — not a genre I normally enjoy — but the soothing visuals, stripped down gameplay, and snowboard plus llama (chasing) theme is irresistible.

The personal hot pot, a true revelation for the hot pot experience. We grew up under the communist idea that one pot would serve us all, but many of the hot pot restaurants in Taiwan have small individual pots. It's revolutionary! You don’t know personalization until you’re freed to throw in whatever you want into the boiling water, irrespective of other people's wishes. Plus, loafers aren't rewarded by just sitting there eating while someone else does all the cooking.

One of my best friends is here, all the way from London. I haven’t seen her since she had her baby, maybe four years ago, and it’s been a trip to see her mini-me. He’s got her mega huge eyes and a lot of her personality, which involves just sort of being often adrift in her own creative world. Back home, Sally was also my semi-F.O.B. Taiwanese friend, as she came over to the States as a teenager. So, you know, we spoke some Chinese from time to time and now we find ourselves in Taiwan together, after fourteen years of friendship. This may not be that exciting from the outside, but to hang out on her home turf, as it were, was a novel experience for both of us I think.

Oh, also, for lunch we met up with her friend, Ringo, who recently relocated back to Taiwan from London. Ringo makes the most amazing socks and beanies and clothing. Super bright colors and wonderful patterns. Go look, go! Yu Square Knitwear. I totally got some socks from her latest collection to keep my sock game strong.

And speaking of clothing, over the weekend I went up to Tianmu, where Sally is from, and she pointed me in the direction of several pants stores. I’ve been on the hunt for linen pants since summer is around the corner and shorts don't always cut it.

There’s a particular style of pants I want: yoga-y with wide legs, baggy, and preferably cut above the ankles. I’ve seen the look around Taipei a lot, mostly on Japanese people, and it’s amazing. There’s several designer stores I’ve found that sell them but at a very hefty price. After checking out a few places, this store, Mana, turned out to be the answer and I found my dream pants. They’re basically half skirt and half pant, and all the way awesome.

Plus, at the weekend street market, I picked up an incredible black denim satchel for all those weekend trips I take to nowhere. But I can’t turn down a good (and cheap, NT$500) bag so I had to get it. And thus concludes the shopping portion of the month, although now I need to find the appropriate shoes and tops to go with the skirt pants. It’ll be a brand new me!

Also, the weather has really been heating up, right as school gave us the back half of the week off for Qingming Jie / Tomb Sweeping Day. So it’s been broiling days and toasty nights. On Thursday, after a stomache bursting dinner at Addiction Aquatic Development — the spot for not too pricey super fresh sushi at the stand-up bar — my friend and I hopped on bikes and cruised down the few miles back home. It was her inaugural YouBike ride and there’s no greater joy than sharing that experience with somebody. I can only hope it's life changing, and even if it isn't, it's always a blast. I seriously can’t live in a city without bike share anymore, it'll just be too backwards.

Friday night was rechao with new friends, an introduction to a fancy bar or two, and then the requisite late night dancing. Plus the weekend included viewings of cult classics Tank Girl (Naomi Watts?!) and Luc Besson’s second finest, The Fifth Element. And a quick swing through on Saturday night of the Treasure Hill Environmental Art Lantern Festival, otherwise known as mosquito-ville. Overall, a solid week. Grade: A.