Amie's Adventures

The world is full of amazing places, people and cultures - i plan to eventually see it all
  • Day20

    Day 20 - Its home time

    July 21 in Australia

    Hey travel journal,
    That's it, we are done, it's time to go home. Im sitting on plane waiting for take off thinking about the last three weeks. It's gone both really quick and feels like forever all at the same time. I woke up early this morning because I couldn't sleep and just potted around and had a cup of tea before and Sam and I headed out to the usual place for traditional Taiwanese breaky of fantwan (rice roll) one last time and said she good bye to the guys at the store. Then we headed back to the dorm and just chatted for ages. One by one people starting getting up and joining us in the lounge and with our box of left over goodies from last night most people just dug in and had break and jam or Nutella, or biscuits or what ever else they could find to eat. Some people sat up chatting to the buddies until 3am this morning, so I'm not surprised they are tired this morning. Then we spent some time packing before toni left at 12.30pm to get her flight to nz. Then after our goodbyes with toni - Sam, Sophie, Sara and sahama and I went to lunch while the others took the buddies to a fancy Japanese restaurant. Today of all days it's raining so every time we went outside this morning we got wet. But that's ok. Then we headed back to the dorm and met up with the rest of the group and the buddies and headed to some underground markets. While we were waiting Wendy gave us all little hand made cards at she had written in and drawn little pictures of each of us. It was so cute. Then back to the MRT for the last time headed to the markets. Taipei is quite interesting, it's a literal basin where the city is in the middle and mountains surround the entire edge. It's quite pretty on days like today when the tops of the mountains are covered in cloud. The markets are pretty cool. It's literally under ground and has a few different sections. We went to 'Z' section because it's cheapest and the most like street markets. We all wandered around for a bit and spent some monies. I got a four leaf clover necklace. Then we headed back to shipai and all split up and had a last tour of food street. The girls and I got DYI hotpot and I visited the juice bar for the last time. Then we headed back to the dorm, showered and did the last of the packing and final checks of the room. Then it was time to get on the bus and head to the airport. All the buddies came with us which was nice. On the bus we all just chatted and laughed and had the most amazing time, a few of us ate our dinner and jasmine came through and gave us all a photo of the trip with a little message on the back and some essential oils. I got a little roll on that you put under your nose to keep you awake and Andy's stick that you put on mosquito bites and bruises to help with healing. Then we headed to check in, put our bags in and all said good bye to the buddies and hugged everyone and took photos and then that was it, through customers, and slowly make our way through the airport. Sharni took a travel calm that made her slightly stoned, so waiting to bored was the most hilarious thing ever. But then once we sat down she passed out so it clearly worked. And now to settle. In, watch some movies, and try to sleep. Can't wait to get home. Until the next adventure... Night xoRead more

