Another rainy day

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It’s another rainy rainy day…
With lighting flashing and thunder rumbling
I’m all snug and warm on my bed mugging for tomorrow’s pathology test.
My bed side lamp’s acting like an incubator as well, giving me light and keeping me warm:)
All that’s left, is for me to get a cuppa hot chocolate to seal the deal:)

Rainy days remind me of childhood stories that I used to read:)
Remember Enid Blyton?
I’ll always remember how she beautifully described thunder:)
That thunder is the sound of God and his angels pushing furniture down the stairs to get new furniture in.
With a little bit of imagination,
I could picture the scene and that made me chuckle a lot:)
From then on, thunder to me was the sound of furniture rolling down the stairs.
Of course, now that I’ve grown up, I know that thunder is caused by the rapid expansion of air cause by lighting leading to an “explosion”
But I’d still like to keep a bit of that childhood innocence in me,
Laying in bed and wondering what furniture God has decided to get rid of today:)

雨嘩啦啦啦的下著。。。
我躺在床上被雨聲催眠。。。

Love,
Jane

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Taiwan May 25 2012 Day 3

ok i’m going to post about taiwan day 3!
It takes me forever to do these posts cause I have so many photos and all from different places!

So on day 3 we woke up a little later (yes and missed the sunset cause this time at 4am, it was cloudy)


my pillow:)
and the sleepy heads who were still sleeping when I had already showered and went to the balcony to enjoy the view:)


breakfast on the second day!
It was a hotdog if i do not remember wrongly!
Tasted good!

So our itinerary for day 3 was to go to Taroko Gorge!
One of the must see destinations in Taiwan!
I had already been there on my first trip to Taiwan (via a tour group) but choo and zac hadnt gone before!
It would turn out to be a way different experience as well!

We hired a driver via our minsu (homestay) and this is his namecard below!
He is really a good driver and a very nice man!
He even treated us to Hualien’s famous spring onion pancake! IT WAS AWESOME!
So if you want to hire a driver please consider him!
Mr Li!
It was NT2500 for a 1 day tour for three people. It is a 4 seater car and it works out to be about SGD 109


He first brought us to the 松園別館 which is basically the pine garden. It is a lovely place overlooking the city of HuaLien.
It used to be a military structure used by the Japanese.
But since then, 200 pine trees have been planted here to give respite.


it is a really beautiful and peaceful place:)

there are also great views overlooking the city:)

 

we were really blessed with blue skies that day:)

wandering around the grounds…

travel buddies:)

we didnt go up to explore the place cause time was a little tight but look at those creepers climbing around the building!
They’re so lovely:)

trying to imitate the statue!:D Do I in any way look like it? lol.

There was a shallow basin with a few shimmering coins in it so we deduced that it was a wishing well! HAHHA.
All of us threw coins and made a wish!:)

caught choo’s coin making a landing… SPLASH!

as you can see, my camera lens started getting wonky.
Sigh, it would turn out that I would rely a lot on my iphone to get pictures cause apparently (I sent it for repairs after the trip) the lens sensor was spoilt. Oh wells.

sunny sunny day! Lots of sunblock needed!

Our next stop was the Cing Shui Cliffs! Where you can see the pacific ocean lap at the base of magnificent cliffs!

those clouds kept making me worried that it would rain! But it never did:) Thank God.

so after much phototaking, we headed for TAROKO GORGE!
and the start of our journey was at the visitor’s center:)

Mr Li!

Although my camera was giving me problems, it also worked fine when Mr Li took over! Haha.
Yup, he took this photo for me:D


Mr Li gave us sometime and we headed to the visitor’s center when something caught Choo’s and my eye….
ACTIVITY CORNER!!!
We dashed like mad hatters and went to hunt for a place to buy the activity book!
Took us awhile but we found it! HAHAH. Cost me NT5o.

ya! Stamping time!

Then paper rubbing!


Hard at work! HAHHA.

We then headed to the Shakadang Trail!
We were given an hour to walk and soon, we were on our way!

the steps down from the bridge with many lion heads!

under the bridge.

we met another Singapore couple (and we would meet them like another 3 times in Taipei. lol. ) and they helped us to take photos in exchange that we help them tale theirs hahaha.

The path to walk.

the scenery was beautiful but my mood was little dampened by the fact that I had to keep trying to fix my camera. Oh wells.

worker coming through! This was really tricky cause the path was really narrow and we had no where to move to give way to him.

