Purple has now turned blue... purple is joy, yet blue is hope!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Taiwan TaiTung - HuaLien Bicycle Trip (Part 2) March 2016

Day 2 cycling journey, started after a healthy and hearty breakfast. It was a sunny day in the morning. We did our group stretchecise, there we off. It was a hard ride with 7KM uphill road, some with significant climb. Our mind was all blogged with how hard the climb will be, many forgot to appreciate the nature and scenic scene at the 1st KM (Wushibi 烏石鼻 township - flat and downhill route). A shame! Except for a friend of mine, whom did stopped down and took a snap. 

(after note: its just about the same as a journey in life, start-stop, hard-easy, with the will and mindset, we will get it through... enjoy every moment in life! - it's my self reminder, BE THANKFUL & HAPPY with who you are and what you have)

Photo credit to a friend <3 td="">
I love the sun & sea, plus the blue skies!

Junction towards the uphill climb
I tried on the 1KM+ climb, but had to give up after some pestering due to the need of conserving energy for our remaining 60+KM ride to our next destination of the day. Our guide picked us up anytime along the way... though it wasn't just me. :) but I was quite sad... :( In fact, we have a total of 2 hours to complete this 7KM climb. Anyway, self note : there will be another time.

Location : 玉長公路

Guide dropped me and my bike at the peak of hill
Next was an easy ride in the tunnel 玉長隧道, for about 2KM before hitting a straight 7KM downhill ride.
We stopped by a native stall after getting out from the tunnel. Observing lots of local vegetables, fruits, etc which we hadn't seen before. A friend tried chewing on Pinang 檳郎, but ended up dizzy, instead had to omit the downhill ride. Tips : Never try chewing Pinang if you are a non-smoker, the "kick" could cause dizziness.

Local convenient stall
Pumpkin, preserved chilli, banana, etc

7KM downhil was fun, road was slightly narrow. Glad that our guide did gave us some tips before the ride, and proper techniques when pressing the breaks. My speedometer wasn't working during that ride, because the guide had placed the front wheel at its opposite angle. Too had, wasn't able to observe the speed.

Location : An Tong 安東
Right at the foot of hill, An Tong was a small township famous with its hot spring. Too bad, it's not our stop to relax our feet. In fact, it was our arms and wrists that need exercise, after the long downhill pressure. 安通溫泉飯店 An-Tong Hot Springs Resort

Journey continued, where we hit to the very own bicycle lane of An Tong. The place was an old train station and tracks were converted to dedicated bicycle lanes. It was too scenic that day, emptied bicycle lane, except us on it. We was in fact over our riding time for lunch. 

Old An Tong station, now bicycle society
Close mid-day, yet riding effortless
Paddy field
Dedicated bike lane 
It's ME 
Along that bicycle lane, we were honored to the statue where 2 earthquakes plates meet. The Eurasian and Philippine sea's plate. Of course, that became a pit stop for picture taking.

Earthquake plates meet

Lunch : Yu Li township's 玉里麵 - 張媽媽美食
Our guide's recommended lunch place wasn't open that day. So, we had to make our own judgement and hop in whichever shop we feel like it. We tried all noodle and dumpling they offered. It tasted good!

YiLi Noodle
Yam Dumpling, served with Coriander and sauce
After lunch, I quickly ran ride over to the opposite train station to collect my tourist stamp! :)
The ride after lunch as slightly bored. Long, cruise and ride with cross wind. Our pit stop was either 7-11 or now we had a small police station, they called 春日派出所

Quick stop with coffee
Another bicycle lane we went by, can't recall the name. Along the train track. It started to rain drizzling by 3pm. We stopped by a park entrance, if it didn't rain, we would surely do photos bomb.

Another bicycle lane track
Quick stop at a park entrance
Travelled close to 76KM that day! It was the longest route of the 3day expedition. We arrived at GuangFu 光復 township. There's where we had our stay - 砝溙岸。

Homestay at GuangFu
Dinner : Farm in 光復 - 欣綠農園
As it was raining that evening, we were all wet like the 1st day. No chance for us to change our cloths as it was too late in the evening, we had to just drop our bags and head straight to the dinner place. Transport was arranged by our guide. Had our 12 course dinner, all ranging from farm fish, fresh farm chicken, and lots more. We had a whole bucket of purple/red rice, no limit added rice.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my phone a long that night. Hence, no picture for this meal. :)

Breakfast : Our homestay's breakfast was extremely simple. Even Americano coffee needs additional charges. No matter how simple the meal was, it's still the local styled plain porridge plus many times of little dishes.

