Seeing new taiwan and meeting old friends

2 Mar 2016, 8:39 a.m. | +Living

Traveling to Hualien, Taitung, Yilan, Taipei, and finally Taoyuan. Taiwan, when did you become so charming? It feels like we just met for the first time.

This Chinese New Year was very unusual, because my boyfriend came with me to visit the beautiful island of Taiwan. We finally went to visit the east of Taiwan and meet my old friends in Taipei. Also, my boyfriend met the Su family for the first time. My feelings were very complicated — like frying something in a pan with lots of different spices. Like you have sweet chili sauce, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, white pepper, sugar, all mixed together, but you’re still able to taste them individually.


#重逢 新 寶島 與老 友們。
今年的農曆新年,過的和以往非常不一樣
因為這次 米卡跟著我一同光臨台灣這個 寶島。
我們走了一趟倚山傍水的東台灣
回臺北喜見久未重逢的老友們
還有重頭戲 米卡之蘇家初登場
心情像是倒了各種調味料的大鍋菜
甜辣醬,番茄醬,白醋,醬油,胡椒粉,豐年果糖,全都攪在一起
不論好吃與否,就是每個滋味皆上心頭
或許也就是這緣故,照片所記錄的台灣味
聞起來卻也格外不同與深刻
寶島台灣,是你變美了?
還是...我們從未好好的見過面。

I enjoyed the flight on Emirates - bigger than usual economy class seats, and decent food. By coincidence, on the flight to Dubai, our flight attendant was also from Taiwan. She proudly displayed the Taiwanese flag on her uniform, which touched me very much. She checked on us a couple of times, slipped us some extra snacks, and even offered to take a picture of us with an instant camera. Our journey was off to a great start. 因貪戀阿聯酋航空國際航班的大座位,又有好吃的飛機餐點,所以這次一樣給它訂了來回票;驚喜的是這次遇上了來自台灣的空姐,看著她很驕傲的秀出胸前的國旗,讓我很是感動。熱情她不斷的拿零食來照顧我這位同胞,還拿出了頭等艙娛樂用拍立得跟我們拍了張照片留念,旅行才剛開始,就有了這美好的開端~噢呀!

Because the Taiwan-Taitung route is so busy, you can only book train tickets two weeks in advance, so since the beginning of January, I’ve been busy booking tickets online just as they became available, and double checking that the times all matched up with our hotel bookings. It all worked out smoothly in the end. We first went from Yangmei to Shulin, and then took a direct train to Taitung. This flattering picture was taken by my boyfriend and I will treat it as the reward for all the hard work. Thank you, honey! 由於花蓮,台東的火車票,幾乎都是一票難求,只能在出發日前2週訂票,從一月初我便開始每隔幾天網路搶票,又不斷核對搭乘日期,與民宿時間,索幸都是有驚無險。我們首站從 楊梅出發到 樹林,再從 樹林搭乘太魯閣號直奔好山好水的台東,這張把我拍很帥的照片,就當做是我辛苦訂火車票的謝禮吧~謝謝老公:)

#Taitung-fresh air-all you can breath In the evenings, we walked on a defunct railway line that leads from the city centre to the new railway station. At every step, you can see the beautiful landscape of Taitung: layered mountaintops fading with the distance, and coconut trees rising from flat fields. I used to think that Taiwan’s beauty is copied from Japan, China or somewhere else in the world, but here in Taitung’s landscape, I realised that Taiwan has a unique beauty. 傍晚沿著台東車站到馬蘭的就鐵路步道,俯首皆是這樣的美麗山景,一座座的山林錯落的剛剛好,又有白雲不時穿梭在裡面.平原裡還不時可以看到些椰子樹;造就了台東獨特的山林(椰子林)美景,我頓時有些感動,以為台灣的美總是抄來抄去,但其實台灣的美很獨特,只是自己心裡拿著什麼樣的參考圖片去評量它罷了。

