An Overdue Travel Log (IV)


The final log for my Taiwan trip this summer.. actually typing this is real cathartic, especially when  i have to plan for my new semester in school which gets real annoying, worrying and a bit stressful.

then seeing these photos gave me a chance to pause from all that necessary evil and a breather from seemingly rat race with myself and reality… and makes me remember why i am always reminding myself to give my best. it’s to get the chance to appreciate travelling more and earn the right to travel.

so i guess we all have a sanctuary and mine is just simply going out and experiencing the different environment, actually even taking a plane is cathartic in my opinion. i have this crazy love for air travel and my favourite meals are air-plane meals…

the morning of our last day in Taipei, we’re leaving in the evening =( yet we decided to make full use of it to immerse ourselves in this great country.. off we go to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall aka 中正纪念堂.

even the metro station of the memorial hall is special and packed with meaningful symbols.. for instance the underground tunnel has become a location for exhibiting art pieces (photo above), it reminds me of the underground route from City Hall MRT to Esplanade in Singapore.

only this metro station stick to its aims strictly and actively promotes art, i really like the arts and related things.. they intrigue me and my personal take on them is that they elevates one’s soul and gives you something beyond the norm.. don’t really know how to describe it here. anyways the national library of Taipei seems to be really near the memorial hall too, so i assume it’s all the cultural themed activities packed in an area (really good idea!)

selca with bird in front of the memorial hall, we’re squinting our eyes because it is really sunny on that day, and despite being really happy that we got to learn a small piece of Taiwan’s history, i could sense that we have mixed feelings bout it too.. cos’ we’re leaving but that aside, the visit is an eye-opener.

the is the outside of the memorial hall, really splendid and grand looking, for an important political figure. the whole place exudes a very traditional aura, a piece of history that makes you develop respect for this particular space. i was really awed by it and i must say it was a humbling experience in terms of how it affects my thinking..

when we were there, it happened to be the change-over ceremony for guards duty.. and this particular guard’s now in his place doing his duty.. his peers and him have to be in full gear and standing, in a stern position, no joke or anything, guarding the body of Mr Chiang Kai-shek. bird and i actually observed him for awhile and it seems as if he did not blink =O and he didn’t move an inch too!

really admirable attitude and sense of responsibility, this is the feeling i got when i saw him =)

another thing i like was the writings inside the memorial hall, they are wise words and teachings that i think would benefit us if we manage to practice them or simply remember them.. to conclude i really enjoyed this tranquil visit to the memorial hall and wouldn’t mind going back again and exploring the full grounds.

after the visit we had plenty of time, so we took out our map and sourced for last minute venues to visit.. we decided to visit MOCA (Taipei). Museum of Contemporary Art (Taipei) since bird has learnt art when she was younger i feel she might be able ot appreciate too, and i personally like visiting museums and art places, for the sake of these cultured experiences.. of course i like art and hope to pursue it some day, maybe it will come soon =)

on the way to MOCA, we had to take an elevator and since Taiwan is plaque with earthquakes, it’s really exciting to see that they have a seismic warning system in the elevator! (geographer’s delight)

the entrance to MOCA, there’s an over priced cafe there too.. i never understood why in art places there’s always over priced cafes, and i might never know but i still hope to find out one day.. is it cos people who visit art places are perceived to be more well off? or the value placed on art is high (monetary and intellectually).. i thought that art should be something easily accessed and appreciated, something to develop people and thus not exclusive like expensive coffee places..

a silhouette of myself with an art piece shown in the museum.. really abstract at times, but i understood the intent better after reading through the explanations.. quite different from how i interpret at times but other times i am awed by the artists’ train of thought..

my favourite shot in the museum, maybe cos of the photo composition.. but i really like how it exudes a bit of kiddish feel but also sending a great message through displaying the art piece in a mirrored room..

visit to MOCA’s really enjoyable and silent.. everyone was just going about appreciating the exhibits at their own pace and there’s not interference or disturbance. reminds me of the mood when i’m reading, no interference and just exported to another world.. but back to reality feeling surreal after experience =) LOVE IT!

i was not joking when i said we really enjoyed going to Yong Kang Street. as we had to get our luggage in the hostel and wait for the driver to send us to the airport, we decided to just roam around Yong Kang Street again to spend the rest of the afternoon there..

we chanced upon CafeArt, which is really art-themed and decorated, very “earthy” feeling but quite crowded.. i would have preferred if it was a little brighter and less crowded.. price is quite steep but i guess cos it’s the last day we really don’t care about spending close to $6 SGD for a glass of lemonade..

