Saturday, August 28, 2010

~ Updates ~

After a re-collection of our Taiwan trip, I'm left with only another update on our previous Genting trip and a family trip to HongKong some years ago.  Hahahaha.. That's pretty much where we have been for the past urmmmm... 6 years? :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

~ Youth Olympic Park ~

The Youth Olympic Games (14th August - 26th August 2010) is going to have it's closing ceremony in a few days time. Last friday, we took the children to the Float@Marina Bay to see the Youth Olympic Park where the Olympic flame, the cauldron that is shaped like a lighthouse and the largest floating stage which holds the opening and closing ceremony is. We seen in on TV but seeing it at the actual spot is a totally different feeling.

Youth Olympic Park

Youth Olympic Park - the Olympic fire, lighthouse cauldron, the floating stage, Helix Bridge and the beautiful Singapore skyline at the backdrop. Simply Gorgeous!

The lovely YOG mascots - Lyo and Merly! They are being placed at various spots on the Helix Bridge and many locals and tourists took this opportunity to take some pictures for remembrance of this historical event in Singapore!

Denver wants to take the No. 1 (Golden) spot and Gladys with Merly.

More snapshots of the children with Lyo & Merly. (From day to night)

The Lighthouse Cauldron and Youth Olympic Flame looked more beautiful in the night. Can you see the Tornado effect of the flame? The opening ceremony of the YOG has definitely been amazing.

The Helix Bridge and Flyer.

It was drizzling shortly after we arrived till we left. Although we are not able to get close to the stage and see the Youth Olympic Flame, it was nice to bring the kids along and feel the YOG event in Singapore.

Monday, August 23, 2010

~ Past Holiday Experiences 9 - Taiwan Oct-Nov 2005 (Day 9 & 10) ~

4th Nov - Day 9: Our final day in Taipei and we are at Core Pacific City (金华城). Another big shopping mall in Taipei. (12 storeys above ground and 7 underground levels)

First impression of the mall is it's unique exterior and interior design. Very futuristic and high-tech. The escalators spans several storeys high and I do get confused which one I should take and where it will leads me to.

We are not enthusiastic shoppers and so it is mainly taking Denver to the children's play area and let him have some fun with the various kiddy rides available within the complex.

Hubby & I have definitely miscalculated and spent too many days in Taipei. We felt that we should have been more adventurous and allocated more days to explore the other parts of Taiwan instead. I guess we have considered the fact that we are bringing a young child along and decided to stick to Taipei more on a safer note. Regardless, we didn't tired ourselves out and everyone is in healthy shape. :)

We spent our final night in Taipei at Huaxi Street Night Market (华西街) also widely known as the snake alley. Huaxi Night Market is located near Lungshan Temple (龙山寺) and is most famous for the various snake shops. As we walked past, we saw a man from one of the snake shop demonstrating how he slam the snake (knocking it out probably), cutting the snake and letting the blood drip out. Ewwwww. It drew a crowd as many gather to see 'show'. Many tourists and locals come here to try the special 'delicacies' - eating snake meat and drinking snake soup or blood. (Uh.. Sorry.. we gave that a pass!)

Apart from the snake shops, like other night markets, Huaxi Night Market also have other stalls hawking at the side of the streets selling assorted products, food, snacks, drinks etc.

5th Nov - Day 10: 9 full days of fun and adventure and here is the final chapter. It's always sad to end a vacation but we spent a lot and miss home too. :) Since our flight is in the late afternoon, we spent our morning around Ximending before departing from the hotel to the Airport.

It has been an enjoyable trip and we bring back many fond memories of Taiwan.

Farewell! See you again Taiwan!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

~ Past Holiday Experiences 9 - Taiwan Oct-Nov 2005 (Day 8) ~

3rd Nov - Day 8: We are pretty much worn out by the trip at Beitou and Danshui and today is more on shopping around. We went to Taipei 101 (again) to see the tower during the day and also shop at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越) which is just nearby. It is a very big shopping mall and we lingered around the children's department most of the time.

Denver was so happy when he saw the Mushiking game stations. It was his favourite at that time and I guess since then, he was very attracted to card games.

We had lunch at the food court, bought toys for Denver and also some 太阳饼 and went back to hotel to rest.

Being in Taipei, another must try local delicacy would be the famous 阿宗面线. We bought 2 bowls from a shop at Ximending where there is a lot of people standing outside the stall with the bowls in their hands eating. The noodle is very soft and chewy (QQ) and the soup is slurpy. You can just drink from the bowl and the taste is super duper delicious! THUMBS UP!

