Barbie Cafe in Taipei – An Explosion of PINK! :D

barbie cafe taiwan

When I visited Taiwan in May this year, I wanted to visit the Barbie Cafe as I’ve already been to the Hello Kitty Cafe, Jay Chou restaurant, Modern Toilet Restaurant, etc. And… it was pretty amazing! I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan

The cafe was rather quiet at 12noon when we visited. According to the staff, it is busy mainly during tea-time. I wondered if that meant the food is not very good.

My worries were unfounded. The food here is better than at the Hello Kitty Cafe! And the customer service was good too! We ordered two set meals for lunch. :)

*For the menu and pricing, click here.

barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan

barbie cafe taiwan

barbie cafe taiwan

In case you are wondering why there is a Barbie doll in the pictures above, well, I bought it in Taichung! :D

barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan barbie cafe taiwan

Barbie Cafe Tel: 02-27528311

To get there:

Take the train to Zhongxiao Dunhua station -> Take exit 8 -> Upon exiting, turn back and cross the (immediate) first crossing you see. The Barbie Cafe is diagonally across the road and you can get there within 1 minute. :)

Alternatively (especially if it is raining), you can also take exit 12 of the station, via the underground mall. You’ll pop out right outside the cafe!

*Check out the Barbie Cafe menu :)

Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary Loot From Taiwan! :D

Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary

These are some of the Kitty items I bought when I was in Taiwan last month. I was glad that he brought his luggage just for me, or I would definitely have run out of space, considering that I bought THREE pairs of kitty shoes, among other things. :D

Anyway, this pair of sneakers is from the Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary range, and I have not worn them since the fitting in the store. They just might end up in a glass case in my new home in future, unless I find some occasion to put them on. LOL!

Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary

I spent NT1264 on these shoes and I happen to think they are worth every penny! :D

The folders cost NT190 and the pouch set cost NT590 (before discount).

I really like the print and design for the Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary collection. I am amazed that I didn’t buy more stuff back. I’m not sure when I’ll head back to Taiwan, especially after the MRT stabbing incident. Hmm…

My World Ventures Day: 2 FB Messages and 1 Email All In One Day

This is incredible. I was supposed to be at the National Achievers Congress all day today, not doing much work. (Just taking lots of notes)

But I managed to receive 2 Facebook messages and 1 email about the same topic: World Ventures.

Here’s how it went:

A FB msg thanking me for my blogposts about World Ventures

World Ventures

Then another FB msg trying to lure unsuspecting victims into WV, not knowing that I blog frequently about WV :P

World Ventures

And an email from a “polytechnic graduate” concerned about friends getting lured into WV:

World Ventures

This tells me ONE thing:

World Ventures is aggressively recruiting new blood in Singapore, and many (who have not read my blogposts) will end up joining.

If you would like an insight into World Ventures, just check out my highly popular blogpost: 5 Reasons Why I Refuse To Join World Ventures. [Don't forget to check out the comments section. Lotsa good stuff there!]

EasyCard 悠遊卡: Getting Around Taipei Is Indeed Easy!

EasyCard

{ Picture cred: EasyCard }

If you are holidaying in Taipei, this is one card you MUST have. You can use it for travel on the Taipei Metro, on buses in most parts of Taiwan, some sections of the TRA network and on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (non-reserved). [A full list is available HERE]

I’ll always get mine from the EasyCard machines located in train stations. The (refundable) deposit is NT100, and usage of the card gives you 20% discount each time you travel via the Taipei Metro, thus its attractiveness over the single trip tickets.

EasyCard Refunds: To get a refund of the balance in your card, plus the deposit, head over to the Information Counter of any Taipei Metro station. The handling charge is NT20. [More details HERE]

I’m glad I got my refund during my recent trip to Taiwan, as I don’t think I’ll be heading back again in the near future, certainly not after the recent metro stabbing incident.

My Taiwan Holiday: Narrowly Avoiding the Airport Flooding, Hualien Earthquake and Taipei MRT Stabbing

My previous trip to Taiwan was in 2012. And, last Thursday, I flew to Taiwan for a 7-day holiday, and got back yesterday morning.

As it turned out, the day I arrived in Taiwan, I narrowly avoided the airport flooding incident. I only found out that the airport was flooded by rainwater after I had safely checked in to my hotel.

My first sightseeing destination was in Hualien, and I spent barely 3 days there. After I had left for Taichung and Taipei, it was reported that an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 had struck.