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  • Day19

    Hey travel journal,
    With classes officially over we were free to do what ever we wanted today. So in true Aussie fashion we started with no plan and a sleep in. Then Sam and just being the only people up, headed out and went across to the traditional Taiwanese breaky place and got rice rolls for breaky. Then got back and walked up all the stairs because the power to the building had been turned off due to maintenance. Then after a couple of hours, lots of conversation and a couple of hiccups - we had a plan. First we got everyone up, even the party girls who had a big night last night and met downstairs at 10.30am. Wesley had made everyone individualised postcards. They are so cute. After he handed them out the group headed off to the MRT. We had the whole group minus 3, and like 7 buddies. It was such a good day. After a MRT transfer and a short walk we ended up at some cultural gardens. The gardens where really pretty and there were hit springs, a national library, and cultural centre. All free to explore. First we walked around the edge of the gardens and along the hot spring river, stopping at one point to test the temperature of the water, and went to the hot Springs. It was one little Lake that was bubbling it was so hot, you could see the steam and feel the heat radiating off the water. What was kinda cool was that at the far end on the other side of the walk way was a water fall, that you could feel the cold spray coming off. Totally not what I expected. It also had up on a little ledge a little prayer house and outdoor wood fire. That was well maintained and had incense burning. So clearly in use. Then we made a pit stop at the hot spring suvanier shop and then headed to lunch. On the way we passed the library which has a Lillie pond out the back and what beautiful architecture. Everyone had different ideas but most of us ended up at sushi express. I just followed the main group because I felt that would be easier. Then we headed to the cultural centre. It wasn't very big. But it showed that there are indigenous individuals and a little history to the country. Honestly, there really isn't much. For the most part it's like they never really existed before China took over and now they just exist the way they do. It was kinda nice to read that some people have close contact with the land and their beliefs and that there is that indigenous community. Then we headed back on the MRT. Most people got off at the uni stop but Sam, toni, Sara and sahama and I kept going and went to the supermarket. Sam, toni and I did an epic shop for our buddies goodbye party. We got doritoes and salsa, Tim Tam's, made fairy bread, got soft drink and got plates and cups. Then we headed back to the dorm. Sophie and toni made the fairy bread and ran out to get some fruit for the fruit platter. A bunch of the girls set up a picnic area on the grass out the front of the dorm and Sam and I ran around food street like headless chickens organising food, shocking vender with how much we were ordering. It was hectic and epic fun. First we stopped at the dumpling place and ordered $300 worth (they ate $6 each), then we found a vendor that does sweet potato chips (meant we didn't have to walk 15 mins to kfc so we could make chip buddies) that were amazing, then we went to the meat meal place and ordered two meals (with the help of a bilingual amazing bystander) and went to our regular fried rice place and go 6 fried rices and 2 noodles. I headed back with everything while Sam was waiting at the fried rice place and she arrived about 5-10mins after me. Everyone was outside, the girls had stolen the wooden seating boxes from the lounge rooms and taken them outside and two tables from by the front of the dorms and set up an awesome seating area with food in the middle. And everyone just ate, drank, listened to music, danced, chatted, played cards and had an amazing time. All of the food was gone except for the bread, and one and a bit rices. Everything else was demolished. And all of the buddies were laughing and having an amazing time and Wesley ran over and ate quickly on his lunch break from work. We taught them the nut bush and the macarina. All around we had the best night and everyone enjoyed it. When the bin man arrived we just collected everything and dumped it in the bin and the boys took all the boxes back up stairs and the tables back to the dorms for us which was awesome and we just sat around chatting and listening to music for ages. It was so good. A while bunch of them are upstairs atm, drinking and playing cards but I tapped out. It's midnight and I'm stuffed. I showered and now I'm hiding in bed, ready to crash. We fly home tomorrow night (11pm) I wonder what the day will bring? Night xoRead more

  • Day18

    Hey travel journal,
    Today was the last uni day. We got up and met outside to head over to the classroom to about traumatology lecture. Once I got down stairs one of the boys asked if I had any electrolytes because Andy was pretty sick. So Jim and I headed up to the room to get some and then down to give them to Andy. He looked like shit. He was sweaty, tachyapneic, tachycardic and barely with it. He couldn't sit up on his own so I got Jim to make up the electrolytes and I sat Andy up and got him to drink and then we put a wet towel around the back of his neck and turned the fan on. He said that it has happened before, he just pushed himself too hard and hasn't had a rest day since we got here. He has been doing a lot of exercise. He said electrolytes and sleep and he was good last time. I gave him his phone and we headed to class. He traumatology class was not what I expected. The teacher spoke about the national insurance, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture basics. Then I headed back to the dorm and checked on Andy. He was asleep but heaps better and vitals had all gone back to normal, so we left him where he was and headed over to the conference room. In the conference room we all had lunch provided. There was pizza, chicken nuggets, chips, pork wraps, onion rings, red bean pastry and drinks. We all ate way too much. After we finished eating toni and I headed up to the room and finished off our gifts for the buddies. We made up a little gift bag for each person. Then we went into final presentations. First the Koreans and Singapore students talked about nursing in their respective countries and then we spoke about health care as a whole and followed a patient through the hospital system, through each of our departments. Then the buddies spoke about the uni, health care and nursing education in taipai. Then they showed a video that had loads of pictures of everyone from our trip. And then we did gift exchange with our buddies. They loved their gift bags. And they gave each of us a little coin purse each. Then we headed downstairs with all three schools and the buddies and took a massive group photo. Then the Koreans gave everyone from every school a little gift bag with some lollies. It was super cute. After we were done we headed back to the dorms. I first swung by the boys room just to check on Andy. He sat up and had a coherent conversation. Made him drink more electrolytes and he had a fruit juice. So I headed back up to the dorm and hung out in the lounge with some of the girls and we organised a picnic dinner for all the buddies for tomorrow night. Then after chilling for a bit Sam, Sophie, Sara and sahama and I headed out for some dinner. We just wandered around until we found a little local restaurant and sat down to order. The nice waiter helped up to order. The food was pretty tasty. Then we went to the bakery for sahama and the juice shop for me and the 7-eleven for the girls to get some alcohol. Then we headed back and all sat in the girls room chatting, listening to music and watching you tube videos. Then after a non-productive chat about what's happening tomorrow we all decided to just crash and take it as it comes. So we shall see what tomorrow brings :) night xoRead more

