All posts filed under: Travel

My Kaohsiung

There’s a lot of reasons to love living in Taiwan, like the ever-friendly Taiwanese people, cheap food and accommodation, safety, amazing healthcare, $5 acupuncture treatments and the eternal sunshine, to name a few. But here’s why I love living here, and especially in Kaohsiung, which I think has the perfect mix of first-world living balanced with an easy-going edge. 1.  My Hood I live in the Cultural Centre 高雄市文化中心; area (KMRT 06/07) downtown. I absolutely LOVE living here. Maybe it’s because I live down a quaint little street that lights up at night, and the area is filled with eateries, cafes and pretty much everything I need within walking distance. I like that I can walk to the park which is always humming with people walking their dogs or families just hanging.  On the weekends, it lights up with craft markets and there’s a definite buzz and an authenticity about it. I love how the corner man greets me everyday, even though I have never eaten at his restaurant, not once. I feel at home here. 2. Massages with No.23 Oh yes, massages with …

How We Did Palawan

My mom and I spent a magical week in Palawan in July, and here’s a detailed blog about how we did it. But first here are some of our highlights… HIGHLIGHTS El Nido was definitely the highlight of our trip. Here’s a map I drew for my cousin with my favourite places highlighted. Island hopping tours – we only did Tour A which was great. We used Pearl Gates Tours, they were excellent. Normal price is 1200 pesos but we paid 1000 pesos ($22) each for a day tour from 9am – 2pm including lunch (yummy fresh fish, octopus, salad, fruit, rice) including snorkelling gear. Our guide was really funny too! There are many tour companies to choose from, but I can recommend these guys. If you are coming down the main road towards the beach, they are located down the main side road (to the right) closest to the beach. Walk down a while and they are just past the first massage shop you see on the right hand side. They also organised our transportation …

The Place That Stole My Heart

I spent the last week in a very special place, with a very special person (my mama) in a little town tucked away on an island in Northern Palawan, Philippines. What makes this little town so special you ask? Perhaps it is its quaint and quirky feel; the fact that it essentially only has 3 main roads running throughout; a plethora of beautiful islands surrounding it; or that it takes a 6 hour bumpy and sometimes dangerous van ride from the island’s main city to access this little gem. The long journey there makes the final destination ever more so inviting. I like that there is no electricity though out the town from 6am to 2pm daily, and that I can walk from one end to the other by foot or take a cheap tricycle ride for only 50 pesos ($1). This town has a certain charisma, its beauty subtly draws you in and begs you to let go and enjoy the simple pleasures of island life. It’s really hard not to be happy in a place like this, …

Organic Fare at Dry Goods Market

I love going to the Dry Goods Market just off Jianguo 3rd Road, it’s a real treat full of traditional fare and it’s cheap, cheap, cheap. My Taiwanese friend introduced it to me months ago and I haven’t been back. I had some time to kill in the area this week so I took a stroll over and had a wander. I’m glad I did! There is everything from different kinds of soy sauces, vinegars, coconut milk, grains, spices, dried fruit and nuts to candy, dried mushrooms and tea, lots of tea. And you can taste! What I found this time though was an organic store, not everything is organic but a lot is. They have organic grains like barley, millet, quinoa (red & mixed variety), oats and different kinds of rices (even organic wild rice from the US that looks delicious). They are located quite far down the alley on the right I think. The shop assistant said that lots of foreigners come there to buy grains and of course nuts. They have a selection of …

Hanging at ‘always a+’ Cafe

I love finding new cafes to hang out at, and since I’ve moved to my new hood, the Cultural Centre area in Kaohsiung, I’ve been lucky enough to come across many hidden little gems. I sometimes feel like I’m back in Japan and love it. This morning I met my student at always a+ cafe, just 5 minutes up the road from my house. They offer brunch (open at 8am) and lunch sets – I had Korean kimchi style ramen and my student had Japanese udon noodles. Simply delicious and reasonably priced! It came with a choice of coffee, green or black tea. I really like that there’s so much light inside the cafe and the counters provide an ideal workspace. And there is, of course, free wi-fi. They also play great music (this morning was a repeat of The Lumineers album unplugged), at just the right volume. I’ll most definitely be back for a visit soon. If you want to check it out, here’s the address, it’s just off Zhongshan 2nd Road in Qianjin …

Hello Taiwan, Nice To Meet You

I have finally arrived in Taiwan and set up home in the island’s second largest city, Kaohsiung. I chose Kaohsiung for a number of reasons. 1. The weather. To put it simply, its HOT. I didn’t realise just how hot until I got here but I’m a Durban girl and I need my sunshine. 2. The location. It’s located down South in close proximity to the beach and mountains. Oh yes, oh yes. 3. The parks. There are beautiful parks located throughout the city. 4. The yogi community. Kaohsiung sometimes gets a bad rep because of the pollution down here, but to be honest I feel like I can breathe better than up in Taichung, for example. The streets are wide and it’s more spacious. There’s also a lot more happening down here. So far I’ve hiked up Monkey Mountain, ventured down to the beach, been on numerous scooter rides throughout the city, done yoga in the park, ended up in the hospital at 2am with my poorly housemate, found my favourite iced matcha latte …

