It appears that I accidentally left my handphone charger in Taipei. I remember remembering that I needed to pack it but I don't remember actually packing it and it hasn't come up in any of the bags so yeah, I suppose the safe assumption to make is that I did in fact leave it there.
Which isn't a bad thing. I think. I mean...okay, let me explain.
My phone is old. It's been with me ever since the start of the A Levels - which was November 2004. This makes my phone two and a half years old, which is fucking old by any reasonable young person's standard. If I'm being rational about it, it's obvious that it's time to change it because it's been giving me some problems here and there lately. Nothing major, just the occasional kinks that don't really pose as any form of major interference, but are mere annoyances at best. So, you know, before it gives out completely, I should change it.
On the other hand, I'm fucking attached to my phone lah okay? Because it's been TWO. AND A HALF. YEARS. That's a bloody long time by any reasonable PERSON'S standard. I can't bear to trade it for something newer but not necessarily better, which is why I wasn't in any hurry to head down to M1 and renew my contract with them.
And I just HAVE to go and leave my stupid charger in Taipei like a stupid person which leaves me with no choice but to get a new phone. Bleah. I don't want a new phone; I want to stick with my T630, dammit, scratches and kinks and oldness and all.
This is what I do: Get sentimental over something as purely utilitarian as my MOBILE PHONE. Ugh. I really need to like, remove my hormones, tie my tubes, whatever, get rid of that overly emo side of me. I hate it.
Anyway, the point is, I'm not turning my phone on until I have a replacement so if you want to contact me, email me or call my house. I can count on one hand the number of people in the world who actually have my house number, so count yourself exclusive and dear to me if you are one of those people.
On with the story.
Grandfather's birthday lunch. I only see my Taiwanese cousins during the annual birthday lunch. It was the usual affair: Booked three tables in a restaurant (a different one this year, OMG!), the entire family congregates in said restaurant, the entire family makes a whole lot of noise and everyone is jolly. It's fun. Kind of. Well, fun in the sense that it's good to see my cousins even though I don't talk to them, not because I don't want to, but because: 1) it's weird; and 2) my Chinese sucks. So, there you go.
I ate a lot of cake. Then again, I ate a lot in Taipei, period. There was this jelly-ish dessert after with coconut flakes on top and it was goooood. I ate about five of those and, on top of the amount of cake I ate, I felt damn fat. There was a tiramisu which was good; a coffee cake which was all right; and a blackforest cake with a HELL lot of cream which I didn't eat because I hate blackforest and because the cream scared the crap out of me.
When lunch was over everyone congregated in the apartment where I basically sat around and alternated between stoning and listening to random conversations around me. I needed coffee, as usual, so my mom and I went off to Starbucks after a couple of hours. We were able to go off to Starbucks because there was one opposite the MRT station which was a five-minute walk away from the apartment, which makes Starbucks five minutes away from where I stayed by foot. How totally awesome, right? I think so too.
We swung by Net (one of those Giordano-like clothing franchises that's freely available in Taipei. I have no idea where it originated from) en route to Starbucks and I bought a couple of tops and a bangle. I'm really into bangles nowadays; they're just so fun to play with.
And yeah. At night my mom and I headed to Gongguan which is another shopping area opposite National Taiwan University, which I think I raved about at length last year so I won't go into it again. I had smelly tofu for dinner from some random roadside stall and it was GREAT. I bought a hell lot of tops, so many that I don't even remember what the hell I bought, so many that I got freaked and told my mom that we should leave immediately when I noticed the absence of NT$1000 bills in my wallet. Ha, ha, ha. That's like quite bad. But yeah, at least I had the decency to cut out of there, right? I think so too.
I love Gongguan.
At night-night - okay, 11 p.m. - we went for karaoke, all the way until 2 a.m. Hence the absence of a new entry on Day Five. PartyWorld, right next to the night market, which made it, once again, five minutes away by foot. Taiwan was having something like a four-day weekend due to the Dumping Festival and all (I don't know what Duan Wu Jie in English is. The proper one) which is a public holiday over there, so the karaoke place was PACKED. The lobby was filled with people and we had to wait half an hour before a room was available because there were that many people. And I was amazed that people bothered dressing up just to go to karaoke, or that people went karaoke-ing at 11 p.m., period. If I were out at 11 p.m. I would rather go drinking or clubbing, or both if it were the latter. But that's just me. And karaoke in Singapore is NOTHING like karaoke in Taipei, which is plenty obvious from how grand PartyWorld is. You know, an entire building devoted to KARAOKE, an extensive menu with food that's not just edible but actually, gasp, GOOD, and SONG MENU, both Mandarin and non-Mandarin.
The downside? Ventilation is ass. Therefore, non-smoking rooms still reek of smoke and being in there for a couple of hours makes anyone smell like an ashtray, which is super gross for obvious reasons.
But it wasn't so bad this year. I didn't know that my uncle (the one that picked us up from the airport. The one we bought Godiva chocolates for. The cool one) wanted to karaoke so I went to take a shower after getting back from Gongguan. My hair was freshly washed and smelled really nice and I didn't want it smelling like cigarettes so I tied it up, how smart, bwahahaha. Okay whatever. But my point is, apart from the stale stench of cigarettes on my shirt, I didn't stink at all. So yeah, I guess that's called an improvement.
My brother kept cracking retarded jokes to me throughout and needless to say, he didn't sing. Three of my cousins were there too, two of whom I'm pretty okay with. The other one is my eldest aunt's second son whom I haven't spoken with since I was a kid so it was pretty interesting. My dad was absolutely hilarious. I'll just leave it at that.
The plate of braised food we ordered was awesome. Awesome dou gan and hai dai. Yummmm.