  • Day18

    Hey travel journal,
    This morning we were up early and headed over to the class room to have the second half of our acupuncture class. We talked through the rest of the meridians and body regions and were shown how to do a facial massage with your fingers and a scalp massage with a thing that looks like a comb. Then after we were done with the acupoints, we were shown....... Which uses incense and heat for healing. The main form is a really thick incense stick that looks like a cigar that you light at one end and hold it close to the skin surface. There was also little cones that you light and stick onto the skin, a box that goes on your head for centre point meridian and a thing that looks like a hammer. You put the stick in the top and use the end like massage wand. We gave them all a go and then we all cleaned up and said goodbye to the teacher. We all headed to lunch together and ended up at this Japanese restaurant that had different rice or noodle meals. We were all sitting upstairs eating when one of the servers came out and asked Sam's instagram for the guy behind the counter. She agreed because we go home very soon. We all waved to him as we left, poor guy. He started messaging within a few hours. He is 17 and wants to take Sam to dinner. :p cute. She said no. Then we headed back to the dorms and we all met up on level 7 in the lounge to talk about what we are doing for our group presentation tomorrow. We decided to go with a brief overview of our health system (with each dorm doing one section) and then the follow a patients journey through each of our departments (with each person writing about their own degree). We did the out outline for the paramedics one really quick and then I padded it out and did the slides. And for our dorm we got introduction, which we found a video that sums up our system really well, so we were. Done pretty quick. Sam did an amazing job putting it all together and then we were done. After chilling for a bit we all headed out to the night markets. Sophie and I ended up having a little shopping date and got all the things we wanted for people back home and then after stopping for a donut we headed back on the MRT. We went to the juice shop on the way home from the station but it was closing just as we got there. Sad face. So we just went back to the dorm. Once back I started organising everyone to get a pile together of the gifts for the buddies and teacher tomorrow. We have a class in the morning, then our presentation and a farewell lunch and afternoon. We decided to make a little gift pack for each of the buddies and toni is going to run out in the morning and get bags so they look pretty. Then I showered and now it's time for bed because I'm not going to get much sleep tonight. Night xoRead more

