Warming Brew, First Brew, Second Brew

Let’s meet some farmers and their snacks, shall we? Fruit farming is a huge venue and a big way that the Taiwanese make their money. Some fruits take all year to grow, and are only available to eat for one, or two months! I was picked up by the Chi-Chi 4-H club, where from there, I was taken to Jiji. First off, I was introduced to lychee. At home, it’s usually not all that great, but…that’s because we can’t grow it! Take a look at this bumpy little fruit. It is adorable, delicious, and only available for two months of the year! This was the last week for their availability. I must have lucked out! Fresh lychee is delicious.

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Now, I know when most people hear the term farmer, they think of cows, sheep, horses, and livestock, but, out here, there’s very little land for livestock. Some space for a few chickens, and that is about where the line is drawn. In this case, we were taken to Mr. Chou – I’m not sure if I spelt this right – fruit farm. There, he grows dragon fruit, and guava. Have you seen what a dragon fruit grows on? It’s pretty crazy. Did you also know they come in white, and a rich red? Nope! I didn’t either, until now. Did you also know I can’t tell the difference until it’s cut open? I bet you can’t, either.

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We also learned how to protect fruits. Some of the biggest problems farmers face is the sun and the bugs. The sun can dry their fruit out before they even pick it, and the bugs, well, we know what bugs can do! So, they have to wrap their fruit in paper bags. I think I mentioned this with the grapes, as well. But, it’s a big problem for them. On the otherhand, they can grow fruits year round, and can grow SO many types of fruits!

Following a learning and tasting, we hopped on some bikes, in order to explore. There’s a lot of beautiful places, all over Taiwan, but getting into the area where the Chi-Chi 4-H takes in, you start seeing the effects of earthquakes which is very hard, and very scary to see. You also see orchids, everywhere, on a happier note!

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After this, we biked to the new railway. Unfortunately, the old one had collapsed in an earthquake. The moreĀ  see the damage these can cause, the scarier they become. The Taiwanese have built new structures, leaving the old. To me, it stands as a reminder, or, that’s how I see it. With dinner and delicious mango ice in us, we headed off to some museums.

The first one, more or less, was a museum on animals that are going extinct in Taiwan. Whether due to modernization, deforestation, hunting, or predators. It wasn’t just animals. It was also incests, trees, flora, fauna, and many other things. Turning a place into a home for humans has done a number on mother nature.

After this, we went to a banana museum! The Minions would be jealous. It was a museum on the different tools used in harvesting, and growing, and the development that they have gone through. It really is neat, seeing the ways they’ve modernized the farm technology. You can still see ghosts of old tools though, in just about everything. I also tried tea made from the banana flower, which was probably one of my favourite teas. If we don’t count milk tea.

My day was finished up by visiting the temple of a water god, and seeing more of what the earthquake has done in Nantou. It’s hard not to be devastated by what has been left standing in wake of such a tragedy. It’s one of those things that is almost impossible to look at, because of what symbolism it has.

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With that said and done, and a night of rest, my next day was to learn something of great concentration, honour, and skill. This is an art form, certainly. It can be done sloppy, or it can be done exceptionally well. This is one thing I was quite good at. Brewing tea.

There is a lot to consider when doing this. It’s not just the process, either. Of course, too long, or too short can change the taste of your tea, completely, but they also heavily look at your body language, too. For example, if you make a mistake, or your tea kettle is too hot, you are not meant to show it on your face.

The tea ceremony was very relaxing to do, but at the same time, you could feel a sense of pride, and accomplishment, in being able to do such a thing, and knowing how to do it. There are various ways that it’s done, but the general idea is – warming brew, first brew, second brew, and so forth. Depending on the type of tea, is how many brews you can make from it.

Each one has it’s timing. The warming brew is poured, then immediately transferred to the tea holder, while all the rest are fifty seconds, to a minute for brewing. There is also a very precise way for pouring, as well. Two with your right hand, two with your left, depending on how many are at your table. It is so you don’t clank dishes together, and it looks much more professional.

