Developing My Aquatic Addiction At Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產

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One of the things that I missed the most while in Paris was good, affordable, fresh sushi. Unfortunately, you have one of three options: 1) pseudo-Japanese restaurants 2) chain store sushi places and 3) super expensive Japanese owned sushi restaurants that will easily cost you over 100 euros for two.
Luckily, France is well-known for some of the world’s best seafood so I was able to quench my cravings at places like Bar à iode.

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However, nothing beats Taipei’s Fish Market in terms of affordability and taste. As a veteran, I have tried all four restaurants and feel sufficiently informed to give an opinion.
Legend has it that they were going to demolish the building when it was bought and turned into the seafood paradise we have now; a bit like La Felicità in Paris. The entire space has been divided into the Supermarket, the Sushi Bar, the Seafood Bar, the Charcoal Grilled, the Hot Pot and Trésors de la Mer.

Now, there are a few ways you could go about eating your seafood. You could simply grab a couple goodies from the supermarket where they provide everything from miso soup, salmon rice, mentaiko grilled salmon, nigiri, sashimi and grilled meats – which is what I did today as I was short on time – or you could sit yourself down at one of the many restaurants in the Fish Market, except for the Seafood and Sushi Bar where they were going for more of a standing sushi bar/sushi on the go concept.

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Trésors de la Mer has got to be my favourite as they do everything from seafood platters to hot pot. It is a three floor restaurant on the far end of the Fish Market that overlooks the Charcoal Grilled. The Charcoal Grilled comes in at a close second because having a mini barbecue on your table in an open space amidst all the fairy lights with a huge screen showing old, black and white movies makes for a beautiful summer moment and scores high on the originality scale but lacks the appeal of raw seafood. The Hot Pot rates even lower on my list because hot pot places in Taipei are as numerous as the stars in the sky. However, it needs to be said that both the Hot Pot and the Charcoal Grilled provide quality ingredients and excellent service.

Regardless of whether you end up munching on a skewer stick or swallowing French imported Gillardeau oysters whole, a trip to Taipei is not complete without visiting its Fish Market.

Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產
Address: No. 18, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Official Website: http://www.addiction.com.tw/

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A Little Slice of Italy at La Felicita

Prepare to feast your eyes on the biggest restaurant in Europe~

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La Felicita, from the successful restaurant group Big Mamma, is a DIY, self-service, food market type restaurant in the 13th arrondissement. This huge space is creatively decorated with greenery, fairy lights and food stands. You can find seats everywhere, even in the library area on the second floor which gives you a gorgeous view of the entire space and is the perfect spot for a cosy cocktail.

While queuing up outside, the staff will hand out menus for you to browse as well as a map. You see, the thing is, every food stand offers something different. It might sound like a hassle but the food hunt if actually quite fun! Be weary of going during the weekend as the line was around 30-35 minutes long and would be rather tedious without friends to chat with.

Once the three of us had found a table, we sat down to ponder over the menu. It was decided that we would be having the BBQ ribs (12 euros), the truffle pasta (16 euros), a starter consisting of burrata and fennel saucisson (12 euros – 6 euros for each ingredient) as well as one bottle of white wine (which later became two bottles! – 19 euros for rosé and 21 for white). This added up to approximately 21 euros per person! Not bad especially for the quality of the food: fresh and delicious!

Also, the bar is probably one of the most impressive I’ve seen with hundreds of bottles of alcohol beautifully displayed on its shelves. The toilets are no exception – say hello to your childhood friends, ‘Ken and Barbie’ who will greet you at the door.

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Frankly, 5 out of 5 for this establishment! I will definitely be going back!

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The Parisian Dream: Realistic?

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Where does your mind wander off to when you hear the words ‘Paris’ or ‘France’? Does it conjure up images of endless pavements filled with sprawling terraces, the melodic chitchat of French and romantic fumes of cigarette smoke on a lazy summer’s day? Does your mind drift off into the streets of Montmartre while Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie en Rose’ plays in the background? Or do you smell freshly baked baguettes instead?

If so, you’re not too far off but you’re not seeing the full picture either. More often than not, tourists and first-timers are shown the shiny side of town. Eiffel Tower, Galeries Lafayettes, Arc de Triomphe, Le Louvre, La Seine, Champs Elysées et tous les incontournables! And do you know what? That’s okay because it is part of what makes up the true essence of Paris.

