Scribbles in the Sand

All About My Life in Taiwan

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Thor in 4D on ‘Thorsday’

Thor in 4D on ‘Thorsday’

On Thursday, we went to watch the premier of Thor “The Dark World”. But this was no ordinary 2D/3D experience. This was 4D!

What is 4D?

4D is a marketing gimmick with some cinemas using the term 5D, 6D etc, but it is basically a 3D movie experience, with added sensory effects such as moving seats, wind, water spray, vibrations, and even smell! Continue reading


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Why I Dislike Hot pot 火鍋

Our friend arrived late Friday evening and we had arranged to meet her at a fancy hot pot restaurant which my girlfriend and I had been to just nights before. Needless to say, the other, even posher one was booked out so we had no choice.

Now, this is sacrilege to say in Taiwan, but I’m not a massive fan of hot pot (火鍋 huǒ guō) for 3 main reasons.

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How to Get to the Top of Taipei 101 for Free…Kind Of

Our friend Doris arrived from London on Friday last weekend. Having never been up the world’s once tallest building, Taipei 101, so we though it would make a good Saturday morning outing.

However, riding the worlds fastest elevator up to the top costs a staggering 500NT (£10/$17/€12.5) which while not astronomical, when two of the three members of the group have already been up before, it seems a waste of £30 to look across the city from above

Fear not, here is a secret hack for when you visit Taipei. Continue reading

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Summer Update

1st August 2013

It’s mid summer and hotter than a dogs bollock. We live on the top floor of our 5 story apartment and hence, the sun rises at 5 each morning and bakes the patio roof, making the rooms below feel a lot warmer than the outside temperature. Each morning I wake in a sweat and reach for the air-con to cool the room for 1 hour. Imagine waking up at a music festival everyday in a tent with a hangover, that’s how I feel each and every morning. Continue reading


Flying Visit to Penghu and the Museum of World Religion

Our friends are over from the UK, so for the past few days we have been showing them the delights of Taipei.  They have also been exploring other parts of the island by themselves. Last week we all got the plane to Penghu, and then from there we took a boat tour and scooter ride around the small sparsely populated outer island of Wangan.

We were almost not going to go based of bad weather reports, but the weather couldn’t have been better. Blue skies, blazing sun, a fresh and strong wind free from the constant Taipei humidity, it felt like another country. Our friends got quite burnt thinking their factor 20 British sunscreen would be enough for the Taiwan sun, it wasn’t.  Sadly Fiona got struck down with some sort of bug  while we were visiting the green turtle conservation centre on Wangan, and was expelling liquids out of each end. Continue reading


How to Extend your Visitor/Student Visa in Taiwan.

Study Chinese in Taiwan?
Need to extend your visa after 60-90 days?
Read on for a walk through and tips of attaining your extension…

If you are studying Chinese in Taiwan, you will at some point need to extend the visa that you used to get into the county. Continue reading

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We Sold TalkEasy: A Summary of Last Year, and The Year Ahead

[A TalkEasy tour from last year]

A little over a year ago we managed to finally find a place suitable for a school which passed the stringent fire regulations that every other building had failed. After a month of so of scrubbing and sanding we were ready to launch the brand “TalkEasy” and within the first week got enough students to cover all our running costs and pay each of us a modest wage. We always kept wages low knowing that the most important thing was to make sure our costs were covered first, but with rent being so low, and the only commodity being our own teaching, our monthly expenses were relatively little. Trying to open a school in England would have been a no go (for one thing, no one goes to cram school in England) and secondly, the initial investment and subsequent insurance costs would have been too high without investors. Continue reading