My Favourite Yogis in Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a little piece of heaven nestling at the base of the Himalayas on the banks of the holy Mother Ganges. It is known to be one of the most spiritual places in India and also referred to as the “world Capital of yoga”, and for good reason. From the moment you arrive in Rishikesh you can sense there’s something different about this place, a very special kind of energy resonates here. The Ganges flows through the centre of the town and on either side the banks are lined with Ashrams, yoga centers, cafes, jewelry and book shops, and places offering massage or other ayurvedic therapies. The great thing about staying in Rishikesh is that there is so much yoga to choose from, from Ashtanga to Iyengar to Kundalini to traditional Hatha. I’ve been to many different teachers in Rishikesh, but these are my two favourites… Surinder Singh (Hatha Yoga) My absolute favorite teacher is Surinder Singh… an inspiring teacher who teaches Hatha with an Iyengar influence. His yoga to me feels like an art …

Rishikesh – Land of the Sages

I am lucky enough to have been to India three times so far. I still yearn to go back and explore more, that’s what this magnificent land does to you. My first trip was back in 2008, and I went with my yoga teachers and a group of other students from the Jivananda Centre. I’m glad I didn’t go alone the first time, as it can be quite a shock. But now I feel confident to travel alone in India and actually prefer it, it’s such a spiritual experience and sometimes you just need the space to be alone with yourself. (The Mother Ganges river)  We spent one night in Delhi and caught the early train to the holy city of Haridwar. From there we travelled by taxi up to Rishikesh, often referred to as ‘the world capital of yoga’, and for good reason. Rishikesh is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, and embodies a very special kind of energy, you can try just about any kind of yoga and the town is abound with ashrams and …

The thing about Expectation…

Today I find myself in Mumbai International airport yet again, 5 months and 1 week too early. I arrived here exactly 3 weeks ago with the intention of completing a 6 month Advanced Ayurveda & Yoga course at a reputable institution in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) and ofcourse lose myself in yoga and meditation bliss. Things didn’t turn out quite as planned. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE India… this is my third visit, and every time I come I fall more in love with this intriguing  country. It’s like nowehere I’ve ever been before and yet feels like home. This time would prove to be a completely different experience. So, three weeks ago I arrived in Coimbatore, super excited and ready for my next adventure. I wasn’t expecting much from Coimbatore, it’s an industrial hub afterall and not the kind of place that attracts tourists. But I could handle that, I wanted traditional teachings passed down through direct lineage taught in an authentic environment – I had even prepared myself for the cold showers. The …

Sometimes, all you need is a little perspective

I recently got back from a trip to the magical island of Bali. WOW is all I can say. What a little piece of heaven. Before visiting Bali, I hadn’t been outside of Japan for a whole year and was just coming out of what seemed to be the longest Winter ever. Honestly it felt like about 7 months of cold (and that’s rain and wind cold). I don’t do well in this kind of weather, perhaps its because I grew up in the ever sunny and humid Durban. My body, mind and soul just doesn’t like it. Living in Japan has taught me many things about myself and the greater world (more in another post), but the feeling that I felt when I stepped off that plane was indescribable. I was eagerly greeted by my best friend who was jumping around in excitement, where I could barely lift my arm to wave hello. I have felt as though the energy and life force has been sucked out of me whilst living in Tokyo; everything is …

5 Essential Japanese Foods

One of the great things about living in Japan has been my exposure to a whole new world of foods. The Japanese are world-renowned for their longevity and health. Here are some healing foods that I have come to love and enjoy in my weekly diet, and I now consider essential food items. 1. THE DAIKON RADISH I absolutely LOVE daikon. I eat this mellow, clean tasting root vegetable just about everyday, either in a salad for lunch (they make great pickles) or added into a soup for dinner. Daikons taste crispy and juicy raw and turn slightly sweet when cooked. They are extremely cleansing and are used throughout Japan as a complement to raw or oily foods to aid digestion. Daikon also acts as a diuretic and decongestant, promoting the discharge of excess fat and mucus, thus facilitating weight-loss. 2. UMEBOSHI PLUM These pinky-red, salt pickled plums deliver a salty and sour punch, as I discovered when I had my first taste a few months back. Not really meant to be eaten straight from the …

India!!!

(Photo: Mike Matas) User-Interface Designer, Mike Matas puts together a collection of stills (3000 that is!) of his 30 day trip around India, covering 2000 miles. Beautifully done. Check it out: Journey Across India video I will heading back to India in June this year for a 6 month stay. This makes me want to go to now!