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We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taipei Day 3: Hotplate Goodness & More Boutiques

Rise & shine to beautiful cold weather that makes you shiver all over and your teeth chatter involuntarily :) As you can tell, I'm in a seriously happy mood today because of the weather, Huzzah!

Burger breakfast at JSP
Right, so because it's freezing today, we can really dress up in our favourite autumn wear which we could only stare at inside our wardrobe back home where the weather sucks rocks. And with that, we are now at JSP Burger just round the corner from our hotel for breakfast. Nope, this place didn't change at all and that's a good thing. Even the burgers & the hot coffee retained their tastes.

I've always wished that I had the power to stop time in its tracks and this is almost it. 'Almost it' because during the last time we were here, there was some construction on the little road opposite but come on, after 2-&-a-half years, you can't expect them to be still digging on the same spot. So things are not 100% unchanged but still, it's good enough for me.

Having finished our breakfast at JSP, we are now checking out the boutiques in 西门町 and apparently, we are early since it seems that some of the boutiques have just opened for business as their staffs are in the process of bringing out their clothes to be displayed. So we decided to go to this cafe in a little alley for some drinks first..

..at the outside seats in the freezing cold of course. As usual, in countries I've been to during their cold seasons, the local waitresses & waiters eye me in puzzlement when they see me choosing to seat outside exposed to the elements. If only they could have a taste of the shitty humid weather back at my home turf, they would be nodding with some empathy and understanding.

My Lioness doesn't take alcohol, so she's having some hot chocolate while I'm having Heineken, which along with Sapporo beer, are my absolute favourite golden liquid poison. Oh, and that plate of food is chicken fillet which tastes just ok. The chili is atrocious though.

Having left the cafe, we began to shop for clothes and we bought a few pieces which we know have almost zero chances of us walking the streets back home and encountering the same pieces on somebody else.

That's not a difficult thing to achieve considering the lack of unique tastes on home ground where most people prefer robotic societal homogeneous conformity. Perhaps most of the folks back home can't stand being alone and being their own man or woman since individuality is quite often shunned.

At one of the boutiques, we chatted with 2 Taiwanese male sales staffs who asked me where I got my fingerless long cloth gloves. We chatted about lots of things while I was trying out the pieces. I told them we have shit for weather back home that limits our clothing to just summer style.

The streets of 忠孝复兴
Now that we are done with the shopping at 西门町 and we've dumped the things we bought back in our hotel room, we are making our way to nearby 忠孝复兴 via the train to hunt down that hotplate & steamboat restaurant there that gave our taste buds orgasms the last time we were here.

We have actually forgotten how to make our way back but we know that it's within walking distance from 忠孝复兴站 train station. Coming out from the station, we have to decide now whether we should start our search from across the street or this side of the street we are now at. I decided to go opposite.

Bad choice because after crossing the street and walking around the area there for some time going around in near circles, we have to conclude that we have ended up at the wrong place since this area seems to be a residential area. We know that the restaurant is not situated within a residential area but within an area of restaurants and shops instead.

So by now, I'm beginning to experience a nagging little worry that we might just end up wasting too much time before we can finally come across the restaurant, if at all. So I begin to pray in my mind for every step we take that the good Lord will guide our steps to the correct path.

So we have now crossed over back to the opposite side to renew our search from here. Going further into the area, the sights here do seem to signal our hunches that we are now within the correct vicinity because they do look familiar - sights I thought I've lost from my memory bank start popping into view, like the boutique you see on the left.

It's a strange sensation indeed. It's like some invisible fingers are digging into my mind and pulling out all the lost memories to the forefront of my consciousness as the surroundings around us seem to make us experience déjà vu. But it isn't a 100% confirmed sure-shot 'we've really been here before' feeling, there is still a bit of doubt.

But as we turn a corner and the boutique you can see on the right pops into view, my doubts go flying out the window. Yes, I remember this boutique because of its uniqueness. So I now know that we are very near to the restaurant we are hunting down. I think it will be a matter of time before we come across it soon.