one plus point is it has wifi, so we could catch up on our sns activity and inform people we’re coming back! next time i shall make it a point to NOT use my phone when i travel, i’ll have it with me but the sns stuff shall be ignored and work ignored. everything not related to my trip and not concerning life and death will not be entertained. i will try this for my next travel =)

time flies, and we’re flying too…

one last shot in Taiwan inside transit area.. blurry selca but it contains all the wonderful memories and experiences. a promise we made: we shall be back =)

goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are special. some goodbyes involve many, some goodbyes involve few… but each is definitely packed with emotions. saying goodbye and ending this log with a shot of the empty transit waiting area. i will be back and to other places, for sure =)

thank you Taiwan for the wonderful memories, it never fails to touch me just like how each trip does.. giving me room for introspection and simply more at ease with myself. i almost feel peaceful enough to just deal with whatever might come my way.

thankful for this and everything else.



An Overdue Travel Log (III)



Logging down the travels is always something that gives me mix feelings.. i am happy to have experienced a great trip, but with each reminiscence that urge to want to go out, comes back to me.


morning of the second day in Taipei, this couple are stationed daily outside our hostel, and since we went during school term in Taiwan the morning crowd is filled with students.. interestingly we were awake by 7am and left the hostel after an hour yet most shops were not yet opened.. perhaps we’re too early?

a shot taken along the roadside.. we’re just appreciating the surroundings and watching people walk past us, while we continue our way to our venue for breakfast.. hehe we’ve decided to visit one of the themed cafe for breakfast =) and that is located in 永康街 which is just behind the university..

this photo shall be titled: Mr Dreamy Eyes.

on our way to 永康街 (by foot), we saw this cute thing with its owner.. personally just by looking at its eyes my heart could melt ❤ what a fabulous start to a great morning and great day!

the exterior of our breakfast venue: Roaster Family Coffee.

it doesn’t open until 8.30am, so we actually waited for a few minutes outside and of course the best way to entertain yourself during travelling is either reading or taking photos.. we did the latter and the product is shown below…

selca outside a garage, belongs to a family in the neighbourhood..

inside Roaster Family Coffee =)

 i really like this cafe, they have a ready display of coffee beans and the open counter concept allows customers to see where the beverages are prepared.. of course the best thing is the wafting smells of coffee =)

i ordered the blue mountain blend and it tastes okay, not as strong as i would have liked but still a refreshing start to the day.. pricing for Family Roaster is not particularly steep, maybe cos we ordered with the breakfast set, which comes with a mega huge sandwich.

another thing that i love about it is that it provides free wifi and there’s a shelve of books for customers to read while they sip their coffee.. in general it’s a cozy cafe great for hanging out with friends.. Address: Lane 243, Jīnhuá Street, Daan District, Taiwan (very walk-able from Yongkang Street). not very sure if it’s a franchise service but no matter, the cafe exudes a very cozy feeling which in my opinion overwrites any negativity associated with franchises.

we proceed to the city hall area of taipei and also bargain shopping district: 五分埔

when in Taipei, the best form of transport is by metro. and i was immediately impressed by the people’s behaviour and graciousness, everyone adhere to the rule of lining up and allowing passengers to get off the train before boarding.

somehow a very stark contrast with Singapore.. and i sometimes wonder, since many of us often travel out of Singapore when we can, we would have seen the graciousness in other societies and why can’t we translate it back to our own country? something that will continue to be unanswered and seeing this photo always remind me to have a better conduct of myself..

lucky us, we got seats on the train as it was already off-peak hours about 10am.. this calls for a celebration with selca! we’re on our way to 五分埔 where wholesalers for apparels are located in, so we can get clothes at a cheaper price =)

here we are arriving at 五分埔, i didn’t take any photos but i noticed that the area is quite organized in the sense that products of the same nature i.e. infant wear, electronics will be grouped together.. perhaps we’re too early as we encountered a passer-by who very kindly advised us to visit the malls and city hall district until after lunch time, that’s when the shops will be opened for business..

we of course took her suggestion and boarded a bus  following the directions she gave us, and safely arrived at Taipei 101.

the famous Taipei 101, it’s a observatory but we decided to

visit it later in the day..

we lunched at Din Tai Fung, franchised version.. should have visited the original store but this is good enough.. globalization, a taste of home too we get exactly the same thing as back in Singapore.

this is my favourite dish from Din Tai Fung: pickle vegetables and pork la mian.. i like how it is light in taste and not very oily, perfect to fill the stomach and not make you feel bloated. but it’s a bit expensive to eat this in a restaurent though, i shall comfort myself by saying we don’t cook this at home so we get it from outside.