What’s not okay is thinking that that’s all there is to this city. What about Chinatown aka the 13th arrondissement? The slums around Paris? The colourful graffiti and the kebab restaurants that can be spotted here and there but especially around Gare du Nord? All the places that tour groups avoid because they’re not always pretty?

Perhaps it’s just where I used to live, but people often seem to have a rather distorted image of what a Parisian lifestyle truly entails. You have French bureaucracy (which is your worst nightmare and that’s putting it lightly), you have some interesting people to put up with, not speaking French will render even the simplest tasks impossible or highly complicated and the transportation is a mess.

BUT

You have delicious bread. A friend of mine once said, “If it’s not made in France, it’s not a baguette.” I thought it was just arrogance….until now, and while I’m on the topic of food, what about the countless gastronomic restaurants that make this city a chef’s dream? The museums and exhibitions are top notch and there is ALWAYS one happening somewhere. Summertime is when you sit along the Seine and share a bottle of crisp rosé with friends, laughing about life. The architecture is gorgeous, for the most part, and the shopping is great!

I guess what I’m trying to say, and this goes for everything in life, is that one should always try to be as realistic as possible. This way, fewer people would be susceptible to the “Paris Syndrome” (It’s a real thing!). Falling in love with anything or anyone requires you to accept the flaws just as much as you accepted the beautiful and the positive!

Chateau de Chantilly

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If I had to sum up Chateau de Chantilly, I’d say it is a modest version of Versailles. The chateau, just 45 minutes away from Gare du Nord station in Paris, is a beauty surrounded by a moat with acres of gorgeous greenery and an enormous stable house (Les Grandes Ecuries or The Great Stables) just behind.

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Walking from Chantilly train station, however, you’d most likely reach the stables first. These impressive stables could house up to 240 horses and 500 hounds back in the day and is considered a masterpiece of 18th century architecture. Today, this impressive space has been turned into a horse museum (Musée Vivante de Cheval/Living Museum of the Horse) and filled with a variety of equestrian equipment that look very much like torture devices. Truth be told, the horse museum was not exactly my favourite part of the visit but the sheer size and grandiosity of the building is indeed breathtaking. The first part of the visit stops at a little cafe serving sandwiches, refreshments and crepes so that you’re ready for the next part of the trip which involves crossing the road over to the gardens and the chateau itself.

The gardens itself are so large that you’d need more than the little afternoon I had given myself to escape the hectic ambiance of central Paris. Still, I managed to poke my nose into L’île d’amour. How magical would it be in summer ? The November fog gives the place an almost eery feel, very reminiscent of a 19th century vampire movie.

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Inside, the Chateau is set up very similarly to Versailles. You’ll walk through rooms and rooms lavishly decorated with fancy armchairs, ornated tables and grand chandeliers that sparkle and glisten even hundreds of years later. What sets it apart completely, however, is the Musée Condé that houses the second largest collection of art after the Louvre. In here, you will find gorgeous pieces such as The Three Graces by Raphael and other works of art by famous artists such as Nicolas Poussin as well as my personal favourite: Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci by Piero di Cosimo. Also, can we just take a minute to talk about the library?! #Goals.

 

All in all, a calm and tranquil afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Just don’t wear white trainers, haha!

Before I sign off, here is some practical information. The chateau, the stables and the gardens make up the Domaine de Chantilly. To visit the entirety of this domain, take an entire day off and bring 17 euros unless you are handicapped, a student, between 3-17 or unemployed, in which case you pay only 10 euros. If you only want to visit the gardens, it is 5 euros during low season instead of the usual 8 euros but I am definitely going back next Summer to finish my tour of the gardens! See you then!

For more information about tickets and opening times: https://newdomainedechantilly.tickeasy.com/fr-FR/accueil

 

Moving To France: A Quick Glance

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Seeing as I’m rather inspired today, I decided to put pen to paper. Ever since I got my first full-time job, I’ve found it difficult to find the time (nor the money!). It’s starting to make sense now, all those comments that my friends made but that I couldn’t relate to at the time.

“Everyday, I finish work at 8pm, go to the gym and am back at 10pm but I still haven’t had dinner.”

“I literally have zero left in my bank account after paying the bills.”

“I miss my student life! You’re so lucky!”

