New Site

29 May

I’ve moved on to a new site, visit karmenvasion.co to check it out!

A Short Road Trip: Day 1

9 Jun

Now that I’m in the airport I have some time to catch up writing. The first of the tails I have to share of my time in America is a road trip I took with my dad. We ventured to 3 states in 3 1/4 days, fortunately my dad is a speedy driver.

Stop 1 : St. Louis Arch

The trip started with the St. Louis Arch (or the Gateway Arch.) It’s the nation’s tallest monument at 630 ft, finished in 1965. There are cars running inside the arch on both sides that take you to the top (for $10.) The journey up takes place in side a small cart that fits 5 people, you are then slowly raised to the top where there is a observation deck. The view of St. Louis is pretty impressive. I was told on a good day you can see up to 30 miles away, it was a bit more overcast while I visited, but it was still great view. When you feel like going down, simply wait for the next batch of carts to arrive and take them back down.

An overcast day at the Arch

Inside the Car Up…Not Much of a View

The View

Stop 2: Nashville

After the arch we drove straight to Nashville for the night. There we enjoyed dinner and a show. The Wildhorse Saloon is a well known establishment, featuring live bands, dancing, and plenty of food options

Some Decorations

The appetizers are a meal themselves! Chicken, Quesadillas, Fried Pickles, and Fried Green Tomatoes

Underneath this giant mound of onion straws is a molasses cooked steak, with a side of garlic mashed potatoes

The house band starts the night acoustic but the whole band plays later in the night

After dinner we headed to see the Weir, Robinson & Greene Acoustic Trio at the Rymer Auditorium. It’s a nice place to see a concert, lots of wide benches and good views in most of the areas, minus the far back of the bottom floor, where pillars pose a problem for some. The band played some Grateful Dead songs at the beginning, then split off into solo acts for another part of the concert. Overall a great first day to our small trip.

One Day in Korea

24 May

Sunday was a one day hangout with my friend in Korea. Sunday started by checking out of the hotel and going back to the airport. There are stashed my larger suitcase at a storage facility. Then it was time to see some sites.

We headed to Suwon to check out the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace. When we arrived there was a market taking place in the front grounds where we got a snack of glazed chicken. After we watched a reenactment of some royal ceremonies that were happening when we arrived. The music the band played was loud and a little flat, there were drums, horns, and seashells. When the reenactment finished we bought a ticket and walked around the grounds, it was fairly large and had different display cases showing clothing of the time and ceremonial items such as food and dishes. There was also a beautiful park behind the grounds to wander.

Afterwards we headed to a well know BBQ restaurant for a feast of marinated and fresh pork ribs. Korean BBQ is made at your table. You are served side dishes and condiments a plenty. To eat the BBQ you take a lettuce leaf, place a piece of meat on it, then put various chili sauces, onions, grilled garlic, and other things on top, roll it up when it’s complete and eat.

Following so much walking and food, we got a bit sleepy, and headed back to my friends apartment. There was spicy chicken for take out and movies. Getting me well rested for my flight back to America.

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An Evening of Inventing (Beverages, That Is)

24 Apr

This past weekend, a group of friends and I gathered to show off our cocktail making skills. I thought I’d share some of the recipes we came up with, they show our very different drinking tastes and all are themed based. I won’t put exact measurements as we all have varying preferences in the amount we like to pour.

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Jezebel, a drink based on The South (best drunk while listening to country music)

Mint leaves, White rum, Gin, Peace Juice, Mountain Dew, and Mint Simple Syrup. It’s a drink that was sweet and herby, with a lot of citrus. Classy and trailer trashy all at once.

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BANG-ria (Red wine for beginners)

A mix of red wine, mixed fruit, and ice cream soda. It’s like a candy version of sangria.

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Sinner-bons (A bakery theme)

My creation consists of: A Cinnamon/Sugar rimmed glass, Malibu, Caramel Liquor, honey, milk, and a bit of cinnamon on the top of the glass. Try to keep the milk amount down, or it gets very filling.

(No picture available, but picture something light-caramel colored.)

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10pm Sunset (A New Zealand Summer beverage)

A complexly layered shot, it is very light and delicious.

Layer 1: Mango ice cream, mango liquor, lime juice blended

Layer 2: Vanilla ice cream, watermelon liquor, rose petals

Layer 3: (not available in this version, but it was stated raspberry syrup was intended to top this.)

Lace the edge of the glass with lime juice.

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Caribbean Scorpion (Fruity tropical-ness with a sting)

Midori, white rum, lime juice, olive juice, ginger ale, olives served with. The drink is sweet to begin with then hits you with a sour note. Not for the light hearted drinker.

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Lacaram Inflamarae (A Harry Potter beverage)

Gingery and spicy, this is a flavorful beverage, served in a smaller glass, and good to sip at. Ginger ale, tonic water, ginger simple syrup, fire whiskey. This batch was pretty spicy, as the fire whiskey had been brewing since August I was told, and the chili peppers in the bottle had turned white at that point.

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Hope you enjoyed this little batch of recipes we came up with. Anyone have any beverages (alcoholic or non) that they’ve invented over time?

First Night in Osaka

21 Jan

Got in a few hours ago, after a train ride from the airport. I’m taking it pretty easy tonight. Wandered for a bit, but mostly just ate some food and enjoyed the nice hotel room I let myself splurge and get for the first few days of the trip.

My hotel is very large, there’s actually a wedding chapel inside of it, built to look like an actual church. There are 3 restaurants and a spa. I’m on the 19th floor.

My room is pretty nice, very clean and relaxing. Can’t wait to sleep in that bed tonight!

Ate dinner in the hotel’s Japanese restaurant. There were some hit and miss items in the set that I ordered. Here are some of the highlights. Sorry the photos are a little dim, I didn’t think flash was restaurant appropriate.

Appetizer plate, the sashimi was very tender, my favorites were the greens and mushroom salad (2nd from the right) and the fried rolls on the far right.

Grilled vegetables and steak. I’m pretty sure that cow fell from heaven I’m not going to lie, it was amazing beef.

Tempura made with vegetables, fish, and shrimp

The rice is seasoned with fish and herbs. The soup however was far too salty for me.

Ice cream, with fruit and mint leaves.

Slowly but Surely!

15 Jan

I’m finally partially in my new apartment, and have internet again. I was only using my phone before this. I promise to send my new address to people soon, I just need to figure out what zip code I am now, as I changed districts.

Here’s a little map to give you an idea of where abouts I’m going to be now. The red dot is my old house, the blue work, and the new house green.

Pictures will come soon as well! This new apartment has many perks the old one did not – more then one room, a kitchen, roommates, in a quite neighborhood/building. (My old building is very loud!) Only downside…I had to buy furniture for this place, so someday when I leave Taiwan I’ll have to sell it off.

I’m actually half in this apartment and half in the old one at present. I tend to stop by my old apartment at random times when I’m in the neighborhood (since it’s near work) fill up a shopping bag, backpack, or suitcase with a few things, depending on if I’m going straight home or not. I still have a month on my old lease, so I can take my time. At least I don’t have to move any furniture this time.

Fun Facts

10 Nov

Taking a break from my Malaysia entries for a bit, I thought I’d post a short entry with a video that I’ve seen shared online the past few days. It has some fun and interesting facts for all of you about Taiwan, Enjoy!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/adi/animated-10-fun-facts-about-taiwan-1zmj

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