Taiwan Part 5 – Taipei Zoo, Taipei City, Shida Market

January 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Continues from here.

♥Dec 7th – Sunny♥
Initially, I planned to spend the whole day shopping, but the weather was so good compared to the last 2 days I thought it would be wasted if we didn’t do any sight seeing.

We decided to go to the zoo, do a quick dash and see what the girls have not seen before, i.e. Panda, Penquin, Koala, and then we can do the shopping after that.

We wanted to take the metro, but the station master told us to take the bus instead, as it’ll be quicker. The 45mins bus ride allowed us to have a snooze, which was good.

We were glad we went to Taipei Zoo (臺北市立動物園), a zoo that encloses 165 hectares, including 90 hectares open to the public (compared to Singapore Zoo which is 28hectares and charging almost 10times more). It’s a big and lovely zoo, with lots of wide open space; with eateries, restaurants and rest areas scattered all over the zoo. The entrance fee was TWD60 for adults and TWD30 for children. What a steal for this world class zoo!

We could have spent the whole day there, with so many to see, but we had to be selective and spent time only on the animals we wanted the girls to see.

First stop, Giant Panda House. Unfortunately, both the Pandas were far away from us.
One munching on some bamboo.Panda

Another taking a nap.Panda

They have a big gift shop at the Giant Panda House, girls wanted to choose something to bring home.
All things Panda

She wanted to get something cool for herself.Zaria in Panda sun glasses

And when there were children having a go at the vending machine, both girls wanted a go too.Yoyo vending machine

Zaria with her prize.Yoyo vending machine

Zaria on a giant panda

We have to dash to the next point of interest, the Koalas, after the Giant Pandas (with a zoo so big, it was quite tiring actually).Dashing to the next point of interest

Koala Deco(no photos of koalas although we saw quite a few of them).

We had lunch at one of the rest area, bought some pizzas and buns from a bakery (no inflated price, btw), and just ‘picnic’ there.

When we asked what’s the nicest thing they did or saw in the zoo, the answer was “Jumping on the hippos.” at the African Animal Area.

Girls at Hippo Square

Girls at Hippo Square

Girls at Hippo Square

Decos around the African Animal Area.African mask

Caught one real hippo surfacing.Hippo cooling itself

We spent some time at the Nocturnal Animal House to look at Owls (Influnce from Harry Potter and Legend of the Guardians), then it was to see the Penquins.


There’s a children zoo as well, but we didn’t have time to check out. Hippo cooling itselfIt was already almost 4pm when we left the zoo. Next time, we have to come back and spend the whole day there.

We took the Metro this time to the Cityhall Station (市政府).

While having tea at one of the food court, the girls poured out the content of their bags. Their goodies from Taiwan.

Zaria’s loot from TaiwanZaria's loot from Taiwan

Zara’s loot from TaiwanZara's loot from Taiwan

We wanted to head towards Taipei 101 and have dinner around there, and just our luck, we saw a huge Budhist procession near Tapei 101. It’s a procession with ~500 monks, where a Buddha’s tooth relic was featured (佛光山佛祖舍利台北巡境祈福). It seems these monks are doing a round island procession.

Hundreds of monks were walking along the busy Songshou Road (松壽路).Monks' hats

Buddhist monk procession in Taipei

No special privilidges. They wait like us to cross the busy road.Buddhist monk procession in Taipei

Monks crossing busy road

Along the roads, there were little tables set up to provide offerings.Offerings along the road

We were also given bottle of waters, little book marks and souvenirs for just being there!

There were African, Indian and Caucasian monks as well. Buddhist monk procession in Taipei

Buddhist monk procession in Taipei

Monks passing Taipei 101.Buddhist monk procession in Taipei, near Taipei 101

The procession was so long we didn’t wait till the end.

We went to City Hall area actually just to see Taipei 101Taipei 101but was lucky to catch the procession.

The busy Songshou Road.Songshou Road (松壽路)

We had dinner in a Ramen Restaurant, a meal was not worth mentioning, and then did food shopping in the supermarket and food halls around that area.

♥Dec 8th – Drizzle♥
The day has come to go home. Girls were getting excited, but Zara was dreading the flight home.

After breakfast, I went out to Shida Market to shop for some food stuff. After that I came back to pack, while it was Daddy’s turn to go to the market to take photos. These were the shots taken in the market. (And if you’d followed my site long enough, you would have realised we always like visiting markets every where we go).

