Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Kind Of Chinese New Year Celebration...

Since last year, I have the kind of celebration that I wanted. No steamboat, no one breathing down my neck and not treated like a puppet and be told of what ought not to do. I have no sense of tradition and not bothered with superstitious beliefs. This year we went to church on the first morning of Chinese New Year. All glory belong to our Lord Jesus Christ~!! *sounding the shofar* About that shofar, hubby bought for himself but I ended up blowing it.
The church has invited two guest artistes from Taiwan. She's Amy Chen and I believe God is using her in different ways to touch the many lives of people.
This man is a Chinese opera performer. He has really good voice and his name is none other than Yang Huai Min but sad to say, all the movies he's in, I have never heard of them before. I'm not into Taiwanese films. He shared about how he came to know the Lord. What I realized was, those who were filthy rich always seemed to be depressed. No wonder I can never become filthy rich. 
A church with a view. The new building along Karpal Singh Drive is somewhat a little smaller than Gurney Plaza. From outside it looks like a shopping mall that is newly built and yet to have business running. In no time at all, it will be running God's business. Yeah, I changed church. We followed the clouds like how the Israelite followed God's cloud during the day when Moses was leading them to the promised land that the people never get to see. 
 We had lunch at Pie Harbour. The business is up a notch with better food on the menu. The whole place is beautifully done. We had a good time together.
It's still Chinese New Year so it's not too late to wish everyone,"Have a blessed year ahead." It felt really good to be at home instead of out of state like previous years. I don't really like celebrations. Never like to be forced to follow the norms unless you can point out a verse in the Bible that I have to bow down to any such traditions then I would follow.
Hubby then took us to his old classmate's house for a chit chat. Without knowing it, our house started to become a gathering place. Our kitchen is the best place to gather people around. Food is in another blog that I've created solely for Yen's Kitchen.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015...

I know hubby would want to go for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta at Polo Ground. Mi mama, Pinky and I, we deliberately missed the opportunity for the tethered ride in Taiwan because my student advised us against wasting our time and money for something so short-a-ride. It was more than double the amount of the tethered ride in Penang. Hubby suggested that we leave the house at 5:30a.m. by hook or by crook. I got up at 5:15am and I even managed to get my hair cut in less than 5 minutes. That's the queue we were looking at by the time we arrived around 6a.m. Penangites are kiasu people. Confirm very kiasu including us but we ended up 'su liao'. *Loss to those who could wake up extremely early* The early birds got the worms. I considered myself waking up extremely early but I didn't get the worms.
Thanks to Judz' friend, Charlene who had been in the queue since 4 a.m.++, she bought the tickets for us or we would be so disappointed. Those who were in front of us, who came as early as 5:30a.m. didn't get the tickets for the tethering ride at all. I really thank God that He gave us the desires of our hearts. We wasted many hours queuing up, that's how desperate we were. 
It was a very disorganized event with many hiccups. It shouldn't be so no doubt it was the first time held in Penang Island. They have their records in Putrajaya but they must have been shocked looking at the number of people in line before the sun even rose. Hey, 4 a.m. you know... 4 a.m. I was still dreaming away and I think the KL staff were also in dreamland. They came around 7a.m. to set up everything. That shouldn't be so. Everything should be set up by 7a.m. not starting to set up at 7a.m. It was precious time being wasted. 
There were many professional photographers running about trying to take the best photo with the best view and everything. I was with my camera but I was a lazy one who refused to walk out of my line so I just changed my lens and take them from afar. That's the first hot air balloon that came to live. 
Darth Vader landed and stayed floating for less than an hour before he said it's enough of being captured in still-shots. Penang is too hot and he wanted to sleep in his own cover. He went to sleep shortly and refused to get up. Humpty Dumpty had a different story to tell. It didn't break into pieces but it became deflated. What an awesome story for year 2015.
Next, the balloonists started waking the monster up. The monster finally woke up with a big yawn and then it was gawking at the large crowd taking its photo.
It was screaming madness... madness.... arrrggghhhh.... and the sun was scorching hot. Help.... help....
I'm doing this for the sake of the hubby or I would be sleeping like a pig in the comfort of the 16-degree air-cond room. I love you... take as many photos as you want. He can take more photos than I could...
You see I got my haircut in the morning before we left the house. Hubby cut my hair in less than 5 minutes... yippee~!! After this photo, we went back to our queue to take the tethered ride.
We saw the first couple taking the tethered ride. The pilot was getting the balloon to be lifted up using the hot air. I wonder how much gas has been used. Should be more than what we paid as the wind later on became very unfriendly. 
Those two were for tethered rides. At first it was one only for tethered ride but I guessed it would take forever to cater for 180 people within 3 hours. They started the tethered ride an hour later than scheduled. Michelin proved to be the strongest even in times of windy situation. The wind came from all different directions and taking off became difficult. It was even difficult to get the balloon up. Judz was riding in the Michelin while hubby and I rode in the one behind. According to the staff, the one behind Michelin was the best. It would only take two in a basket plus one pilot but the one mi mama was in could take 4 plus one pilot. Tethered ride would be tied to the anchor on the ground. Please don't dream of flying anywhere because you were not in control of where you were going. You would be gone with the wind. The only thing you could control was the going up and lowering down. Where you land yourself at would be another story. An emergency landing was made at the grave site today. That's how interesting it could be.
It was our turn next. I left my camera down with the staff to take a video of us flying up. I regretted not holding on to my camera. I am without view-from-above still-shots. I dislike taking video so I will remind myself to keep to still shots and hold on to my camera no matter what. Hubby managed to grab a picture or two but it's okay. I'm totally okay with or without the shots. So, how's the experience going up? Well, it's an experience unless you have rode on one before. There's nothing to it because we were only tethering. It would be a hobby I will never want. I do not have the patience to wait upon the wind to be kind.
By 9a.m. a few of the balloons have surrendered to the cool  strong wind. Monster tried to stay alive but it went down, too. Aww... poor monster. He crumbled to the ground even after the staff of AKA tried to resuscitate it, but to no avail. Poor... poor monster.
While waiting in-line for the cold inflation, I manage to view the paramotor show. First time I saw this was when I was somewhere in Sepang area, couldn't remember the expensive chalet built on the dirty and muddy sea water which looked like a palm tree from birds-eye-view. 
By the time it was nearly our turn, the cold inflation became cold deflation. The wind was really harsh to this event.
For cold inflation which was only RM5 for 3 minutes, you would have to remove your shoes before you step into the balloon envelope. Take a selfie or wefie or whatever you want as long as you don't tear the balloon with your sharp feet. We didn't manage to go in at all. By the time we left, there were no more hot air balloons to be viewed. Even the balloonists were frustrated with the wind condition of this little island. Oh, but when the days we welcomed the wind, the wind just refused to come. Now that the wind was not welcomed, the wind came in all directions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Mek Mek Year~!

