Saturday, May 9, 2015

Yet another great mashup

 Food events

Chinese New Year steamboat with family. Tried to make it "pen cai" style.

Made chilli oil for "mala" steamboat with colleagues old and new

Saw tomato and cucumber roses on Youtube, couldn't resist trying it out

Pilot neighbor helped him purchased Yamazaki from a Japan flight. And he meant it as a gift, awesome neighbor.

Been looking at bicycles since moving to the own place. Was set on getting just the cheaper ones from Qoo10 or Aleoca from the supermarkets. Imagine, full suspension foldable for just $129. Tempting, eh. Oh yes, wanted to get foldable ones as new apartments are really small. And locking bicycles outside the house is just inviting thieves to buffet.

Slowly but surely, got poisoned by friends and blogs. Shortlisted the ~$400 7-speed Java-TT7, aluminium frame, mechanical disc brakes. When the poisoning got worse, he switched target to the ~$700 16-speed Java-FIT with a 52/42T crank, as compared with the 44T crank on the TT7.

The most informative blog he read was from here,

Bikes on the shortlist:
Vert V8 - looked really sleek and shiny. With freebies of bottle cage, bell and a bike bag too.
Java TT7 - functional and with good reviews
Java FIT - very sporty looking, and has 16-speeds
Raleigh Broadway 20 - regular boring looks, v-brakes
Raleigh Broadway 30 - looks sportier, 8-speeds, v-brakes

Was also looking at the 7-speed Raleigh Broadway 20, going for ~$380. Only brand that came stock with mudguards and v-brakes (read  about ease of maintenance as compared to mechanical disc brakes). Enlisted the help of Dad to look around his neighborhood, and lucky! Found both the Broadway 20 and 30 at good prices.

On 8 April 2015, settled for the 8-speed Raleigh Broadway 30. Everything's aluminium alloy, except for the fork. Specs seem a little heavier at 13kg, but heck, it's an 8-speed at good price. Rushed down from work to the bike shop, paid up and cycled ~10KM home. Not an easy ride with the bag slipping off the shoulder, but still very happy with the new purchase.

First photos for the Raleigh

Folded and tucked away in the service yard

Bought a bottle cage, yet to utilise it though...

Gear mounted!

Lor Halus bridge, from Punggol Waterway. Have done about 150km with the Raleigh at the time of writing.

Beloved Grandma

Grandma passed away peacefully on 14 April 2015. On the night of 11 April 2015, her maid sent a call for help, and he sped away on the Raleigh to her place to help out. She was hospitalized that night.

Visited her again in the hospital on the evening of 13 April 2015, never would have known that was the last time.

During this period of mourning, saw many facets of relatives that were not known before. Also got to experience Taoist rites and some traditional practices, like the "Sevens", multiple of days after a person's passing.

Did the 1st "Seven" at a private columbarium. The Buddhist monk didn't seem like a holy person. He shifted the kneeling pad by dragging it with his feet in front of his Buddha. Maybe it's just a job.

For the 3rd "Seven", we went to another temple (where Grandpa was) to have some rites performed. The monk was kindly, at least, he behaved like a proper Buddhist monk. 

Rays of light. Took leave this day for the 3rd "Seven"

After the 1hr 45min ritual, it was decided Nakhon for late lunch. Got the Dad and the Eldest Aunt to go. Good to see the 2 of them enjoying the food.

Clear tomyam soup. Not as spicy at Lerk Thai's

Thai fish cake. Didnt like the overly soft texture

Thai-style horfun (bland), and mange salad (lacked heat).

Pandan chicken was not flavorsome enough

Fried seabass in Thai chilli. Sweet, not spicy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

31 Oct 2014 - Taipei Day 8

Day 7 - Ximending - Homeeeeeeeee

Slept in this day and took his own sweet time to pack.

Bought some breakfast from 7-11
Bought food from 7-11, just in case he missed it back home. And also wanted to get congyoubing from the store at the corner of Huayin St, which was unfortunately sold out. So he tried their niu rou xian bing (beef cake), which was awesome. The filling had rich broth and contained scallions, very similar to xiaolongbao. Delicious stuff.

Laid down and watched some TV and rested until about noon for the check-out. Left his luggage at the reception before heading to Ximending for some shopping. Checklist, shoes, backpack and pouch.

The day was extremely hot, he had to keep finding air-con places to cool off. Finally found a shop that sold men's shoes, and bargained the 980NT shoes until 800NT.

Walked a little further down and saw a backpack that he quited liked (890NT) and a waist pouch (450NT). Tried a 1000NT, then 1200NT, but the shopkeeper said no. He paid 1300NT for the 2 items.

Checked the time and it was about time to get back and pack the new loot.

Went to Taipei West Bus Station from the underground mall to escape the heat, and bought 1819 tickets for 125NT to Taoyuan Airport.

The check-in at SIA was extremely slow, and one Taiwanese auntie got very pissed off and started to nag at the staff. They did a good job by remaining courteous. What aggravated the problem was that she needed to use the washroom, but some people seemed to be "talking" for too long at the counters. And she started to say "This is Singapore Airlines, huh? Are these people all Singaporeans?" At the two counters though, were a young Taiwanese couple rummaging through documents (the man was extremely rude when he joined his girlfriend in the queue, pushed people aside without a word), and a Taiwanese family trying to check-in 15kg in excess.

Outside the departure hall

EVA Air's Hello Kitty check-in counter

250NT chicken rice set at the food court. Not too bad. Kinda expensive though, regret not getting more beef cakes.

Seated beside him was an Indian looking man. Turned out he was Singaporean Chinese, originally from Penang. Flew around frequently, dabbled in equipment for oil and gas companies.

