Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Traffic Jam

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- Karen

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kenting National Park

Our tour bus arrives at the entrance to the park located on the southern end of Taiwan.

A portion of the park's hike involves stairs.

How many people have seen expensive polished marble tables & chairs at a park?
And, this is not the only set in the park.

Watch out for hazards along the way.
Are centipedes dangerous or do they not want hikers to step on them?

A sign describes this as an autumn maple tree over 300 years old and almost 49 ft. tall (15m).

A greenhouse inside the park allows for beautiful flowers and orchids to grow year round.

An 88 ft. (27m) viewing tower sits close to the middle of the park. You can go to the top by elevator or stairs.

At the top, your eyes will most likely focus on the lush forest below and this large structure called Mt. Dajiashih.

In my last post you saw the Cat Rock. Here, you can see the 200 ft. tall (61m) Frog Rock.

Or, if you see the trees start moving below, it will most likely be from one of the many Formosan Rock Monkeys living in the area.
They like to eat the berries in the trees as well as tender leaves, insects, and bird eggs.

- Karen

Friday, February 24, 2012

Southernmost Points

Does this this rock formation look like a cat, a dog, a pig, ...etc.?
Over the years, enough people have said it looks like a cat lying on its stomach to be given the name of Maoyan (Cat Rock) or Maobitou (Cat's nose & head).
It is a coral reef rock from a nearby cliff that had rolled onto the waters and by some luck, it looks like an animal. And, by chance, it is also one of the two southernmost points of the island.

The southernmost east side of the island is the Eluanbi Lighthouse or sometimes called the "Light of East Asia."
The original lighthouse was built in 1888. Over the years due to age and wars, it was badly damaged and was rebuilt in 1962.
The lighthouse is still functional, but it is more well-known as a tourist stop inside the Kenting National Park. The rain was pouring on the day we visited, so we did not venture far to get a better view.

How does a place have two southernmost points? This is the snapshot of the map that tourists see while at the lighthouse.
If you enlarge it, you can see at the bottom of the map in red is where the lighthouse stands at the eastern side.
On the other side with the white area where the Cat Rock sits is the western point.

- Karen

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Big Foot

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- Karen

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taiwan Tourist Signs

An interesting sign, but an odd place to hang it at an overlook tower. It would have been more appropriate at a nature preserve, but nevertheless, it is a good philosophy to live by.

Found this complex sign at a national park. It is trying to tell walkers how they can lose weight, but the charts are a little hard to decipher.

This sign scares me to venture any further onto the beach.

Hmmm, I am still trying to figure out what this sign is really saying.

- Karen

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Stop for Wax Apples

Our tour guide stopped regularly so we could take a short break for food and clean restrooms.
Here we stopped for both at a roadside fruit stand called Super Sweet.

Many other tour buses know to stop here as well to really help bring in some good business.

During our drive over, our tour guide kept talking about wax apple and I had no idea what it was. Well, they sell them here by the boxes.
According to Wikipedia, it is known as a wax apple, bell fruit, love apple, ...etc.
Normally found in Asia, the fruit is a bell-shaped with colors ranging from white, pale green, or green to red, purple, or crimson, to deep purple.
This stand sells it pre-cut for travelers and I could not resist in trying one. It is fluffier than an apple, crunchy, slightly juicy, and sweet.
After eating one, I wanted more! Too bad it is not sold in the States.

Other fruits are also sold here, but they were not as popular as the wax apple.
Have you had one before?

- Karen

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Close Ups

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- Karen

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Liouhe Night Market

On the 2nd evening of our tour, we stopped at Kaohsiung's famous Liouhe Night Market for dinner.
Notice the sign says it opens from 5:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Those are long hours. I suppose they catch the early dinner crowd, the early morning risers, and everything in-between.

We made our way amongst the bustling crowd of locals and tourists. The vendors on both sides of the street stretched for several blocks. By the time we made our way to the other end, we were hungry again. :)

There is a variety of seafood to choose from. Pick what you like and they can cook it for you to eat right away.

Look at the huge prawns. Yes, they are very much alive until they get onto the hot grill for awhile. It was kind of inhumane to watch them suffer.

Another popular dish is oyster omelette. This vendor is making one cooked fresh by the order.