shall skip the shopping part where we went to 五分埔 and also visited Eslite 诚品书局. something worthy of mentioning is i really like Eslite bookstore. it allows customers to sit there and read, even when you do not buy. and honestly for book lovers i doubt anyone will leave the place without buying, so the shop is not exactly making a loss. in fact i think it’s a good impression that they leave for customers, a comfortable place to read in especially if the weather is bad (it was raining that afternoon)..

after shopping we’re back at Taipei 101, this time round we’re going up the observatory.

for students, always remember to bring your student id when you visit the place. they accept any form of student identification and offers student-priced tickets.. i didn’t bring mine so i had to pay the adult fee while bird paid the student fee, if i go back there i shall visit it in the day and bring along my student id!

night view of Taipei from Taipei 101.. a pity the weather’s bad so we couldn’t go further up and view from the balcony, nevertheless still a great sight to behold! after that we’re starving so we just went to a random night market, which is the most desertedone that we’ve visited on our trip.

random night market, very deserted but food is okay (as i’ve said the worst in Taiwan night market is still nice)..

oyster mee sua, not the famous one but more delicious in my opinion.. we tried the famous Ah Zhong’s Oyster Mee Sua, it is nice but the conclusion is that it’s overrated and more expensive..

a famous meatball stall, with history of over 20 years.. taste sweet but great too, just a pity that there’s no crowd in this night market so it’s really an odd atmosphere eating something supposedly famous but without the crowd. i shall see it as we’re lucky to patronize when it’s not crowded.

stinky tofu again! this is the second best version we’ve tried, the best being the one at NTNU Night Market and the worse from Feng Jia Night Market..

i never feel complete without stinky tofu when i visit the night market, and even up to now i still miss having it =\

love sign while on our way to the night market, and this conclude the second day in Taipei…

breakfast on the go.. we decided to try what some of the locals do, having on the go breakfast from convenience stores.. and they do have a wide variety of food to choose from, surprisingly delicious for the cheap price.. i think we didn’t spend more than $2.50 SGD to get our stomachs filled for the day!

since our circle of friends and family knew that we’re going to taiwan, they would naturally expect souvenirs.. and we left the buying to the third day, pretty rush.. traveled all the way to 九份老街 which is near KeeLung, a suburban area very far away from Taipei.. it’s apparently near new Taipei, i couldn’t remember the distance between them but it took us close to three hours to travel..

and we can only do so using the traditional rail system, which many in Taipei still use it to commute to and fro work..

the train ticket from Taipei to KeeLung, because it’s not the new system the train fare is relatively cheap too.. but takes some time to get there of course.

since we’ve traveled on all possible modes of transport in Taiwan, i am lucky to take a timely shot of the train arriving at the platform =)  this is something really new and interesting to add to my collection..

okay and the photo below is really old-school in my opinion!

train conductor sighted on the train! something and someone that will never be seen in Singapore, and i think his job is just to give directions to people.. not so much of checking the tickets since everyone has to have a ticket to be on the platform..

upon arriving at KeeLung, we’re still no where near our destination.. fortunately in KeeLung they have a local tourism office which basically offers directions for visitors (local and foreigners alike)..

interestingly, we asked for directions and knew how to go to 九份.. some locals didn’t know and asked us for directions, and they ended up following up on the bus and seeing where we’re going to alight.. after approximately an hour’s ride, we are finally there! the long travelling time sort of killed my mood to take photos, but KeeLung is a must visit i think.

i’ve seen many old-school shops and sights in KeeLung that is not available in Taipei, and this i feel is a greater difference felt when comparing it with urban Singapore.. i would like to experience it some day, again.

arriving at 九份, this place is MADE FOR TOURISTS. they have all sorts of souvenirs and food items, priced more steeply too.. and many repeats of the same products, which is a common feature in tourists attractions..

but this is a must-go if you are bringing back things, despite the long journey here they really do have everything you can think of to give as presents..

how can we not have something to fill our stomachs? this is yam balls, like glutinous rice balls except it’s made with yam flour, very delicious i must say and flavoursome too!

went back to Taipei via bus which took a whopping two hours =\ but after that we were free to roam Taipei after putting down the heavy load of souvenirs..