Saw a ginormas spider!!!!

and a furry (or rather, hairy) caterpillar 😀

thought I made him look modellish:p

sweaty hahah.

It would be wonderful to have a dip in those clear blue waters…

the many lions that guard the bridge:) But I think they are unidirectional. Only facing one way.

male lion. Due to the ball. Female stone lions have a baby lion under their paw.. Well.. it also helps that this male stone lion has a big penis carved out. Pictures are a little obscene so i didnt bother to post them.

With some luck,
I spotted some colourful bugs that I had never seen before in my life!

arent they pretty?:)

As we were getting a little hungry at about 1pm, we headed to the eternal spring shrine rest stop to have lunch! (On hindsight we should have asked the driver to bring us to buy bian dang’s from town before we set off)
The eternal spring shrine was the only place that I had been to on my first holiday to Taiwan all those years ago.

We were lucky that we got there early because while we were eating, busloads of China tourists started pouring in. Sigh.

We ordered two set meals at NT 250 each and two rice dumplings at NT30 each. The food was really pricey and the rose tea tasted really weird.
BUT.. the rice dumpling (meat zongzhi) WAS REALLY GOOD! we actually ordered one at first and then cause it was so good, we had another one!

The spring coming out from the rock on the way to the shrine.
I could hear a bird chirping in the cave but couldnt see it.
Heard a frog and saw it though!

Mr Li mentioned to us that many people died to build the shrine and create roads through the area…
It was only with his guidance that I noticed the shrine on the left when you first go down the stairs,
There were huge plaques with the name of those who perished with a statue of the goddess of mercy and free joss sticks if you wanted to offer prayer to them,

I think the order of my photos are a little funny. Oh wells.

The shrine. We didnt really explore cause of all the China tourists around. Disconcerting really.

Next up, we headed to the swallow’s grotto.
Here, we had to wear hard helmets rented from a small entrance office before you enter the place. More China tourists. but not as bad as the eternal spring shrine.
According to Mr Li, a landslide had occured just a few days prior and washed out a bit of the road but we could still drive on dirt.

the couple with HDR filter

many of the boulders in the rivers actually come from the mountains! CAN YOU IMAGINE IF A BOULDER OF THAT SIZE FELL ON YOUR HEAD???

we also saw the Red Indian Chief Head!:D

Taroko Gorge is mostly made up of marble cliffs.

The rock face.
The reason why it is called the Swallow’s grotto is because of the swallows that live there!
I was really amazed and happy to see the little swallows dart around and chirp.
You cant really see them on pictures because they’re really small and fast.

Mr Li then brought us to the highest point (Settlement) of Taroko Gorge. Tian Xiang.
There were shops there to buy food! (should have asked Mr Li to bring us here for lunch instead!) and beautiful scenery.

woohoo!!!
BBQ taiwan sausage! Choo had one everyday!

and there, the pretty girl in question:)

we went for a little walk after buying food and snacks…

and went to the bridge that we saw on the way to Tian Xiang.

pretty?:)

we had no time (or tenacity) to climb up to see the pagodas! On hindsight, maybe we should have. Hahahah
(OMG while typing this post, the lighting struck around my area and scared the hell out of me… my hands still feel fuzzy! Ahhh.. Singapore weather)

\

To conclude our tour, Mr Li said that he would bring us to walk on a hanging bridge since I mentioned that I missed out on a chance to do that the last time I was in Taiwan.

It was so beautiful!

view in between the cracks! haha.

Choo and a random Caucasian dude who was visiting the area in SLIPPERS. now, who said Singaporeans have bad fashion sense?

the beautiful winding roads of Taroko.

Mr Li.

Ok, I’ll admit. We actually went to see the Frog prince rock sculpture but somehow, I dont have pictures. but i remember taking them. HAHAH.

Mr Li then brought us to the entrance of Taroko. He mentioned that he brought us here at the end of the day so that there wouldnt be so many tourists and he was right!
There were some shops around the area and I bought a whole stack of postcards from here.

Mr Li was nice enough to drive us to buy HuaLien specialties since we had already been to CiQing beach the day before.
On the way, he also went to pick up the mouth watering spring onion pancake with a half boiled egg that he had ordered for us earlier.
OMNOMNOM!
no pictures cause we were too busy eating!