I'm really lazy so I'll do this quickly:
1. Went to Shen Keng, which is famous for - guess what? - chou doufu! Wahoo. Happiness was me. In a span of two hours I had three types of smelly tofu: grilled, deep-fried, and hot and spicy, which is cooked in water and comes with soup. I think, after trying as many types of chou doufu as I could, the grilled type is the best. It's juicy and the sauce (the thing that gives off the smell, yes) is splattered right on the tofu itself so you can really taste the, well, the taste. The deep-fried types are placed on a plate of the sauce, which is watery as opposed to sticky (grilled). It's also good but the taste isn't as strong and it isn't as uh, xiang. And it's DEEP-FRIED which makes it super fattening so the grilled one takes top prize in my book.
I don't like soup-based food in general so I wasn't too crazy about the hot and spicy one. But it's just me.
Shen Keng was basically one street selling, inter alia, smelly tofu. It was VERY crowded because it was a public holiday and the shops, restaurants and stalls pretty much sold the same things, like a closely-contested monopolistic competition-type market. Or something. But yeah, you see a lot of such situations in Taipei - go to a certain area famous for one type of food and you see tons of shops and pushcarts selling that one type of food. Weird, huh?
It started to rain really heavily after we were done with lunch. Getting to my uncle's car was quite a bitch. But the point of pointing out that it rained is this: There was one roadside stall selling grilled smelly tofu at the start of the street. When we got there the sun was out and it was really hot, and there was a really long queue at the stall. I was too lazy to queue so I bought my grilled smelly tofu from a random stall that didn't have a queue.
When we left, it was pouring. You'd think that any sane person would attempt to seek shelther, right? But Taiwanese people aren't sane, because there was STILL a queue at that pushcart, and it was STILL as long as it was two hours ago, DESPITE THE RAIN.
This means that the next time I make my annual pilgrimage to Taipei, I'm going back to Shen Keng and I'm going to queue up at that stall. Yes, I am.
2. Went to Ximending after Shen Keng. I didn't shop; just wanted to buy some candies from a candy store that sells average chocolates and candies packaged in really interesting ways. My mom and I had coffee at this rather attas cafe/restaurant opposite Ximending. The decor was very German-inspired, very classy. I had some charcoal iced coffee thingy which came with whipped cream which freaked me out, along with a chocolate banana cake which was SO DAMN GOOD. There was a thick layer of chocolate covering the entire cake. Underneath the chocolate was a layer of fresh bananas. It was SO YUMMY! Such cakes are totally worth getting fat and then exercising to get rid of the fats for.
But what was really cool was my coffee. I finished it and was poking around the glass when I noticed that my ice cubes were dark brown, almost black. My mom thought that it was brown or black sugar or whatever, but when we asked the waiter, it turned out that it was frozen black coffee. What was it for, you ask?
The reasoning: When you drink iced coffee, the coffee tends to lose its flavour when the ice starts to melt. So in order to prevent that, they freeze black coffee instead of plain water and use that as ice! Isn't that absolutely GENIUS? I totally think it is. I'd never seen anything like that and I was very, very impressed.
So the coffee was something like seven bucks Sing but yeah. Hahaha. It was really, really good, and it needed to be sweetened or it would've been bitter to the point of undrinkable.
Have I mentioned I love Taipei? Because I love Taipei.
3. We had dinner with my eldest uncle and his family, my grandparents, and my cool uncle. Dinner was good. I ate a lot. And after eating a lot at dinner I dragged my mom to the night market where I ate yet another plate of smelly tofu.
In my defence, that stall was where I ate my very first plate of smelly tofu exactly a year ago. Since then I couldn't get the taste of it out of my head and such and I'd been CRAVING smelly tofu, all thanks to that stall. It converted me and introduced me to such a great food, so OBVIOUSLY I had to go back, right? Right.
Writing about chou doufu is making me damn hungry and I'm getting cravings so I better stop.
I so don't know how I'm gonna survive the year without chou doufu. Life is so sad.
Spent the night packing, was too lazy to blog, was too tired to blog.
So that was Day Six.
I'm sad to be back. I really am. At Changi Airport the first thing I thought of was, How can I get the hell out of here again?
I want to go to London before Year 3 starts. Because being back here is demoralising and emotionally-draining and I don't feel like dealing with real life. Because it's banal and uninteresting and too emo and it's annoying.
Taipei wasn't this great, fulfilling experience. I didn't manage to leave my excess baggage in Singapore and at times I was distracted and even brought down by said excess baggage. And going to Taipei with family, being with family, naturally poses more restrictions to my movements than I would like. It wasn't what I needed - what I need. It could've been if I'd gone alone, but I didn't.
And so I feel like I need another vacation, to get the hell out of here, spend some time by myself in a foreign place and just being young and alive.
But I have two problems:
1. Money; and
I have no money. And I have parents. More specifically, I have anal parents. If I were to go anywhere, I'd need to drag someone along. And even then I don't know if my dad wouldn't kick a big fuss over things.
I guess we'll see.
Lastly, my folks bought me a gorgeous Tag Heuer for my 21st birthday. Crushed diamonds and pink mother-of-pearl, oh my god. I picked it out at the airport on the way to Taipei and picked it up today. It's too loose though. I told the watch guy it was too loose and he said some shit about how my wrist shrank from the coldness of the airplane or whatever. I was in a foul mood due to the fact that I was back in bloody Singapore and everything and I badly needed to pee so I was all, Okay great, thanks, and I left.
I need to go to Wisma to tighten it. I love my watch so I really need to tighten it so that I can actually wear it without getting all pissed off. Yep.
Posting pictures tomorrow. I'm too lazy to do it now.