Long Shan temple, detour before going to Xi Men Ding.. i did a short prayer inside and it happened to be the buddha’s birthday so there was an on going ceremony.. didn’t stay to see but still a great sight to behold.

now this is where youngsters will like: Xi Men Ding.. personally i didn’t really like it, cos the things here are too expensive and it feels like any commercial district, maybe cos we visited the cheap places so finding similar goods at a higher price made us think twice about buying..

there is however the element of eating that Xi Men Ding is still useful for..

braised pork rice aka 卤肉饭. this simple dish is plain rice topped with full flavour braised mince pork. cheap,delicious and filling =)

oyster and egg, the Taiwanese version. the special sauce on top is sweet but the whole dish is really really good when eaten with chili, another must try in Taiwan.

walked around Xi Men Ding and saw this: Toilet-Themed restaurant.. not very compelled to go in, but the exterior is great for photo taking! we were rather aimless walking around, but maybe cos we had too high an expectation for this place.. one other thing that we didn’t managed to do was to get cheap japanese food in Taiwan..

actually saw one at NTNU Night Market, but wasn’t sure if we want to try.. nevertheless this shall be on the to-do list for a next visit..

after walking around, we chanced upon the famous Ah Zhong Mee Sua, overrated as i’ve mentioned.. but one special thing they put in is basil and the rice noodles they use is thicker.

beef noodles, i didn’t finish due to my diet preference..

we went back to Yong Kang Street for the third time, to try out the shave ice dessert.. and it didn’t disappoint =D

green-tea flavoured shaved ice. refreshing, satisfying!
the shop selling the dessert is called Smoothie.. interesting name, and this photo was taken by a helping passer-by who asked me to pose with my legs positioned like this.. in her words: it looks artistic… fun last night in Taipei and even as i type this after almost a month, i seem to still feel that withdrawal symptom coming my way the next day we’re scheduled to head back home.

An Overdue Travel Log (II)

I wasn’t kidding when i said that i procrastinate my posting because of the photos.. this entry will prove to be so.. covering the remaining one and half days in Taichung followed by our first night back to Taipei.

i tried to minimize featuring bird here cos’ i didn’t want to infringe on her photo rights (this is just my personal anal attitude towards posting about others..) one thing is for sure, we’re on our way to see breathtaking view, enjoy tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city.. but inevitably has to be back in the city for more great food~

first morning in Taichung, i remember tweeting about it at 7am.. it’s really interesting to see how the sun rises at different timings and then presenting a different sight too (geographical knowledge involved!)

we had our complimentary breakfast before meeting up with our guide who will bring us the the best place in Taichung~

before setting off, bird and i decided to do plenty of selcas, to commemorate our stay in the hotel.. and we met this really friendly japanese couple who offered to help us take photos, and we returned that favour by helping them take photos too!

the wife very kindly offered to take a photo with us, hey we’re all friendly travelers seeking some spontaneity on the trip.. and so we willing took a happy photo with kind and friendly strangers =) it makes me happy just posting about this encounter

on the road with our guide, he is a quirky person and okay a bit intimidating at first.. nevertheless we’re really glad to have known him and thank him for going out of his way to host us even though it’s not really his job to.. and he has superb driving skills which will be elaborated later~

gradually going away from the city, we passed by a stream on our way to the bamboo forest.. and I REALLY LOVE THE NATURE. this is something that i will never get in Singapore. not just the scenic view that i really like, the weather too! despite being summer, Taiwan in general is not humid and there are strong winds at random timings.. so it’s just okay to be out under the sun (but the sun is still big and hot)…

a sea of bamboo. every time i see this photo, it gives me a sense of tranquility, how nature is really wonderful and mysterious in its own way.. a must visit for myself, hopefully i can go back during another season and capture different sights of the same location.

this is me holding a huge fallen bamboo.. the texture is really smooth and hairy, i didn’t know the texture of bamboo and the plant itself is really rare to hold when it’s considered “fresh”.. again i am thankful to have this chance to get in touch with something different. pity there’s no small plant of sorts that i can bring back home, but i reckon this photo is a great souvenir on its own =)

now get ready for a great view!

this is the famous Sun Moon Lake 日月潭.. have to be honest i didn’t read up any bit about attractions in Taiwan, and my ignorant concept of Taiwan is night market… yet, this trip has managed to change all of it for the better. i now know more about what this country has to offer and it’s history.

moving on, at Sun Moon Lake, we saw this artist painting the scenery; and i couldn’t resist taking a photo of him. fortunately he is very game to let us take photos of him in action.. i really admire people who can draw well, it’s a wonderful skill to have and it takes training.. hopefully i can fulfill my wish of being a good artist when i’m still young..
mr. artist at work.. just look at the colour palette he had with him!

