MANILA, Philippines – Welcome to Taiwan, Home to Taipei 101 — the tallest building in the… oops, the second tallest… oh wait, the third tallest building in the world; Taroko Gorge, an impressive marble-walled canyon made up of marble; the world-famous Hualien Farglory Ocean Park, where you can enjoy “Limited experience each day!” And — as far as my mom is concerned — the nougat Shangri-la of the Far East. Nougat appears to be so insanely popular in Taiwan that they actually have their own Nougat Museum. I should know. My mom sent me their in homage.
Yup, nougat is the new salt. So when I recently visited Taiwan for a media familiarization tour, my mom — knower and purveyor of all things nougat — insisted that I take her refrigerator-sized, flaming-red maleta slash bomb shelter so that I could hoard as much nougat as was legally obtainable (lest she make me suffer with her mutant power of maternal guilt when I returned home). Unfortunately, because I had to reserve space for 800 pounds of nougat in my maleta, I couldn’t sneak Yaya along for this trip.
To make up for the lack of Yaya, I was relieved that there were two media personalities whom I could hang out with on this trip and count on to help stuff a bimpo down the back of my shirt: popular food and travel blogger Anton Diaz of www.ourawesomeplanet who also happens to be my heterosexual life partner in the Mercato Centrale weekend food market; and the woman who inspired me to write a column (her vehement pubic denials notwithstanding), fellow STAR columnist and world dominatrix Jessica Zafra. Finally, I could hang around my writing idol’s personal space continuously over the next three days because the temporary restraining order would not be applicable in Taiwan!