  • Day16

    Hey travel journal,
    This morning we were up early and jumped on a bus and headed over to a public hospital for a tour. The Taipei city public hospital has 8 branches, each of which have a different focus. For example oncology, neurological deficit, aged care etc. The branch we went to today were the Chinese medicine specialist. The hospital is primarily an out patient facility and integrates Western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine. There are floors in the hospital for things such as blood testing and HIV management, while others are dedicated to acupuncture, manual manipulation (chiropractic) and a massive Chinese medicine pharmacy. The prescribed compounded powders are covered by their national insurance, which other herbs, plants etc are all charged to the patient. First we watched a video on the public health system and the 8 branches, as well as one on the focus of the integrated branch. All of the doctors and pharmacist are trained both in Western and Chinese medicine, and can practice both types of medicine. Then after a group photo we had a tour of the acupuncture clinic and they showed us all the different needles they use, including these tiny ones that look like splinters stuck to a sticky pad, which they can apparently place on the patient and leave on for a few days to help provide prolonged pain relief. Then we went to the manual manipulation area which was a big room with lots of massage tables. They asked for volunteers to be part of the demonstration and Andy put his hand up and said that he had a sore back. The doc said his spine was a bit out of alignment and used a little pillow that he put on Andy's back where it is out and then used his body weight and pressure pushed up against the pillow to help crack his back. He said it felt so much better. Then everyone volunteered me for the second demonstration, which I didn't really want to do in front on everyone but I have been thinking about making a chiro appointment for next week, so figured why not. I told him about my knee pain and he said that most of the times knees are sore because the patients back and pelvis are out. So hey lay me on my side and cracked my back, and did both sides. The crack was pretty epic and then did my pelvis. I have never had a pelvic realignment before so the was new. He put the hard pillow in the small of my back while I was laying on my back and then I bent my knees and opened them putting my feet together. And then I don't know what he did but I slide my feet down the bed and he did some kind of resistance and it cracked well. My knee still hurts, but my back feels so much better. The sharp pain I have been getting in my lower back is gone which is amazing. Then we had a tour of the pharmacy. It was pretty decent in size with lots of little cubicles where pharmacists were compounding powered prescriptions for patients and in the back they had a traditional pharmacy set up with all the shelves and things in pots on the wall. I wonder if the set up and the order that things are stored have some kind of meaning?... Then after trying some things (or I should say, eating goji berries), we went downstairs to see the vats where they make all of the liquid mixes. Then it was time to head off. A small group stayed at the hospital and headed off to indoor rock climbing (which was a 3m climbing wall with no harnesses), while the rest of us headed back to campus. On the way back to the dorm we headed to food street and got some food. Sara, Sophie and I first went to my new juice shop and got a drink. I tried the dragon fruit one today, it was pretty good. They also had samples of this raspberry crush thingy that was also pretty tasty. I then got the rice, beef, egg and vegetables thingy from the other day but curry instead of black pepper flavour. The girls decided to just eat some stuff that they had back at the dorms, so then we headed back. Unfortunately Sharni missed the day as she stayed at the dorm with vomiting and diarrhoea. Sophie was also pretty sick, Danny was nauseated and I also had the runs. We all ate the same thing for lunch yesterday, so we are thinking it's food poisoning from that. I felt pretty shit house in the arvo so I just watched Netflix, went to the toilet (I don't even know how many times) and slept for a bit. When I woke up I was so sweaty and foggy, it was like I had just gotten out of the shower. Despite my upset tummy, I have still been hungry all afternoon (maybe I have worms...). Apparently a bunch of people played volleyball in the afternoon and then one group of people were heading to hotpot for dinner and another group were going on a bit of a walk/did the mountain behind campus. Sophie and I decided to head out and go to the juice place and get soda and cranberry drinks and vegetable fried rice and headed back to the dorms and retreated back into our respective rooms to hide from the world. After a while I did my physio stretches and convinced my self that I had energy for a shower. Now, I am laying in bed wide awake a midnight because I slept all arvo. Whoops. Oh well, at least my tummy has settled and tomorrow should be a better day. Night xoRead more