Shida Market lane. Shida market

All sort of fish.Fresh fish

Fresh fish

Fresh fish

Fresh belt fish

The market was not too crowded, and rather cleanFresh belt fish

Chicken seller. (Take note the chicken there have ‘black feet’)Chicken seller

Cooked meat seller.Cooked meat seller

Super delicious dried persimmons (we bought some).Dried persimmons

Sesame oil and tea oil for sale.Sesame oil and tea oil

Bamboo shoot.Bamboo shoot

Breakfast counterBreakfast counter

Vegetable stallVegetable stall

Hot spring salted egg.Hot spring salted ett

Humongous Chinese Yams.Chinese Yam

And guess what this is? Each of them the size of my palm??

BBQ Goose eggs it seems. Didn’t try it. Should have just bought one and tried. ?

By 12:30pm, we were out of the hotel, and headed to the airport for our flight.

It was a good trip. And the girls can walk. On a daily basis, we left the hotel at 11am, and returned at 9pm. They just walked and walked and walked with us, sometimes even refusing to take the escalator but use the stairs instead at metro station. Just so much energy.

Taiwan is relatively cheap compares to Hong Kong or Singapore, and there are still so many beautiful places we’d not seen. I believe, we’ll be going back to Taiwan again when Daddy accumulated enough airmiles.

Taiwan 2011 Part 4 – Pingxi Railway Line, Jinguashi Gold Ecology Park, Sashimiya (平溪線, 金瓜石黃金博物園區, 三四味屋)

January 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Continues from here.

♥Dec 5th – Rain♥
We planned to do sight seeing today, taking the Pingxi (Pingshi) Railway Brunch Line (平溪線鐵路) which will bring us through sleepy mining towns which are famous for sky lanterns. Alas it was raining!

We thought since we’ll be taking the train, maybe we can still see some sights and with some luck, the rain might stop, so we stuck to our original plan.

After breakfast (of ham and cheese sandwitch, the standard breakfast Windsor B&B offers), we took the bus from Jiufen to Ruifang station, bought ourselves a Pingxi Railway all day pass (平溪線一日週遊券), which is TWD52 for adults and TWD26 for kids. The pass will allow us to hop on and off the train at the various stops along Pingxi Railway Line.

Despite the rain, the spirit was high. Zaria in raincoat

We chose Qingtong (Chingtung, 菁桐), the last stop on the Pingxi Raiway Line as our first stop.

The rain was quite heavy, so we only managed to walk around the station. Spotted a pagola hung with lots of bamboo wishesBamboo wishes

We dropped by a restaurant across the station, thinking of grabbing a quick bite. However, there was only 1 person working there, and he took time to make the drinks as well as cooked our pasta, making us miss our train. We had to wait for more than an for the next train.

In the rain, we really couldn’t do much. We had to kill time in the small station. Qingtong Station

Qingtong Station

Zara did drawings after drawings (she’s well prepared)Qingtong Station.

It was pure time wasting. By the time the train arrived, it was turning dark. We decided to go to Shifen (Shrfen, 十份). Our last stop. The rain was even heavier, but since we saw some sky lantern upon arriving, we went to search for the location where they were releasing the lanterns.

There were lots of shops along the rail way track providing such servies. You can purchase the lantern, write your wish on it, and then they will help you light it up so you can release it. We saw some Korean getting theirs done. Sky lantern.

Releasing sky lantern

3 of us getting back to the station (that was how we travelled the whole day)Walking in the rain

Shifen Station

We didn’t stop at Pingxi, and headed back to Ruifang for a simple roadside dinner (asked around and were told there was no restaurant near the Ruifang station), then took the bus back to our B&B in Jiufen.

It was a wasted day in my opinion due to the rain. Hmphh!

♥Dec 6th – Drizzle♥
The rain has subsided to a drizzle, which was good news to us. As we planned to go to Jinguashi (金瓜石) a small town notable for its historic gold and copper mines, about 10mins bus ride from Jiufen.

After breakfast, we checked out and left our bags at the B&B and then took the bus to The Gold Ecological Park (黃金博物園區) at Jinguashi.

The park has several attractions. The first we went to was The Japanese Style Residence (四連棟) which housed Japanese officials during WW2. Play room in the Japanese officials' Residence

The Restaurant at the Park to is themed. It’s called the Miner’s Canteen. You can get Miner’s lunchbox here, which is pork rice in a tin box with a set of cutlery wrapped in a scarf. Miner's lunch box

We had something Western. Nuggets and smiley fries for the girls.Zara having nuggets

Spagetti with a kind of watery pesto sauce (quite unlike our pesto) for Daddy.Spagetti with Taiwanese Pesto

Horrid testing sesame chicken mee-sua (wheat noodle) for me which I didn’t finish. Sesame chicken meesua

To give visitors an experience of being in an actual mining tunnel and understand the working conditions underground, the old Benshan Tunnel No 5 (本山五坑) was opened to public. We paid TWD50 to get a miner’s experience.

First you put on the hygience cap,Puting on a disposable hygiene capthen the hardhat.

