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  • sallyintaiwan 12:17 pm on December 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , side_streets, ,   

    So I think I’ve had that experience that so many people told me I would have abroad… the one where you get lost, things DO NOT go as planned, and it turns out better (although very different) than you thought. Last weekend a group of classmates and I went to Hualien.
    Hualien is famous for its Taroko Gorge, which we all went to on Saturday, but on Sunday two of my friends and I decided to go to a place we’d heard about called the Sugar/Mochi Factory (Hualien is also famous for its mochi)… Still not sure if the factories are different places, if they both exist, or they’re the same place with two different names. The research we did online the night before gave us little info about how to get there so we went to the information center near the train station in Hualien to see if they knew anything about the place(s.) They seemed to know what we were talking about and told us to get on a particular bus and that it would take us there. We bought our tickets for what we thought would be at most a half hour ride…not sure why we made this assumption, it wasn’t going off of anything. It turned out to be the last stop the bus made, so an hour and a half later we were asking the bus driver if he knew how we should walk there from the bus stop. He, like the women at the information center, seemed to know what we were talking about, and offered to drop us off as close as he could get. When he stopped he pointed in a direction and we were on our way, in the rain, with out any real idea where to go… We were NOT in Taipei anymore. We were the only foreigners in sight, and much of what was around us was farmland. We guessed to turn right when we got to an intersection. We walked a bit more, and at this point we were truly lost. But the right turn happened to be a happy guess!

    What we stumbled upon next was a center of little shops full of aboriginal Taiwanese gifts, tea shops, and a Mochi store! Just for reference, this place is what I would consider the middle of absolutely nowhere, so I think we were fair in thinking we were on the right track to finding the factory. Busses of Taiwanese and Chinese tourists came every half hour, and all immediately went to the ice cream stand in the complex. First, we stopped to eat at “Taiwan Dumplings,” where of course, we ate dumplings, and for less than 2USD I might add, the further away we get from Taipei, the cheaper everything becomes. Then we decided to look around the shops as we asked people if they knew what we were trying to find. The shops were nothing like we would find in Taipei, even in the crafty night markets. They sold everything from aboriginal style jewelry (Hualien is home to one of many aboriginal groups in Taiwan, the Yami), to locally grown tea and coffee. While shopping and testing the many mochi flavors we continued to ask around about where the factory was. They all pointed in the same direction, so we crossed the street and entered the building they seemed to be pointing at. We entered “The Tea House” and were immediately welcomed by the family running the shop with a tea ceremony to test the locally grown tea. Before we could ask them where they thought we should go next, I was buying two tins of loose tea… it would be rude, I think, to go through the testing and not buy any, and it was great tea! We asked about the factory and they clearly pointed to where we had just come from. They said the “factory” is famous for its ice cream. We finally realized at that point, that we were not going to find the factory.

    No one was the least bit upset at how our day turned out. Being in this new place, so unlike where we have been living for the past three months made us realize that Taipei is far from all Taiwan has to offer. Of course, I love Taipei, but it far from represents everything in Taiwan. The small family owned shops with handmade crafts, the best mochi I’ve ever had, aboriginal culture and hospitality, all in this complex in the middle of farmland, all so far from Taipei reminds us how important it is get out and get lost. We decided we needed to try the ice cream (the green tea was delicious!) and laughed over how much fun poor planning can turn out.

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  • DougReilly 5:55 pm on October 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , side_streets   

    Challenge 3 & 4 Roundup! And the sandals go to… 

    We’re awarding two pairs of Vere Sandals today, in response to the recent (and awesome) flurry of postings. Keep up the awesome work…Asiapod is really rich this year thanks to your contributions!

    Taylor “explorewithasmile” Anderson has certainly been doing that, and giving us (a lot of) dynamic video commentary from Viet Nam. These sandals, however, are given in honor of her work with the Map My Run challenge. Great job!

    Melissa Hosek gets the other pair of sandals this week, for her though provoking photograph and story “Monk in Luoyang”, which Mission Control found very profound, and pretty.

