Sunday, 1 July 2012

Yangming Park

Selina had the weekend off so we decided to take a trip to Yangming Park situated in the hills above Taipei, in fact its only a 45 minute bus ride from Taipei main Station, you can get the 260 bus from the civic boulevard right outside the station for 30 dollars which is about 65p. Public transport in Taiwan is so cheap and is not profit driven like in the UK, it always amazes me how little it costs to get about, we have just travelled about 30 miles for £2.50 including the train ticket from Zhongli, it says alot for a government run system dont you think?   Anyway back to Yangming Park which is FREE to enter which basically consists of a number of trails through wooded glades and ornamental gardens, i was struggling a bit because i had strained some tendons in my knee whilst jogging earlier in the week, apparently the best time to visit the park is in the spring thats when all the flowers are out in full bloom. If you dont fancy walking all the way round there are little mini buses to catch to take take you to various points of interest. I preferred to linp around you get the feeling that this is a place to come and relax, have a sit down in the shade, listen to the crickets singing, i saw chinese families sat playing Mahjong and picnicing on the benches, there were these tame parrot like birds that seemed to enjoy the attention of being photographed.  It was really hot and Selina had dampened a towel in one of the freshwater streams and put it on my head, it was just bliss to feel cool for a few minutes, in all my trips to Taiwan this had to be the hottest day.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A New Beginning

I arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at 830pm on saturday june 16, i breezed through immigration and baggsge reclaim, met Selina and got a taxi back to Zhongli, we were in her apartment around 930pm. This trip to Taiwan would be my last from the UK for a while, this time i was staying and not going back, so a new chapter of my life begins from here. Our first task is too find a new apartment, this one is just too small now everytime i come here Selina has added more and more things, her daughter stays over 4 nights a week and with me here we wont be able to swing a cat, so the hunt is on to find somewhere big enough and cheap enough and near to where we want to be, we will have to consider visitors staying over from the UK so we might need 3 bedrooms, we definetely need a kitchen thats well equipped as this will be the hub of our future business and i like the idea of a balcony where we can sit out providing we dont get plagued by mosquitos, so thats our first job one thing by one thing, hopefully this week we can find something.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Not coming back this time........

ive just booked my flight for my latest trip to Taiwan, ive changed my mind about 10 times as to when i actually go and finally i decided today, june 15 at 1725pm i leave and this time im not coming back. Selina and i have a busy time ahead inbetween getting married in Hong Kong in july we are moving apartments then setting up a night market stand which is a prelude to opening up a western style breakfast shop somewhere around Taichung City in 2014.  Each time ive been there in the past it has been getting harder and harder to leave so this time after long discussions, many changed plans, many ideas weve decided to go for it and get married, live together, set up a business together, we dont want to be apart any longer than we need to be so basically ive got 9 weeks to go before i leave Britain and i cant say im too sorry to leave.  I feel im ready for a change and you cant get anything bigger than this so why not were not getting any younger and chances like this are few and far between, ive been single for the last 13 years and feel ready again to take the plunge, the time just seems right.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


On saturday Selina took me to Sanxia district on the back of her scooter which was an experience in itself, im not the best pillion passenger as i prefer to be in control but im getting better at just letting her do the driving and the scooter is one of the best ways to get around  many places in Taiwan, when we got to Sanxia the traffic was already building up as everyone was heading for the Old street and the main temple for the CNY celebrations, the road was closed off to traffic part of the way down so we parked up the bike and headed for the old street, there were thousands of people already there and there was no way to get to the temple as the police were doing there best to marshall the ever growing crowd, so we decided to walk up the old street first then nipped down an alleyway towards the river bank where there was another pathway heading toward the temple. A precession had already  started down this walkway as part of the celebrations but there were that many people it was slow progress getting to the temple, we decided basically to walk with the precession as far as we could go but we ended getting caught in this massive crush of people all trying to go different ways it was crazy. All the time this loud wailing music was being played and fireworks were going off all over the place.  We were being pushed by the crush past these large looking boxes which had these enormously fat pigs inside, which apparently had been fattened up for 3 or 4 years for this ceremony, the pigs looked like they had been blown up with compressed air they were that fat, on top of the boxes the locals were setting off the fireworks and the music was just getting louder and louder.  Despite the massive throng of people in such a small space everybody seemed to be in good spirits i couldnt help thinking though that this ceremony would never be allowed in England there would be uproar with the treatment of the pigs, no health and safety regard for letting off the fireworks and there were far too many people in that small courtyard if anybody had fallen over they would have been crushed by the stampede. After unsuccessfully trying to make for a small pathway through to the temple we gave up and made our way back to the old street, glad to be out of the crush we walked up the old street and then around back toward the river bank and over the bridge taking in all the side shows and the stalls that were set up everywhere.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Chinese New year In Taiwan

Just 9 weeks later and im back in Taiwan this time for the Chinese New year, i just wanted to see what it was all about, Selina had 9 days vacation so it was a perfect chance to come back to my second home, i was also glad to get away from the English winter, although the weather here has been a bit dull at times and a little cool it beats getting up to cold frosty mornings, biting winds and whatever else is thrown at us. I arrived on the wednesday night Jan 18 five days before New Years Day, Selina still had to work on the thursday and friday but that was no problem to me im used to that gives me time to write some blogs etc, we had been invited to her second sisters house in Taichung on the sunday, her younger sister would be there also. I was happy for the chance to enjoy the New year with some of her family maybe also a little nervous, but there was no reason to feel like that because they were absolutely wonderful, i was made so welcome, Selina's brother in law is a Malaysian and although he had forgotten alot he had a reasonable knowledge of English so we sat and had a few beers and enjoyed a few cigarettes on his balcony, he talked more and more as he got drunk and got a little homesick for his country he left 28 years ago, but he was a really nice man and he made every effort to make me feel at ease.  The next day Selina's younger sister arrived with her son she was a lovely person always laughing and happy i got on with her pretty well she didnt speak alot of english but you could have a laugh with her, after a coffee i went to the temple with the 3 sisters to bring in the New Year and make a wish for good luck,  the younger sister gave me some insense sticks which we had to light and in various places around the temple, introduce yourself to the god make a wish and then place one the sticks into the receptacle, we did this about 8 times before leaving the temple, then we burned a paper parcel in the incinerator i guess as an offering to the god and then enjoyed a bowl of free soup in front of the temple. After that we went to this rather posh country club home of Taichung Golf Club as they were having like an open day had a bit of lunch took a few pics and a walk around, then it was back home for a lovely dinner a few more drinks and a game of Mahjong which i have absolutely no idea of playing, but my hosts were up to 1:30am playing for a few dollars as they do every New year.