#Casa 19 homestay For our time in Taitung, we stayed in the B&B of my former university teacher, Peter. I could tell he has put a lot of effort into furnishing the house, from the well-stocked bookshelves to the collage of postcards hanging on the wall, collected from all over the world. He has a story to tell about every item in the house. The food was like something a professional chef might cook: always a surprise in the ingredients, the preparation or the presentation. I cannot forget his white radish soup — so simple, clean and smooth, every sip purified my soul. 拜訪台東的這段時間,我們住在Peter老師家,老師很用心的裝潢了屋內的各個角落,書架上有著多類書籍可以閱讀,牆上放滿了老師旅遊世界各地收集回來的酷卡,與名片,所有擺放在家裡的物件,老師與他們都有著特殊的故事可以說給我們聽;而每餐只要是老師親手煮的,每次都有驚喜!從用料,烹調,到擺盤,無不用心!到現在我還是忘不了,老師親手燉的白蘿蔔湯,溫潤,順口,每口的湯水都讓我像是洗滌了滿身的業障那種神奇。

#Dong Tair hotel spa Peter was kind enough to take us to this hidden gem, a hot spring in the mountains above Taitung. It has a reputation as a beauty spa, making your skin smoother and whiter. We spent about three hours and asked people afterwards to guess our age! P.S.: Peter was very brave, going directly from the hot spring to ice cold water. Very impressive. Peter老師不藏私,分享了他的台東旅遊口袋名單,首先就帶我們來到位於知本的東台溫泉飯店泡湯,這裡的溫泉有名的是”美人湯“,據說泡完膚質會變很好,趁著台灣那陣子寒流過境,我們也花了近3小時泡在那裡的美人水裡,希望也可以凍齡一下。PS.老師很勇健,泡完熱水,泡冰水,看那溫度計上只有13度,心中滿是佩服。

#Let's having offal noudle soup I had the best noodle soup ever in this spot in Taitung. This shop only sells beef noodle soup. They offer three soup bases combined with different cuts of meat. As it happens so often, the place itself may look a little bit messy and crappy, but the food is excellent. That’s the Taiwanese spirit. 位於台東這間叫做”來一碗牛雜“的麵館,我在這裡吃過這輩子最好吃的蔥燒牛肉麵,老闆只賣牛肉麵,依照不同的湯頭.搭配不同的牛肉部位,這照片雖然不是牛肉麵本身,而是從店內拍老闆用心做菜的情景,但這就是台灣魂,不講裝潢,或許略帶雜亂,賣的卻是真才實料的好功夫。

#Luyeh tea farm On our way to Luyeh hill, we passed through this farm. I wanted to take a picture that looked like it could be part of an advertising campaign for a brand of Taiwanese iced green tea. When I looked at the picture, I noticed that there were a lot of Areca trees in the distance, looking like green stars in the air. 在前往鹿野高台的路上,經過了這片茶莊,原只是單純想要拍個像是綠茶園的廣告圖片爽爽,拍完意外的發現茶園背後,有些許的檳榔樹點綴在空中,看起來很像是好幾顆斗大的綠色星星。筆記:茶園要配檳榔樹---台的很有趣!

#Luyeh hill Luyeh hill has become popular because it hosts the hot air balloon festival, but we were here at the wrong time of year, so not hot balloons for us. The upside was that we had some peace to enjoy the landscape. Peter took us to a coffee place called Mr Wong’s Coffee. The owner is also a former student of Peter, but this very thin connection was enough that Ms Wong offered us a free cream cheese cake with our Milk Oolong Tea. I didn’t want to be too dramatic, but I was screaming inside, wanting to bring this cake back to the Netherlands and eat it every day. 鹿野高台,近年來因熱氣球而聲名大噪,可惜我們這次來沒能玩到,但是也因為淡季的關係,我們更能好好享受在高台上俯瞰平地那片綠油油的茶園美景;Peter老師帶我們光顧了一間叫做”老王的咖啡店“,店主算是老師的學生,透過這層關係,除了我們點的紅烏龍奶茶之外,老王的太太還送了三塊自己做的”起司乳酪蛋糕“給我們吃,恩!不想大聲喧嘩,但還是會忍不住內心尖叫!好想把這蛋糕帶回荷蘭天天吃喔...(淚)