This is an art that they teach many children, as it is a way to get them to display great patience, and trust me…it requires just that!

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With this, it was onto a much needed day of rest!

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The Best Seat In The House

My first full day in Lugu was spent away! This seems to be a common occurrence, doesn’t it? Running away, somewhere other than home. It seems like I don’t often get to spend much time in my home away from home. That’s quite alright. Today, we were off to check out a vineyard. My first assumption is wine, but, I couldn’t be more wrong!

We got a little lost on the way, but that’s ok. Landing the correct place didn’t take long once we called the boss. We were taken in, and first told to try some of the grapes. Those were perhaps, the tastiest little morsels I’ve ever had in terms of the fruit world. Wow. Talk about heavenly! After, we were taught what makes a good bunch of grapes, and the cosmetic cuts needed to make them good for the consumer purchase. There’s a lot of work in preparing a bunch of grapes for purchase!

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Here we are, pretending to look like we are professional at this job! Following our training session, we were taken out to the vineyard, where, I discovered I was too tall, and had to duck under the trellis. We were introduced to three different types of grapes. One, which was definitely very good to eat, another that was sweet, and good for wine, and the third, which was sour, but again, nice for wine making. It wasn’t long, before we were back to gorging on grapes again!

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That was, until, he decided to show us different wines. Uh oh. Not being a bit wine drinker, I was a little bit afraid to try the wine. The first two induced some pretty silly faces, while the third was delicious. It tasted just like grape juice. The last was brandy. Thankfully, these were just small tastes! The man was proud of his wines, he made them himself, after all, and was just happy to share them. They were all made of grapes he had grown, after all.

Full of grapes, and homemade wine, we took off, with intentions to get lunch, and to the railway. Well, the old one! It was mostly a museum like dwelling, now. A place where they teach, and show old culture. Lemme just say, places like that are amazing, and I love when you get to see a part of what once was, at least, in a positive way. In this particular place, it was where logs would be sent from the Japanese, and processed here, in Taiwan.

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It’s a pretty tough experience, as people lug the logs, as I later found out! Which, I might have been trying to do wrong, but…we’ll save that story for another time. A long time, from now. With a brief stop for a photoshoot by the old railway, we were then off to be introduced to the hydro-electricity lake! I’ve noticed, a lot of water in Taiwan is a right jade green, and only blue by the ocean. I wonder why?

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Afterwards, we went to the DIY area, where…they got me to try out some old methods of carrying wood. The first one was ok, but it threw me off balance a little bit! Then there was the wooden horse…which…didn’t budge. I think I was doing it wrong. I had to be. It couldn’t be that heavy, and me, that weak…right? RIGHT!? Oh dear. Maybe I just am not that strong. Afterwards, we sat down and nailed together a pencil holder. All those lessons from Grampy paid off. I got it done in record time, with it square, level, and even. Success! I never did do wood working in 4-H. Maybe I should have?

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Did I mention we went through a bat cave? It’s so noisy, and rather disorientating, because well the lights are trained on the ceiling! Kind of like a fun ride, that starts getting loud with chirping and squeaking. The ceiling was black with bats! Most of the female bats had babies, too, which was pretty neat. The young were a little further up, stretching their wings. With another ukelele class, my day ended, where I definitely needed sleep for the next day. It was plenty busy!

Because, the following day was a motorcycle day! Well, they call them motorcycles, to me…they’re more like a scooter. That doesn’t make them any less fun, though! Playing passenger the whole time, well, it was quite fun. A new way to see the sights, thus, why it was the best seat in the house! There was a group of us, all mounted up, and ready to go. The first stop was some beautiful waterfalls!

I won’t lie, riding up the mountain on one of those, was a little scary, and a little bumpy, for the first two minutes. Then it was just fun! No one told me we were going IN the waterfall. Let’s just say by the time we were done taking pictures, I was thigh deep in water. We didn’t even go where it was deep, or so I thought!