Listened to some instructions then off we went to the tunnel.Getting ready to enter the tunnel

In the old Benshan Tunnel No 5

Then it was out for more adventure.

We have our hands on Gold Panning (淘金體驗) as well for TWD100 per head. God Panning Ticket

God Panning materials

The Gold Ecological Park has huge grounds, and pretty scenic, with an old rail track serving the tunnels.Around Gold Ecological Park

(Little one trying to hold her breath when we wanted to take a photo of her)Around Gold Ecological Park

What we missed was entering the Museum Of Gold, which you can actually touch and try to lift a 220kg 999 pure gold ingot.Museum Of Gold Building

The surrounding area of Jinguashi is very hilly.Jinguashi

There was a nice cafe around that area, but becasue it was quite far we gave it a miss.Cafe sign board

Instead we have dou-hua/taufu fa (豆花) instead at the park. Taufu Fa (豆花)

It then started to rain again, by the time we got back to Jiufen, it was pouring. Our plans to go to Keelung (基隆) has to be changed. We headed back to Taipei instead.

We decided to have a nice dinner, and selected a restaurant recommended by my guidebook.

Upon arriving at the Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興) metro station (where the restaurant is located), the girls were so happy to see all the various art works at the station.

3D art work showing all the famous Taiwan Snack.3D Art Piece

They were so attractive, Zaria requested photos to be taken.Taipei 101

The restaurant Sashimiya, better known by its Chinese name, 三四味屋, was a good choice, as the whole family loves Japanese food.

Here are some of the things we had. Chinese Yam (山藥) chips.Chinese Yam chips

Girls love the chips!Zaria eating Chinese Yam chips

Fried prawn.Fried prawns

Grilled chicken wings (for the little one, a chicken fan)Grilled chicken wing

Grilled OnigiriChinese Yam chips

We were back at Li Yuan Hotel for another 2 nights stay.

Taiwan 2011 Part 3 – Jiufen (九份)

December 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm

(continues from here)

♥Dec 4th – Cloudy♥
After breakfast, we checked out of Li Yuan Hotel, stored our baggage there, and headed to Taipei Main Station (台北火車站) using the Metro. We bought our tickets to Ruifang (瑞芳), our transit point to Jiufen (九份). Adults and kids ticket with numbered seats cost NTD76 and NT38 respectively.

Train was comfortable, and took us about 40mins to arrive Ruifang.

Ruifang Station Underpass was turned into a photo galleryRui Fang Station Underpass

Girls were not interested in the photos, but the ‘sparkly’ pebble washed wall. o.O”Rui Fang Station Underpass

This girl will use the disable ramp instead of stairs; and climbing through barriers, instead of just walking passed it.Zaria Monkeying at Ruifang station

And she’s always eager to do something dangerous. o.O”Zaria Monkeying at Ruifang station again

We wanted to have lunch at Ruifang. We walked through the street market but could not find a place to eat.Pork Seller

Pork sausages.Pork Sausages

So we got a bus and headed to Jiufen (九份), a picturesque town which used to be a prosperous mining town.

The moment we arrived, signs of minsu (民宿) or homestay is every where.Minsu Sign

Using the directions sent to us by the minsu owner, we found our minsu, Windsor B&B/溫莎堡景觀民宿, easily.

The entrance to the reception area of Windsor B&B or minsu.Windsor B&B entrance

We got room no. 3 for our first night. Girls love the spacious room we got. With 2 queen beds; a balcony; bathroom with wooden tub; separate living and dining area (although cooking is not allowed); and a little attic with floor to ceiling window, which the girls loved the most. Zaria called it the ‘secret’ room, and everytime we got back to the room, she would ask us to go there to share secrets.

Our room balcony.Room balcony
Jiufen’s main attraction is the old street, filled with eateries, and shops selling food stuff. It was good place for us to get some snacks as late lunch.

Instead of pop corn, there’s pop rice (a crisp made from puff up rice) Pop Rice crisp

This stall stinks, but it serves extremely tasty fried stinky tofu.Stinky tofu shopDon’t miss it if you were in Jiufen. The shop name is Jiufen 1st Shop (九份第一家).

We actually went back for another serving of this stinky tofu before we left 2 days later. Fried Stinky tofu topped with pickled cabbage

While we had stinky tofu, girls had the fishball there (not bad too).Zaria munching on a fishball

This is a very famous snack in Jiufen. A dumpling made with red yeast and pork or Hongzao Rouyuan (紅糟肉圓).

A group of workers making the dumpling.制作紅糟肉圓

Boiling them in water.Cooking the hongzao rouyuan

And this is how they look like.hongzao rouyuan (紅糟肉圓)As it’s filled with pork, we didn’t try any.

