Posts Tagged ‘Pics’
I’m loving Taipei. The city feels very vibrant. There is so much going on. And even though this is Chinese New Years week, lots of things are open and people are everywhere. We spent the first night going to the Shilin night market.
Imagine a carnival, add a few thousand Taiwanese, sprinkle a little Asian spices and shake well. And that’s what you’ll end up with.
One of the most unique aspects of the night markets here is the prevalence of carnival games. Every corner you turn, you’ll find yourself face to face with either a wall of baloons to pop, a skeet ball machine or any other of the thousand variations to win toys or stuffed animals for your sweet heart or kid.
Here’s a small sample of pictures I took to illustrate this.
Like how Hong Kong and Singapore were colonized by the British and Vietnam by the French, Macau was colonized by the Portugese. Two of the many things they inherited was food and architecture.
I’ve not been to Portugal. But, my portugese co workers tell me these photos could have been taken there (minus the Chinese signage). It’s a weird feeling walking around old European architecture with a thousand Chinese people. I kinda feel like i’m in either Dineyland or vegas. Which is fitting, since Macau has been referred to as the Vegas of Asia.
As for food. Wow.
I didn’t get to try too much food while I was there. But, I did get to try some eggggcelent egg tarts. These belong to a bakery that a few locals swear by. It’s a bit out of the way, but well worth the visit. The crust was warm and flaky like a nice croissant or baklava. (I know I’m missspelling it, apologies) and the filling was a delicious warm custard with just a touch of sweetness to counter the savoryness of the egg flavor.
As you undoubtedly have noticed, I’m posting blog posts again. That means that I’ve finished my last project. That also means that I’ll start travelling again.
As I write this post, I’m travelling down a freeway in Hanoi, Vietnam. I’ll be spending a long weekend here going to Haolong Bay with some friends from the US: Bobby, Richard and Cindy.
Next weekend I’ll be in Hong Kong. I’ll be there to do some shopping and to take in the sights. I’ll follow that up with a road trip in Thailand, a beach excursion in Bali, a mountain trek in Sapa and a visit back home to see my family during the Christmas holidays.
It’s hard work in Singapore. But, it’s these few months of rest and relaxation that follow that make it all worth it.
Here’s a pic of my dinner tonight. It’s called Banh Cuon. Which translates to wrapped cake. I got it from a street vendor for .85c.
Continuing with the food related posts. I present to you…
We’ve got some weird drinks that you don’t see in other parts of the world. The three most striking are, Whatever, Anything, and Anything Black.
I’ve tried Whatever. It’s a familar fruity flavor that I can’t quite pin point. I’ll try the two Anything drinks next and report back to you.
We have a breakfast once a week provided by the company. It’s usually a variety of things. Sometimes Asian, sometimes western.
Every once in a while we have breakfast cereal. I’ve never seen this before, but it’s broad acceptance at my company leads me to believe that the US is one of the few countries that doesn’t do this. People mix their cereals. My Asian colleages do it. My Australian colleagues do it. My European colleages do it as well.
And I’m not talking logical mixtures. They mix it all.
I’ve seen combos like Granola, fruit loops, coco puffs, topped with fruit cocktail. That’s just bizzare to me.
Does anyone feel the same? Or am I just old fashioned?
Here’s a photo I took from a taxi a few weeks back that says it all about Singapore.
It’s a photo of a motorcyclist riding his bike in the rain.
Like most bikers, he wears his jacket backwards. This is to prevent the jacket from billowing out. I really don’t understand this. Isn’t that why they invented zippers?
But, it’s raining, so he has to protect his backpack. So he has to wear a rain poncho. But then, why doesn’t he wear the jacket underneath the poncho to keep that dry as well?
Come to think of it, wouldn’t the combination of a zipper and a backpack be enough to prevent any billowing of a jacket? That’s why this photo is quinticentially Singapore.
All these extra steps for no real gain.
Oh Singapore, you are unique.
A few weeks ago Singapore held the first F1 night race. I’d never been to an automobile race before so didn’t know quite what to expect. My friend Richard was here visiting me from SF hadn’t been to one either.
Well, it was a pretty awe inspiring experience. The first thing you’ll notice is just how loud those cars are. Every time they shift gears, it’s like a gun shot. You *HAVE TO* wear ear plugs. It’s that loud.
And boy are they fast. I tried for a full 10 minutes to take a photo. All of them came out super blurry. They can slow down and speed up in a blink of an eye. I’d like to think I’m a decent photographer. I tried a bunch of tricks to get a shot with the cars in focus with my point and shoot. None of them worked. You’ll need a DSLR with a nice low aperature lens to get anything useful.
I heard that Singapore will have the race here for the next 8 years. I’ll probably go again.
So, about a month ago I got invited to a Singaporean wedding. On the whole, it’s similar to a lot of Chinese, Vietnamese, and other Asian weddings. There were a few distinct differences though. Most were just interesting, but a few really stood out.
The interesting ones included the following:
The food was very eclectic. It was a mismash of a few Asian cuisines. The first dish was a cold platter. This is typically served at most of the weddings I’ve been to. However, It was filled with sushi rolls, egg rolls, dim sum rolls and roast duck.
Secondly, the first dish is apparently a really big deal. They turn off all the lights and the waiters brought out the platters in the darkness. On each platter was a candle and, I’m not certain here, but I thought I saw dry ice smoke rising up. On cue, they present all the platters simultaneously to each table.
At most Asian weddings I’ve been to in the US one of the final platters was usually a rice dish. Rice is important to singaporeans, but the noodle reigns supreme. At this wedding the last dish was an Udon dish. Now this is where it becomes evident again how international Singapore is. And how they try to maintain their roots while being “modern”. The Udon dish was served dry with black pepper. Traditionally, Udon is served in a broth. So, in one dish, you see Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean influences. Too bad none of them truly worked.
Next on the list of culinary oddities, was the biggest problem I had with the whole experience.
There was no cake.
Now, they had a cake at the reception, but it was plastic. The first thing the wedding party did was come in, give a small speech and then cut the cake.
They cut a plastic cake.
They have this beautiful platic cake that is there for photos and photos alone. Like many other Asian cultures, appearances are everything. So having photos with a cake like “western” weddings is de-rigur I suppose. Personally, I would rather have nothing there than tease me with a fake cake.
There is no dancing. There is actually very little merry making comapred to a western “Asian” wedding. There was a trio of musicians that played classical instruments. But, they performed some more contemporary songs. Stuff like Jason Mraz or John Mayer songs. But, you can’t dance to a violin and cello the same as to a guitar and drum.
One very popular bit of celebration was to toast the wedding party. The unique part of this was the method they chose to do it. Everyone holds their glasses up and they all cheer with one breath as long as they possibly can. At the end of that breath, everyone takes a big gulp of their drink. Another twist was to have the bride and groom kiss for as long as people were shouting on that breath still. Quite cute as people were cheating and taking extra breaths of air to prolong the kiss.
I’ve heard Indian weddings are week long parties. I’ll have to see if I can crash one of those next.