Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 4 - Tunghai University, National Museum of Natural Science, Fengjia Night Market

Ryan had bacon sandwich, I had noodle soup for breakfast.

In Taichung, public bus rides were free for the first 10 kilometres. Each stop along the bus route was clearly displayed, so it wasn't too difficult getting around on public transport. Ryan was holding Easycards with reloadable funds, which we would use to pay for transportation and purchases in 7-11.

@ Luce Chapel, Tunghai University 东海大学

The main attraction in this campus was the uniquely designed Christian chapel. This was THE landmark in Taichung.

@ National Museum of Natural Sciences 科学博物馆

A short bus ride took us to the science centre. Here Ryan was watching a 3D animated movie.

And then we watched another movie in this odd sphere-shaped cinema. The visuals were projected all over the ceiling, making you feel very much being in the movie. However, they played a boring marine documentary, which I slept through most of it.

There was this video game where you make your race horse advance by concentrating your thoughts. And believe it or not, Ryan won the game beating two adults and a kid.

There was an exhibition hall with dinosaurs on display.

An antique gigantic clock of some sort.

@ Botanical Garden 植物园

Had an evening walk in the garden beside the science centre. Every other person there was catching Pokemon.

@ Fengjia night market 逢甲夜市

A very lively night market located beside the Fengjia University. Being a weekend night, it was overcrowded with campus students and shoppers. Stalls were offering 'student prices' for food, drinks and electronical gadgets.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 5 - Taichung to Taipei, then to Luodong

There were lots of breakfast places within a short walk from our lodge. Toasts, sandwiches, and burgers seemed to be favourite breakfast items in Taiwan. For about NT40-50, you could get a quick breakfast set complete with a drink.

@ Beitun Children's Park 北屯儿童公园

An interesting park just beside our lodge. 

Senior citizens hanging out with friends on a Sunday morning.

Trying out traditional aerobic exercises.

Grandma playing with her adorable grandson.

Friendly squirrels.

@ Beitun Baptist Church 北屯浸信会

I googled for a Christian church with early Sunday service, and we found this place which was 15 minutes walk away. Checked out from our lodge and walked here. The ushers were pleasantly surprised to see two wired guys attending church with backpacks.

The Christian church had a visible presence in the community. At the end of the service, the pastor encourage his members to participate in a street demonstration on the following weekend to protest against legalisation of same-gender marriage. "Wondering who to take care of your kids? Bring them along. Make this a family event. We are doing a peaceful rally to protect the sanctity of the family institution in Taiwan". Now, that's what I call a democratic country. Peaceful protests are citizen's right. 

This kind gentleman brought Ryan to join the kids at Sunday school. "You kids should learn from Ryan and his daddy. Although they are on holiday, they make it a point to attend church on Sunday. Although they are foreigners to us, and we foreigners to them, in Christ we are a big family." Ryan was overjoyed to get goodies from the Sunday school teacher. The gentleman was holding a 'lucky draw' box with hidden gifts inside. Note to self: good idea to ciplak.

@ National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts 国立台湾美术馆

Our last stop in Taichung before leaving for Taipei. We were drawn here by curiosity and free admission.

Tree art?

I confess... I don't understand fine art. There was a display made of rubbish and plastic bags that they call 'art'.

This mess of colours was modern art.

Size does matters, never mind what they scribbled on it.

@ Bus to Taipei, and then to Luodong

Gosh, we forgot that it was a Sunday afternoon, where a massive weekend crowds were going back to the cities. Should have pre-booked the train or bus tickets. Anyway, we were not alone... the queue was 1.5 hours before we got onto a bus.

The consolation was we got to watch movies and access wifi on the bus. That took away the boredom of getting stuck in the highway traffic jam. On arrival in Taipei, we boarded a connecting bus to go to Luodong. 

@ Luodong Night Market 罗东夜市

It was almost 11pm when we reached our lodge in Luodong. Thankfully, some stalls in the night market were still open for supper.

Apparently, this herbal mutton soup was a must-try in Luodong night market.

A specialty dessert in Luodong... springy flour balls with filling 包心粉圆.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 6 - Luodong Forestry Culture Park, Factory Tour, Dongshan River Park

Had breakfast at the famous noodle shop in Luodong, just across the road of the Forestry Cultural Park.

@ Luodong Forestry Cultural Park 罗东林业文化园区

A free park where the locals come for their morning walk. Some odd pieces of wood was on display, along with memorabilia from the timber industry.

@ Rabbit Pencil School 玉兔铅笔学校

It was actually an old pencil factory, and the first company to produce ballpoint pens in Taiwan. They packaged a 'teacher' to guide visitors on DIY activities, a short video show, a factory walkabout, and then students receive a pencil certificate on graduation.

Pokemon was No Go in the school compound!

The process of stacking up pencil wood for drying.

Decorate your own pencils and then get them laminated to bring home. All in all, a worthwhile experience.

@ Yilan Biscuit Factory 宜兰饼发明馆

Boring outlet shop, nothing much to see and sample.

@ Crayon Factory 蜡艺彩绘馆

Ryan making magic colour pens.

Making crayon figurines.

Props and background graphics for photo-taking.

I think this factory was touristy and over-rated. Located in the middle of a light industrial area, there was no public transport, so you gotta arrange your own return transportation. The counter staff beamed when I paid for the entrance tickets, but sulked big time when I asked her to help me call a cab. 

@ Dongshan River Water Park 冬山河亲水公园

We passed by this river park two years ago en route to the Traditional Arts Centre. It left an impression and I said I would return to cycle in the park. And so we did.

Lovely cycling tracks along the Dongshan River. Done the full loop with some sidetracks in 1.5 hours. Thank God for great weather, and for the rain which started just as we returned our bicycles. Whew!