After we bought the specialties. I really expected him to drop us off at the minsu and leave… but he actually asked us where we were going for dinner and when we said 自強夜市, zi qiang night market, he offered to send us there! Even better, he offered to pick us up after dinner and drop as at the minsu!
AHHHHH he is such an awesome guy!

the night markets in Hua Lien are generally smaller but have no lack of good food as well!
We were a little full from the spring onion pancakes so we gave the seafood BBQ stall that I saw on 食尚玩家 a miss. so sad!
We had porridge and assorted snacks for dinner instead!

After dinner, we called Mr Li and he said that he had just finished dinner at home and would be coming over!
So touched!

yup so he sent us back!
Pb and his friend had just arrived in HuaLien so when we headed back, he asked for me to bring the two of them out.
So off we headed to Zong Zhen Road again!
Ah I really miss the goose.

Alright!
I’ll start preparing to post Taiwan Day 4!

love,
jane

Taiwan May 24 2012 Hua Lien

the view I woke up to the next morning 🙂

for the link of my post on taiwan day 1, https://janemumbles.wordpress.com/2012/07/ here it is! hahah.
We were going to stay in HuaLien for a total of three nights and this day was the second day we were there!
I woke up at 4.30am trying to catch the sunrise BUT when I opened my eyes, THE SKY WAS ALREADY BRIGHT!
Such a waste>.< I comforted myself by saying that there are two more mornings for me to catch the sunrise:D (it would turn out that we didnt even manage to see one. LOL)
But anyway, I went back to bed and woke up at 7am to prep for the packed day ahead!

t

The verandas that the minsu 民宿(homestay) had. Each of the sea-facing rooms have a nice wide balcony:)

we were staying on the fifth floor so this is the view down:)

furniture at the balcony:) Nice to sit and relax in. There are powerpoints here too!

the view:)

the cycling path behind the minsu:)

headed down for breakfast after the two sleepy heads woke up and i explored a little while the lady was preparing breakfast for us.
There was a nice little garden outside that leads to the cycling path behind.

Breakfast was a pork burger with two servings of fruits, red bean soup and a hot drink of your choice!
The food was really quite yummy:)

I was really really really excited that day cause we had booked a whale watching tour to go on!!!!!!
I have always wanted to see wild dolphins in their natural habitat… and if we could see whales it would be a bonus!!!!!
The whale watching tour that we booked via the minsu was from鯨世界. website:http://www.huadong.com.tw/
T
he lady boss of the minsu informed us that the company would send someone to pick us up at 9:30 so we had our breakfast leisurely….
We were sitting near the window and I noticed a man wandering outside, looking at his watch and looking around anxiously… after this went on for 5mins, he decided to come in and came into the little meal area to look around… we were the only ones left. HAHAHA.
He asked us if we were the people who booked the whale tour and we said YES. Then he nodded and went outside… and we continued to eat our breakfast leisurely cause we thought we had more than enough time.
In another 5mins he came in and said that pickup time was at 9! So we were really shocked and quickly ate up everything and hopped onto the van onside!
(we were the first group the guy was picking up so I understand why he was in a rush)

three of us on the van:)

after the guy made a few stops to pick up more people, we arrived at the HUALIEN port!:D
The sea was really blue and pretty and thank God, there was no trace of yesterday’s rain and the sky was blazing hot!:D
The people from the boating company was really nice and caring! They asked around to make sure that everyone had brought sunblock (Which we forgot and had to go and buy at the convenience stall at the port).
The sign roughly translates to Hua Lien Fishing Harbour Lesiure Pier.

 

Then it was time to get on the boat!:D
* SQUEALS IN EXCITEMENT!*
We each donned on a life vest and had a safety briefing before we got onto the boat:)
The three of us first rushed up to the second deck of the boat(there was shelter) then realised that the view would be obstructed so we went to the bow of the boat, took off our sandals and sat there:D the sunnies came on and the hats came off!

A note though: the commentary that they give is in Chinese… so if you cannot understand the Chinese language, you’ll probably be guessing what type of dolphin you are seeing.

the driver

 

 

 

windswept hair hahahhaa.

 

we were out in the boat for about 20mins and we saw…. nothing…
so that explains the many pictures of the sea, the blazing sun… and my legs lol.
Just when I thought that we wont be able to see anything that morning and could probably get a refund ticket to go again later in the day……
THERE IT WAS!!!!

can you see it?
IT WAS A SPINNER DOLPHIN!!!!!
At the moment, I FELT SO EXHILARATED AND TOUCHED!!!!! yes, I FELT TOUCHED! That I was blessed enough to even see something!!!! and to see dolphins is the wild was my greatest wish!!!!!!!!!!!