     
  • melinthemiddle 12:27 am on October 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , side_streets   

    Challenge Four: Monk in Luoyang 

    This posting is from Melissa Hosek:

    I have attached to this posting a picture I took in the city of Luoyang at a Buddhist Temple. CIEE took us to this temple to explore and learn about Buddhism. After our official tour, they let us explore on our own. While most of my classmates went to the shopping center in the front of the temple, I decided to walk down a small sidewalk and go deeper into the heart of the temple. I thought I heard running water ahead, like from a stream or small waterfall, so I decided to cross over a stone bridge in search of the water source. When I arrived at the other side of the bridge, I looked over the edge to see what I had just crossed over and this is what I saw. This Monk is pretty young, maybe 20 years old. He is washing his clothes outside of his bedroom, which is located in a small stone cabin under the bridge. I wonder what his life must be like.

     

    Monk in Luoyang washing clothes.

     
    • Jennifer 2:26 pm on October 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Melissa! I love this photo and the story of your exploration that accompanies it. There is something about it that grabs me that I can’t articulate. It’s a great photo.

    • Hannah 6:38 pm on October 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Luoyang! This picture is amazing, it shows that Luoyang is more than just a tourist destination

    • DougReilly 3:24 pm on October 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Melissa,
      It is a nice photograph, the different point of view is refreshing. Isn’t it interesting how far we travel sometimes and yet we still can only glimpse things that are just out of reach to us? I’ve thought this a thousand times…what’s it like inside that family’s apartment, what does that fish seller go home to at night…hopefully at least a few times you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and actually get to cross that last little border.
      Doug

  • Kristyna Bronner 10:21 am on October 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fu tai market, , , side_streets   

    Response to Challenge Four 

    The high rises around campus.

    Now that I’ve been living in Hong Kong for almost  two months, I have definitely developed a daily routine (though it’s not very structured like my routine at HWS). At least once everyday, I walk through campus to the Fu Tai shopping center, either to go to the grocery store, eat in the restaurants there, or at night for the night market noodles (by far my favorite food here). Usually, I walk through campus to get to the shopping center. I simply have to cross the street to get to the new dorm buildings. After walking by those, I have to cross the street once more to get to the shopping center. This is the fastest way to get to Fu Tai, but there is another way to get there. For this challenge, I decided to try taking the long way. I took as many pictures as I could, but at this point I’m past being “touristy” and stopping to take pictures of everything and everyone.

    Instead of crossing the street as soon as I could, I decided to go right and walk by several high rise buildings. The one closest to Lingnan is definitely the nicest: it has a gate with a security guard and a fancy light display out front. The surrounding area has more high rises. I walked past one that had men playing cards outside. Then, once I got past them I walked on a pathway between several apartment buildings passing many people on the way. This pathway led me to the back entrance of the shopping center and to the Fu Tai Market Place. Even though I have been here for a while, I had yet to go in, so I decided to change that.

    The entrance to the market.

    The market place is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you don’t want to see full ducks and chickens roasted and hanging, this is not the place for you. If you don’t want to see a cage full of live frogs or someone kill a fish and then skin it in front of you, this is not the place for you. Besides meat and fish, the market place had a lot to offer. There were several fresh fruit and vegetable stands, a bakery, and a few shops selling tea sets and incense. It makes a lot more sense to buy fresh food in the market as opposed to the supermarket in the shopping center.

    Overall, this longer path was more interesting to me. I think I might start doing it more often…just not when I’m in a rush. I’m definitely going back to the market for some fresh fruit and egg custards.

    One of the biggest perks of living in Hong Kong is the fresh produce!

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

     
    • DougReilly 3:21 pm on October 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Kristyna,
      What a great description and what a colorful walk! I can imagine the market…certainly far from all the meat prebutchered and neatly vacuum wrapped in plastic at Wegman’s. Imagine a cage full of frogs there! It’s funny how much distance many of us in the west put between our food and the facts of our food. Anyway, great post. What did you post the slide show with? Looks great!
      Doug

    • Kristyna Bronner 6:36 am on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I used wordpress for the slideshow! I uploaded multiple photos at one time.

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