Outlet shopping at Sunshine Plaza in Taichung [YQasia Day 14 Oct 9]

taichung shopping

Location: Taichung, Taiwan

I have quite a silly travel regret: I do not go to outlet shopping enough.

Wait a minute, you ask. Aren’t you a miserly traveller? Why do you even want to go to outlets? Plus, why didn’t you go in the first place so you won’t regret not going?

Let me answer your questions one-by-one:

1. Somewhere in my miserly mind, I associate the discounts from buying at outlet stores as savings. (Nevermind that I would save more if I don’t buy anything in the first place.)

2. I never went to any outlets in Paris, Barcelona, San Francisco or Tokyo because the outlets were far away from the city and I would rather sightsee more than head out to shop.

So I finally had the chance to indulge in outlet shopping when my aunt and her friend brought my mom and me to Sunshine Plaza in Taichung. Well, my mom had the chance to indulge in outlet shopping, I mean, since I don’t have a job yet I cannot afford to buy.

Coach outlet at Sunshine Plaza Taichung
Coach outlet at Sunshine Plaza Taichung

The saleslady at the Coach outlet was really nice as she probably has a good commission. She even allowed us to put our backpacks along with our purchases behind her counter while we went for a small lunch and a walk around the outlet mall.

In contrast, the saleslady at the Fox shoes outlet was a pain. She grudgingly gave me too sizes to try. I didn’t like the designs to begin with but my mother insisted that I try them out. While I put them on, I complained that the sizes were either half a size too large or small.

Fox Saleslady then mumbled really loudly about people who do not know how to wear shoes and that sizes are fixed anyway. I felt like being a bitch back at her but bit my tongue.

I got my consolation later. As we were heading up the escalator after applying for tax refund, I saw Fox Sales lady talking to her friend. Her reflection was in the mirror at the wall and I was reflected as well. This time, I didn’t hold my tongue but rather stuck it out at my reflection. I think she caught me doing it but I brushed past her back and went up the escalator.

I think I’m still too childish.

In the end, I managed to get one pair of shoe at Sunshine Plaza. It’s actually a triumph because I rarely find shoes that I actually like.

The beginning of the day…

I took a bath in the hot springs tub behind the room before heading to breakfast. The breakfast buffet was quite amazing with a spread of Taiwanese food including porridge, pan fried dumplings, organic soy milk, century egg, tofu, stirfried veggies and so on.

Later, we took the 10:20am bus to Shuili and then another bus to Taichung. Halfway through the journey, an old lady realized that the bus was not heading to where she wanted to go. The bus driver kindly went out of the way and dropped her off before

When we reached Taichung station, we found our way to Sunshine Plaza and did what I mentioned in the beginning of this post.

Taichung Second market
Taichung Second market

After our shopping trip, it was my aunt’s time to head back while mom and I waited for my uncle in front of a shopping mall. The sky turned dark and the lane in front of the mall was semi-clogged by cars dropping off and picking up passengers.

Our uncle arrived finally and brought us to a little place for freshwater fish. Then we retired for the night.

Small eatery in Taichung
Small eatery in Taichung

Check out the YQ in Taiwan series:

Day 1 Flight to Taiwan, bus to Taichung [YQasia Day 12 Oct 7]
Day 2 Staying at a hot springs resort in Dongpu [YQasia Day 13 Oct 8]

Marketing at San Telmo Sunday flea market [YQrtw Day 63 Jun 9]

San Telmo flea market

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

I don’t really have any plans for Buenos Aires. My main goal here is to learn enough Spanish to venture out into the wild wild South America.

So for today, I listened to the advice of someone on Instagram and decided to check out San Telmo Sunday flea market. A Google Map search told me that it was within a walking distance of 2.4km.

It was drizzling slightly when I walked out of the hostel building. The street was empty except for a few people and some taxis.

As I walked down the road, I realized that I was the only person carrying an umbrella. Other people were walking in the rain or standing in a shade.

It was a bit unnerving walking down the long stretch of road and not seeing another umbrella even though the rain was enough to soak into my clothes.

I thought that maybe Buenos Airesians (?) do not believe in umbrella. But umbrella is not a religion, how can you not believe in it?

Finally, when I turned into Ave Indepencia, I saw another umbrella. I could only see the white beard of the person carrying the umbrella.

Before heading to San Telmo, I walked along Ave Indepencia, trying to find a Japanese restaurant. I didn’t manage to find it but I did see the Japanese Association in Argentina.

(Later, I found out that the restaurant shared the same address as the association but I still could not find the entrance.)

Japanese Association in Argentina
Japanese Association in Argentina

After the fruitless search, I continued on my way. I turned around the corner and stopped to take a photo.

Suddenly, two boys appear near me. They stopped and one of them sat on the window sill. From the corner of my eye, I saw him holding a bottle of beer.