*look at him in awe*

bird and i behaving like fan-girls of the artist. we talked about how life should be like and i think this is my ideal way of life. doing things that i am interested in (the art, music and reading stuff), getting in touch with nature.. and then have a venue for like minded people to share their works and be exposed to other people’s works, and not judging the skills. simply appreciating the unique messages each artist wants to convey.. shall not digress and back to what we saw at Sun Moon Lake.

most handsome photo of the day belongs to…

a photo of a dog we encountered.. i’m not sure about the breed but it resembles a golden retriever (my dream dog)! a pity the photo is over-exposed, but a photo of this cute thing is still a nice collection to my photo bank.. and we bade farewell to it when it’s time for lunch at a local staff lounge.

as lunch wasn’t really factored in, our guide took us to the pit stop for local drivers and guides who are working for the local tourism board. we really have no complaints about that, as we met another driver uncle who is quite interesting and just talked about random stuff, introducing the “must-dos” in Taiwan which basically sums up to:

1) go night market and eat

2)walk around and eat

3)enjoy the nature in Taichung

4) go night market and eat just look at the backdrop in this photo, the fast flowing river is something that calms the mind.. something we so lack in Singapore and of course can only dream of having.. not really complaining cos i like my country where my family is and where i grow up in, but what i really like about going overseas is really these minute scenes that we might have taken for granted or missed to appreciate them..

before heading to our hotel, we were brought to one last place cultural village that features nine tribes, otherwise known more aptly in mandarin as: 九族文化村.

at the entrance of the cultural village, and i am constantly amazed by the different tourism features in other countries.. it makes what i have studied in geography very relevant, in this case the place is considered authentic to feature the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. yet i’ve learnt to question what is authenticity?

putting that aside, the village has a triple role: showcases he nine aboriginal tribes, has a European-styled garden and a theme park attraction featuring the manga One Piece..

a photo we took at the European-styled garden, this place is really pretty.. if you didn’t hear people conversing, one would really think that we’re in some western country.. they even include a steam train for visitors to board and tour around the garden..

a pose of our quirky guide and i, we’re imitating the manga characters.. this photo is just dorky of us but we had great fun, before the fun got too wild for me!

add to taking dorky photographs, i experienced my first roller coaster ride in my life. and i did that in a foreign country. talk about adventure, this really is my idea of a holiday, to do things that i would never have done back home.. although it was a scary ride (heights phobia and all), i really don’t regret going up the roller coaster.. although i might think twice bout doing it a second time..

basically i have fulfilled an adventure aboard and can now strike one off my list.. and the things to do continues


bird and i after the roller coaster ride, that girl is a thrill seeker, i swear.

after leaving the cultural village, we were on our way to our hotel which is located in 清境(台中,南投县)the awesomeness of this trip struck me when we were on our way to the place, and bird has read up on where we’re staying.. and i didn’t.

i reckon i wanted to be surprised and i really was; anyways my idea of a holiday is actually: book the tickets, have a decent place to stay, enough money and time, right company and we’re good to go! totally stress free and no worries =)

driving up the mountains to 清境, can you see the clouds as we go higher and higher? as the altitude increases the temperature decreases and apparently temperature up there is between 10 degree celcius to 19 degree celcius.

my friend and i were really happy, cos we got to experience cool weather even during the summer!

and after almost an hour’s ride, we arrived at Dream Villa! wonderful boss and host, great cook and located in a friendly and peaceful community ❤

a sumptuous dinner after a long day, fortunately our guide stayed to eat with us.. cos we were quite guilty that he had to host us, and the food is great. as the area’s influence by Yunnan, the cuisine is also very similar in style..

playing wii and using the wi-fi after dinner, not a good idea but we stopped at bowling =)

in the games room, with pool table but the set was not complete, nevertheless we managed to occupy ourselves with selca!

self timer to the rescue!

i shall not post photos of our room but it is just marvelous as seen in the jump shot below. basically the room offers great view of the mountains and the bed warmer is a plus point for a cozy rest after a long day..

i mentioned that i would ace my exams if i cam staying in such an environment, and i am not kidding.
the following day we woke up real early, to see the sunrise.. but it had rained the night before so we could only see 云海 literally meant a sea of clouds.

waking up really early in the morning for the sunrise, we woke at 3.30am if i remember correctly we rested for only four hours.. but still really excited about what we’re going to do!

apparently watching the sunrise is what many others want to do too, so our guide for his is the local guard, he dresses like a park ranger and is really experienced with the terrain and stuff.. he even lent us coats as we were literally undercover with clothes, which is a big no no as the location we’re headed to is higher in altitude and temperatures could drop to 10 degree celsius.

taking a photo with the driver and guide, friendly uncle who is really humorous!

standing in the strong wind, we’ve made it up up up the mountains! what a sight to behold when we’re up at the peak (y)

this is what we get to see, it is simply marvelous as if we’re on a plane looking down from the cockpit (maybe i am exaggerating.. ) but still it’s is something that will stay etched in my mind when i see the photos and wonderful memories will come back..