From then on, the pod of Spinner dolphins frolicked around our boats and did SPINS! swam upside down etc. Hope I can post the video!

 

I particularly love this photo:)

coming towards us!

I actually couldnt identify what type of dolphins they were cause the guide mentioned it in Chinese and in the excitement of seeing dolphins, we werent really focusing hahahaha.
But when the dolphin spun out of the water… i just knew… SPINNER DOLPHINS!
This one spun right under me!

then one started swimming upside down!
I was thrilled with how the dolphins were so so playful!

we actually saw a pod of 3 Risso’s dolphins but because they were bigger in size they were just swimming and didnt come close to the boat. Oh well..
couldnt get a good photo!

As quoted from wikipedia: Risso’s dolphins generally do not approach boats, but occasionally surf bow waves.

So we headed back…
was quite sad that I didnt get to see a killer whale! HAHAHA.
maybe next time!:D

model choo

lol and me.

after the whale watching tour, we were sent back to our minsu.

the look of it on the outside!
looks a little old but the interior is ok!
there’s wifi too!

We went in to take a little rest and I took photos of the early afternoon view:)

After our rest, we headed out to find lunch by cycling to cixing beach (七星潭)using the free bicycles provided by the minsu.
It was a lovely day although the mountains seemed to have rainclouds on them all the time.
Took us a while to adjust the height of the seats and choose the right bikes but then, we were off!

the beach nearby:)

someone’s fishing!

 

looking visibly more tanned after the morning’s stint under the sun!

 

a park on the way…

still some way to go…..

the trusty bike i used:D

we stopped at some ranch on the way for lunch cause throughout the ride, we didnt even see a SINGLE restaurant.NIL nada, NOTHING.
i guess that is why Hua Lien is still so scenic and beautiful.
in the end after about 1hourof cycling,(inclusive of getting up and down to go take pictures. resting (for the unfit me) etc) we stopped at a ranch cause we were afraid we were gonna get lost since it seemed neverending… so we asked this guy on a tractor for directions and while we were talking to him, our eyes led by our growling stomachs landed on a building beside him that looked like a restaurant.
When we asked him if we could go in to have a meal, he replied SURE! with a smile and drove off with his tractor hahhaa.

so we wheeled our bikes into the place and when we entered I suddenly realised that this was the Yankee Dude Ranch that was mentioned on someone’s blog when I was doing my research for the trip!
haha.
So anyway, we ordered two set meals and dug in!
http://www.wretch.cc/blog/amoyu/24837313

its peach green tea if im not wrong!

the food was really really healthy and nutritious! and it also comprised of local delicacies like bamboo shoots and some type of mountain veggie!
if im not wrong, lunch was NT190 pax. A little bit on the expensive side but so worth it. (especially cause we were starving after all that cycling!

after lunch we went on a little tour of the place and looked at all the animals!

hey mr piggy!

the other dogs in the pen were pretty fierce but this one really caught my attention:)

so some Taiwanese middle aged men at the restaurant who looked a little drunk realised that we were from abroad and gave  us directions to get to 七星潭 (cixing beach) which was really nice:)

so off we went cycling again!


met a group of students on our way and little did we know it but after this part would lead us to one of the best views that we had ever seen…

look at this!!!! the scenery is like OMG

just a guy driving a scooter:)
The place was so beautiful we stopped here for 20mins or so to take photos!

 

we cycled on somemore and then…. we saw our destination!!!!!!!! Ci Xing Beach!

 

just look at that!
(yes, we did push our bikes down all the way.. it was really tiring )

although it was really tiring to push our bikes down all the way, we perservered! We didnt come all this way for nothing!

 

The beach famous for its elevation and its rocks haha. the coast off Hualien drops off sharply cause its on a shelf so it is not very safe to swim or surf here…
Hence, this beach is normally just a tourist attraction.
At 4 -5pm in the evening, the fishermen in the area come back with their catches so if you are lucky you might be able to see them!
we didnt stay till so late so we didnt get to see.. we did see a fishing boat come back though!

 

sad that someone left rubbish there:( but anyway… the guy was pretty emo)

 

so we took a break after all that cycling! It was about 12km what with all the uphills and downhills that nearly killed my unfit body… I NEED TO EXERCISE!
I was staring at the clouds wondering if it was going to rain cause the clouds above the mountain ranges looked so scary.


fishing boat coming back!