I felt uneasy. I suspected that they might want to rob me so I looked at the one nearest me in the eyes. I walked off but turned around to see if they were following me. The boy was still sitting but was looking in my direction.

I quickly walked down the streets. Luckily, a lot of people were walking a few roads down. I followed the current of the people and reached San Telmo Market.

The inside of the market wasn’t fascinating. It had different stalls. Some selling antiques, coffee, flowers, clothes, leather everything. One shop sold creepy antique dolls.

San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires
San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires

I walked around for about half an hour before I got bored. I thought to myself, “Is this it?”

So I got out of the market and walked right into the real Sunday flea market. Since the rain had only stopped just now, most of the stalls were only starting to set up their wares.

I also discovered the sister restaurant of the Japanese restaurant I wanted to go to. However, the price of A$100 (S$25) for a set meal scared me off and I gave an excuse that I should continue walking.

So I walked. All the way from one end of the market to the other end at Plaza Mayo. Walking on Buenos Aires’ cobbled stone path wasn’t easy. I sometimes trip but manage not to fall.

The wares sold repeated themselves: Woolly clothes, mate cups and straw, leather goods etc.

San Telmo Sunday flea market
San Telmo Sunday flea market

I did manage to buy a comic book for Spanish practice.

Mafalda comic
Mafalda comic

After the long long walk, I headed back to my hostel. On the way, I stopped by SUMO, an ice cream shop recommended by a classmate.

In Argentina, they don’t serve ice cream like you know it. The sizes come in 1/4 kilogram, half a kilogram and a kilogram.

I didn’t realize that and ordered a medium ice cream. It came in a bad tasting waffle but was quite big. I found out that for 3 pesos more, I could have gotten the 1/4 kilogram of ice cream. Now I can only dream of such an ice cream.

Ice cream from San Telmo's SUMO
Ice cream from San Telmo’s SUMO

After the cold lunch, I finally got back to my hostel. I stayed in and didn’t do much since it was the last day before classes start.

The best and worst meal

For dinner, I was deciding between dinner at the pizzeria downstairs or a nice meal out. In the end, nice meal won because I’ve made up mind to start cooking on Monday.

So off I went to a Tripadvisor recommended steak house. The restaurant only had another table of customer because it was still too early for dinner.

I ordered the smallest steak and rashly added a glass of champagne. We have to enjoy life to the fullest, don’t we?

The champagne was delightful. It wasn’t too dry and the bubbles were popping about. I was down to half a glass when my steak finally came with its expensive serving of thick cut fries.

Argentinian steak is so lovely.
Argentinian steak is so lovely.

The steak as DE-LI-CIOUS. I ordered it rare, knowing that it is cooked to medium rare here in Argentina. It was very tasty. The best part was the fat which was crispy and oozed of liquid cholesterol.

There was also pools of pink blood leaking but that was comforting because it meant that it wasn’t fully cooked.

While the whole meal was wonderful, almost at the end of my steak, I felt the strangest sensation.

I was feeling quite tipsy since I drank champagne on an empty stomach. Worst thing was, the delicious meat that I had was actually clawing their way up my throat.

Oh dear.

I sat in my chair, staring out of the window at the Carrefour Express opposite. Half of me wanted to pay my bill, run to the supermarket and chug down 1 liters of water. The other half of me knew that I would probably throw up on the corner of the street before I even leave the restaurant.

The blood on the plate made me more nauseous. The whole fragrant grilled meat smell was making me disgusted.

I did the best thing. I ordered a A$16 bottle of non-gassy water.

The water was my saviour. I immediately felt more clear headed and less nauseous. I gratefully took sips of the water and finished the whole bottle.

I couldn’t wait to leave the restaurant since the smell of meat wasn’t helping with my stomach. I paid my bill and walked back slowly, planning my next less-alcoholic menu.

I’m open for suggestions on food to cook in hostel kitchens. If you have any recipes, please share them with me in the comments. Muchas gracias.

Non shopper’s visit to Platinum Mall, Bangkok

Platinum Mall

Facade of Platinum Mall
Facade of Platinum Mall

When I was making my plans for my first trip to Bangkok, I asked for travel recommendation from those who have been there. Platinum Mall was high on the recommendation list as the mall had the cheap clothes that would be even cheaper if you buy them wholesale (meanning, more than 2 pieces).

Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of clothes shopping, I replied that I will see if I can visit. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for shopping, I included it into my itinerary to find out for myself why they say Bangkok is a shopper’s heaven as well as everyone’s strange devotion to the mall.

Plus, Platinum Mall is just a short walk away from Erawan Shrine and I did not have much planned for the day anyway.

Entering Platinum Mall


Store directory of Platinum Mall
Store directory of Platinum Mall

I entered the building which was labelled Zone 3 on one the directory and was quite stunned by all the stalls that were there.

The shops were never ending, each packed from floor to ceiling with merchandise.