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It did make for some pretty awesome pictures With most of us soaking wet, it was time to look like a 4-H bike gang again. Our next stop was…well, mountain climbing. I’m going to have some pretty awesome leg muscles and cardio by the time I leave Taiwan. Zipping through traffic, and going to invest in some lunch, and then, we were ready to go. I don’t know how far we actually went, but…it was at least a good half hour! Not as bad as the stairs of Elephant Mountain, but my knees were feeling it. One of our destinations was the sky walk. It’d be better to just show you, than to explain.

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Yuupp, we are walking in the tree tops, and the bottom is seethrough! Wowie. Quite the experience, even if it was wet, and rainy. Once we managed to all get through this, there was about another ten, fifteen minutes uphill, to the giant tree. It’s exactly as it sounds. The tree is a predicted 2800 years old, though hollow now, due to a fungus. It has withstood storms, typhoons, and anything else mother nature has decided to throw at it.

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Once we were done, and trying to walk back…well, it started downpouring on us! Leave it to Taiwan to get mad and rain on our party. So, out come the rainjackets, ontop of the umbrellas. Even so, still parts of you got soaking wet! Talk about some moody weather. Because of this, the mountains weren’t safe to navigate back down on the bikes, so we had to borrow a drive back down for us passengers, and uh oh…we uh, sort of…well…

When we all got together at our destination, it was obvious we were short one person. Someone was still up the mountain! Panic! It’s ok, he got back down! His mom got him. After that panic, we finished our night with the night market, and making some scary faces behind the 4-H flag against the night view!

This is another group of people that when I go, I’ll miss. Can’t I just take them all back to Canada with me?

The Great Taiwanese Move

Four hours. Can you believe it took four hours? I have a really hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it took four hours. You might be asking what, by this point. Well, I mentioned that I wanted to purchase a jade bangle. There are so many health benefits to one, as well as the natural beauty that they display. So, it was off to Yilan in order to begin this trip.

There is also a place where the drinks are so popular, that you get a number in order to take your order, which can take up to an hour, then a number in order to receive your order, which can take an hour, or two. Thankfully, we had time. The order was placed, then we went to the first jeweler that was on our list. Unfortunately, they had nothing of the proper size, and dollar for the quality.

When it comes to jade, there’s three different types. Pure jade, which is class A. So, unaltered, unchemicalized. Next is jade with chemical infusions, which gives it that vibrant green colour, which is class B. Class C is glass with an infusion of colour. A lot of people try to sell this one as class A, and bring in 30 000NT for it, which is approximately 1200CD.A little insane! Thankfully, I had to professional ladies with me, helping me to find the best jade for my price.

There is so many things involved in jade shopping. You have to make sure there are no cracks, no impurities, both on the inside and outside. Next, the transparency plays a big role, and the sound that the jade makes when a coin, or another piece is tinged on it. After a great deal of debate and price haggling, I got to leave with my very own piece which I already adore and appreciate. I’m very, very thankful for their help!

Next on our stop was at the golden temple, which houses many, many gods. It’s called the golden temple, as the god in the highest power is made of gold. Below this god, is one made of jade. They’re very beautiful, as is the architecture and the guardians. When I say guardians, I mean the dragons and lions!

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Following our exploration of the golden temple, we went to the beach! The waves were too high to swim, but we did have fun. Surprisingly, the beach was a rock beach. I expected, well…lots of sand!

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The last one is the pretty shell we found. It’s the only shell I seen on the beach, surprisingly. Following this, we loaded into the car, and were off to their favourite seafood restaurant. The food there was definitely really good. No complaining here, and I’m a little nervous about trying some seafoods! Fresh squid also tastes way different than stuff that is well, not so fresh. There was also some really tasty seafood noodles, which I would happily go eat again. Unfortunately, goodbyes had to be said, which are always the saddest part of any trip.

