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~

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