Then, to conclude my trip, it appears that I was very likely on the same train as the murderer who stabbed commuters on the train traveling between Longshan Temple station and Jiangzicui station. I had alighted at Longshan Temple station just before he commenced that senseless killing. Cheng Chieh, aged 21, managed to stab 4 passengers to death and injured over 20 others.

Some reports state that Cheng started his massacre at 4.25pm. I have a photo of me eating meesua at 4.39pm, after alighting from the train at Longshan Temple, and walking to the stall. It was a truly close shave.

Grateful to be alive

Just reflecting on this one trip alone has made me realized how fragile life is, and how I could have been injured on any one of these occasions.

I may not be able to ‘see’ my guardian angel but I’m quite sure he’s there. How else could I have so narrowly avoided these ‘calamities’?

My conclusion is that my mission on earth has not been completed yet; my time’s not up yet. So I have to make every day count, help more people, do more good.

Will I return to Taiwan?

Right now, my answer will be ‘no’. It’s just way too scary there at the moment. If you don’t already know, there have been Facebook pages set up in support of, and idolizing, Cheng the MRT slasher! Like, are you kidding me?!

If you insist on traveling to Taiwan, do keep updated regarding the online threats of similar metro stabbings. This incident might spark off copycat killings, so try to stay safe. Avoid Taiwan in May next year, and on the anniversaries of Cheng’s death (I’m assuming he’ll get the death penalty).

The yummiest meesua and pineapple cakes are not going to draw me back to Taiwan for a while.

The burden of parenthood

Cheng’s parents have produced a written apology: http://www.ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/2014/05/23/a1111450.html

I believe it’s pointless for them to say anything now. If only…

I would like to urge parents to pay close attention to the kind of computer games your kids are constantly playing. Cheng was a fan of violent games, and look where it got him and many others?

Sure, we cannot stop our children from playing games they enjoy. But we should engage them in other activities, such as volunteer work, nature walks, etc.

Stay safe, folks. And always buy travel insurance!

Traveling on Southwest? Put on your teenie weenie yellow bikini! :D

I watched a Youtube video about a hilarious Southwest flight attendant (Marty Cobb), and found she was a guest on the Ellen show after her video went viral online!

Here’s the video of her rattling off the safety features of the aircraft and putting everyone in stitches.

I look forward to the day when I can meet a flight attendant who manages to capture my attention and make me hang onto each of his/her words.

I hope these two videos brighten up your Monday! :D

One Dollar Only online store in Singapore: Giveaway!

{ Giveaway worth over S$47 at the end of this blogpost }

In Singapore, we have many ‘dollar’ shops offering products at affordable prices. But not many people know about this online store that sells a host of stationery and lifestyle products at just S$1 each!

Fancy getting a new pencil case for just S$1? How about a double-sided A4 size whiteboard? Or an LED torch or skipping rope? :D

Check out OneDollarOnly.com.sg! And ‘like’ their facebook page HERE for updates on their roadshow locations! :)

And since it’s the school holidays right now in Singapore, here’s a giveaway just for the kids (and maybe those who are young-at-heart) ;)

{ Giveaway }

I have FOUR sets of items sponsored by One Dollar Only for this giveaway. The items in each case (red, blue, green and yellow) are shown in this picture:

One Dollar Only online shop

How To Win:

1) ‘Like’ One Dollar Only’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/onedollaronly

2) ‘Share’ my giveaway post on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegracetan

3) ‘Comment’ on my giveaway post on facebook with your choice: Red, Blue, Green OR Yellow :)

*This is an international giveaway. All prizes will be mailed to winners.

*Make sure you have ‘liked’ my facebook page as winners will be announced there, so make sure you get the notification. :)

*I’ll be reviewing more products from One Dollar Only in just a bit, so stay tuned.

Threatened By A World Ventures Rep!

[Further comments on this blogpost by a certain WV rep, Alvin Tan, will not be allowed. Any further comments by this individual, believed to be of unsound mind, will be referred to the police.]

I know that my blogposts get some World Ventures reps really PISSED because it hinders their recruitment process. So, here’s one rep named Alvin, who commented on my ‘World Ventures: EPIC FAIL‘ blogpost:

*The Norway incident mentioned is regarding THIS - about World Ventures being closed down in Norway as a “pyramid game”

World Ventures

Quote:

“Thanks for your perspective. I did my due diligence; researching not just the company, I’ve also researched on the respective directors in the company, as well as legislation compliance, prior to taking up this platform as an additional income source.

Till this day, 8yrs & the company has opened up in 26 countries, numbers going strength to strength.

Those who saw the potential, signed up, and later quit bcos their friends told them it’s a scam… r the ones that have been scammed by their doubting friends.