  • Day15

    Hey travel journal,
    It's been a bit of a weird one today, you can tell it's the last week and everything is starting to wind down. We got up and jumped on a bus and headed to a long term care facility for its grand opening. When we first walked in there was a preschool practising their dance for the opening ceremony, and we just sat and watched. They were pretty cute. The mayor was running late so we say around for an hour or so and then headed over to the side of the room, as all the chairs filled up. Then a lady introduced the event and the preschool did their cute little performance and then we mayor arrived and shook people's hands and took photos as we walked down the centre isle to the stage. It was like he was a celebrity. He then gave a speech and the manager of the building gave a speech and then there was a group photo where the mayor and manager pulled a sticker off a poster as the official opening. Then after the mayor left everyone sort of broke up and headed over to us in swarms. We were manning the food table and were serving the snacks as a community service while we are here. Then after a group photo, we headed up stairs and had a tour of one of the levels. There was a little kitchen, bathroom for people who need extra help, and a big lounge room and tables with activities and a physiotherapy area. Most of the rooms had six people in each, separated by gender. A couple of rooms had two beds and one room was a single, each with their own bathroom. The top level is the high dependency ward. They were then going to give us a tour of level one which is the dementia ward, with single rooms but the nursing staff worried that so many people would upset the patients. Which is totally understandable. So then we jumped back on the bus and headed back to campus and straight up to the classroom. We had preordered lunch because we knew we would be late back to campus and the teacher had brought us all bubble tea. So at least we got to eat our rice rolls and drink tea once we made it to the classroom. Then we had a lesson on mandarin. The teacher was cool, she spoke to us predominantly in mandarin which was confusing at first but we caught on in the end. We went through how to say our names, that we are from Australia and are students and our gender. Then we went through how to say our family members, things we like and our birthday. Then we brushed over money, colours, and basic food items before spending some time on body parts. It was so funny I don't remember anything except that we made the teacher crack up laughing a couple of times and that the arm sounds like Sophie, the thorax sounds like 'these titties', the abdomen sounds like 'food baby' and the thigh sounds like 'this bit'. We had a good laugh if nothing else. We then got a whole bunch of handouts that were meant to be the rest of class but we ran out of time because we were so late getting back from the age care facility. After saying our goodbyes we headed back to the dorm and I started writing and researching for my essay. I'm slightly worried about making the word count but I will see how I go once I finish. Then a bunch of us headed down to a Japanese restaurant where you order on an ipad and little shuttle train that's a tray bring the food to you on a conver belt. It was kinda cool but more expensive then the sushi train and I think the sushi train is just as good. Then some of us headed back to the dorm, some went to the night markets in the city and some went on a little hike up to a look out that overlooks shipai. On the way back I found a bunch of girls in family mart so I stopped and waited for them so we could back together. Sophie and I were standing outside waiting for Sara to finish buying some stuff when I just heard screeching and a bang behind me. I spun around and saw a girl standing in the middle of the road and a motor bike on its side and at first I thought 'oh sweet she is ok managed to jump off in time', and then I saw a guy stuck under the bike and push him self out. I handed my stuff to Sophie and ran over to the guy, he spoke no English but he was up and walking. I helped him pick up his bike and put some of the broken bits in his tray and move it to the curb. The full cap was broken and there was fuel on the road and he had two gas bottles on the back which had rolled up the road a bit which we also went and collected. He had an obviously sore wrist, neck and bleeding food. The girl was standing with a couple of friends on the side of the road and went over and asked if they spoke English which thankfully they did. The girl was ok, just a little in shock. The guy walked past us into the family mart to buy some cigarettes. I asked if they had called 119 and they said no. I said they should because the guy needed to be seen at the hospital. They went and talked to him and he refused because he had to go to work. They told me what they said and that they were all OK. So Sophie and I ran across the road to the fire/ambo station and I told the officer what had happened, that there was fuel on the road and that he was injured but refusing treatment and they sent a car over to check it out. Even if he denied treatment, I'm glad an EMT went to check him out. Then we headed back to the dorm and the three of us sat and watched the Italian job. Then I had a shower and now I'm in bed. It was an interesting day if nothing else. And goes to show how hard things can be sometimes when their is a language barrier, but once you have found an interpreter your sweet. Good deed for the day done I think. Now it's time to sleep. Night xoRead more