Well, not anymore! This girl is working a 39 hour week and as a sales associate, you are constantly on your feet dealing with the whims and emotions of female customers who often have an unwilling, uncooperative husband or boyfriend in tow but that’s a story for another time.

Moving to France has been an eye-opening experience in so many ways that words cannot describe. One of them, I’ve mentioned above. I’ve always appreciated the significance of money and I paid my way through university, like so many others. Luckily, my graduation came with a diploma sans debt so I’ve been very blessed in that respect. However, I had never had to fully support myself financially as in I had never paid a day’s rent in my life nor had I ever had to work a full-time job. That’s all changed now!

 

For a girl who’s just moved to Paris less than three months, I would say I’m faring quite well in this bustling city of cigarette smoke, coffee and croissants. My pay allows me to live comfortably enough and to even save some each month. Unfortunately, I have no holidays as I’m working in retail so one day off on the 25th for Christmas, another day off on the 1st for New Year’s and it’s back to the daily grind.

Otherwise, Paris is just breathtaking and it breaks my heart to hear some of my French friends ask me, “Why would you come back?” Little background story: I did my exchange three years ago in Lille, a student town on the northern border of France. Clearly, they’ve become used to the beauty of this historical city and taking things for granted is a straight path to sadness as happiness is the ability to appreciate the little things in life, is it not? Of course, there are things about France, about Paris, the culture and the mentality that irk me but such is life. Downsides are there in every nook and cranny. I have never seen a city without problems, a relationship without issues or a job that couldn’t be better. What changes everything is perspective and how we react to situations.

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All in all, despite my deeply frustrating struggles in the beginning (also a story for another time), my efforts have paid off and I am finally enjoying my Parisian life, starting with a couple awesome bars, restaurants and exhibitions! I cannot wait to discover the rest of the city and have even been able to do so by taking up a modelling job for a Taiwanese online clothing company. We shoot in beautiful locations that are more often than not, deserted on quiet Sunday afternoons. My days are filled with the babble of French and each day, I discover a fun, new word or phrase! I’ve even started tackling a 459 page novel in the language…though that might take a year!

What really takes my breath away, though, is seeing the Eiffel Tower coming out of metro Concorde every morning on my way to work. In my own little way, I’ve made it and it only gets better!

 

 

法國打工度假簽證 French Working Holiday Visa

France currently has working holiday agreements with the following countries:

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia (4 months) and Taiwan

If your country has been listed above and you are:

  • Between the age of 18-30
  • Are motivated by the opportunity to travel and discover France while possibly taking up paid employment
  • Have never participated in this programme previously

Then congratulations! You could qualify for the French working holiday visa. However, this particular post will be dedicated to my fellow Taiwanese countrymen/women so I shall proceed in Mandarin.


寫這篇文章的主要動機為協助想赴法打工度假的朋友們。由於本人簽證已審核通過,我認為自己應該是有資格給各位一些tips and tricks並且分享自己的經驗! 這樣或許可以讓大家放心也可以讓整個程序輕鬆點。

 

上個月去法國度假五個禮拜時,開始很認真地思考未來方向。我未來想要的生活品質是什麼? 如何達到? 14歲來台學中文,原本只待一年結果待了將近十年。大學畢業後決定要出去看看。原本考慮過香港、倫敦或者回南非但是19歲去法國交換之後,這國家給我留下了好印象而且法文也學了一半。最後下定決心一定要把這語言學好,我的目標是法文要跟中文一樣好。

 

在法國度假的第三個禮拜有朋友跟我說, “你可以試試看申請打工度假簽證來法國。

我抬起頭看了他。我應該是一副很困惑的樣子因為他又說, “我朋友就是申請這個,他現在在巴黎工作。

於是我與這位女生聯絡,了解狀況後就飛回台灣開始很積極地進行申請簽證的程序。過程中有許多問題,如果不是問她就是參考網路上的一些部落格。現在回台灣不到一個月就拿到了簽證,下個禮拜準備赴法開始人生中下個章節!