As evening draws, we headed down to another famous shopping mall in Taipei - Miramar Entertainment Park (美麗華百樂園). If you have been a great fan of Taiwanese drama, you will definitely be familiar with this mall. The iconic view of this shopping mall is the 70 metre tall big ferris wheel which is on the roof of Miramar. Many Taiwanese drama has been filming shots just outside the mall with the Ferris Wheel at the backdrop. There are also mini concerts held in the open area too.

Most of the time the lights on the wheel is green. At times, strips of blue and white will run across. Not too sure why it is not multi-colour and why Green? :)

It is another shopping paradise over here. There are many storeys of shops and resturants.

We are more keen on taking the Ferris wheel. Went to the roof top and purchased the tickets (which cost between 150NT to 200NT). It is a long queue, but we waited.

You can see Taipei 101 (the tallest building among all) from the top of the Ferris Wheel and other parts of Taipei. Very nice. There are also other children rides on the roof top and Denver took on the mini Merry-go-round. We are definitely enjoying our trip so far. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

~ Past Holiday Experiences 9 - Taiwan Oct-Nov 2005 (Day 7) ~

2nd Nov - Day 7: Today we are going to "泡汤". Taiwan has many hot/cold springs and it is one of the Must-Do things here. Being in Taipei, it is very important to see the Metro System Map to take us around. We took the train from Simen (西门) to Xinbeitou (新北投). Upon exiting, there is a shop just outside the station and we took up the package from Pacific Wellness Spa & Club (太平洋北投温泉饭店).

We waited for the bus that took us up and was directed to our Suite room. Inside the suite room, there is a separate wet and dry area. Fitting room, shower room and a separate toilet, chairs and bench at the side and of course a spacious bathtub area. Never been in such a SPA facility before and we all had a relaxing dip in the hot spring. It was so good that our aching bodies and legs are massaged and we all felt so refreshed. I nearly fell asleep in the tub. Our package also includes enjoying some snacks and tea at the lounge area and everything is just perfect.

We left the Pacific Wellness SPA and walked on our own. We stopped by the 北投温泉博物馆 (Beitou HotSpring Muesum) and went in for a short tour. Admission is free and upon entering, we have to take off our shoes and change into the slippers provided.

Some information of Beitou Hot Springs Museum: It is built during the Japanese occupation and was once the main public bath in Beitou. It has been restored and was re-opened to the public. Visitors can see the various displays of stones, information on the formation of hot spring and understand Beitou's rich hot spring culture and history.

After exiting the museum, we followed the hot spring path and that somehow lead us to an open hot spring - 千禧汤 (露天温泉). The price here is very cheap!! Only 20-40 Taiwan dollars for 1-2 hours. You'll need to wear a swim suit to go inside the bath area. Since it does not allow visiting, we can only take photos from the outside. But there are a few pools within and it is open to the public. I believe this should be one of the cheapest place to enjoy the hot spring in Beitou!

As planned, we left Beitou and took the train further up to Danshui (淡水). I must say the Taiwanese are very friendly and thoughtful people. Whenever we take the train during the peak hours, there will always be people who are willing to give up their seats to me seeing that I am carrying Denver. Sadly to say, it is something that we didn't experience as much back home.

We took a bus from Danshui MRT station to the Fisherman's Wharf (淡水漁人碼頭). It is a very scenic spot and I guess the best time to come is around 4 plus so you can get to see the beautiful sunset. There is also seafood resturants and other leisure facilities around the Wharf.

The "Lover's Bridge"- 情人桥 is a white coloured single slanted tower cable stay pedestrian bridge. It got it's name since it started on 14th February 2003, Valentine's Day and is a favorite spot for local couples.

That evening, we also saw a couple taking their wedding photos by the Lover's Bridge. There are many tourists and locals standing on the bridge, taking pictures and looking out at the sea. It is very cooling and windy and my hair is all messed up. :)

Beautiful scenary around the Fisherman's Wharf. We stayed on for the sun to set and you can see how the clear blue sky slowly turns orange-red and go into darkness.
We have been out for the entire day and night and it was very late already. On our way back to the MRT station, we didn't get a chance to try out the local delights like A-Gei (阿给),Grandma's Tiedan (阿婆鐵蛋), Danshui Fishballs (淡水魚丸) etc. What a shame!