i guess after each trip i can affirm that i like nature, cool weather, and things that allow me tranquility and reflection.. things for me to develop a gratitude towards them..

final stop at Taichung, we’re now at 青青草原.. Green Green Grasslands haha.. this is a show horse, who is pretty proud in my opinion, ignoring our pleas for it to face the camera.

yet this magnificent looking animal is really grand and big in real life, a photo doesn’t do any justice to how magnificent it looks.

i am now feeding my favourite animal (apart from golden retriever).. this is one greedy little lamb.. bird fed it, i fed it and a little fed it too.. we were randomly picking up grass and it just stayed in that position waiting to be fed… all the by standers made the same remark about how greedy it was =P

this is what we call Green Green Grasslands. this gives me the impression of some Scottish hills, okay this is my image of a Scottish hill.. not close maybe but enough to satisfy my imagination. i really love this, it seems false but is in actual fact as real as it can get.

selca whenever we get the chance to, i think i look really sleepy here.. waking up too early has affected our schedule and i am still feeling guilty that we didn’t follow through the plans that our host had arranged for us.. basically visiting a coffee farm and a temple.. hopefully when he comes to Singapore i can have a good meal with him and make amendments for being rude =(

one last stop to a chocolate manufacturer in the community, very well known but a pity it was closed. well once again another reason for me to go back again to visit where i’ve left off.

and being a real foodie, how can i miss out on posting about the delicious lunch? it really recharged my body and i feel okay to bring myself and bird to Taipei later in the afternoon…

we again took the speed rail back to Taipei and took the metro.. on our way we met this friendly stranger who was also on his way to NTNU, so he led us to our location. fortunately when we’re lost someone friendly is here to help, and i must say Taiwanese in general are really hospitable and kind! this impromptu guide was actually not heading towards the hostel area, but he helped find our location and made a short detour for us.. thank you random uncle

this is where we stayed in Taipei, NTNU hostel. enough for two of us and with its curfew it has managed to help us stick to a regular sleep regime.. and of course after settling down with check-in and stuff, we’re rested and is off to the NTNU Night Market..

i am really envious of the Taiwan students.. a night market is inevitably commonly located near a university, hence offering great, cheap food and entertainment..

the night market is located opposite our place of stay, and on our way there we saw an old lady selling glutinous rice coated with peanut powder also known as “Mua Chee”. this is the best i’ve ever tasted, soft and chewy the peanut powder is not too sweet either.

basically when i came back, i told momo that: even the worst food in Taiwan taste good and better… *grin*

highlight is coming up!

STINKY TOFU! this is the best version i’ve tasted, THE BEST. enough said. i would eat this everyday if i could, but i didn’t.. maybe i should if i ever go back, which i will =D

making a fat bun face, i am holding water-fried steamed bun.. okay i direct translated it from 水煎包. delicious, we chanced upon the stall and saw many many students queuing up for it, and we queued along with them.

the stall holder chatted with us and upon finding out that we’re from Singapore, he conversed with us in English but we replied in Chinese.. funny encounter and friendly people!

and as promised, i shall tal briefly about Birkenstock. apart from getting them cheap in Germany (place of origin), i now realised when in Taiwan (Taipei in particular) one should get Birkenstock sandals.

they have Birkenstock specialized shops almost everywhere and i got mine at $100 SGD, which usually in Singapore that particular design could yield up to $180SGD… goodness that price difference =O

that particular Birkenstock shop located in Yong Kang street, where we explored after finishing touring the night market.. this shop is real cozy and the lady boss is like my momo’s age so i can relate real well with her =)

attempting an artistic shot along Yong Kang Street, and the peaceful and cool night is really perfect for an after dinner stroll.. i feel really lucky and happy that we’re staying in this area.. although a bit far from all that city centre attractions, this location has a very artistic aura to it and it features many themed and personalized cafes.

there’s an art gallery which i didn’t get to go in, but it shall be my next to do list when i go back..

sights of two cute dogs, i have no idea what they’re doing but they are cute! they kept chasing after each other’s tails, and one particular thing to mention is that we encountered many stray dogs in Taiwan.

surprisingly they are all really obedient and not being a nuisance to people, wow.. apparently in Korea stray dogs are a common sight too and people adopt them.. something that i will never be allowed to do..

ending off this entry with a clock. the clock is projected onto the wall of a Chocolate Cafe where we had supper.. this is so cool, and people in the cafe are just chatting with friends..

i love how even when back in the city, there are still pockets within where we get to be in touched with the simplicity in life.. there is almost no stress felt in that Yong Kang community. even as my post gets weary and dry, this last image somehow brings back fond memories and i shall stick to the promise of posting my summer travel, and continue tomorrow~

