Friday, August 17, 2012

Fulong Beach, Taiwan

Fulong Beach has become my second home here in Taiwan.  I was lucky enough to obtain a beach house here for the summer, shared with a few other ex-pats. 

And so... I have spent a lot of time under the summer sun, swimming in the East China Sea on the East Coast of Taiwan.  

It is such an easy journey from Taipei.  

To get there: go to Main Station, buy a train ticket on the TRA to Fulong, and take the hour-long fast train ($120 NT - around $3 US) to Ze beach!  You can also take the local train ($80 NT), which takes 2 hours. 

Its also about a two hour scooter ride and the drive is breath taking.  Last weekend I went up with a few friends and took Mama Scoot Scoot on her first long journey outside the city.  

Below are pictures from the drive along the breathtaking coast of Taiwan and some pictures in Fulong.

 I can't wait to take the trip around the entire island via motorcycle in the next year. 

Sunset in Fulong

Taiwanese Graveyard on the Mountainside 

Men-Folk Tending to the Fire

Lots of Debris After the Typhoon - Used it for the Fire

Breathtaking View Along the Coast


Taiwanese Sun-brella

Beach to Mountains


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Craving Mexico

"The Guilty Catholic" Pastels on Computer Paper

Whilst I am frolicking around Taiwan; traveling, meeting wonderful people, learning Mandarin, and trying all of the deliciously, foreign foods.  

... I have found myself satisfied, except for one small, guilty craving: Mexico.  

I say guilty because I am so lucky to be here and shouldn't be wanting to be somewhere else AT ALL, but alas I am the most fickle person in the world... so...

... to satisfy this craving for Mexican food, culture, and art - I have fervently begun to draw Dia De Los Muertos skulls.  I studied Mexican art in University and absolutely love the colors, symbolism, and simplicity behind it.  

My plan is to make more and... well how I am going to make them is a secret, but more skulls to come!    

"Tres" Pastels on Computer Paper
"Party Boy" Pastels on Computer Paper

Monday, August 13, 2012

Earth Fest July 2012

Music festivals are my happy place.  

I love them.  

Love the crazy, fantastic people that go to them, the loving energy, and most of all, the copious amounts of rad music.  

Over the past year I was lucky enough to see some of my favorites multiple times: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Big Gigantic, and Beirut, amongst others.  I went to as many festivals as I could, because, well, I knew it wouldn't be the same when I moved abroad again.

... and its not.

Don't get me wrong there are some great local artists in Taipei, but after living in Chicago and traveling all over the good ole US of A; I have become very spoiled by such an abundant amount of quality music.  

As far as I know after three months here, there are a few big festivals that happen once a year.  The biggest one being Spring Scream, in Kenting (southern Taiwan).  There are also smaller festivals with a few stages and DJs put on throughout the year. One of which being Earth Fest.  

So, I went with some amazing friends and had a wonderful time frolicking through the forest and dancing under the stars.  That was by far the best part.  The worst part: the music.  Terrible trance music polluting the beautiful mountain air with repetitive noise that rung throughout the night and into the next day.   

Rather than blaming it on being a quarter centurion, I choose to believe that I have developed a more refined ear.  I also think that festivals in Taiwan need to be by water, because it is EVERYWHERE,  its BEAUTIFUL, and the weather is HOT.  The location should have been close to a river, lake, waterfall, stream, or beach.  

I also attended the Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival in Fulong.  The music was Taiwanese Rock, which I am not that into, but it a was enjoyable because it was on the beach.  You could float around in the sparkling water, taking in sun while listening to Taiwanese rock bands kill it in their own right.  

As I said, there are some really wonderful local artists here.  It could be fun to set up a music festival on the island close to water with descent music.  

Below are the pictures from the journey to the Jurassic Park-like mountain fest and a few pictures from my last year traveling around the US. 
Train Ride... when the seats are sold out they sell standing tickets.  We stood in the hall way, drank beers, and laughed.
Entering Jurassic Park

Waiting for the shuttle 
Holy Man amongst the foliage. 
Holy Man next to where the shuttle picked us up for some debauchery.  Too many holy men.
No yummy festy grilled cheeses, but they did have QUESDILLA with CHESE!!!


Stage Area


Outside Lands Summer 2011 - San Francisco, California

North Coast Music Festival - Chicago, IL

Bonaroo - Manchester, TN

My Favorite - Electric Forest (formerly known as Rothbury) - Rothbury, MI

Electric Forest - Rothbury, MI

Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Typhoon Day - Saola, Girl, You Crazy!

Everything has been called off today due to Typhoon Saola.  

Schools are closed and various other places of business are closed.  

Typhoons are very common this time of year.  This is my second typhoon since I arrived in May.  The first one that came through allowed for one typhoon day, which is a day off of work and when people usually get together, drink, dance and have a lovely time.  

Saola has now allowed for two typhoon days and word on the street is that Friday may be a typhoon day as well.  

If you are an English teacher and wondering if you have a day off is a great resource. 

To show you just how high the water has risen.. here is the river outside my apartment on a normal day:


And outside today.... angry skies and my running trail, tennis courts, and the park are all deep underwater.