This vendor is selling handmade steamed dumplings which is dough filled with meat or vegetable in the center.
I was watching them for awhile as we waited for our order. It was repetitive work, but it looked like they were having fun socializing at the same time.

Here is a close up of the thin dough skin, meat with chopped green onions, and the finished raw dumplings.

This tourist is deciding what to try next. How about you?

Amongst the many drink vendors, this man sells peanuts and sugarcane juice at his stand. The machine crushes the sugarcane stalk where the juice comes out one end and the tough sheath is discarded at the other end.

More fresh seafood and vegetables to choose from. Locals can shop for many bargains here to cook at home.

Here is one of many makeshift "restaurants" next to the vendor stalls. You order from a menu and the food is cooked fresh and delivered to you.

- Karen

Friday, February 10, 2012

Love Pier

My previous post with the Love Arch was taken close to home during the last Christmas holiday. Today's post was taken in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where it is always Valentine's Day at the Love Pier.

Kaohsiung is the 2nd largest city in Taiwan located on the southern part of the island.
On our tour, we arrived at the pier by the Love River just before sundown.

As daylight disappeared, the bridge across the river lights up.

It might be hard to see, but the boats with the green neon lights take visitors down the river for a romantic cruise. With its tropical climate, people can enjoy this pastime any time of the year.

From what I read, the parks on both sides of the river can be packed with thousands of people during festivals or water sporting events, but on this particular weeknight during our visit, this ice cream shop sits idle and is empty of customers.

- Karen

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Love Arch

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- Karen

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Chi Mei Museum

You might never have guessed that one of the world's most prestiges private collection museum is housed in the middle of an industrial complex. Long-time collector and founder of the Chi Mei Corporation, Mr. Wen-long Hsu opened his museum in 1992 to the public to view free of charge.
The photo is outside of the Chi Mei Museum and his collection is on the 5th to 8th floor of the building in the background.
Unfortunately, no photographs are allowed inside, but to get a flavor of what is inside, click here to see the museum's collections.
I can tell you the owner must be very rich and have been collecting for a long time. If I may borrow a saying from its website, "At the ChiMeiMuseum, visitors can experience the finest masterpieces from different civilizations and cultures without leaving Taiwan, thus offering a broader view of the world."

Four statues that represent the four seasons.
Spring (left), Summer (center), and Autumn (right).

Autumn (left), Winter (center), and Spring (right).

Across the street is what looks like the Chi Mei factory, a big contrast to the delicate museum statues.
The Chi Mei Corporation is one of the largest maker of ABS resin (plastics), as well as acrylic glass, polystyrene, thermoplastic elastomer, synthetic rubber, and Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display.

- Karen

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Little Taiwanese History Lesson

Prior to my visit to Taiwan, I had no idea of the island's diverse history. The Dutch acquired control of Taiwan from its indigenous people between 1624 to 1662 while sailing through the area to set up trading posts to trade with Japan and China. They named the island "Ilha Formosa" or "Beautiful Island" in Portuguese.

This is a model of Fort Provintia built in 1653 in Tainan City. Tt served as the Dutch administrative office and trading post during their colonization of Formosa.

This is what the former Fort Provintia looks like following some remodeling and additions over the years. After 1945, it was renamed to Chihkan Tower after "Chakam", an aboriginal village, that stood here before the Dutch came.

Military leader, Zheng Chenggong, (also known as Koxinga) born of a Chinese father and Japanese mother, led his troops to Formosa in 1662 and defeated the Dutch.
This structure shows the Dutch Governor of Formosa, Frederik Coyett, on the left with his head bowed to Koxinga during his surrender.

Chihkan Lou serves as a museum today retelling the history between the Dutch and Koxinga.

On the site of Chihkan Lou is a koi pond. I believe these workers are cleaning the pond, but the fishes appear to be struggling to get enough water and some did not seem to fare so well.

Not far from Chihkan Lou is a shrine to Koxinga seen in the last 3 photos. His son built it to honor the much revered leader in Taiwanese history. With being half Chinese and half Japanese, he is seen as a hero in both cultures.

Note: Eventually, Formosa came back to be called Taiwan or "Tayouan" as it was originally called by the island's aborigines.

- Karen