Thanking the good Lord and in an attempt to narrow down randomness, we decided to pop into this little shop where these two middle-aged women are in. One of them is doing some ironing. Asking the woman doing the ironing, she tells us that the restaurant is just further up the road and to the left. Thanking her, we walked out of the shop and started to proceed in the direction given to us.

By now, my gut feelings are telling me confidently very soon, our teeth will be sinking themselves in yummylicious Hotplate & Steamboat food.

We found the restaurant at long last

Inside the restaurant
And lo' & behold, we finally found it after a short walk. There has been no changes to the restaurant at all, not one bit. A good thing, that. Feeling surreal as we walk into the place, we can see that the corner seat we took during our previous visit is vacant. In fact, the whole restaurant is almost vacant of customers.

With a gleeful smile on my face that I can't help but sport, we seat ourselves down at the same corner seat. Gosh, it feels so good to be back again. Since we have been exposed to the cold weather, I'm expecting us to enjoy the hotplate & steamboat here even better than the last time we were here when it was the summer season and the weather was humid.

Just like before, I got a bottle of the local beer 台湾啤酒 to add flavour to the feast. After eating for awhile though, I have to admit that for some reason, due perhaps to changes in meat marination methods, the food here seems to taste better the last time we were here. It's still yummylicious, don't get me wrong, I just remember that I enjoyed it better the previous time.

We are halfway through our meal by now and the restaurant has gotten quite crowded by this point and that makes me glad for the management because I know that we will come back here every subsequent time whenever we have the chance to come back to Taipei again. And that's a definite certainty. So they better still be here every time we come back.

Two young schooling couple are sitting beside us and the young girl has so far dropped her things twice on the floor without noticing. So we notified her about it on both times it happened. And now that we have finished our dinner here, I'm making damn sure we don't leave anything behind. Being tourists, our holiday mood would be ruined if we should lose any of our possessions.

Leaving the restaurant, I find myself looking back at it several times. How I wish they could open a subsidiary back at my home ground. So long, little hotplate & steamboat restaurant, I will always remember you. Until we come back to Taipei again someday..

The streets of  忠孝复兴 at night

One bang of a shop
We are now strolling along the streets of 忠孝复兴 checking out how the town looks at night. The weather is freezing cold because of a constant draft and so we made our way into this small shopping mall for some warmth and I found this guns model shop inside. The guns here look damn real, just check out that M92 Beretta pistol. Smoking Salamanders, that's the same handgun model Jill used in the Resident Evil game. And isn't that Desert Eagle handgun model the same one used by Lara Croft in Tomb Raider?

Ok, so now that we have warmed ourselves up some, we are heading out into the cold again towards our final destination for the day which is 五分埔 where they sell clothes at warehouse prices. I heard that the clothes there get their prices jacked up once they get delivered to those boutiques who order them in 西门町. Therefore, it's actually better to shop at 五分埔 first before 西门.

At 五分埔
Coming out from the train station, we have to walk for like just 8 minutes or so to get to the place. I'm taking the lead because I can still remember the general direction of how to walk there from the station. And again, the familiar sights that greet our eyes as we make our way to 五分埔 not only tell me that we are on the right track but it feels really great to be back here again even though it's a freezing night.

But I love that since it was humid the last time we were here and that made shopping in the narrow congested streets of 五分埔 a rather uncomfortable affair. I'll take the cold over humidity that makes your skin feel sticky all over any day.

And now that we have arrived at the place and are browsing the selection of clothes and fashion accessories here, I'm delighted to find that their merchandise this time round seem to be much better, trendier and hippier than during our previous trip. And yes, shopping here in cold weather does make a heck lot of difference - for the better.

So by the end of the night, we bought what pleases our eyes and are now heading back to our hotel via the subway. Since we are back here this time mainly with shopping for clothes as priority, this is not the end of the matter yet. So join us again tomorrow, we will be raiding more boutiques.

- De Lion Speaks

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