Yam/Taro Balls or Yu Yuan (芋圓) is another famous snack in Jiufen. This is the balls that you get in your Snowflake dessert.

Business is brisk for this famous Taro Balls shop Lai Apo (賴阿婆). Tourists buy them raw to bring home as souvenir.Taro Balls seller.

Taro Balls seller

Making of taro balls in Lai ApoMaking Taro Balls

Most people would just buy a bowl and eat in the shop.Making Taro Balls (we’re not most people, instead we went to another shop for Taro Ball Dessert o.O”)

Vendor selling various stew dishes.Stew dishes

Signage of a herbal tea shop.Herbal tea shop singage

Shaved peanut brittle with ice cream (花生捲冰淇淋) is another popular snack. A big block of peanut brittle is shaved, and laid on top of a springroll wrapper, 3 scoops of ice cream is added, and then topped with some coriander leave and wrapped up.Man shaving peanut brittle We had one without ice cream. The coriander and the crunch of shaved peanut brittle was a nice combination.

Jiufen has some ‘traditional’ toy shops which of course attracted the girls.Girls at a toy shop

Jiufen is a place to sip tea, relax when enjoying the view, so the old street is lined with tea houses with fabulous view. Jiufen Teahouse (九份茶坊) is probably the most posh one. Tea blocks from Jiufen Teahouse

Love the way they boiled water for tea brewing.Water boiling

After checking how much it cost to have some tea here (~RM300 for the whole famiy), we thought better of it. What more, Zaria was touching everyhing, and I was worried she might break something.

We continued walking came to a cafe (988 Cafe).

Zaria decided to hang around and try out riding on a bike while Zara and me went into the cafe to get a table with a view.Zaria trying out bikes

The cafe didn’t serve nice drinks, but the view was spectacular.Around Jiufen

We can see other cafes or tea houses along the old street.View of Jiufen Old Street

As well as Keelong town far away. View of Keelong town

After sunset, Jiufen is still very picturesque.Jiufen Old Street in the night

The restaurant street of Jiufen in the night.Restaurant street

Looking up at the restaurant street.Restaurant street

We took dinner hopping from one stall after another while the girls took the onigiri from 7-11 (which they loved and had it a few more times the rest of our trip).

To be continued.

Taiwan 2011 Part 2 – Palace Museum, Shida Night Market, Bali, Danshui (故宮博物院, 師大夜市, 八里, 淡水)

December 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

(Continues from here)

♥Dec 2nd – Drizzle/飘雨的台北♥
My collague, Teresa, came to the hotel to meet us. Somehow, Zara and her ‘clicked’, and the rest of the day, they were glued together (oh well, Teresa was looking after Zara for me).

Because it was drizzling, our plan of going to the zoo has to be changed. We went to the National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) instead which was packed with tourists who came in bus load.

Zara showed lots of interest in the artifacts, reading the didactic to learn more about them, not Zaria though.

However, both were intrigued by this longish painting from 1085-1145, which is 528cm long capturing the daily life of people from the Song period at the capital. It’s called Along the River During the Qingming Festival (清明上河圖).

You can view the animated River of Wisdom, to see why it’s so interesting for the girls.

(No cameras are allowed in the museum, so no photos of the artifacts)

Teresa bought us a simple lunch at the Museum Cafe (delicious!) and then we went to Shinkong Mitsukoshi. The Taipei Station branch there was having an aniversary sales, and I don’t know why, I didn’t buy anything even with the good discount. o.O”

Teresa bought us dinner as well in Shinkong Mitsukoshi, and got the girls some presents. The girls said Teresa took care of them like their Gu-ma(姑妈), and called her their Taiwan Gu-ma. o.O”

In the night, after we parted with Teresa, we went to Shida Night Market again (師大夜市) since it’s so near the hotel.

Trendy boutiques to cater for university students are every where. This one has some rocking horses at the shop front.Zaria on a rocking horse

Another funky shop.The name of the shop on the ground

The display window.The display window

Bubble tea is sold everywhere, this one has miniature samplers.Miniature sampler - bubble tea

A nightmarket can’t do without some stalls selling food. This old man was burning grilling some corn.Grill corn seller

Eww. Pig’s blood cake.Pig blood cake stall

Tangyuan (Glutinous rice balls) shop where we had 2 bowls of tangyuan from. Maybe because they do tangyuan with pork too, the sweet tangyuan we had tasted a bit porky. o.O”Tangyuan shop

♥Dec 3rd – Sunny/放晴♥
After a day of drizzling, it was sunny. Lucky for us, because we’d made plans to meet up with my collagues at Bali (八里), a seaside town near Tanshui (淡水).

