Monday, May 27, 2013

Priceless Moments

While Yining was getting off the car this morning, she realised that Mummy didn't bring her bag along. She got anxious and told Mummy that she left her bag behind. I told her Mummy didn't need her bag yet and Yining said : "我怕妈妈没有带bag,不可以上班."

Moments like this are priceless.

Our Taiwan Holiday - Part 1 of Day 3

*WARNING* : Make sure you have a high speed internet access because I'm going fill this whole blog post with TONS of pictures! :)
7th May 2013 - Our 3rd day in Taiwan.
Day 2 was eventful. I won't say disastrous, but it was quite an experience. Come Day 3. Our itinerary for the day is as follows
1. Take a 40 mins drive up the mountain to one of the peaks (武岭) at 3275m above sea level.
2. Go to 青青草原 and 清境牧场 to visit the sheep farm.
3. Visit 小瑞士花园.
4. End the day at 庐州温泉.

I woke up in the morning and looked out of the window. It was already very bright. We were supposed to meet the driver at 9am. The first thought was, have we overslept?! Checked the time, 5:30am. Stepped out of the cottage to take a picture. Yes, it's 5:30am in the morning.

5.30am at Shangrila Hanging Gardens
Yining has the habit of waking up early, so she woke up shortly as well. The sun and temperature was great, so we went out to take some pictures. I think the temperature was about 20 degree celsius?

Early in the morning
Yining collage
I think Yining had a good night sleep. She loves cool temperature and sleeps very well when it's cool. The weather was bright and sunny but very cooling, really fantastic compared to the previous day when it was cold, dark and wet.

We went on to have our breakfast andwaited for our guide to pick us up for our first destination. While waiting, we took pictures.

The home stay
Yining was in a really good mood for taking photos.
Yining mummy daddy collage
Shortly after our guide came and we move out to the first destination. But before we moved off, I actually had a short discussion with my guide to decide whether to skip the first destination. Why? Because it was a 40mins drive up and mountains and I was terribly worried that the vomiting episode would repeat. We eventually decided to go ahead, but we will monitor the situation along the way to make sure Yining was comfortable.

At this point in the video, we are about 2500m above sea level. It was actually not too comfortable because part of the motion sickness set in, maybe because of the anxiety that Yining might be uncomfortable. But when we finally made it to the peak at 3275m, the discomfortable disappeared immediately.
The scenery at the peak was breathtaking. The pictures probably do not do enough justice to the actual scenery. The temperature was at about 11 degree celsius. It was very amusing when Yining got off the car. At first she was very elated with the cold temperature, then suddenly she realised that it was really cold and quickly ran to Mummy and me for warmth. Because the air is thin, we had to keep reminding Yining not to run about. Mummy, who isn't really a fan of nature was also overwhelmed by the scenery.
Highest Point at 武岭
Yining and Mummy at 武岭
We spent a good half an hour or so before our guide told us we had to leave because mist was forming up. He was worried that if it got too thick, we might have problems going down the mountain, so no choice, we had to move on.
The next destination we are going to, is halfway down the mountain. The place is called 清境牧场 and 青青草原, which is an open concept farm with sheep roaming around freely. That's supposedly the highlight of the tour for Day 3, because Yining has been nagging about going to feed the sheep even before we departed for Taiwan. :)
And so, we took about 30mins drive or so downhill to the farm and here we are. This was what greeted the moment we stepped into the farm.
Sheep roaming
The sheep there are very intelligent. The moment I got near the vending machine to buy the food for feeding them, they started crowding around me. I had to quickly walk away and divert their attention. There's no way Yining could feed the sheep if the whole lot crowded around her. So I had to walk around and hunt for loners. And we found one.
Yining feeding sheep
Yining was a little apprehensive at first, but she got the hang of it very quickly. The only problem is that, in between feed, the sheep got very anxious and kept going for Yining's hand. It was an amusing moment because Yining was shouting at the sheep saying : "Wait! Wait! Why you cannot wait! Naughty 羊羊!" Her tone was exactly the way we told her off when she gets impatient. Now we use that as her reminder when she gets impatient. :)
The farm was huge! So we spent quite a bit of time walking around feeding sheep and enjoying the sun under the nice cool weather. After which, we took a walk to 青青草原,which is adjacent to the farm. But in between, we took a short break at the local market.
Yining with ice cream
Yining had this ice-cream with frozen sheep milk in the middle. Very tasty!
Next stop at 青青草原 was another unforgettable place.
The grassland and the sky
Beautiful Hill and Sky
Beautiful sky and weather. Any picture taken there is naturally beautiful. I don't even need much skill for taking the pictures. We took loads of pictures there.
Yining and Mummy posing with the egg rolls we bought.
Posing again
Family Shot
Our family shot. Not sure what Yining was looking at. :P
Yining with windmill
Yining was voluntarily taking a lot of pictures. Guess she like the scenery too. :)
Yining With Mummy
Very nice backdrop. Too bad Yining was looking elsewhere.
Daddy doing the gyiyomi
Doing the Gyiyomi, on request of Yining. Not very me, but my girl wants it. What to do? :)
We spent more than 3 hours total at 青青草原 and 清境牧场. Just these 2 place is already worth the trip driving up and down the mountain. But at the end, there's a little surprise.
Long flight of stairs
487 Steps Down
We had to take this long flight of stairs down the hill. 487 steps. Sweat!
We still have 2 more destinations to go before we end the day, so I will leave that to Part 2 of Day 3!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Our Taiwan Holiday - Day 2