Can anyone categorically say that Harvard, MIT, Cambridge or Oxford aren’t any good? Can we agree that there will be failures & dropouts despite how good the varsity is?

Just bcos there r jokers that failed miserably, doesn’t mean that the platform isn’t good.

Those with guilt r those who failed since day 1. Introducing something to a friend is not selling. If the product is not any good, a salesman can talk till his mouth goes dry, nobody would buy.

Ppl who buy in, r those who saw it with eyes open. They take it up, bcos they see the value in what they buy. Hence, is also their stupidity to allow others to tell them, that what they bought is no good.

There’s always a cup of tea that suits someone. so if what u see is not for u, it doesn’t mean it’s not for someone else. All the more disqualifies anyone from suggesting that it’s a scam, just bcos its not for them.

Concerning the Norwegian issue, rest assured that the corporate legal team will be ironing out the creases.

With regard to darma & karma, I’m fully aware of it. Which is why I’m taking WV as a platform for liberating modern slaves. And I believe kindness begets kindness…

Although, I’m not sure if the legal team will be in touch with u soon enough, if you would kindly provide contact details.”

My Response:

A company, regardless of its size, can still scam people. Often, the most shocking scams are those which involve huge companies and large sums of money, triggering questions of why it was not uncovered earlier since it was so huge. But it is PRECISELY because of its size that people assume it is legit.

If they had signed up and realized it is awesome and NOT a scam, why would they quit? Hello?

The last I checked, WV is NOT a university so why the comparison? I have already said that yes, there will be some who do amazingly well in WV and there will be dropouts, of course. But the MAJORITY of people in WV will simply be the stepping stones for the “high fliers” and “success stories” in WV. Simple pyramid. ;)

“Introducing something to a friend is not selling”?!  So it is just flaunting your dreamtrips and nothing else? If you “introduce” something to your friend with the INTENTION of making the person sign up, it is SELLING. Of course, wv reps who trick people into attending seminars to “make passive income” or “travel the world and make money doing so”, etc, are “not selling”, they are just tricking people eh? Those who pester their friends to sign up even when the friend already said no, are not selling eh? That is simply harrassment? And those who keep spamming pictures of them waving blue banners on fb are not selling… just being a nuisance and asking to be ‘unfriended’, right? Ok, got it.

Hahaha don’t say it like you are the head of the legal team. Friendly word of advice: get out of there. And tell those you recruited that you made a mistake.

Yes yes, I am quite sure WV has taught you that you are “liberating modern slaves”. Read some of the comments on my other posts. Such as this woman who quit her job for WV and makes 200 dollars a month though she has already been in wv for a year. If this is the kind of liberation, I believe we would rather be corporate slaves, thank you very much!

Of course you are not sure of what the legal team does. Are you even sure of anything? Making vague threats as if that will scare me. My toes are laughing! My email address is all over this site. Email me. I will be waiting. :)

~

I’m very glad to note that former members of World Ventures are actually offering their take on why they left and who is suited to WV.

Here’s a comment from Elaine:

World Ventures

Quote:

“I was with WV for a year before I finally decided to leave. The WV business not only requires great amounts of time and effort investment, but is only suitable for a very select section of the workforce, i.e. those who can simply jet off at anytime to enjoy a holiday. For those like me who have school-going kids, it is seriously not a business model that works. Since I am neither an aggressive SR nor have I had any success garnering a cheaper holiday deal by booking through WV, getting out was the best business decision I made. Grace is right. There are many, many good travel deals out that on the internet that do not require a monthly membership and allow us the flexibility to determine our travel arrangements.”

And one from Beth:

World Ventures

Quote:

“wow!! totally true!! i feel so free after leaving those people… I have never regretted leaving it and that’s the greatest correction that i have done…”

~

There are many more similar comments on my various blogposts about World Ventures, so feel free to browse:

5 Reasons Why I Refuse To Join World Ventures

World Ventures: Scam Or Not

Why I Believe Some World Ventures Members Are Wasting Their Time

World Ventures: EPIC FAIL

5 More Reasons Why I Refuse To Join World Ventures

World Ventures: When Dream Trips Become Nightmares

World Ventures: “Losing $360USD Won’t Kill Anyone”

“Quit Your Job! Earn Over $200 Per Month With World Ventures”

I Saved One Person From World Ventures

Oh wow! That’s a lot of blogposts! I must have gotten carried away. No wonder Alvin got pissed off. :D

~ Signing Off,

Your Friendly World Ventures “Dream Stealer”, Who Steals The “Get Rich Quick” Dreams Of Reps And Keeps The Public Safe From Scams

~ Update ~

I have already mentioned in my comment to Alvin that “*Please note that responding to your comments is a waste of my time. If you have nothing constructive to say, or which makes sense, this shall be your final published comment.”