We took the metro to Guandu (關渡), one of my colleagues, Iris, met us there, and then together, we took a cab to To House (兔子餐廳), and met up with the rest of my collagues.

To House (八里兔子餐廳) is a theme family restaurant with a compound housing lots of rabbits.

Healthy looking rabbit in To House.Rabbit in To House

Besides rabbits, there are other animals too, i.e. Parrots.Parrot in To House

Parrot in To House

There’s also a pig!

Girls spent the whole time petting and feeding rabbits. Coming in only to have their lunch. Leaving me lots of time to catch up with my collagues whom I was meeting for the first time.

Girls with rabbit

Zaria feeding a rabbit

Zaria feeding a rabbit

Zara feeding a rabbit

Zaria feeding a rabbit

Zaria feeding a rabbit

Deco around To House.Decorative rabbit

Ceremic bird

We left the place only at about 3pm with Iris, we took the bus and went to Bali Ferry Port.

The Streetfood, mainly selling seafood, around the Ferry Port, attracted lots of customers.
Steamed squid

Fried shishamo

Steamed crabs

Salted eggs are supposed to be famous here as well.Salted eggs seller

And in Taiwan, Stinky Tofu is sold everywhere.Stinky tofu seller

Guess what? We didn’t buy anything from these stalls, except a stick of squid cake. We were too full from lunch, and I didn’t feel good everytime I wanted to get something, Iris rushed to pay.

We took a short Ferry ride to Danshui.

Over at Danshui, it’s the same, food stalls are everywhere and each one of them were very crowded.

This is the famous Amah’s sour plum drink, but we didn’t really like it.Amah's famous sour plum drink

Danshui street.Motorbikes at Danshui

Busy Danshui street

Catching the sunset is one of the main attraction, but the evening was gloomy.

Girls found a new game of throwing pebbles into the river.Girls throwing pebbles into Danshui River

Riverside Living Statue.Living Statue

There are lots of streetfood available too.
Deep fried hot dogs, sweet potato balls and oyster buns

Grilled squid

Boiled and dried seafood

As the only pork eater at home, she has the honour of having a stick of famous Taiwan grilled sausage.Zaria eating a Taiwan grilled sausage

There are grabbing game machines again.Zara staring at Grabbing Machine

And other games.Games

Once we got to the Metro station, Iris, left us to run her own errands.

Outside the metro station, we caught a puppet show.Puppet show

Lottery icket seller outside the Danshui Metro Station.Lottery ticket seller

Busker crooning Jacky Cheung’s hit.Basker outside the Metro Station

We had BBQ buffet dinner at Danshui before taking the metro back to the hotel.

To be continued.

Taiwan 2011 Part 1 – Ximending, CKS Memorial (西門町/中正纪念堂)

December 21, 2011 at 11:36 am

When we suggested for a holiday further away from Hong Kong, Zara made some noise, “What’s the point of going for a holiday when all we do is walk walk walk?” “It’s so boring taking the plane.” “I have ear problem, and you still want me to take the plane” etc etc.

We gave her 2 options, either go with us, or stay home with Jelly. Of course, she chose the former.

Daddy’s airmiles could cover 4 of us to either Perth, or Taiwan. Looking at the AUD exchange rate, we therefore decided to go Taiwan instead. We have to time our trip according to flight schedules claimable by airmiles and to make sure I’m in town on December 9th because I have bought tickets for Jacky Cheung’s concert. Hence, the trip was made during the wet season in Taiwan. Sigh.

♥Nov 30th♥

We arrived at Taipei about 7pm+, it was already dark. Upon arriving at the hotel, a package from my Taiwan colleague, Teresa, which consisted of a Taipei Guidebook and 2.5Kg of Taiwan rice welcome us.

Our hotel for the next 4 nights will be Li Yuan Hotel (儷園飯店), a small hotel located near Shida (師大) and 1 minute walk from Tai Power Metro Station (台電大樓站).

We got a family room with 2 queen beds. The room is small but functional and clean.
Li Yuan Hotel

Soon after we checked in, we went straight to Shida Nightmarket (師大夜市) for dinner. We picked a restaurant which specialises in herbal chicken soup, 龍涎居雞膳食坊. We were too hungry to take any photos, but Daddy who’s not a chicken eater claimed they serve one of the best chicken soup he’s tasted.

We did some walking about the nightmarket after dinner, and then headed back to rest.

♥Dec 1st – Gloomy♥
We woke up late and missed the hotel breakfast and had to eat out.

Our first destination after breakfast of road side pao and bubble tea was Bo Ai Road (博愛路), the Taipei Camera Street, to get a lens Daddy was eyeing (he did the research before arriving and knew exactly which shop to go to. o.O”).

We spent sometime in Ximending (西門町), for lunch, to glance through some of the small shops.