#Mr. Brown Avenue Three years ago, I saw an advertisement from Eva Airlines with a famous Taiwanese-Japenese actor, Takeshi Kaneshiro. I swore that the next time I would be in Taitung, I would go to that spot and take a picture. Very much like a teenage girl wanting to feel closer to their idol. Although I didn’t touch Takeshi’s tree (because my boyfriend was tired, booooo), I got this picture, so there’s nothing to regret. 3年前因為金城武為長榮航空拍的宣傳廣告,發願若是來台東一定要來這裡走走,完全是一種少女追星的情懷,感謝Peter老師,大老遠地把我們載到台東邊境,只讓我一圓宿願。雖然最後我沒有真的摸到金城武樹(因為米卡走累的緣故)但這照片也讓我沒有遺憾了(笑)

#Pitaya tree grows like mad Walking on the country road, this crazy Pitaya tree caught my eye. Normal plants grow on the ground, why does this one grow on an electricity pole?! 走在鄉間的小路上,忍不住被這發狂的火龍果樹吸引,好端端的卻長到電線桿上去了。筆記---若是要畫哪些台灣特色插圖的話,這會是很好的參考資料。

#Hualien: Let it rain, we don’t care It rained for most of our time in Hualien, and Taroko National Park was inaccessible. Luckily, we stayed close to the city centre, so we just took an umbrella and took a walk through the city, among the Chinese tourists, and looked for the unique spots. 抵達花蓮的那段時間.幾乎都在下雨,而太魯閣也因為前陣子坍方導致不能前往,還好我們住得地方離市區不遠,我們便撐著傘,走在充滿觀光客的花連市裡,發現屬於這城市獨特的人文風景。

#Asbestos roof Hualien has a lot of buildings that date from the Japanese period, and they are mostly still in use. Next to a coffee shop where we spent a couple of hours hiding from the rain, I noticed this roof. A traditional Japanese house has a tiled roof, but it probably needed replacing at some point, when the Taiwanese inhabitants went for a cheaper alternative. So, this is Taiwanese-Japanese mix-and-match. 花蓮市區裡有好多日據時期留下的建築群,至今有部分的房子仍在使用,在咖啡店外抽煙的片刻,我注意到眼前這日式老房的屋頂,不是一片片的瓦片,而是大片的石棉瓦擋水版,可以說這是日式台化融合的一種象徵嗎?

#Second-hand bookstore This bookstore has emerged as one of Hualien’s hot spots. After browsing the books, we ordered a coffee, sat down, read a bit and wrote our travel diary. The hum of the air conditioner, which might otherwise irritate me, somehow comforted my soul. 時光二手書店,似乎已然成為拜訪花連必去的景點之一,店裡除了玲琅滿目的二手書外,遊客還可以點杯咖啡,選本喜歡的書,坐在那裡一下午,米卡和我當然不例外,在那裡我們寫著旅遊日記,一邊聽著外頭的雨聲,與室內的冷氣壓縮機運轉的聲音,怎麼這樣的台式氛圍,竟變得也如此療癒。

#Hualien Cultural Creative Industrial Park A former rice wine factory, it now houses exhibitions and shops selling designer items. My boyfriend was totally into the store selling things made from Cypress wood. “We have to get out of here before I buy the whole store,” he said. This sign that reads “little lawn, big living room” caught my eye. Looks like picnic in the park has also become popular in Taiwan. 花蓮文化創意園區,裡頭有著些許的展覽,與販售文創商品的店家,還有些看起來相當高級的餐廳,米卡被賣檜木的阿姨消費的快把整間店買走,我則是被這可愛的活動標題吸引住“小草地,大客廳”,曾幾何時台灣也開始流行這樣樂活的野餐風潮,感覺好棒喔。

#Taiwanses Alley This alley was just around the corner from our hotel. It felt very Taiwanese: a narrow road and plants that seemed to want to escape over the walls. Quiet and wonderful. 在我們住的民宿旁邊,有著這樣台灣味十足的巷弄,窄窄的馬路,植物卻幾乎都要爬出家門口,這樣的安靜清幽,抬得很美好。

#Lanyang Museum A great spot for a foreigner to appreciate Taiwan’s culture and natural history. The exhibition comes with English text, so even if you can’t explain it yourself, you can just let your guests loose and learn something. 蘭陽博物館,從裡到外逛了一圈之後,真心的覺得,若是未來還有人要帶外國人了解一下台灣的生態文化,與人文歷史,又很多專有名詞不會說的話,這裡真的是個好去處,中英語對照自助式說明,還搭配圖解,實在是很方便。漬漬漬....