Apparently, when I went off to the gym and left his lousy comment in moderation, he had a party on Facebook celebrating what he thought was a win on his part. LOL

Alvin Tan World Ventures

*He obviously could not understand my comment, written in good English, and thinks his one minute of fame is in actual fact, one hour or one full day?!

Alvin, in case you think I am SO FREE as to stalk you on Facebook, nope. Someone ratted on you and sent me your facebook link. Go figure.

Glad you tagged Dyna and Jeremiah too. Have always wanted to know who that lady is since she teaches reps to be spiders and all, and a guy wearing eyeliner? Wow. Uber credible. I rest my case.

Final Update:

I have been stalked relentlessly by this Alvin Tan. If you come across this individual, please be warned. 

(1) He has made himself known on my Facebook page and tries to engage me in a war of words, pretend he doesn’t understand English and that his threat was never published.

Alvin Tan World Ventures

I have since banned him from my page.

(2) If I engage in a conversation with him, he taunts me with “Lol. I thought u said your time is too precious to engage with me?”

Alvin Tan World Ventures

If I ignore his comment because (a) he posted his comment while I was ASLEEP, (b) I actually have work to do, unlike him, (c) this is my blog and I think his comment is stupid, he questions me with a further comment on “what’s taking so long for approval on [his] responses”.

Alvin Tan World Ventures

This individual, Mr Alvin Tan, a representative of World Ventures, is being intentionally antagonistic, and a plain nuisance. All the evidence above is being collated for a police report, and likely, his subsequent referral to a mental health institute for a mental health check.

Staying At Amoy Hotel and Exploring Chinatown

Singapore Chinatown

Chinatown

I enjoyed my stay at Amoy Hotel primarily because of its awesome location – Chinatown is a foodie’s paradise. Read my Amoy Hotel review here and a little piece on the Fuk Tak Chi Museum right here. I’d checked in on a Sunday, when most of the restaurants and shops around the hotel were closed. It was no cause for worry because just 5 to 10 minutes away is the rest of Chinatown where I can shop and mainly, eat to my heart’s content. So here’s a quick (and hopefully useful) guide to what to do / see / eat after you have dropped off your luggage at Amoy Hotel!

For the foodie:

In the immediate vicinity of the hotel are restaurants like Hock Lam Beef, Honzen Express and Sushi Tei (among others) – all of which I would recommend. For breakfast, you can also skip the hotel breakfast if it does not impress you and pop by Ya Kun Kaya Toast to taste what locals would eat – kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee.

If you don’t have much time to explore other parts of Singapore for good food, then you are in luck! The newly-opened Chinatown Food Street brings together the best of hawker food around the island. Head over to the Food Street to try satay from Newton Circus, BBQ Chicken Wings from Chomp Chomp, Cheng Kee Hokkien Mee, Fried Oysters from Katong, and much much more!

Chinatown Food Street

Chinatown Food Street Oyster Omelette

Chinatown Food Street Hokkien Mee

Chinatown Food Street Fried Horfun

The Chinatown Food Street, at night:

Chinatown Food Street

At tea time, you can also head to Tong Heng for some very yummy egg tarts. I sure did. Just S$1.60 each:

Sri Mariamman Temple

To get to Tong Heng, just look out for the yellow signboard after you have passed the Sri Mariamman Temple:

Tong Heng Egg Tarts

* If you can afford the extra calories *

Try the very famous Lim Chee Guan bak kwa (barbecued pork slices) that locals eat mainly during Lunar New Year, but is available year-round. You can order just 100g of that barbecued goodness for a sampling or even consider getting 1kg to bring home to friends and family! [A kg usually costs about S$50]

Lim Chee Guan

For Dessert:

Head to Chinatown Point, where you will find, at the basement, Mei Heong Yuen Dessert, which is popular for its range of ‘snow ice desserts’.

Mei Heong Yuen Dessert

One other dessert place at Chinatown Point is Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert, which I would not recommend for their desserts, but their mains instead:

Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert Chinatown Point

I like their Braised Beef Hor Fun (S$7.90)

For the health-conscious foodie:

Pop by China Square Central (less than a 5 minute walk away) and head to the basement. At #B1-02 is LINS Smoodees where you can order green smoothies which are oh-so-yummy and so good for your body. Do try their herbal porridge as well, which I highly recommend. If you’re experiencing jet lag or just feeling under the weather, what you get at LINS will surely perk you up.