  • Day14

    Day 14 - A thousand lakes

    July 15 in Taiwan

    Hey travel journal,
    Today started with a sleep in, which was amazing :) then after breaky I headed across the road to breakfast place and got an rice roll for lunch and the seven eleven for a drink and some biscuits. Which I packed with a book and a 2L water and headed out to meet everyone at 11am. We headed to the MRT and jumped on the red line and transferred to the yellow line and went right to the end before jumping on a bus and winding through the countryside for an hour. Then we walked for an hr or two through lots of greenery, with trees and some bamboo and the odd small tea tree plantation and ended up at a look out where we looked out over the mountains and a winding river. The river was like an opaque blue colour and the trees where green and all around. It was really pretty. We sat the look out and ate our packed lunches. Then we headed a bit further down the track to another look out that had a cute little garden and looked over the 'thousands lake' which is meant to look like a dragon from above. Then after everyone took a million photos, we jumped on a shuttle back to the bus stop, then a bus back to the train station. Before we got back on the train we went down to the river and hired out paddle boats and just paddled around and chilled for a bit and at one point we all just joined our boats and paddled down the river as one big mega paddle boat. It was kinda fun. Then we sat and chatted for a bit on the river bank before a few people went up to the cafes along the river bank (think southbank kinda set up) and the other half of us jumped on the MRT and headed back to shipai. Once we got back we all broke off and got food for dinner. Sam and I headed down food street and got DYI hot pot and I tried a new juice place and got cranberry and soda. It was soo refreshing, exactly what I needed. They also have a really nice looking dragonfruit one. So next time I'm gonna have to get that and give it a go :) then we headed back to the dorm. I was antisocial and sat and just chilled in the room for a bit. Then sahama and Emily got ready and went with a bunch of the others to a local pub to watch the soccer grand finals. The game doesn't start until 11pm and we have an 8am start tomorrow. So, as amazing and fun as it would be, I decided to stay in and do some washing and just chill. And tomorrow we are up early for our community service. But for now, night xoRead more

  • Day13

    Hey travel journal,
    I woke up early this morning. So I took my time getting up and getting ready for the day. Then we headed over to the classroom and had a talk about aids prevention in nurses. They talked about how they aim for prevention through awareness and education. Unfortunately they didn't really go into how the program works or many of the statistics. But they did say that over 38000 people in Taiwan have aids, that nurses have to prove work acquired transmission for financial support and that they have achieved 88% of the population being free from HIV through medication and their programs. After a group photo we then headed to lunch. Today we went to a vegetarian buffet place where we chose our own food and headed back to campus. Sophie, Sam, Sara and I then sat on the fields and ate lunch under the shade of a tree before heading up to the dorm and chilling before heading out to the gondolas. The gondolas were pretty awesome, although it took ages to get there. Two trains and about an hour, followed by a short walk and lots of lining up. Then we all split up and went in different gondolas. In mine was Sophie, Sam, Sara, Joanne and jerry and the views of the mountains and city were epic. Once we got to the top we walked through winding roads with greenery on both sides with the epic views past vendors, a little township and restaurants over looking the view. After a couple of km's. We got to a cool outdoor tea house were we sat looking over the mountains and tea fields and shared different local teas, and ate dumplings and just chatted for ages while the sun went down.The four party girls headed off early because they had booked an air bnb somewhere. It was an awesome and relaxing afternoon. Sophie and Andy even had a nap. Then we walked back to the gondolas and watched the city lights as we rode the 30mins back to the main station, followed by the epic train journey home. After we got back we all broke off and headed down food street to get dinner. Sahama and I got fried rice and met the other girls back in the dorm lounge and we just sat and ate and chatted for ages. It was so nice. Sophie and Sam where clearly on something, they kept cracking up laughing at the most insignificant things. It was rediculously amazing. Even better, we actually have a day with no classes tomorrow and we have a plan to go to a place called a thousand Lakes, but we aren't leaving until 11am. Yay, we get a sleep in!! But for now, I'm stuffed so I'm passing out. Night xoRead more