Shops and stall at Ximending :

菓風小舖, the sweet shop where we spent most time in. 菓風小舖


Roadside Sweet Potato Ball SellerSweet Potato Ball Seller

Girls kept asking for money for these ‘games’, but I didn’t let them.Game shop

Game shop

Lots of shops have dogs at the door front, this is one of them.Small Risotto Restaurant

上海老天祿 stewed duck wings上海老天祿

The Red House (西門紅樓), Taiwan’s first public market now a theater.The Red House (西門紅樓)

Girls were fascinated with the many costume shops across the Red House.At the Costume Shop

Costume Shop

Besides getting some sweets from the sweet shop, we didn’t buy anything else in Taipei’s shopping street. o.O”

As Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正纪念堂) is nearby, we thought we’ll visit it as well. Not knowing we’ll spend so much time there. As it’s surrounded by a big park, lots of locals walk their dogs, do team practice for various events etc etc.

We saw a brass band practice in the park.Brass Band practice

Brass Band practice

National Theater

Zaria spent so much time chasing after pigeons.
Chasing Pigeons

Chasing Pigeons

Chasing Pigeons

Chasing Pigeons

School team practicing march.School team practicing march

Li Zhen’s Sculptures (李真雕塑) were exhibited in front of the Memorial Hall.Li Zhen's sculptures and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Li Zhen's sculptures

Girls wanted to take photos of the sculptures.Zaria taking photo

And wanted to be photographed with the sculptures.Zaria with Li Zhen's sculpture

Zaria with Li Zhen's sculpture

Inside the Memorial Hall, the girls could not believe the still guards were real, and not human. Guard inside the Memorial Hall

Guard inside the Memorial Hall

Zaria asked who the statue is “Is he the King of Taiwan?” o.O”

As we were there in the evening, instead of change of guards, we managed to catch the flag lowering ceremony (at 5pm).
Guard leaving the Memorial Hall

Guard leaving the Memorial Hall

Guard leaving the Memorial Hall

As night fall, they started lighting up the whole park.

Li Zhen’s sculpture.Li Zhen's Sculpture (李真雕塑)

That night, recommended by my Taiwan colleague, we went to the Eslite flagship bookshop (誠品信義店). A bookshop with 8000m² of floorspace! Heaven for me!

We even had dinner there at their food court, then just glanced through the various floors.

We love the 杏仁燒, an almond dessert with grass jelly, peanuts, red bean and tosted almond chips from this dessert shop Summer Tree Sweet (夏樹甜品) at the food court.Dessert Shop (sorry no photo).

(To-Be Continued)

If I Quit Working

September 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

I have a long day yesterday and I wasn’t happy with some of the expectation my boss has of me, especially when I’d worked so hard. I told the girls when we came back from the park, and here is the gist of our conversation.

Me : Mummy got scolded by mummy’s boss, mummy want to stop working already
Zara : It’s ok. You can do something you are good at. Like baking. You can sell your cakes and pastries.
Me : Oh, but baking doesn’t give mummy as much money. We’ll have less money to spend. Maybe we need to sell our house now and move to a smaller house.
Zara : *eyes turned wide* Move to a smaller house?…. And then…. (calculating) you have to get a smaller car as well…..? And there’ll be less food….?
Me : Ya, I think so.
Zaria : *eyes turned wide now* And go to a school with no aircon?
Me : Yup. You have to go to a kindergarten with no aircon.
Zara & Zaria : I don’t want.
Zara : You should continue working. When your boss scold you, treat it like it’s not important, and just do your work.
Me : But it’s difficult.
Zara : You told me not to quit piano when it gets difficult. So you should not quit also.
Me : *Moan*
Zara : (imagination run wild) I don’t want to move to a shed in the jungle. I don’t like scorpions, and mosquitos…….Sigh.. Sometimes I wish I just turned to something that cannot move and think.
Me : You want to be a statue?
Zara : Ya.. then I don’t have to worry about all these. o.O”

These girls are so worried about having to change their lifestyle if I quit working.

Penang 2011 – Part 1 Photos

September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

We did our once a year trip to Penang during the Raya Holidays. Some may ask why go during peak season? Since Zara started schooling this year, we can only go away when she has holidays, so we are really not left with much choice.

♥Aug 27th♥
First time in our family history, we left the house before 11am to go on a road trip holiday! Yay to Daddy, who kept his promise of leaving the house by 7am to beat the jam.

We managed to have breakfast in Ipoh, and then have late lunch in Bukit Mertajam. Before lunch, we stopped by St Anne’s church to say our thanks for another wonderful year.