Day 2 of our holiday - 6th May 2013.

On arrival at our hotel the previous day, I contacted our private driver cum guide that I have hired prior to arrival in Taiwan. For the next 4 days, he will be with us based on an itinerary that he has suggested beforehand.

First thing in the morning is breakfast time of course. Yining already has her request. She wants eggs, ham, toasted bread with margarine and corn flakes. 
Yining's Breakfast at Grandee
At 9:30am, we met the guide 小胖 at the hotel entrance. He drives a 7 seater, which is comfortable for 3 of us and has sufficient space for all our luggages.
And look at Shilin Night Market in the morning. Stark difference from the night scene.

Shilin Day vs Night
Our first destination is 埔里酒厂, which we will pass by on the way to our home stay. This is a more of a tourist thing where we get to understand their 100 year old local industry. The only thing that appealed to Yining? The snacks that we got to try. :) And of course, we did the tourist thing, take pictures.

At Pu Li Winery

We had lunch at a local stall before moving on to our next destination, the Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area.This was the eventful part. The journey there was like going through roller coasters. The reserve sits at about 1200m above sea level. We over estimated Yining's tolerance for such journeys. Halfway through the journey, she got uncomfortable and vomited. It was quite a bad mess. We had to change her in the middle of the winding roads. And when we finally got there, it started to rain. In the anxiety to get Yining to the shelter, I forgot that we were at 1200m above sea level. Air was thin. I was running while carrying Yining. I almost couldn't catch my breath after that.
Because of the rain, I decided to cut short the itinerary for Day 2 and call it a day. We went straight to check in at the resort and I'm certainly glad we did.
Shangrila Hanging Garden
This the resort that I booked. It's a home stay kind of place, which is now very popular in Taiwan. This place has received very good reviews from the accommodation to the food and staff etc. And I must say the Taiwanese are really good hosts. They certainly lived up to their reputation. This home stay is European-themed. The rooms were like cottages and the furnishing had a rustic feel. The temperature then is about 18 degree celsius outside due to the rain, but inside the cottage it was comfortable, not too cold. 
Shangrila - Inside the roomShangrila - Inside the roomShangrila - In the room
After a short break in the room, we went for our dinner provided by the resort.
Dinner at Shangrila
Dinner at Shangrila
Dinner was great. How do we know for sure? Yining was enjoying every bit of it. :)

Mummy Serving Yining Her Dinner
IMG 0165
It was an eventful day that ended well fortunately. We had an early night rest because it's going to be a long day on the following day. We are going to sheep feeding! :)

Our Taiwan Holiday - Day 1

Day 1 - 5th May 2013.
Yining took her first plane flight, and where did we go? Taiwan!
Last year Mummy and I tried to plan an overseas trip, but we ended up going for a cruise because we weren't too confident about bringing Yining abroad. Things like her health (She had a tendency for fever at that time) and whether she was able to appreciate the trip etc. Well, the 2nd point was proven to be wrong during the cruise trip. Yining totally enjoyed it and had very deep impressions of the trip.