The first and second floors were dedicated to Women Fashion Clothes, the third floor was for Bags, the fouth for Leather while the fifth was for Shoes.

Clothes stall in Platinum Mall
Clothes stall in Platinum Mall

The stalls take up a small rectangle of space. There was no visible fitting room in them but I suspect they have curtains hung from the ceiling for buyers to change.

The clothes were nice and rather trendy but the quality did not seem very good. Maybe that’s why they are considered fast moving consumer goods (along with shampoos and soapbars).

Bag stalls at Platinum Mall
Bag stalls at Platinum Mall

I almost bought one of the handbags. A sign said they sold at 299 baht each, but after close examination, I realize that they are the types that will easy breakoff after some use.

I also saw the stall selling Naraya knockoffs. The brand is famous among tourists who go to Bangkok. I do not know why they like it since the material of the bags are shiney and look cheap (not the low price type of cheap.)

Toilet break at Platinum Mall
Toilet break at Platinum Mall

One of the stalls was cordoned off with a sign saying: “Employees go to toilet. Please wait. –Saralee.” I don’t think the customers would have missed anything since the clothes sold there were likely exhibited at other stalls too.
Shoe stalls at Platinum Mall
Shoe stalls at Platinum Mall

I saw some customers dragging large suitcases which led me to suspect that they buy in bulk to sell back in their home countries. (At the airport, there were a lot of Singaporean dragging large suitcases with them to checkin, perhaps they are the entrepreneurs.)

I visited all the levels in the building, trying to find an excuse to buy something–anything–but nothing caught my fancy.

When I left the building, it felt like I had been walking in the mall for two hours but a check of my photo timestamps showed that it was only a 30 minute visit.

I guess clothes shopping malls are not my cup of tea, I prefer second hands clothes better especially those that look more sturdy than the regular FMCG stuff out there.

Are you a shopper? Have you visited Platinum Mall, how was your experience?

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Why toiletries make the best souvenir

When travelling, I usually buy tacky souvenirs for friends at home. (Sorry!) But for myself, there is only one type of souvenir–which unfortunately has multiple product categories–I need.

Regular cute souvenirs

My Achilles heel is not a killer pair of shoes nor a nice dress, but toiletries.

I dislike how the airlines limit how much liquids we can carry. But I’m secretly happy that this will give me an excuse to buy toiletries in a foreign land.

Here’s why you should buy toiletries as souvenirs (for your friends or yourself)

Continue reading “Why toiletries make the best souvenir”

Shopping for vintage clothing in Kota Kinabalu

If you are planning a trip to Kota Kinabalu (or KK–pronounced “keh keh” locally instead of “kay kay” the non-local way–for short), you probably would have sun, sea, mountain in mind instead of vintage clothing.

OK OK, I’m stretching it a lot when I say vintage, it should be second hand clothing.

Continue reading “Shopping for vintage clothing in Kota Kinabalu”

I want to buy: make up ;D

I admit that I’m a beginner when it comes to make up. The most I can do (and not mess up) is brush on powder foundation, blush and swipe on mascara. But  foundation makes my skin look bumpy, my blush rusts in half a day and my eyelashes don’t curl. Ha ha ha!

BUT! I want to buy make up in Japan! Do you know that they have the cutest/ prettiest/ fantastic packaging? Just looking at it brings out the anti-girl-on-a-budget in me.

I’m usually sensible when it comes to money (yes, you can stay stingy) but when I look at the Japanese cosmetics ads, I feel the urge to get one (or ALL!) They’re so pretty!!!

A good point of getting make up in Japan is that they’re probably cheaper than buying in SG or MY. There wouldn’t be extra shipping charges. AND I get to choose newly released products, but knowing me. I might choose last season stuff if they’re cheaper.

So here’s a (boring) list of make up I would like to buy. I’m not including things that are out of my budget or it will turn into a “things I wish I have enough money to buy”.

Majorica Majolca mascara

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Yes, your lashes will reach your glasses and stain them if you use this mascara.
-I have really oily eyelids so I look like a panda by the end of the day if I use wrong mascaras. It’s  really tricky for me to buy mascaras. I now have Dejavu Fiberwig (bought on sale, of course) and as they have black fibers instead of paint, I look normal.
-MajoMajo’s mascara has positive reviews and one review says that it’s really hard to remove. Does that mean it’ll stay on my lashes? I hope!

Gel eyeliner from KATE

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KATE’s available in Singapore and Malaysia but I’ve not seen the gel eyeliner yet. And if my theory of no-shipping-charge is right, buying it from Japan will save me money. :D
My oily lids prevent me from using pencil liners and with liquid liner, I look like I used a permanent marker on my eyes. I can’t afford expensive gel liners so KATE’s a good thing to try.

I can only think of two products I want (for now, heh heh). WIll update when the spending-demon in me crawls out.