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法國在臺協會的網站寫得一清二楚還附上了所需文件表格所以我在這裡只會針對一些較麻煩的幾個文件做說明因為其他文件像是長期簽證申請表或動機和計畫書都蠻容易理解的。但是要請大家好好地把在台協會所提供的資料看兩遍! 因為去繳件當天,我因為忘了帶護照影本就被櫃台小姐叮嚀。

  1. 財力證明: 帳號需要有至少2100歐元。這個可以去郵局申請但是要記得他只能幫你印出前天的餘額所以若是有需要移動大筆資金至少要等一兩天後再去申請。每份20元,第二份起每增加一份就是10元。
  2. 健康檢查證明: 原本我是去臺北市立聯合醫院仁愛院區但服務人員態度滿差。說要做健檢請醫生開證明,他硬是要我做非常徹底又完整的檢查 (包含抽血等等) 才會有醫生願意幫我開證明。如果真的要這樣也沒關係但又要等一個禮拜於是我決定換到國泰醫院。國泰醫院服務態度不但親切,當天就拿到健康證明。醫生很樂意的使用了我找到的版本幫我寫了一份,在這裡給大家當參考!medical certificate.png
  3. 無犯罪紀錄證明: 又稱良民證,每份100元。記得要帶身分證及護照正本去申請。若是住台北的大概只有這裡可以申請良民證: 台北市政府警察局外事科 台北市中正區延平南路96 (02)23817494 但是暑假人特別多!
  4. 保險證明: 我覺得讓大駕非常混淆的關鍵字就是在台協會網站上生育這兩個字。其實大部分台灣保險公司都不會特別包含生育這部分,大概只有在台協會所提供的保險公司名單上的那幾家才會有但是都比較貴。最後我還是先申請了富邦銀行的十全大補 計畫A (2,360台幣) 在加 海外防護加值 (1,074台幣) 而我的簽證一樣通過了所以建議大家可以不要太過於擔心生育是否有包含在內。insurance (2)insurance1 (2)
  5. 來回交通票: 這個可以去旅行社請他們幫你印行程表就好也不用付任何的錢。我的去程是已經先訂好了並且繳了費用再去旅行社請他們印回程行程表給我。

以上就是比較麻煩的幾個文件的說明! 希望有協助到各位! 若是有任何的疑問可以傳訊息給我或者留言! 祝大家申請簽證順利

 

For more information, watch my YOUTUBE video!

 

Sicily: Day 2 Taormina

DAY 2 – Taormina

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Taormina has got to be my favourite city out of all the ones we visited, and trust me, we visited quite a few during our short-lived nine day trip. Why Taormina then? This city definitely has a few more tourists than the rest but is also one of the livelier ones with bars and clubs every few metres. Every corner you turn is a feast for the eyes, architecturally speaking. The girls here can be seen donning stylish jumpsuits and wedge heels.



The day before, we had bumped into two holidaymakers as we were hauling our luggage into our cosy room in Villa Magara. The two energetic ladies were about to finish their trip and had enigmatically told us about how Taormina was rather posh, which really wasn’t their thing, but do try a granita* at Bam Bar.

Hallelujah! Thank God we bumped into them because as instructed, we found the charming, little, family-owned establishment right on the corner of a street. Our travel guide had listed this particular spot as well so it was a must-see and honestly, this place deserves a special mention because I had THE BEST granita of my life here. The granita tasted like real fruit and the flavours all blended perfectly. The rich chocolate granita was topped off with a flower of fresh cream so of course, this isn’t a low-in-calory moment but it was one I’d never forget! One thing you must remember is that Bam Bar is PACKED. We waited half an hour for a table!

*Granita: a course textured ice confection typically made from fruit – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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The Garden of Villa Comunale is where we saw our first wedding; we saw two in total. The nervous bride, apparently from the UK, walked down the stairs with her father as the wedding guests and the visitors of the public gardens stood by and gawked at the procession. It was a perfect location for a wedding and the weather was gorgeous! How romantic to be wed one summer’s day on the island of Sicily…

 

 

Not To Be Missed:

(I won’t be listing churches or cathedrals as each city has hundreds! You can’t miss them!)

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Restaurants:

  • Bam Bar – Full description above
  • Timoleone CaféA jewel in the heart of Taormina. The place is cosy, quiet and more or less “hidden” which makes for a lovely escape from the constant site seeing and visiting. The staff spoke amazing english and was very professional!

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Accommodation:

  • La Finestra sul Mare – A bed and breakfast owned by Giovanni which we found on Airbnb. The room was large with a bathroom and a completely furnished kitchen on the way in. You have a terrace facing the ocean which looks splendid at sun set in all its pink and orange magnificence. Breakfast is provided for approximately 7-8 euros and you get dinner cooked by Giovanni and his wife for an extra 20-25 euros.