For example, there was one young girl named Emily, who although very shy, brought me a sky lantern as a gift. We had only met briefly, but, I’ll miss her something fierce. She was part of a family that I made here in Taiwan, regardless of how long or short I knew them for. This brings us to many goodbyes, because after the next day…I was leaving. Not for Canada, though!

My last day in Shenkeng was spent with a bit of rest, followed by loading into cars with other 4-Hers. Where were we off to? Well, shrimp fishing, of course! Believe me when I say you can catch shrimp with a fishing rod. This was at a fish – shrimp? – orama, where they give you a rod with two tinnnny hooks. The tiniest hooks I’ve ever seen! Smaller than the curve of your nail. With little shrimps to catch the big shrimps, and some weird meat thingy – I like the little shrimps – we pulled up chairs, and hunkered down. Two and a half hours, it felt like I’d never catch anything. It’s not quite like going after fish. When you feel that nibble, you wait until it becomes pulling, then bring the shrimp up! No jigging the hook. Then, holding back the legs, you take the hook out of his tentacly mouth, and drop him in the net! That can’t be that hard, right?

Some people were pulling up a shrimp or two every few hours…

Still none.

Still.

None.

Then…no, it couldn’t be! Don’t get – yup, pulled that first one too soon, and he was off with my bait. That shrimp! I will catch you, you bottom crawling demon! Infact, I caught FIVE of you. One poor shrimp decided to eat BOTH hooks, poor guy. Thank heavens for Q and his ability to get them out, even while the shrimpie pinched at his fingers.

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The girl beside me, she went two hours, without a single shrimp, and finally, in the last twenty minutes, pulled up two! She was so excited! However, let it be known, that neither of us could be shrimp fishers for a living. Sort of like my tofu experience. Just not cut out for it. Well, with all the shrimp poured into one net, and bouncing like popcorn, well…they became food. A delicious supper really!

While we ate, there was something special going on outside, and loud! There was a temple just beside us, and, guess who’s birthday! The residing gods. They do so many neat things. Dances, lion dances, fireworks, fire crackers. All in honour and name of the god, celebrating their birthday. Distracted from eating our hard caught shrimp, it was a neat event to watch, though far too rainy to be comfortable to do. They all didn’t seem to notice.

Our group split up. The movies, and Costco. They love Costco here! Well, no problem! Meeting up with some friends there, we grabbed a drive as far as the MRT, and the adventure began! Getting to the theaters, and getting mini-waffles as a snack, we waited for our partners in yellow crime. It wasn’t long now, before…we seen the Minions! I think I was the only person in there who didn’t have to read the subtitles. Hah. The movie was hilarious, and it was fun to get to laugh with my friends. Unfortunately…this was the last time I’d see some of them. The last thing I would do with them, at least, it was a memory full of laughter.

For, with my things all packed up, the next day we left early to arrive to the Taipei train station. Alone, I would be boarding the train, and going to Lugu. It couldn’t be that bad, right? The buses all had English and Chinese. The train should, too.

Well, first problem, my luggage was too heavy to get up onto the luggage spot! Uh oh. The cleaning lady was very nice, and let me tuck it out of the way up on the loading spot, though. Sitting down, and looking up, I noticed…no English. Or very little, and very rarely. It was scary, and nerve wracking, crossing my fingers and hoping that when the time was right, I would be off at the right station.

Thankfully! I got off at the right spot, and was greeted by two very nice Lugu 4-Hers. I was met with lunch, and a loonngg drive into the mountain to meet my new family, who just happen to have a sweet potato shop (yum-yum!) and a hotel…which I get to stay in! I was more than ready for rest, my fears having taken a lot out of me. This reminds me again, why you need to visit Taiwan with the locals, and not as a tourist! I’d miss so much without these wonderful people leading and showing me around.

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Did I mention there was a fridge full of milk tea, waiting for me?