Girls were facinated by the candles.
At the Old Church

Zara giving thanks.
Zara giving thanks

Girls collecting holy water playing water
Girls collecting holy water

St Anne’s.
Girls collecting holy water

Since we’d never tried the Ferry before, we thought we would try out this time. Girls loved it.
On board the ferry

It was so windy, the girls’ hair was in a mess.
On board the ferry - strong wing

We got to the Traders Hotel (our current favourite hotel in Penang), by 5pm. It was nice to be greeted by a nice cool room with comfy beds. To the girls, this was when the holidays begun (getting into the hotel room).

That night dinner, we have it at Nonya Breeze (50, Abu Siti Lane, 10400 Georgetown, Penang), Zara’s request. The team there has changed (as the original team had moved to Strait Quay to run the other newly opened Nonya Breeze), but the food was still equally good.

♥Aug 28th♥
After a sumptious breakfast at the hotel, we visited the market along Jalan Kuala Kangsar. Our ‘must-do’ in Penang.

Fresh oyster seller.
Oyster seller

Jalan Kuala Kangsar.
The Market

Offerings to the Hungry Ghosts (孟兰节).
The Offerings

The Offerings

Popiah skin maker (last year, an elderly man was making them, this year, he’s seen relaxing in the shop while this lady took over).
Popiah skin maker

Poridge seller preparing the last few bowls of poridge for customers.
Poridge seller

My favourite dry grocer Fook Weng, a yearly must stop.
Fook Weng - Dry Grocer

Ointment seller giving extra service to get the sale.
Ointment Seller

Big Sale going on for Angry Bird stuff.
Angry Bird Sales

Girls choosing Agry Bird items.
Angry Bird Sales

By the time we were done, it was lunch time.

We went to Soul Kitchen (102, Muntri Street, 10200 Penang, Malaysia), a restaurant highly recommended by Tripadviser. Their pizza was one of the best I’d tasted!
Soul Kitchen

We had to shelter ourselves after lunch from a down pour in a temple on Muntri Street. For Zaria, it meant play time!
Zaria playing

After that it was back to the hotel for a rest.

One of the advantages of staying in Traders is everything is so near and within walking distant. For dinner, we walked out to De Happy Seafood Restaurant (62 Macalister Road 10400 Penang). Food wise, it was so-so, so I don’t think we’ll be going back there next year.

♥Aug 29th♥
Daddy woke up early, and went exploring George Town by foot before daybreak. He took these photos.

George Town

George Town

George Town

George Town

George Town

George Town

After breakfast, we decided to go to Penang Hill, since we didn’t get to explore the place due to a downpour the last time we went there.

The old funicular train has been replaced with something more modern. It was going at faster speed as well.

View from the train.
Going up Penang Hill

It was a wet day, but we could still see George Town from the hill.
View from Penag Hill

Because it’s cooler environment, flowers bloom beautifully.


Besides the cool air, the train ride, Penang Hill has not much to offer. We had tea at the Bellevue Hotel, and then took the train down.
Weather cock on Bellevue Hotel

We headed back to the hotel to rest. Daddy took a nap with the girls, while I went to have a massage in the hotel.

For dinner, we decided to go to the Siam Road Char Kuey Teow.
Lorng Siam Fried Kuey Teow

More than 1hr wait later, we were rewarded with a plate of super delicious Char Kuey Teow.
Girls sharing

My Exora Experience

April 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm

As I was talking about how our family has outgrown our car. I am very honored to have been offered a Proton Exora for the weekend, a VIP test drive. I used it to run my daily errand (marketting, shopping, 1 trip to the kindergarten and 1 trip to the primary school), and here is my experience with the car.

Proton Exora(The car that I had for the weekend)

I’m not a technical person when it comes to car. If you talk to me about engines, torque, performance of a car, don’t blame me if you see me looking bored. What is important to me is what the car can do for me, as a mother, as a woman.

I find Exora to be one of the best MPV around, its design is very practical, it takes into consideration the various needs of Malaysian women or mothers.

There’s the key that can trigger the honk remotely! For a forgetful person like me, it’s very useful for me when I’d forgotten where I parked. Oh, and it can also be used to sound out an alarm if we’re in trouble/danger.
Proton Exora Key

I love the car boot. So spacious! It means it has plenty of room to carry my shopping when I go to the market. And when the family goes on a holiday, there’s more than enough room for our bags!

Proton Exora Spacious Boot

The car has the flexibility to turn into 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 passenger mode with a few easy pulls or clicks. Even a car-dummy like me could adjust the seats myself.

Click. The boot in 6-seater mode. With 1 of the seats on the last row collapsed.
Proton Exora 6 passenger mode - the boot

Click, and it turned into 5 passenger mode
Proton Exora 5 passenger mode

Another click, and 1 of the 2nd row seats is lifted, easy for the person on the 3rd row to disembark, and also provide a longer boot space.
Proton Exora 5 passenger modeI’m even thinking, we can bring our bicycles to parks like Lake Gardens, Bukit Cherakah with all these extra space created by these easily collapsable seats!

