Yes, it’s squid

Yes, it's squid by Petirrojo
Yes, it’s squid, a photo by Petirrojo on Flickr.

Here’s a tasty snack I bought in Jiufen, Taiwan.

I don’t know how they get the cylindrically shaped squid into this long, thin, webby sheet, but it’s lightly toasted and on offer with your choice of honey or spicy sauces brushed on afterwards.

Yes, it’s an interesting snack and not bad at all! (Though now I wish I’d gone with the spicy sauce.)

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Mayday dedication to couples everywhere

No, I don’t have my months mixed up, I’m referring to the Taiwanese indie rock group  Mayday! A few of their albums that I picked up are getting regular workouts on my iPod.

This song, “Tender” is track number 7 on their album, “Content” is one of my favorites. Every time I listen to one of their albums I’m reminded of the energy and exuberance of Taipei and the open and friendly people I met there. What’s cool is that a number of their albums are now available on iTunes as well, so a long trip to Taiwan isn’t required to enjoy their work — unless, of course, you want to go (and I encourage you to do so!)
[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7431696/%20%E6%B8%A9%E6%9F%94%20%28Tender%29.m4a ]

I’d like to dedicate it to all the lovebirds out there, especially those proud enough to wear couple shirts, like these two. I spotted them at Yeliu, north of Taipei, and asked if they’d pose for me. The funny thing was that they agreed — and then promptly switched places! I laughingly explained that I wanted to capture them with the couple shirts matching up so they obligingly returned to their original positions and gamely smiled for me.

At Yeliu, near Taipei

At Yeliu, near Taipei

So sweet!

Sensory travels: Hearing

Someone asked me what my favorite souvenir of my trip was and it took me only a second to think about the physical items I’d brought home with me to come up with my answer. It didn’t hurt that I truthfully spent very little time shopping and when I did, I was generally looking for the same things: music and information about my favorite artists. So, the fast answer was, “Music!” I was on the hunt for new albums from artists I knew and for old ones that would be harder to track down (legally) back in the States.

My searching in Taipei included the identification of an unnamed song used as the background to a fanmade music video for scenes from the Taiwanese drama “It Started with a Kiss.” The melody line and voice of the singer captivated me and I wanted to listen to it over and over – but not from the poor sound quality MV. No, I wanted – make that needed to know who sang that song, what the name of the song was, what album it was on, was there more I could fall in love with on that album, and where could I get a copy. I played the song on my iPhone for the clerk and some customers in the first music store I could find (just down the corner from the hotel) and although they could identify the artist and song, it wasn’t something they carried. You see, they only featured world music. (But it was amusing that I could enter a store in Taipei and understand the lyrics to a song being played – a bossa nova from Brazil!) My quest continued.

Strangely, the next store was no more successful – they only carried classical music! But the owner helpfully passed on the name of a record store likely to carry the album and wrote down the complete information on the album, the artist, and the song title. I was undaunted but the search would have to be postponed for another day. It was our old addiction – checking out drama locations – that led to success. We headed to the Miramar Entertainment Complex after a day of sightseeing in order to take in the famous ferris wheel and stayed for some shopping after a book store caught our eye. While their music selections did not go so far to include the sought after album, they did have some other temptations (magazines and photobooks) and the helpful news that there was a music store in the mall! I made a beeline to the shop and showed my wish list to the first clerk I saw.

Success! The tune I’d been looking for was “如果這都不算愛” (“If this isn’t love”) by Jacky Cheung and while the original album was no longer available, they did have a special live concert album of his that included the song. Yes! It was a 3-disc set too! Mission accomplished and I love the album. And, as an added bonus to the adventure of music safari, tracking down the album, the clerk in the store was a drama fan too and we spent an enjoyable time in the shop talking about favorite dramas, which ones to see (which ones to avoid), favorite songs and artists, and of course, favorite actors!

Now I relive the sounds and memories of the trip every time I play one of the songs from artists like Jacky Cheung, Clazziquai Project, TOKIO, or Bobby Kim (to name a few) that came home with me and I’m back in Seoul, Taipei, or Tokyo.

Bliss!

One of The inspirations for coming to Taiwan

Yes, it’s an actor! It was watching Joseph Cheng in “The Rose” that first whet our curiousity about the country and its cultures (and oh yes, his fascinating looks and talent). So to discover that we could meet him was the perfect capper to our first trip here!

Photo

Sent from my iPhone