#Skin-eating fish in the spa When visiting Yilan, you also have to take a trip to Chaiohsi to spend some time in the spa. For my boyfriend, the highlight was the fish that eat your dead skin. After 30 seconds, he was about to quit, because it tickled too much. But I didn’t allow him to waste his money like that, so he had to endure it for another 20 minutes. 到宜蘭不免俗的我們也來到礁溪泡湯,對米卡最特別的體驗就是這溫泉魚了,他很難想像魚可以幫你去角質,我就說你不親自體驗怎會知道.於是當他腳才一放下去不到30秒,他便因很癢求饒著說可以結束嘛,而我只有搖頭的說,不准你浪費錢,給我乖乖待20分鐘(笑)

#Karaoke My boyfriend had never done karaoke, so I wasn’t going to let him leave Taiwan without trying it. I arranged a party with a lot of friends, and we went to a famous teenager hangout in Zhongshan Fuxing. It took him a bit to get into the spirit, but in the end he enjoyed it a lot, as you can see in the picture. 米卡寶貝從來沒有唱過KTV,於是趁著這次來台灣,他當然不可以什麼都沒試又回去!我預定了一間位於忠孝復興站的星聚點包廂,邀請了所有的好朋友一起來吃喝玩樂。雖然寶貝他花了一段時間才真的進入台式KTV的精神,但最後感覺的出來他玩的很盡興,看照片就知道啦。

#Lead type In a side street in Datong, this type foundry that used to supply newspapers with lead type has turned itself into a souvenir shop where you can walk through the aisles and pick out a couple of characters to buy. We bought our last names, and boyfriend amazingly found mine before I did. 位於大同區,全台唯一僅存的日星鑄字行,過去曾提供各大印刷廠所需的文字,如今已經轉變為類似種象徵性的紀念品店,在這裏你可以真的穿梭文字的世界裡,順便在選購些文字回家;我們當然也買了我們的名字回去,讓我吃驚的是他居然找的我的名字比我自己還快,哈。

#Back in Taoyuan Taken on the eve of Chinese New Year and just before my boyfriend was about to fly back home, we did another typically Taiwanese thing: riding around on a scooter. 在除夕夜的那天,寶貝稍晚就要飛回阿姆斯特丹,趁著還有點時間,我們不免俗的當然還是要騎上摩托車,再繞繞我的家鄉囉。

#Tomato Farm We also went to visit my dad’s tomato farm. More on that in a separate post [here](http://ph6point6.com/blog/entry/harvest-at-grandpa-sus-tomato-farm/). 帶米卡逛逛爸爸的有機番茄園,然後途中還迷路,不知道番茄園再哪,再打電話給嫂子求救(糗)

#New Year’s Dinner My brother Brian treated the family to a huge Japanese crab for the dinner on New Year’s Eve. It’s huge, like an alien. It was alive on that photo… 除夕夜晚餐,哥哥為了招待家裡這位貴賓,特別現宰日本大毛蟹!看起來真的很像是外星人,是不?

#Chicken feathers Using a mop made of chicken feathers for dusting is very old-school Taiwanese. I spotted this van on the street one day and was amazed this still existed. 雞毛譚子,在桃園的鄉下讓我看到這樣穿越時空般的場景,意外的沒想到這樣開著卡車兜售雞毛譚子的生意,現在依然存在。

#Thank you all, dear friends We had a wonderful time in Taiwan. It was great to meet our friends again and if we didn’t manage to meet, then you’re on the top of the list for next time. If you miss me too much, come visit the Netherlands! 謝謝親愛的朋友們,因為你們,讓我們這次回台有著美好的時光。真的真的很開心能夠再次與你們這些老朋友相會,而這次沒能見到面的朋友們,下次一定第一個約你們;當然,如果你們想我,歡迎來荷蘭找我,我當你當地導遊.期待下一次的相會,愛你們。(擁吻)

Something a bit old, but the ideas are still new