Monday, 22 February 2016

We arrived in Hualien on the sunday afternoon and checked into our hotel. Not the best of hotels but there was an American guy who was married to one of the receptionists, he was pretty helpful and friendly and recommended some restaurants.  We went to the Salt Lick an American restaurant the first night, it was my second visit and i definetely recommend it if you are visiting Hualien. The next morning we went down to the railway station to see if we could get some transport to Taroko, with it being CNY the buses were proving very expensive, NT250 per person one way, so we hired 2 scooters for a day NT800 (usually NT400).  This turned out to be a great idea, it was a pleasant sunny day and by far a much better way to get to Taroko and ride through the gorge. In the evening back in Hualien we visited the Dos Tacos Mexican restaurant, You could get truly authentic Mexican cuisine, i enjoyed it as much as the Salt Lick the night before, my son was also impressed. The restaurant is run by an American who seemed a decent guy to talk too.
From Hualien it was next stop Keelung.
My eldest son flew in on Feb 4 I hadn't seen him for 3 and a half years, to say i was a bit choked was an understatement. After picking him and his girlfriend from the airport, we got a bus to Taipei main station so we could get a train down to Taidong. We had decided to start off out tour of Taiwan down there and booked a place for 3 nights which turned out to be a nice place, a kind of homestay/hotel run by a guy who spoke good English who also picked us up from Taidong Station. We took it easy on the first couple of days so Gaz could get aclimatised, hired a couple of scooters to get around, took a journey up the coast just past Chenggong. It was a bit cool that day but i think he enjoyed driving for the first time in Taiwan. We introduced them to 7-11 life and how easy it is to survive if you havent got the confidence to walk into a noodle shop with no knowledge of the language. Gaz was a bit worried about the food before he got here but once he'd seen a Pizza Hut, Macdonalds, and tried a jipai in the night market, i think he knew he would be ok. On the sunday we were off to Hualien for the second stage and a trip to Taroko (my first time back there for 7 years).

Monday, 1 February 2016

Look out for an update soon, my eldest son will be visiting this thursday, so im looking forward to that. Plus news of everything else thats been happening.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ok well i thought it was about time i updated this, so anyway i am now living in Puzi in Chiayi County.  Ive got a small place about 5 minutes from the school where i have been working since July last year. It took me 2 years to get properly settled but what a difference it makes when you get a regular job with reasonable money coming in. I signed a contract for a year and it looks as though i will be here for a second one as there has been some talk of a new class in September.  Basically the long term plan is to buy a place maybe in around 18 months but im not sure whereabouts yet. I havent  decided exactly where i want to be though somewhere in the south will be the most likely.  I like the weather in the south, the winters are drier and warmer.
The wife is still with her parents in Chiayi about 30 mins from here for now but i think she will be heading for Keelung for a while where her daughter lives in the not too distant future. Looks like she will be doing a spot of babysitting. As things stand i wont be following her but i will look forward to the frequent trips to the north east.
Recently we spent some time in Hualien and Taidong and hired a scooter and explored a few areas in the east. I was very impressed with Taidong County and i quite liked the city too, i thought it might be a nice area to retire, however the wife thinks its a little too far out the way. We will see theres a lot more water to pass under the bridge before then.
Im thinking about doing more scooter trips around Taiwan this year and some walking, i want to make as much use of my free time as possible now im working.  Anyway fingers crossed lets hope things continue in a positive mode.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Im spending more and more time now in the south, my wife Selina is having to take care of her parents in Chiayi, so at the moment im commuting between Zhongli and Chiayi every week.At the moment ive got 2 teaching jobs in the north so for the time being we will have to keep our apartment up there. Ive also got a job teaching online which gives me the flexibility of doing the job from anywhere. It is looking increasingly likely that this is the first step to a permanent move down to Chiayi. I quite like Chiayi its a sprawling place but seems pretty quiet, the traffic is definetely not as hectic here. If i do move i will miss Zhongli in some respects. The weather down in the south is alot warmer in the winter ive noticed, the sun seems to shine most days that for me is definetely an attraction. The other day we went to Tainan to meet Selina.s eldest sister. It was my first visit and i was impressed with the City. Theres alot more history about it compared to other cities in Taiwan. I particularly liked the Anping District and the old fort. I was made very welcome by her sister and i think i made a particular impression on her 2 daughters, i noticed the confidence growing in them to speak more English and i made every effort to talk to them in Chinese and some Taiwanese which im learning as it seems to be the most common language spoken in the south. I hope we get the chance to visit again soon.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

We decided to take a trip to Keelung this weekend and then travelled up to Fulong Beach on the sunday. Fortunately the weather was on our side this time it rained the whole 2 days we were last in Keelung City. We stayed at the E-coast star hotel its about a 10 minute walk from the railway station. The hotel looked new in fact it was quite smart it cost us £54 for the night including breakfast, the hotel is a 10 minute walk from the temple night market as it was a nice night the market was packed, we also had the added attraction of a giant cruise liner berthed in the harbour. This was the biggest cruise liner I had ever seen apparently it has 15 decks , it looked like a floating hotel, all the outside cabins had balconies, the ship left around 8pm the promenade around the harbour front was absolutely packed with people taking photos, it did look pretty spectacular as it manoevered its way out the port.  On the sunday after breakfast which wasn't too bad incidentally we went to Fulong by bus it costs NT75 each and takes about an hour up the coast road.  In places along the route the scenery was really spectacular I thought it would be great taking a scooter or a bike ride this way, the road seemed pretty flat almost the whole time hugging the coast on the rocks you could see loads of people fishing. We got to Fulong around noon and went on the beach we had to pay NT100 dollars each first though, the beach was ok quite sandy and the water wasn't particularly deep, nice and warm though. I guess it would be a good place to go surfing, amenities on the beach were a bit sparse a few rows of sun umbrellas and what I think was a small bar, I never really investigated it. We were only there for 2 hours but I really caught the sun when it was out at one point we got a squally shower, after wards I thought had we spent the whole day there I really would have got severely burned, if you ever visit there take plenty of sun cream.  We then got the bus to Juifen on the way back towards Keelung. Once the bus turns off the coast road be prepared for a winding trip up the hill, the driver as usual was a bit of a lunatic but to be fair to him it probably was the best way to drive fairly quickly up that hill, the fare was NT30 from outside the visitor centre in Fulong.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

One year on......

Ive now been in Taiwan for a year all in all things have gone ok, the biggest disappointment being our breakfast shop business which never really got off the ground, sometimes I wish I could turn the clock back, pick a different area to open a business in etc but instead of dwelling on negatives ill take the experience and lessons ive learned and try to be positive about the future. One thing for certain im not opening up another food business here for a while if at all, tradition is strong in Taiwan, money not in abundant supply and reluctance to change prominent, theres plenty that's willing to try once or twice but im afraid that's not enough in the long run. Its been a good experience though, ive learned a few things, the mentality really is different here some of it blows your mind and some when you think about it is actually very logical and clever. I do like Taiwan though and ive no intention to go back because of one relative failure, I like the life here its much more relaxed than back home, I love the easily dismissive attitude towards rules and regulations, if you have a bit of money you can really enjoy Taiwan, theres loads to see and ive only managed to get as far south as Chaiyi as yet and until ive been everywhere over the island I wont feel satisfied .