Simple Breakfast
Paid Americano

Stay tune for Part 3. Till then.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Recipe - Crispy Cranberries Nuts(干果脆片饼)

A procrastinated cookie making post (it wasn't only the post, while I was supposed to test out this recipe since 2016 CNY)... see how procrastinating I am recently. I could not resist from posting this recipe, particularly necessary for future reference. Brought this to a family party last month, and it brought to my surprise that when it was finished up within hour.

Ingredients :-

Pumpkin Seeds 南瓜籽 250g
Almond Flakes 杏仁片 250g
Dried Cranberries 蔓月莓干 (diced) 50g
Florentina Caramel Mix 焦糖预拌粉 200g

Method :-

1) Get ready with 2 layers of baking sheets, one at the bottom of tray another on top of cookie batter 
2) Mix all above ingredients in the bowl
3) Scoop a spoon of mixed ingredient on the baking sheet
4) Preheat oven, bake for 8-10min at 170 degree Celcius
5) Upon reaching out from oven, allow 5min for cookies to cool down, before scooping them off the tracy
6) Cool them on wired rack, them before storing them into bottle 

Florentino Mix
Got this from bakering shop
Mix them well
Scoop them up 
Cooling down
Lovely & tasty end product

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Taiwan TaiTung - HuaLien Bicycle Trip (Part 1) March 2016

This has been one of my wish list, we planned for the trip so much earlier (bought with zero fare air tickets). Intended to go with a handful of my close buddies. Plan then changed later, where the group went on with 2 hands full! 

My 4th visit to this lovely place brought us with more adventurous self DIY local trip his time. Pre-trips homework was challenging, lots to plan, lots to read, lots to coordinate and communicate with the bicycle tour agent... all these been much taken care by my other half. Google's 'yellowman' had brought him virtually to the sites and routes a lot.

Internet broadband was a must for me. Learned my lesson from my last trip, although free Wifi wasn't that difficult to get. We both signed up for Taiwan Mobile's 台灣大哥大 package from the airport arrival terminal, right before entering the immigration gates. Deal was good, 1) unlimited broadband for 7 days, 2) immediate activation.  After note remark, its superb especially when we were in suburb area throughout the bicycle trip, it's always close to 100Mb download speed! In case if you are on U Mobile subscription plan for more than 6 months, you are entitle to their free daily broadband of 1Mb, also with local carrier Taiwan Mobile. My friend was lucky!

Broadband service
As usual, we took a bus from airport to downtown. Grab our next day ticket to next destinations for the next day at Taipei Main station. Our night stay is just nearby with underground walking distance. To be exact, it was opposite the bus station.

My lovely bear at Taipei mainstation
AccommodationJust Inn 正.旅館 
  • Operate by a very young couple, one of them is from Hong Kong
  • Some rooms can be small, no windows, it was alright for a night stay
  • We left out bigger luggage with them for the next 5 days, though their store room can be pretty narrow, yet they still accommodated the 10 of us 

Add caption
Foods :
1) Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle

  • Since our hotel was walking distance, ~1km to XiMenDing (西門町), hunting for food wasn't a problem at all. In fact, there are some good shops around the hotel, serving good beef noodle. We passed by a local market and grabbed some local fruits, my ever favorite 蜜棗
  • Ah Chung rice flour noodle (阿綜麵線 been my partner someone's favorite, but not mine :( I prefer minced pork rice (滷肉飯) topped with egg, accompanied with O-chien (蛤煎) and fried radish cake.. so similar to our local food
  • After dinner, we simply walked and shop around

simple dinner
Journey :
1) Short bicycle trip at FuLong (福隆)

  • We underestimated our expedition here, it was supposed to be a warm up ride before we started our 3D2N full biking journey from Taitung (台東) to Hualien (花蓮)
  • The scenery and weather was just too good, our group spent too much time taking photos, in the end we couldn't finish our planned route of 20km around the place, including a scenic place called DongBeiJiao (東北角). Not to worry, I will be back!
  • Main attraction was the cooling tunnel of 2km 舊草嶺隧道石城端(白雲飛處)
  • We had simple bento lunch just in front of FuLong station