  • Day12

    Hey travel journal,
    Not much to write about today because I slept for most of the arvo.
    This morning we got up and jumped on the bus and headed towards a therapy clinic that was about an hour away. They have a doctor, three physiotherapist, two occupational therapists and two speech therapists. First we had a talk on occupational therapy and the five areas they work in including mental illness, physical disability, children rehabilitation, re-training and employment and community work. Then we had a talk about physical therapy. Their physical therapy includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. All of which they offer in this clinic. First he showed us a type slacking gun therapy. Which just vibrates and they use to push into tight muscles. He did my shoulders, and lats as a demonstration. It really helped to get ride of the tension. They use a type of electro therapy where the therapist holds a little machine and then touches the patient and the conduction runs through them and into the patient at points where the therapist touches. We all stood in a circle and held hands and the current ran through the whole group. Then one at a time he touched out faces around our eyes and asked what colour we see. White is normal but if you see a rainbow it can indicate something is wrong neurologically. Interesting.. It also induced muscle twitches. As he did each person they left the circle so but he end I was the last one, my hands where tingly with the current and my facial twitching was pretty epic. It felt so weird. Then we started cupping. First he demonstrated (on me again) and put the cup on my trap. It kinda hurt while he was doing it. He put the cup on and then I had to push my shoulder up against resistance and then relax down, 10 times. Then we all practiced on each other. We did cupping on our traps, deltoid muscles and lumber spine. Then to finish off the session we had a competition to see who could put 12 cups on someone's back the fastest. I came second by 2 seconds! If only I hadn't dropped one of the cups. Oh well, it was still fun and I didn't mind loosing to Sophie. She won an air cupping set. Which is soo cool. Then we jumped on the bus and headed back to the dorm. At the dorm I ate my left over typhoon food (apple and two minute noodles) and had a sleep. I had a pretty epic head ache. So every one else went out on a bike ride and watched the sunset at a river and went to the night markets but I had a really quite night in. I just slept, watched Netflix, kind of started my essay, and read. I went out for dinner and got my self sorted and then had a shower and an early night. A quite arvo/evening is just what I needed.
    Night xo
    Read more