An Overdue Travel Log (I)

Finally I am doing this! a post on my travels as i’ve promised myself and even anyone who is remotely interested in.. i’ve been procrastinating about this  cos the thought of uploading photos intimidates me, the amount of time i would be spending on them.

yet if i didn’t do it, i would feel like something is incomplete and just not a good way to mark the rare holidays that i get. so here goes =)

Embarked on a trip to Taiwan with my friend of seven years, QY (i call her bird). best friend? good friend? okay i don’t like to label my friends, but she is really close to me.. we only went on a five-day trip which’s so short. really short, and i have absolutely no idea why didn’t we stay longer.. cos my dad wanted me to come back before he flies off.. it’s that parent mentality but i understand and hopefully in future it won’t be a restriction..

we took the morning flight, 7+ am .. i’ve always love flying around (who doesn’t?) and yes the feeling is always one of liberation.. and of course being on a plane we see sights that are not available in other “spaces”.. not just the flight attendants, but also the view of the skies.

ever so cathartic, i once watch a show about pilots and planes, the main character said something like: if you have troubles and worries, at this moment take your time and look out of the window. the beautiful sky is always here for you, so throw your troubles away and welcome a new beginning and enjoy your trip! 望出窗外,把你的烦恼和忧虑都抛出窗外。享受着天空带给你的舒适与美好,最后祝你有新的开始愉快的旅程!

finally arrived at Taipei, the warning sign is a common sight in airports but i’ve never really paid attention except for this particular trip.. and of course for Singapore’s the in-flight announcer will announce the laws on drug trafficking upon touching down. perhaps i should pay more attention to these during my next trip..

the first two days we’re meant to spend them at Taichung, and so we took the Speed rail (快铁), which took us close to 2 hours to get there. and the rail itself travels at high speed (of course), can’t imagine travelling there on road.. but i think if we had a car to travel by road would allow us to see more sights despite the longer travelling time.. i wouldn’t mind that, especially if we’re on a free and easy stress free schedule..

for this trip, we’re eager to reach our destination and start playing plus there really isn’t any contacts (i doubt anyone will be willing to drive, not with this convenient speed rail..)

Speed rail ticket, cost about $22 SGD per person relatively reasonable price i say, considering we’re travelling to a different part of the country. one thing i have to mention is that the people in Taiwan are really gracious, even on the speed rail the atmosphere in the cabins is quiet, like on a plane!

taking a bus to our hotel’s vicinity, followed by a cab cos we’re really lost.. proud to say it’s the only time we hired a cab throughout the five days! selca on the bus~

fast forward to the bus stop outside our hotel, we’re on our way to Taichung’s famous night market: 逢甲夜市. it is located in a university area, and these students are so lucky i say! nus should consider having one that is cheap and good, utown is a bit costly in my opinion, but i guess this is what makes Taiwan unique..

finally here at the entrance of the night market, it’s still early when we’re there about 5+ pm and stalls are just starting to set up, with the exception of a few (mostly popular ones).. such as the one below, the original 大肠包小肠!

basically this food item is a rice rolled containing: glutinous rice, Taiwanese sausage, vegetables and special sauce. they have many other flavours too like wasabi, japanese styled and bbq.. we ordered one original roll and the quantity is enough for two especially if you are intending to try other food, which you will most likely do..

the taste is real awesome, no wonder there was already a queue when we’re there early, and when we left that place about 8+ the queue gets real long all the way to the edge of the road..

now for more food items, it’s Stinky Tofu. this dish is easily one of my favourite, however for this particular night market i say give this a miss.. the taste is no more than a deep fried tofu that smells stinky but once eaten there is not much flavour in the mouth.. a minus point is that they don’t serve it traditionally with the pickled vegetables but served it with coriander and parsley, in my opinion these two vegetables covered the taste of the tofu..

the next highlight is shown in the photo above. i shall title this photo: THE BEST BUBBLE TEA I HAVE EVER TASTED! now i daringly say, move over Koi and Gong Cha! this is the drink that made me risk my life drinking it (i have milk allergy) but that can be discussed again.. i love it so much!!

in my opinion those franchised stalls are severely over rated and costly even in Taiwan. this bubble tea is real good, flavoursome and cheap, for $2 SGD abt NT$50, i get the largest size that i can get in Singapore. plus the fact that the pearls are just nice, i wouldn’t mind drinking it every day..also cos i’ve tried the best in Taiwan, i actually don’t drink them in Singapore anymore, not as often cos i just couldn’t find one that satisfy..