It's the time of the year where you eat and eat and eat. Then, after resting for awhile, you have nothing much to do, then you find yourself munching on the goodies, opening the tin container and the plastic container. Even if it's not so delicious, you still munch on them because finally you realize that munching becomes a habitual response. You just need to munch on something and you find much joy munching. If the goodies are delicious, you don't munch, you swallow them straight. Then, finally, you're back at the dining table, having another round of solid meal.Then, it's chatting away and asking the same question repeatedly to different people. Or maybe you're asking the same question to the same person just that you don't remember talking to that person as you were too busy with your food. It's all about eating. Now with Facebook, the camera eats first and the social media was fed with so much food. If Facebook is a human, Facebook would have died of overeating long time ago.

The bombing has finally stopped over here. I'm okay with the red firecrackers until someone find it funny to burn the crackers which sounded more like we have been bombed. If seriously we've been bombed, we would just sit in the house thinking which smart person started playing with firecrackers again.

The only plan I have for this year is to clean up the house which I have not done so and then play with my new toy...
That's mi mama and my toy. We're love this new toy of ours. Singer: Heavy Duty. My next toy in future would be the embroidery machine. I have a complete kitchen now it's time to sew. Heheheheh then I don't have to buy a piece of clothing each month. I can sew whatever I want. I hope I have that kinda talent.
I intend to wake up early one of these mornings to go and wait for sunrise. But I saw this from my room window, can I put a tick on sunrise and consider that it's a done deal? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 8: Dinner at Alishan...

~ 21st March 2014 ~
Dinner in Alishan was good especially when there's hot pot to complement the cold weather. The place where we had our dinner was somewhere near 7-11. I think that's the only place serving food other than dining at the restaurants where you have your hotel rooms booked. The hot pot was in fact really small but since I wasn't feeling well, I did not have much energy left to eat. The only thing I wanted to do most was crawl into bed and sleep in such a cold weather.
I don't really understand why Hong Kong and Taiwan enjoyed serving broiled chicken in cold. What's wrong with serving them hot?
The garnishing should be spring onion and also enorki mushrooms? Can't really remember. Or were those ginger strips?
Mapo tofu seemed to be Pinky's favourite. Not bad actually as I don't remember complaining the food there.
We got nightmare eating cabbages. Even Pinky, a vegetable lover rejected cabbage after being served with cabbages for a few days.

Day 8: Alishan's Legendary Forest Trail...