Forever, more to see and do

So, after being sent home, it became a rest day for this Going Global girl. Previously, my camera decided it was done working, so the plan was to go off to try to fix it, but thankfully, that wasn’t needed. We managed to fix it, minus the need to go to someone, to do so. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case! However, since it was fixed, I could go on more adventures 8D Woo! Since Q and the rest of Shenkeng were still camping, I went out with a girl named Maxine, who had been to America eight years ago. The first stop was a famous temple.

It really was quite beautiful, and housed many, many gods within. Gods for fertility, knowledge, love, and so much more. It’s almost amazing how many gods there are. The temple was huge, too, with three levels.

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Here’s the outside, with a beautiful waterfall right beside it. I have several pictures of the temple. I really do think they are something. The architecture and design are something to wonder at. They’re just so beautiful. I suppose, they are a place of worship, with some very old traditions. For example, you bow your hands, clasped infront of you, three times, in order to pray to a particular god. You can also do it with incense, as well. There are various doors for each god, too. The bigger the door, the more powerful the god. I almost felt as though I was breaking rules by taking pictures of this place.

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Even the ponds at the temple were drop dead gorgeous. After we finished at the temple, she said there was a historical building she wanted to visit, and so, we were off on an adventure. She said the building was where Taipei originated, before the center moved to Taipei 101. The building was beautiful. They used it now as a museum for various things. We went through a few of the different displays.

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Might I add, while writing this, that uploading pictures is prettty time consuming, with only three bars of internet? So I do hope you appreciate the visuals! These art pieces are particularly unique, and quite pretty. They are certainly something, I won’t lie. We also stepped into a room that used light carousels. It was a pretty room, though, for some people, the picture of a horror movie!

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It’s real pretty, though, especially the images it cast on the walls. There was also a glimpse into what looked someone could have lived there, with pictures hanging from the rafters. From there, we went into another room, that was full of art. Except, it wasn’t just paintings. It was art hanging from the ceiling, making pictures in raindrop shapes, or butterflies on mirrors. Chairs, meant to make you feel different things, when you sat in them. One, I was sure, if I sat in it, would be impossible to remove myself from, because it tipped back so far!

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Following this, we were picked up by her boyfriend. He had a few more things to do though, so he dropped us off at a great place to buy souvenirs! Of course, I won’t tell you what they were, but, I’m sure the people they are intended for, will love them. If not, well…I’ll just get them disposable chopsticks. At least they’re from Taiwan. Hah. With gifts in hand, we met up, and they offered to take me one last place, before it was time to go home. The buildings were huge, and the place was beautiful. To best put it, it was sort of like a presidents hall, and some older buildings, and a beauuutiful gate.

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And, by the looks of things, you’ll only be seeing the gate, due to the internet not wanting to let me upload the last three pictures that I wanted to add for that particular spot. The next few posts might look a little bare if the problem persists! It’s just that internet is a little weak, and uploading is difficult. Hopefully, it’s just tonight. While we were there, they did an ending of the guards shift. They stand stationary for many hours, doing nothing but standing there. I honestly thought they were just statues! The ceremony for changing the guards is pretty unique, and quite cool, I must admit. DSC00548

The night finished off with a ukelele class. They played She Will Be Loved, and had me singing some of it, it was pretty fun! After that, Q’s sister and her husband took us out to see a beautiful night scene, that felt like it stretched forever. Here, there’s little to no stars in the sky. They all seem to be down on the ground, twinkling in the cities, whereas at home, the cities seem to be in the skies. Another night market, full of different foods and drinks! Sugar cane drink? Uhm, well. It definitely didn’t taste like a Jones soda! Closing off this on for tonight, and I’ll try to get another up tomorrow, with shrimp fishing, and arriving in Lugu! The wifi is a little sketchy sometimes, but, I’ll do my best!

Competition time!