on a side note, bird told me she heard that a cup of 珍珠奶茶 has calories that are equivalent to consuming eight bowls of rice.. i’m not surprise considering you get full flavour and that “wow”! perhaps weight watchers might not be keen on it, but i’m a weight watcher too except i don’t believe in not eating.. i just eat everything i want then exercise later. “exercise is for me to eat more” is the food motto i live by~

posing with our food items.. bird’s holding a piece of fried chicken and it’s a shame that we visited the wrong stall.. we should have visited the charcoal chicken stall, as it was featured on a TV program for best street food in Taiwan.. only found out about it when we’re back, but i say this gives me another reason to go back again!

changed of style, wearing a cap.. i always love hats and caps, and it’s time to trim my hair again to look good in them.. okay random photo, but this was given to me by bird as my birthday present~in this photo i was trying on Birkenstock, and this topic shall be explored later..

boarding a bus back to the hotel after we’re satisfied with the night market adventures.. basically there are three things to do in a night market: eat, shop and get soaked in that foreign surrounding studying people, similarities and differences in a culture, never fails to disappoint!

signing off with a photo of the funky friend taking photo with a dork like me… first day in Taichung: plane, speed rail, bus, cab, bus, bus.. main mode of transport would be bus, saves money and offers great sights of a new city!

a dawn posting.

I’ve always wanted to do this, posting an entry at dawn.. because i’ve always felt very tranquil at dawn and there’s always nice reflection to be done at this hour.. and so here i am fulfilling that..

things i’ve done this holiday for official matters:
1) planned my timetable (and hopefully get them all)

2) reflected upon a new approach towards things i.e. school work, attitude..

the list is mediocre, but i’m quite happy that whatever i’ve accomplished could pose influence on the future! and of course the most important thing is that, this holiday i’ve spent a great time with my friends, mainly from the Geog. Soc.

this is also a good time to put a proper closure to my first year in university.. i never expected to join a cca when i move on to tertiary education and i guess i am very thankful that i’ve participated in it. i’ve learnt through the ups and downs, fulfilling duties for the society and attempted to cope with the hectic schedule and lack of self-discipline.

but more importantly, i’ve come to know a very interesting and great group of friends. each and everyone are really astonishing individual, some smarter than others and some wackier than others (actually to conclude everyone in 46th is wacky and fun!).. but more importantly, we’ve functioned almost like a family and never failing to constantly encourage one another and keeping things going.

this phrase i think i’ve used a million times, but i’ll still use it because it is most apt in describing how we function as a cca and society.. we’re each other’s rock, keeping things together and helping one another out.

there is also definitely many things involved in this i.e. we never fail to make a fool out of ourselves (the good way), have a good laugh and simply doing things that i never thought i would attempt. that is a hint that my student life before coming to nus is quite dead and with the Geog. Soc friends (affiliates included), there’s also food outing spontaneous playing of sports and random comments made on one another.

i guess this is what makes a student’s life interesting, what you’ve gone through.. but more important i feel that it is the people that made it all possible, what’s the experience without the right people to create them with?

and so as i will continue to join my friends in all these “merry making” moments, i sincerely cherish them and feel that they can be my friends for life (i hope that i did not jinx this wish because i’ve put in down in black and white!)

now to talk briefly about the academic part, i’ve read some books and also got inspired by some people over the holidays. believing in yourself and time management is key in achieving your goals, no matter how hard, they are still achievable.. and so AY2011/2012 has been a bitter sweet journey in terms of official sch matters, but there’s also an awareness there that i haven’t put in my best, regrettably.

putting that down just made me face the truth, but i guess it’s also a sign of moving on thus changing things for the better.

to conclude, my first year in university has been literally a roller coaster ride. very colourful and i do not regret having spent it that way even though things are not always smooth.

ps: there, i’ve said it and done it. my dawn post is simply =) and goal is to earn more right to travel alone~

inspire me.

“If a person truly give at least one hour of his/her time per day, there are so many things that one can do. I can do it if I really try.”

“I try/work in order to be happy. Rather than dying everyday from fear, I prefer to live in happiness everyday and die just once. That is my belief. I believe that the essence of all things comes from what/how we make of it. Same goes for one’s belief in oneself.”

“As I realized that I don’t care about other people looking at me, I’ve become free.”


wise words, not from me but words that i’ve read recently that really inspired me. words propelling me to learn from them. and so i’ve decided to pick what i would enjoy and make the most out of the experience. even if it means having a less ideal schedule.

it will not be easy, but even if it’s tough i want it to be something that i would enjoy doing; and as the above if i really give my best and put in hard work i can achieve something great. just don’t stop moving.

ps: july is passing by fast~



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