  • Day11

    Hey travel journal,
    Today was epically awesome. Up and breakfast and headed downstairs and over to the classroom. To enter the class room, epically named 'the magic room', we first had to take off our shoes and walked into a wide open space with 8 massage tables, four on either side of the room, with the lecture podium and display table at the front. We all sat around and got some information on physiotherapy and had a lecture on cupping. Then the fun part - we got to start cupping on each other. It was so fun. They came around and made sure that we could individually do it without burning anyone or anything. And they showed us a few techniques. Simple cupping where we just use the flame in the cup and then attach it to the person's back. Once it's on you do four techniques - rolling which helps increase circulation, tension (which is just lifting the cup up a little) to increase the space between the skin and muscle, quiver (tension and shake) for preprioception and then flash. Flash is where you remove it quickly on a angle to help the pooled blood disperse. I was so cool. Then we learnt the slide and walking method. This is were you put baby oil on the patients back and use the cup to spread it all over their back. Then you heat and slide the cup up and down quickly and then remove it. Repeat this four times and on the fifth you leave the cup on. You do this twice, so there is two cups. One on either side of the back. Then walking is where you slide the cup up and down. It's tough but the baby oil helps. You can also stop at different points along the back and do the roll, tension and quiver. Walking uses high tension and suction and get deeper down into the muscle. Slide is more superficial where it works more toward to the surface. To do this we had to release some of the pressure. To do that you push down on the skin along the edge of the cup, just slightly to make a tiny gap. Too much and the suction is gone and the cup falls off. Then you do the same and slide the cup. Up and down and to different parts of the back. The girls said it was amazing. I did both types of cupping but didn't get any done. There is no way I was taking my shirt off in front of 50 odd people. Best part though - we got to keep our cups :) now I have a cup and acupuncture needle - it's like a mini traditional Chinese medicine starter kit is forming. After class we headed to food street and all got some lunch. I got fried rice and pineapple green tea. And then we headed back to the dorm to eat. After eating quickly we headed down to the bus where we were headed on an adventure to a traditional Chinese pharmacy. The bus ride was about an hour and we had a big bus so we all stretched out and had a double seat to ourselves. I mostly just watched out the windows and played on my phone a little. Once we arrived we separated into two groups because the pharmacy wasn't big enough for all of us. In my group was myself, Sharni, Sophie, Sam, Sara, sahama and Andy. We had the best afternoon. We did the pharmacy first. The owner is third generation of owning and running the pharmacy and he was absolutely awesome. He started by giving us all cold hybiscus Juice that had so many other ingredients in it and it tastes absolutely amazing. He then took us through some main herbs and fruits including gogi berries, red berries, dried plum, and whole bunch of others that were a mixture of woody, sweet, and sour. He went through how each different colour or category of foods (eg. Warm, cold, etc.) correlates to a different part of the body. For example the red berries are warm and correlate to the heart or circulatory system. Or water melon is cold and good for people with a sore throat and are phlegmy. But that it's important for everything to be consumed in balance. Then he showed us how to make an awesome tea for health and energy. And we all made our own and wrapped in a paper. And he let us keep it. We played a connect the dots game where we had to match the fruit or herb with its Chinese name and what it did, and after we got it right he gave us a little plastic container with sugar energy lollies in them. That taste amazing, I don't even know how to explain it. It's sweet but not and not really like sugar at all. I dunno it's just tasty. Then we let us behind the counter for a group photo before letting us go through the draws and containers. He then showed us a good pressure point at the base of the skull at the back for head ache and tension and one of the arm below the elbow for shoulder tension. He also showed us pressure points on the back of the hand to massage for different pain/tightness in the back. One for lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine. Then he pulled out a few random things for people to try. Andy was the only adventurist one who tried everything including cicada shell, cuttle fish and what they called bat poo (but it was small grassy pellets so I'm not so sure - lost in translation?). The cicadas are apparently good to help with digestion and the cuttle fish is actually best ground with a morter and pestel and can be used as an anticoagulant but rubbing into a wound. How cool. Then he played a little game with us that had two plastic beans in a little jar and you shake it. If both beans are facing up it means maybe, both down it means no and one up and one down is yes. So we got us all to do it and if it said yes we got a free tea bag. He had four to choose from chi, wellness, plum tea and destress. I got a chi tea. After we stood around and chatted for a bit the other group arrived so it's time to swap. We jumped back on the bus and went down to this funky part of town with what looks like a restored old building and they had a film festival on. Each room had different things from films like directors journals, animations, painting, costume items etc. And then this one room had three screens, one at the front and the other two behind just off centre and a documentary playing and the projector played off the screens and the walls beside and behind and the words in English were lights on the floor below. It was memorising, we all sat there watching it in silence for ages. I can't even remember what it was about or what I watched, but the colours and screens and images all around.. Just wow. Then we headed down the road a bit further and went to a temple. It was beautiful. A traditional temple with intricate carvings and a water fountain out the front but behind the main gates to the left and a waterfall to the right. Then. Through the gate and it opened up into a massive courtyard. The smell of incense was intense and people were everywhere. Up at the main temple the monks inside (and everyone, everywhere) where praying and chanting. Again we just stopped and stood in silence. The atmosphere was heavy but uplifting, it was really moving (Sara even cried at one point). It was awesome. I really thought that taiwan had lost its traditional temples and faith, at this level. But i am glad to be proven wrong. Then it was back to the bus and headed back to pick up the guys from the pharmacy before travelling the hour back to uni. Once we got back to the dorm, the girls and I sat and chat for a bit while we had some washing on. While the party girls slept because they are going out again tonight. Then a group of us went to dinner with Joanne and her bf jerry to a fancy Japanese restaurant. I had like a pork curry and rice thingy and it was so tasty. Then we walked back the long way so some people could get bubble tea and others could go to the bakery and I stopped at the pharmacy to get a yoga mat so I could do my physiologist exercises. And then we headed back to the dorm to get ready for bed and it's time to crash. We have an early start tomorrow. Night xoRead more

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