So, like I said, the Shenkeng group has been getting ready for an exhibition of sorts. 4-H clubs gather from various counties in order to present different projects. Shenkeng did a tea project, which involved information about tea, and a demonstration on tea making. There was clubs who did pomeloes, others that did ‘scouts,’ another that did a really cool one on fish and plants and how they can grow together. Anyways! An early morning, and we were off to the car, and packing and preparing to head out to the camp grounds.

First things first when we get there, is figuring out what plot we get! Gogogo, tent and sleeping bags in hand, we ran down to our spot in order to drop things off, and wait for others to join us. With cooking gear in tow, they showed up, and then it was time to start setting things up. Tents go up pretty quick when there’s close to a dozen people trying to put it up! Hah. With those set up, and umbrellas in the picnic tables, we paraded down to the opening ceremony, dressed in our pink Shenkeng shirts. They lifted the flags, and we were set free.

Not to set up the display, no, but instead, to go and start cooking! A few of us did the majority of it, as we started making chicken, vegetables, eggs, and a jelly-drink-dessert-thing.

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Here’s part of the creating the noms! It was fun, definitely so, and smelt amazing. Then again, a lot of foods in Taiwan are pretty delicious, especially the homemade ones. After this, we sort of relaxed for a little while, then skipped off to start setting the display up. There’s a long outdoor set up under shelter, where the kids all started setting up displays. Some of them bring quite the rigs! Here’s one of the neat ones. Fish, and plants!

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Now, I’d like to say this day went perfectly fine, but about here is where it started sort of going downhill. Taiwan is hot. Hothothot. It’s okayish with wind, but when the wind goes away, that’s when we start feeling the heat, and boy, did I ever. As soon as we got there, I had started feeling hot. We tried AC, but nothing was working. Between setting up, and the actual presentation, there was a need for lots of water. They also did this strange massage, or…well, unique. It was done with a rock, and rubbed all over your neck, shoulders, scalp and forehead. It worked! I was able to watch their presentation, which they did an amazing job at.

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Following them finishing the display, we were off to a barbeque. Starting the fire up, and slapping some food on the grill! There’s a lot of foods in a Taiwanese barbeque, and half of them are nothing like Canadian barbeques. Sure, there’s sausage and pork, but…then they like to do potatoes, mushrooms, vegetables, fish, little potato pies, bread, fishcakes, and sooo many more things. We had a great time, lots of fun, lots of food. On the walk back, the heat struck, and another feeling of oh no occurred.

We got back to the camp, but once doing that, that was sort of where the line was drawn. They decided it best to send me home to rest. So, after watching the fire dancers, that’s where my camping trip ended, by not sleeping in a sleeping bag, but instead, at home.

On the bright side, the next day, I was informed they’d gotten champion! Which means they get to go on to compete at the next level. Hopefully that isn’t while he’s in Canada…That might present a challenge! I’m also feeling much better. It’s a little scary when you feel sick and can’t completely explain it, or what you need.

Queen of the Swimming Tofu

Uh, what? Don’t worry. I’ll explain. Taiwan has been a busy busy place this week! Or at least, for Shenkeng, it has been, and for me. Which has meant compared to last week, this blog has been super quiet! Busy all day, tired at night. Just no energy to write. Not that I did it intentionally, the schedule is just super busy! On Thursday and Friday, the Shenkeng 4-Hers have a competition about their tea project! It’s sort of like our exhibition, but much shorter, and a little more like public speaking demonstrations. To kick this off, we started by making our very own teabags. Here’s the unfinished project!

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See that fancy Chinese? That would be my Chinese name. Yuuup. How may of you can pronounce it? It’s spoken sort of like this Bay-zee. It means beautiful lady, and was given to me in the car hardly an hour after arrival! Following all this fancy preparation work, I was to make tofu. Oh boy. It can’t be that hard, can it? Tofu is just like pudding, that is more solid, right? Oh, how wrong I was. Let me walk you through this bicep work out. Did I just say tofu was a work out? Sort of! First off, you need to bring the soy bean milk (which tofu is made of) to 80C. Just below boiling. Next, you add salt water, and stir four times, then lift and pour four times. This is special, or you get bad skin on the tofu.