Bicycle rental outside FuLong station
Biking tunnel
FuLong Tourist i-building
Bento set rice
Bento shop, view from the station
Journey :
2) Hooped on the 5 hours train from FuLong (福隆) to Taitung (台東)

  • Though the journey was long, all of us enjoyed the comfortable train ride, especially on the super scenic view
  • In fact, those view that we saw along the train ride, was our bicycle trip view too
  • We took a train down south, and cycled up north. In fact, that was a slightly tiring ride as most of the time we ride against the north south wind :D

Our train tickets
Little Olivia accompanied me too
Met a reptile in our train cabin 
Scenic paddy field view
Another wet paddy view
3) Here's our destiny in Taitung (台東), our engaged bicycle tour and rental shop 花蓮單車出租台東單車出租甲租乙還阿勝單車
  • We were earlier skeptical about another bike touring shop outside of the branded brand's touring service. Once we stepped into this humble shop and the hospitality given by our guide, we all became satisfied customers
  • Pick up and return of their bicycle can be at 2 different locations, we hired the guided car service, hence all our luggages were well taken care of
  • Best part was, our guide could service puncture tire in seconds, buy us drinks, transport anyone and their bike if one can't make it through some steep route
  • Upon picking up our bicycle (all ready tagged with our names, as they took our height and setup the closest fit size bicycle), our guide made us rode on the bike to our hotel, at least 10KM on a late evening

Bike touring shop
Accommodation 蘋果商務旅店 Apple Hotel

  • Riders favorite hotel, the owner has a Bicycle Club to start with, they will ride in a group on a specific days
  • Spacious and most important was clean

Journey :
4) 台東觀光夜市
5) 鐵花村 Tie Hua Music Village
  • Upon checking in, it was closed to 8pm, it was time for dinner
  • We walked about 1km that evening, headed to their night market for food
  • My experience, nothing much of the night market, food was so-so. If one would like to have decent restaurant foods, they have good beef noodle house nearby
  • On our way back, we dropped by a nicely lid full of lanterns park... view was awesomely lovely

Love the lanterns
Journey :
6)  加路蘭遊憩區 Jialulan Recreation Area
8)  金樽
  • Our bicycle tour journeys started Day 1, all from Taitung, getting into several nice rest area long the beaches
  • We stopped on an average every 10km for the start, our guide will usually stopped us at 7-11 or tourist rest area, almost all 7-11 mart has toilet. It was so convenient, plus we could refill our water or energy drinks anytime
  • Our first and second rest area were super scenic, thanks to the blue skies with ~25C
  • Dulan (都蘭) was a smaller township, where we stopped for a bread shop
Bread @ Dulan
All kinds of bread
JinJun 金樽 rest area
JinJun 金樽 rest area

  • We stopped here for simple lunch
  • It was a Pao shop with many kinds of famous Pao, meat balls and soybean drink

TongHe Pao

Journey :
  • Weather didn't do good after 3pm that day, upon checking in another tourist center, it rained
  • We did a quick tour in which lasted only 30min
  • The place would be very scenic if it didn't rain, there's a bridge to cross over to another smaller island opposite

Foods烏石鼻 Wushibi
  • Dinner or meals are not inclusive in our bicycle tour package, no fear... as our guide will usually ask for our wish before planning our dinner
  • Dinner will usually cost us only RM30/pax, served will close to 8-10 dishes of food
  • 1st night's dinner was mainly seafood, since it's a fishing village. i.e. fresh sashimi, octopus, jelly fishes, etc... all were yummy!!
Wushibi Seafood Restaurant 
Wushibi Seafood Restaurant 
  • Located at a small village called YiWan 宜灣
  • Our homestay along the way was all booked by our bicycle tour agent. First night of our biking journey, was an apartment styled homestay. We took the highest floor. The entire building was managed for homestay purposes
  • There was a nice common area in front, we had our foods and snacks that night, overlooking the beach
  • I would say our breakfast the next morning was the highlight of all in the stay, we were all served with healthy Genki breakfast and home brewed coffee! Check out the picture, love it to the max!
Lighted up homestay
Our room - wooden furniture
Bread, ham, egg, steamed pumpkin, bean sproud, homecook soy milk
Beautiful mug + home brewed coffee

End of Day 1 expedition... tired, but was worth the effort with the beautiful scenic view. 

Day 1 Biking TaiTung - YiWan