Tuesday, March 23, 2010

tea break.

days one and two to be posted soon. Till then, good day to you!

要买,要快哦!(day 3)

The day started with a 5 a.m. morning call. A tour guide took us and 2 other Taiwanese up Alishan to 玉山国家公园 , one of the seven national parks in Taiwan, to witness a sunrise. Too bad it wasn't perfect, but it was a nice experience. Weather: horribly cold especially at our stop at 塔塔加 (Tataka) despite wearing 5 layers of clothing. We actually underestimated the temperature before stepping foot in Taiwan. That was the one regret.

We proceeded to visit 夫妻树 (2 trees resembling husband and wife). Both trees were struck by lightning not too long ago, leaving their trunks badly burnt. The tree one the left is the wife while the right one is the husband. They also 'held hands' when you look at them from the right point of view.

神木 (they named it so because of their age) was next. This one here is the second or third oldest 神木 in Taiwan. 43 metres. Not very tall but it's 2, 700 years old. Click on the picture with the details of the tree if you're keen on knowing details.

Transporter 1156 MM took us back to our hotel for breakfast. Pack-up was done and we're bound for Chiayi for an express train to Taipei. Found at the hotel was a painting providing details of different seasons to watch sunrise and/or sunset, and also the infamous 'sea of clouds' called 云海.

Before we left Alishan, we strolled around the town centre, bought 'mochi' (quite expensive, but very fresh), went in the highest post office in Taiwan to send postcards, took pictures of flowers (note: the Calla lilies there are gorgeous! and spotless! compared to the ones sold along Petaling Street) and mutts. There was also a cultural dance in conjunction with a post-August8 incident( which I suppose is Typhoon Morakot)recovery programme.

Reached Taipei at night where we stayed at YMCA Taipei. Great place. Good service. What else could a tourist ask for?

*An eye-opener for gamers: there's a cyber cafe very near YMCA Taipei. Haha!

要买,要快哦! (day 4)

Breakfast at one of the shops in Hua Shan Market near YMCA Taipei. Took an MRT and alighted at Shandao Temple Station. It took more than one hour to buy the well known soybean drink, baked/fried biscuits and all. Very terribly long was the queue. Next stop: Ximending - shoppers' paradise. Shoes at extremely reasonable prices! You should also see the queue in front of a cinema. Shops at Ximending open quite late at around 11-11.30a.m.

The picture with an orange building on the right is where we went after Ximending. Wufenpu caters normally for clothing suppliers. Most of the shops selling clothes do not allow trying, so it was quite hard to buy any clothes unless you're certain about your size.

The blue plastic coin is a one-way MRT ticket! Efficient system. All you need is to touch it on a scanner (something like Touch n' Go) and you're off. When you arrive, just slot in the coin to pass through. No worries over having folded your stored value ticket! haha.

Next stop: Shilin Night Market, where the food comes into action. Very crowded streets. Good thing the weather wasn't hot enough to make you crabby. Pearl milk tea is indeed authentic! Chocolate, Passion fruit-nata de coco mix, they're all very nice! And cheap! less than RM4 for a big cup. There wasn't too much ice also!

Stinky Toufu stinks. Fried ones are more bearable compared to those that came with soup together with shitake mushrooms, beef and veggies. augh!!

Do try the humongous deep fried chicken chop! The 'lap-cheong' was fine also. No we did not try pig's blood cake.

One lesson learnt: be thankful of the cheap fruits in Malaysia! We paid RM50 for a few packets of fruits at the stall below.

Okay, back to hotel.