 


emo dude again. He stood there for a whole half an hour!

 

 

 

 

 

a fishing boat?
not too sure what it was!

We returned after lounging for half an hour cause I was afraid it was going to rain!
But before we left, we went to get some icecream that was really cheap! NT20! SGD90 cents for a HUGE cone!

 

 

Our journey to Ci Xing Beach took us 3hrs with lunch, photo taking a rest breaks in between.
But guess what? It took us 45mins of nonstop paddling to return!!
LOL. so i guess it wasnt that far!

When we arrived at the minsu! The lady boss saw how tired we were and made tea (FOC) for us!!! She even took out cold blueberry cheesecake for us that she said was a gift from a friend!:D
When they heard that we cycled all the way to Ci Xing Beach they were very shocked because most of the tourists normally cycle till the point where they can see Ci Xing beach and head back cause it is really tiring to push the bike down the slopes then up again especially when the journey was already very tiring!
HEHE. so proud of ourselves and that I got to exercise and enjoy the scenery!
Headed back and took a shower cause my hair gets oily really easily and I dont like the feeling of it.

 


Choo with our minsu’s sign.

We headed out to grab dinner at Nan Bin night market which was a 10min walk from our minsu!
We walked along the seaside road, relishing in the sea breeze that blew:)

Ate the really famous corn!
It was alright but nothing really special.. just a little nicer than other corn on the cobs:)
we got excited when we saw stalls selling fireworks and so we made a mental note to go and buy fireworks after dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

after we bought food from several stalls and played some night market games like shooting, majong etc, we met two Singaporean guys who were staying at our minsu and realised that they had just graduated from NUS and were on their grad trip! One of them even knows Mae! Talk about it being a small world!
So we agreed to share the cost and buy more fireworks together.
Watch the videos!:D
The fireworks were really cheap.:D

Ok that’s all for day two!
wow that was exhausting>.<
probably will take a while for me to churn out everything else

love,
jane

Guess what?

Hey guess what!!!!
It’s confirmed!
Mummy, Kor Kor and I are going to be in taiwan from 27 December to 5 January!!!!!
Yes! I got my wish to spend New Year’s in Taiwan!:))))

I’m really grateful to God for it:)
That there is a silver lining in all the dark clouds looming before me..
Like med chem test on Friday. BRRRR.

I think it’s really important to not do anything against your parents’ wishes..
Like how when I was actually going to go to Taiwan at the same time period with another friend, mum violently opposed and although I didn’t agree with her reasoning, I decided to listen to her and not go against her wishes… Which ended up in peace with the family and now this:)

Thank you mummy! Love you!

The original plan was for us to go to Korea but my dear brother suddenly said that he only had 3 days of leave which adds up to 5 days he can be away including weekends!

This meant that we could not go to Korea on a group tour! My mum was reluctant to go free and easy cause we aren’t familiar with the language (although I’m taking Korean this semester!) and it’ll be REALLY COLD.

Daddy then suggested Okinawa but honestly, hardly any tour agency in Singapore has tours to Okinawa! And so,mummy looked at me and went.”Ok. Let’s go somewhere nearer, let’s go to Taiwan! You should be really happy now!” Hahahah.
I was!

You see, anyone who knows me will know that I am Taiwan mad. I love the country, the people, the scenery, the beauty, the food..etc
And it doesn’t help that I now have many good friends from Taiwan! Hahaha.

So it was like a dream that when mummy went to do the laundry, she passed me her credit card to do the booking for the flights and hotel. So far I’ve only booked the hotel for taipei and we’ll be there till 30Jan! Then we’ll head to Tainan to spend New Years with my friends from Rhema Harvest Church:)
We’ll be flying by scoot and it’ll be a midnight flight!

I actually convinced mummy not to take SIA although she really wanted to support our country’s airline hahahaha. I mean I wouldn’t mind since she is paying but the flight times for SIA are not favorable (well in my case since I want to maximize our time) and well, SCOOT is SIA’s budget arm! I saved her more than $1500 for three tickets! Imagine that!
I’m a good daughter. Lol.

Alright! Gonna shower and head out the house to give tuition before heading home to mug some more!!!!!

(I have now found a renewed vigor to blog about my Taiwan and Bangkok trips. Will do so when I finish this round of CAs! Wish me luck)

Love,
Jane