And a new addition to the shelves.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

30 Oct 2014 - Taipei Day 7

Day 7 - Wufengqi Waterfalls - Linmei Shipan Trail - Wai Ao beach

Wufengqi Waterfalls

First stop of the day would be Wufengqi Waterfalls at Jiaoxi, Yilan.

Favourite spicy chicken thigh sandwich from 7-11 (35NT). There was once he ate 3 of these in a day.

Kamalan bus to Jiaoxi, 186NT for return tickets.
Return trip is open-time on the same day, you're required to get a time-slot from the return station. Retain the ticket stub for complementary rides on the Taiwan Haoxing shuttle service to the Jiaoxi Scenic areas.

Jiaoxi Train Station. This is taken from the Taiwan Haoxing bus stop, the shuttle comes at 1-hr intervals.

5-10 minute walk in from Wufengqi stop. The pool has been closed to public, unsure why. The water did look very inviting though.

Took a picture of the mini-falls as there were a few people up ahead taking photographs.
The first falls. Not really impressive. Quite crowded, some people just soaking their feet.

The second falls after a short climb. Pool area looks shallower.

Taken with fish-eye attachment on mobile.

Tadpoles in the shallow pools.

The third falls was a longer climb. Not much water, and the trail on the left had been fenced off. Saw pictures online of the nice pool at the foot of the falls.

Reminds him of Monkey God's Water Curtain Cave.

Fish-eye again for the full extent of the falls.

Went back down to the first falls, and there was just one girl soaking her feet. Decided to remove his shoes and climb up to the top pool. Had a relaxing cool feet soak for a bit.

Walked out to the food stalls and saw this little bugger, almost like praying "you can't see me". As always, the stalls at the scenic areas charge fairly. 30NT for grilled sausage, and 25NT for Pocari Sweat.
Walking towards the bus stop (it's at the end of the road).

Many dragon flies hovering around the place he took the previous shot.

Palm-sized snail on the nicely mowed lawn at the bus stop.

Last of the shy storks flying away.

Some bird chirping for attention and making poses. Unfortunately, this was the max zoom he could manage.

Look-back toward Wufengqi Waterfalls' trail. In the foreground is the nicely mowed lawn.
While mucking around, the bus came. He ran over and hopped on, displaying his return ticket for the complementary ride. The bus driver almost ripped his ticket to prevent reuse on the Kamalan bus, luckily he was told in time that it was an open ticket.

Next stop was Linmei Shipan Trail. Or so he thought. The driver took him back to Jiaoxi Station, and that was because the 12-ish noon bus does not go there. Gotta wait for the 1pm bus.

Walked around and observed many new developments. Probably the next tourist place.

The building on the left is a toilet. Somehow, everything is so nice in Taiwan.
Reached the Visitor's Centre by luck. Saw people soaking their feet in the pools in the garden. Too crowded, he passed. The people at the Visitor's Centre weren't too friendly, maybe not used to visitors... time was almost up, so he headed opposite for the bus.

Linmei Shipan Trail

Glad that he took the bus, as it was a mountainous winding road.

After alighting, huge power grid along the way to the Linmei Shipan trail

Boisterous group of hikers, let's run away from them!

Can you see how clear the water was?

A wider picture from the mobile.

Another of the many falls along the way.

From the camera. The sound of gushing water was liberating.

Natural pool, if only there were someone to look after his bag.

Same shot from the camera.

Only 5 people at any one time on this flight.

Dead fall. Imagine the damage if it had fell on someone. 

Tentacle tree, probably unfurls it at night to capture errant hikers.

The golf course on the mountain, on the walk in towards Linmei Shipan trail.

Bus ferrying Fo Guang University students. Had a good look, mostly girls. Nice.
Bus took a while to come, waited from 2.45pm until 3.27pm. Next stop was Wai-ao Beach, just opposite Wai-ao Station.

Waiting for the train at Jiaoxi Station. 15NT to Wai-ao Beach, cash only.

Wai-ao Beach

Crossed the road from the station, saw people riding ATV, someone lying on the black sand reading, and Turtle Island in the background.

Stunted papaya tree bearing fruits. Probably product of grafting?

People fishing, and again, Turtle Island in the background.

Man playing with his dog in the water. The waves are quite strong. Saw people surfing, which he thought was quite dangerous due to the rocky shore.

People plant crops on the beach. Hadn't see that before.

There's paragliding too, from the hill, across the busy road, then back onto the beach.

Flora and Turtle Island.

Sprinkler system gently nursing the seedlings.

About 8 puppies, some playing in the bushes, some running after the female dog trying to get some milk. The female dog ran away in the end, leaving the puppies to wrestle themselves.

Good looking holiday apartments.

Look-back, another para-glider headed towards the beach.
More sky, more sky!

Colorful holiday apartment, and a peek of Turtle Island on the right.

Mr Brown Coffee house right at the end of the strip.
Last shot from outside Mr Brown before heading back.

Panicked at Wai-ao Station. There was no ticketing counter or personnel! Went to a nearby surf shop, and the shopkeeper assured him that he could just board the train without it. Only after boarding did he realize, the conductors would walk around asking if anyone required tickets. 15NT back to Jiaoxi.

Saw this in the morning screaming "8 oysters for 100NT". Didn't open until at night.

Oysters (100NT), draft beer (60NT) and steak (120NT). The owner ran out of sausage and kebab, so he recommended the steak. His grill was not hot enough, so the oysters were not as enjoyable as at Dawulun beach.

Searched for the Kamalan station, then realized it was just a shop along the road. Got a time for his return ticket, and the bus came within 5 minutes. Reached Taipei Main Station hungry, no prizes for guessing what he did next...

Tofu and century egg (30NT). Good for cooling down.

Mala Dumplings (50NT). Just can't stop eating this.