For the gym rat:

Amoy Hotel does not come with a gym, but just downstairs is the Evolve Mixed Martial Arts studio. Pop by for a workout if you will. A little further is True Fitness at China Square Central’s basement.

For the photography enthusiast:

If you like snapping pictures of temples and/or visiting them, there is the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the equally famous Sri Mariamman Temple (the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore).

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple

The Sri Mariamman Temple was constructed in 1827 and today, it is best known for the fire-walking ceremony, or Theemithi, that is held every October or November. Devotees would walk on hot coals as a test of their faith and devotion.

Other places of interest: 

The Singapore Coins and Notes Museum and The TinTin Shop:

Singapore Coins And Notes Museum

The TinTin Shop

For the shopaholic:

At Chinatown Point are some shops which may interest you. Fans of branded goods will love Luxury City where branded items (supposedly authentic, but of past seasons) are sold at a discount. Also visit the Adidas pop-up store if you would like to get some cheap sporting gear – for instance, you can get a pair of Adidas running shoes at just over S$60.

Luxury City Chinatown Point

Adidas Chinatown Point

*This list is by no means exhaustive of course. Just what I did after checking in at Amoy Hotel. :) If you need more recommendations, feel free to approach the staff.

Chinatown

[*Reader Privilege* Amoy Hotel Promotion Rates: Get 20% off your room rates and a Free City Tour for 2 (worth $39.80)! CLICK HERE!]

I Saved One Person From World Ventures!

Woke up to a comment on my World Ventures blogpost from someone named Arjay, who thanked me for my work against World Ventures:

World Ventures

In case the screenshot isn’t clear:

“Hi Grace!

Glad to read your post before I reveal them my credit card number! In fact I just came back from their huge seminar at Chinatown area where the founder and co-founders were there too!

Initially I have no idea what this is about as my friend keep saying it is a great “investment” you should look into it without telling more about it; I guess he wants more people to convince me?

As what Dan said in previous comment, they showed you all the videos and examples and the atmosphere was great! I almost got brainwashed to sign up immediately as they suggested to “lock” your position ASAP so you would not be at the base of pyramid.

My instinct tell me to think twice when I filled up the credit card information so I decided to hold this back at the very last second!

Now….after google and read all your posts and comments in the blogs abt WV, I just glad I DID NOT complete the form, and I know I can go to bed now without any regrets.

Cheers!

P/S: Keep up your good work! Even though if its only you against the WV world, you saved another person’s $361!”

~ My Reply To Arjay ~

You are most welcome! :D I’m delighted that my efforts are appreciated. The way WV reps conduct their business already indicates to you (if you are discerning enough) that it’s suspicious, and very likely a scam waiting to be exposed.

As mentioned:

1) A lot of vague FLUFF – “my friend keep saying it is a great investment”. I actually saw a recruitment message posted on an Internet Marketers’ facebook group recently, with vague hints about travel and making money, and to respond only if one is above a certain age and has a credit card. WHY these reps do not just state outright, and UPFRONT, that it is about WV, gets my guard up all the time. Are they ashamed of the company? Are they trying to trick people into joining? Just state where you are from, is that so difficult?!

2) Seminars designed to con people into signing up – “I almost got brainwashed to sign up immediately”. Do not EVER sign up for anything on the spot. Give yourself some space and time, take a step back, think about it when you are home, sleep on it, and when you wake up and still think it is a great idea, then go for it. Do not sign up on the spot.

3) WV instills fear in people – “lock your position ASAP so you would not be at the base of the pyramid”. Ha! Got you guys! We should be joining WV because we think the company is awesome, NOT BECAUSE we are afraid of being at the bottom of the pyramid.

It’s like saying “Come, you have to buy tickets to this movie NOW if not you will get the very first row of seats and you won’t like it”… But hang on a minute, I don’t even want to watch this movie! Do you get it now, folks?

~

It has been a real struggle for me combating WV. It really is just me against the “WV world” as Arjay mentioned. In fact, do a Google search and you’ll find that another blogger who blogged against WV got spammed with so many hateful comments from WV reps that she just disallowed further comments, simply because they were not constructive, and just either personal attacks or just wanting to tear her down.

I don’t disallow comments. In fact, I reply to most of them. I blog about them and I show those reps (and the rest of the world) how silly it would be to fall prey to a company that travel and business bloggers like myself have already sounded the alarm about.

To my blog readers: Make wise decisions. Never let any company corner you, instill fear in you, and make you sign up for something you will definitely regret.