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See those boxes? You stack the full one on the bottom of a pan, with sticks beneath, then the open bottom one ontop, and line it with cheese cloth. Once the tofu has set for ten minutes, you spoon it into the corners of the mold. Ours had a 4-H clover on the bottom, which was pretty neat. Once you’ve spooned all of your tofu mixture into the mold, you fold the cheesecloth over, and then begins the challenge.

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You start pushing down on the tofu. Yup. The idea is to get the tofu down to just the bottom layer of wood, so…that’s a lot of water to push out. It’s not like you can just push down on it. Nope, this is a slow process of constant pressure. So, lean into it! The both of us worked on this, and boy, is it long. Shesh. I never thought it’d start going down, but slowly, the board started to descend into the mold. Eventually…they told me it should be ok. Should? Well, ok. You’re the professional, right?

Take off the top part of the mold, and tip the tofu out. Remove the cheesecloth, and you get a block of tofu! It had nice shape, but…

DSC00352Well, it tasted good, but by the time I took it back to share with the other 4-Hers…there was a pond inside the boxes. They ate it all, but, it was then dubbed Swimming Tofu. Let’s just say I’d be starving if my career was to make tofu for a living. Perhaps, not even have a home, unless I could make swimming tofu a thing.

Following this, there was more prep work, and practicing to be done for the competition!

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Don’t be nervous guys, you know you’ll do amazing! How about we go enjoy the day though, first? There’s adventures to be had! Collecting our things, we hopped a bus to Taipei, then grabbed the UBike. Best invention. You pay, unhook a bike, and can bike around town with it, then pay for the time you used it when you put it back. Such an awesome idea. It’s also super cute, with a smile for the U. Again, amazing idea. A great way to get active, it really is. About a half an hour bike ride, and we arrived!

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Again, everything is crazy cute and happy! From the gondola as they call it, the sights were amazing. You could see all over Taipei, to Shenkeng, and so many neighbouring areas, too. It took about half an hour to ride, and I wish we had the glass floor one leaving, rather than coming back. Though, having a clear floor made you feel like you were floating, which was pretty sweet. Oh, and…you can see Taipei 101 from pretty much everywhere!

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It was home after this, for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow, we take to the zoo. So, expect lots of pictures! Before hitting the zoo, we stopped at a tea orientated restaurant, which was delicious. Everything had to do with tea. We tried a noodle dish, with chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Yummy. Not quite the same as at home, though. They, we tried a fusion of chocolate and tea. Those were different. Lastly, we got brought this amazingness. Nectarines, ice cream, whipped cream, and tea toast. Please, don’t drool too much. Your electronics would appreciate it.

DSC00388Yes, it took all of us to devour it, and which of there was seven. It was again, amazing. The restaurant started serving this the next day! Onto the zoo we went!

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Just like with the Studio Ghilbi display, this is going to be an onslaught of pictures, so just enjoy these beautiful creatures! There’s so many of them here, too, and we didn’t even get to see the whole zoo. I’m a tad bummed that we didn’t get to the giraffes, but, that’s ok!

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The day was polished off by going into the mountain for a barbeque! Which was absolutely delicious, and finished off with this! After this, it’s off to camping and competing!

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Guess who! Just try, I dare you!

To~

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To…

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Totoro!

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Yup, that’s right, you can be jealous. You. Can. Be. Jealous. There is a special exhibit in one of the Taipei malls FULL of Studio Ghibli. Mostly Totoro, buuuutt, there was a little bit of everything else, too! Oh, and you could buy things. This blog post is mostly pictures, because, well, that’s what tells this story best. I absolutely love Studio Ghilbi’s work, and thus, a blog post found itself named and written for it!

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I couldn’t help it, I bought some trinkets! A drawstring backpack, a phone charm, and a Kiki’s mug covered in her kitty! Ok, back on track, now.