July 2, 2022

Taichung hop 2022 day 1: the sweetest day

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We're taking the Parental Units on a short hop to Taichung for the weekend. I'm kinda surprised that mom hasn't been here since that concert back in 2008 - and they didn't even stay over - so this would be a nice change of scenery for her.

The train ride on Taiwan High Speed Rail was smooth and uneventful. After a 20-minute ride in a taxi, we arrived at The Place Taichung (台中大毅老爺行旅). It was much too early to check-in, so we left our bags with the hotel and went for a stroll. It would be nice to do a short walk on the grounds of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (國立台灣美術館) across the street.

I chose Caffè Firenze for lunch because, in addition to its proximity to the museum, it was the one place among many recommended to me by a friend that was least likely to cause issues with mom's palate. An added benefit, as it turns out, was that we were the only customers for lunch today - a definite plus when one is spending time with one of the top two cities currently with the biggest Covid case counts...

I ordered a selection of antipasti, primi piatti, and secondi piatti. Imagine my surprise when one of the primi piatti showed up first, before any antipasti. I questioned our waitress, and the answer I got was that since the veggies were still being grilled, the pasta naturally arrived first. HUH?!

Handmade king prawns and Burrata ravioli - the only handmade pasta on the menu. Yes, the dough was kinda al dente, and the presentation was kinda pretty, but both mom and Sankala complained that the prawns in the filling weren't fresh. Maybe due to poor business, the prawns had been frozen for too long.

June 27, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 3

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It's our final day in home quarantine, and our first day of "work from quarantine". Thanks to mom's delivery yesterday, we were finally able to get started on the right foot at breakfast this morning.

With slices of white toast going into the Gudetama toaster, we were able to get the results originally intended. In addition to the "meh" face we are familiar with, the other toast actually shows somewhat of a smile on the lazy egg. This was really, really cute and ended up getting a lot of attention when I posted the picture on social media.

Sankala put the toast back into our toaster oven, adding a thin slice of processed Hokkaido cheese on top. I washed this down with the last capsule of Nespresso Rio de Janeiro Espresso. You can bet that I won't be drinking this crap coming tomorrow morning!

June 26, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 2

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Breakfast was as simple as yesterday's - two slices of toast that have gone through the Gudetama toaster, and the same crappy Nespresso coffee. Plus a banana. Life in quarantine.

Now that we've completed our quarantine project, we turned our attention back to cleaning our apartment. There is a ton of work to do, but thankfully we have a couple of weeks to get it done.

June 25, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 1

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Woke up late this morning after having gone to bed pretty late. Since we're in quarantine with nowhere to go and no one to see, and it's a Saturday, I guess it didn't really matter. We could be lazy just like Gudetama (ぐでたま).

Speaking of the lazy egg... I bought a Gudetama toaster last year and had it delivered while my relatives were staying in our apartment, but I have never had a chance to use it. Sankala and I were pretty excited about taking it out of the box and putting it to the test.

So I did ask mom to get us some bread or toast. Unfortunately she didn't really get us the right type of toast... this brown toast came with almonds, walnuts, and raisins. So Gudetama's face wasn't really clear. Oh well... I ended up spreading some Nutella on it since it was the only thing available in the apartment, and washed it down with some crappy Nespresso Rio de Janeiro Espresso. Again, there were only a few capsules in the apartment left by my relatives...

June 24, 2022

Diary of a Quarantined Boy, part 1, day 0

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My last trip home to Taipei ended when I flew back to Hong Kong on January 28, 2020 after spending a few days with the Parental Units during Lunar New Year. Wuhan had announced it was shutting itself off from the rest of China just a week earlier, and in the span of 2 or 3 days face masks disappeared off the shelves across the Greater China region. It was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and within a couple of weeks both Hong Kong and Taiwan announced quarantine measures for inbound travelers as they closed their borders. I haven't been able to see the Parental Units since.

In the ensuing 29 months I've missed 3 of mom's birthdays, 2 of dad's birthdays (including his 80th), 3 of their anniversaries, 3 of my birthdays (including my 50th), and the biggest event among these - my Covid wedding. The thought of having to quarantine for 2 weeks on each end of the trip - meaning any trip would require a minimum of 4 weeks stuck inside hotels without seeing anyone - just made any travel prohibitively painful.

Things improved over the last few months, and we now only need to be stuck in quarantine for a total of 10 days. So I made plans to fly home to Taiwan with Sankala. Mom badly needs a hug, and she hasn't had a chance to greet her daughter-in-law. We are grateful that since I have my own place in Taiwan, the two of us are allowed to quarantine in the comfort of our home. This would prove tremendously helpful.

Today is the day!  Due to the awkward timing of our flight and our decision not to take the inflight meal, we chose to arrive at Hong Kong International Airport a little early in order to eat before boarding. Check-in was quick since we arrived some 2 hours before our flight and no one else was at the counter. HKIA seemed like a ghost town today, and we counted just around 20 flights taking off in the 12 hours between noon and midnight.

Given the lack of traffic, it's understandable that many restaurants have chosen not to open for business. The staff at the check-in counter were helpful in directing us to the outlets which still operate. After all, they have to eat there everyday so they know the situation best.  I decided to veto Sankala's original choice because I wanted something I knew I wouldn't be getting while in Taiwan.

So Tai Hing (太興) it is... and I chose to get stir fried rice noodles with beef (干炒牛河). Not bad, actually. I took a cup of hot watercress and honey (菜蜜) - something else I won't be having in Taiwan.

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