This year, Mummy and I decided that it was time for us to bring her to a farther destination away from home. After considering places like Japan and Hong Kong (Disney Land), Australia and Taiwan (Farm Stay), we decided on Taiwan. Firstly, flight was less than 5 hours, so it shouldn't be too stressful for a first time flyer. Secondly, a lot  of friends recommended Taiwan as a place to bring young kids for farm stay.

So, we departed on the 5th of May and arrived in Taiwan at about 5pm in the evening. I made prior arrangement to have an airport transfer to the hotel for our overnight stay before going to the farm the next morning.

The top consideration for choosing the hotel was convenience because we had a young one with us, I book this hotel called the Grandee Hotel (台北官邸饭店), which is directly opposite the Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). Shopping and eating! That would be our activity for the first night.

So when we got to the hotel, what did Yining look for? The bathtub! She loves soaking in water. The hotel is well furnish, more to a boutique hotel concept. I would recommend this hotel for easy access to Shilin Night Market.

Grandee hotel
So after a quick rest, we headed out to our shopping and eating! And this is taken directly outside our hotel. I'm not exaggerating when I said it's directly across the road. Look at the amount of people.

IMG 6454
No prizes for guessing our first stop in the night market.

Food Street!
We ordered the Taiwanese version of fried oyster (蚝仔煎),meat ball soup (贡丸汤)and squid soup(花枝羹).

Shilin food
And looks who's enjoying.

Yining Enjoying Her Food
After the first meal, we went around to shop and explore. There were a lot of new and interesting things, not just for Yining but for Mummy and I too. The last time I travelled to Taiwan, was like 10 years ago.

Yining On My Shoulder
Yining getting a free ride. She loves sitting on my shoulder and mess with my hair.

Shilin feasting
Yining feasting again. All food rules were relaxed. Basically, anything that we let Yining try anything, as long as it's not too overboard e.g. too oily, too heaty. I had to keep reminding Yining not to drop food onto my head. We spent about 2 hours in the night market and had to call it a day because our dear Yining was tired and wanted to sleep.
We went back to the hotel to wash up and rest in preparation for our trip on the following day to Nan Tou (南投), where we will have our home stay (民宿)at ShangriLa Hanging Gardens (清境香格里拉空中花園).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Yining's First Plane Ride

Happened on 5th of May 2013 at around noon time. Apprehensive, excited and worried, for us and Yining.  

Yining At The Airport

Yining at the airport

While she looks excited to be boarding the plane soon, she was also apprehensive at the same time. She told us she was a bit scared of boarding the plane.

Yining On The Plane


Yining On Plane

So on the plane, we made her comfortable, as comfortable as she could get. I got some maze games for her on the iPad Mini to keep her occupied and distracted for the journey. Kids as usual has short attention span, so I practically had to line up enough things to keep her occupied for the 5-hour journey. Fortunately, the iPad Mini and SQ's in-flight entertainment were enough to keep her busy.

Camwhoring with Mummy

Some pictures taken with Mummy, enjoying it so far.

First Plane Meal

Yining's First Plane Meal

And she had her first meal. For some reason SQ said they did not receive my request for Kids Meals. Not attentive enough I must say. On the flight back the stewardess confirmed Yining's meal the moment we boarded and got her the SQ kid's drawing books and stuff even before we took off.

Distraction For Ger

After her meal, back to her maze. And shortly after she fell asleep.

The trip was generally ok except for a little episode when she woke up before landing. She refused to stay in her seat and wanted Mummy to carry her. On the other side, the SQ crew was urging us to secure her on the seat. I thought they could just exercise some flexibility for a 3 year old instead of telling us only children below 2 can be carried and secured with the auxiliary safety belt.

All in all, it was a new experience for Yining. We are looking forward to our next trip. 

And this is Yining, lugging her own luggage proudly at the airport!