Unlike some MPV where the 3rd row is super narrow, there’s still leg room at the Exora 3rd row! Girls were delighted to be seated there to allow the in-laws to be on the 2nd row.
Proton Exora 5 the 3rd row

I love the front seat, spacious, and with each seat has its own arm rest!
Proton Exora front seat

Seats on the 2nd row can be reclined! The girls love it, becasue now, they can recline their seats when they are tired and needed a rest.
Proton Exora 2nd row

I have no problem installing 2 car seats in the car, and still leave room for other passengers. And if the girls are not getting along, we can always separate them to reduce friction.
Proton Exora

Wonderful isn’t it?

There are other little things which also delight me.

There 2 glove compartments! Alright! 1 can be for the manual (Daddy’s section), and another for my things (my section)! CDs, Sunglasses? And included is also a little hook for me to hang my packed lunch or breakfast.
Proton Exora compartments

And the best is the adjustable speed built-in aircon ventilation at the 2nd and the 3rd row. For the girls who always have different demands, one complains “I’m cold ma.” another complains “But, I’m hot!”; I can tell them to adjust their own ventilation themselves! They can solve their own problem and have controls over their own ‘aircon’.
Proton Exora 2nd and 3rd row aircon vent

What the kids like most about the car?
Zara the sociable one said, “I like the 3 sections (3 rows). It’s very nice because, now we can invite a lot of people into the car.
Zaria the wise one said, “The TV! I like it. And it’s very big (the car). So many seats. And there’s arm rest in the front!”

See them in action.

The Primary school gang, so engrossed with the TV.
Proton Exora Experience

The bags. Lots of room even in 6 passenger mode.
Proton Exora Experience

The kindergarten gang, who chose to sit on separate rows.
Proton Exora Experience

Now, if you are considering an MPV, do register yourself for the VIP Test Drive Session, it’s just a few clicks away.

Go to www.allaboutexora.com.

Go to Get Exclusive Treats with Proton Exora and click Enroll here!
All About Exora

Then click Register here.
All About Exora

Fill up your details then click Next (remember to fill up all your details or you won’t be able to go to Next)
All About Exora

Once you’d filled up your details on Page 2, click submit.
All About Exora

Easy peasy. Hope you’ll enjoy the car as much as I do.

~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~

By the way, if you are not my regular reader and do not know my girls are 4 and 6, which explains the way the car seats (front facing) are installed in my car, take note of the below :

According to Dr Ng Lai Oon, Clinical Psychologist from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), for children below the age of 18 months, they should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat.

Rear facing car seat

Photo credit : KONSUMERKini.net.my

Make sure you install your car seat the right way for proper safety measure.

A Need For A Bigger Car

April 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Those of you with 2 children or more, if you don’t already own an MPV, like us, do you find your car a little too small for the family?

I’m finding our family of four outgrowing our cars.

Currently, we still have both girls on their car seat when we go out. With 2 car seats installed on the back seat, there’s hardly any room left for another person. Our current cars, can accommodate 4 people (including the driver) comfortably, but when the helper or other family members or friends who want to come along, we’ll either have to drive 2 cars, or have to remove the car seats to allow more room (which I hate to do, because I prefer my girls on their car seats all the time).


When the girls were younger, we had to buy a compact pram to fit into our car boot. I’m glad they’d outgrown their pram now, and we have 1 item removed from the boot to give us more space. Still, I find our boot rather small for a family of 4.

Every time when we go on a holiday locally, we find the boot too small to hold our 2 suitcases, and the numerous little bags to hold the snacks or things the girls have packed to bring along for our trip. For a shopper like me, there’ll be not much room to hold shopping from our trip. I always have to be careful with what I buy during these holidays, and with every purchase, I have estimate space required for the things, and if our boot can take in that extra bag.

Looks like it’s time to explore getting an MPV. A 7-seater maybe? Due the constant increase in petrol prices, we have to look into an MPV with lower fuel consumption as well, one which is lower than 2.0 liter.

I’ll let you know how our hunt go.

Back Dated : Chinese New Year Shots

March 29, 2011 at 11:47 am

(Just For The Records)

Last year, during Chinese New Year my dad was diagnosed of having a 14cm tumor in his liver. After his surgery, he recovered well, and for this year’s Chinese New Year all of us were glad to see him, although thinner, looking good.

It’s another year of blessing, and good health is all we wish for.

Narcissus for Chinese New year

Zaria on Chinese New Year Day 1

Zaria greeting her eldest cousin

Zara counting her ang pows

Zaria serving tea to Ah Kong

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