~ 21st March 2014 ~
Let's take a deep breath and I'll bring you for a walk in the forest. I can be a tour guide as well and a very good one if I want to be.
That's our guide answering Pinky's questions. I don't know what she asked neither could she remember what she ask. Maybe they were talking about the traffic lights for the forest rail but I think that rail line was no longer in service after a horrible landslide many years back. Okay, for this part, I cannot be the best tour guide anymore because I hardly pay any attention to all the explanations. I couldn't really understand.
For example, this cypress tree, if I could even get the name correct for this thin tree, was armored in antelope-styled skin to protect its bark from being further ripped off. The tourists from mainland China have very odd taste for souvenirs. They would ripped the bark of the trees and left those trees standing naked and cold in the mountain. How odd if my friends were to bring me a piece of tree bark from Taiwan, I wouldn't know what to use that for. Spray paint it and then wrap it up in clear plastic and punch a hole to make it into a bookmark? If you studied a little bit of Science, that part of bark was badly needed to transport food to the bottom part of the tree. *sigh*
You like this kinda feel? We love it to the max because we were getting away from the heat. It was so blissfully cold that my body temperature went haywire. I ended up with a terrible headache but I still marched on. I'm not one who would give in to sickness easily but I ended up calling it a day by 8 p.m. The weather condition up in the mountain looked like the sun has already set since early afternoon. Such feel was perfect to sleep for the whole day long not knowing whether it's am or pm. 
Even though this was not the trail that I wanted to walk on, but we had a wonderful guide. I knew those trees were mainly cypress because our tour guide was so kind to my language disability that he felt sorry for my poor understanding, he Google-d up for the name of the tree. There... there.... cypress. Thank you... or I would have completely lost interest to even listen for a bit and my walking translator has no knowledge of trees and even flowers. I had a great time taking photos. I kinda like walking in the woods as long as there are no snakes. I just need one encounter with a snake or a wild animal, I will stop walking in the woods completely. Let's take a look at a few snapshots as I'm lost for words about those trees.
The tree with roots looking like an opened asshole???
Walking along the stone slabs...
The trunks with such enchanted structure...
The tree with asshole....
The antelope-armored tree..
Spiritually, the forest was  an unhealthy place. The people of Alishan has steep beliefs in praying for the various spirits roaming and hovering around the forest. The spirits must be left wandering in the forest still. Thus, it's seriously not a healthy place to go unless you are spiritually able to fight the war that will come forth your way.
It was not a short walk but a really long walk in the forest. It felt like forever that I've been walking around. There's no place to rest, not that I wanted to sit there and do nothing. But if I really have the time to sit and do nothing, it would be quite a nice place but as the place become more quiet, the level of eeriness rises.
That's part of the 'Two Sisters' Pond'. It's just a made-believe story where two sisters fall in love with the same man then bla bla bla bla I couldn't remember but you can search for the story online but it was just a story that was made up by the people. The true story would be the Japanese who were there governing the country saw money *ka-ching ka-ching* in the forest. It's timber. They tried to get rid of the locals staying up at the mountain and there were incidents where the villagers of the local people were burnt to the ground. The hidden agenda that's always happening in the political arena which I have no interest to highlight or even write about. If I were to be a political critic I think I will end up behind bars, so let's keep this freedom as it is. There is no freedom of speech anywhere. There's always a limit set for any freedom achieved.
Three words... I DON'T UNDERSTAND... but just take a photo, okay since everybody else was taking a photo of that section. Do you really think there's no one at all over there?
This photo depicted the real situation. There were so many people everywhere some even climbed on the dead trunks. I think if they were more agile like the monkeys, they would have climbed up the trees and break the branches up there to take home as gifts to other villages. Maybe frame those leaves up to hang on the wall.
Our main purpose to be in Alishan was to look at those postcard landscape of cherry blossoms in spring. We were there at the right time but I ended up taking a photo with these flowers which I have no idea what they were. The tour guide didn't know what to say of those flowers so until now I have no idea what flowers were they.
If you have never known where or how did wasabi come about, it's high time that you learn. Wasabi comes directly from those roots, a bitter and long forgotten cousin of the yam and tapioca. Peel off the skin and you can suck on the wasabi. The one in the photo was of the highest grade. It was the most expensive with the most nose-pricking smell you could ever have. Some wasabi were quite tasteless as it was from the lower grade. So, don't always think that the restaurant is lousy for serving you tasteless wasabi as the restaurants are not to be blamed for the wasabi which originated from the soil. 
Sausages can be found at every corner of Taiwan but you should always look for the best. It's like hunting for char koay teow and laksa when you're in Penang. Don't always think that the places with most people has the most delicious food. It's always the opposite. The wild boar sausage grilled on top of pebbles up here in Alishan near a temple was really good. I did not snap a photo of the temple as I wouldn't want to defile my camera.
Just a we thought that our guided tour was coming to an end, it seemed like it was another trail that we were walking towards. We were actually going back to where we started through a totally different trail. At that point of time, I was really lazy to take anymore photos. I just wanted to crawl somewhere else and maybe wait for sunset. Fate hope. There's no sunset to see as the whole place was so misty, can't even look at the colour of the sky.
Something odd to look at. The three generations tree. The tree grew on top of each other. It's like the grandfather was hoisting up the father and the father was carrying the grandson on its shoulder. Behind those trees was a primary school. I wouldn't want to stay up there let alone walk to school in such cold day. I would sleep in class every day and I refuse to study at all. But I know in real life I'll be so board staying there in the woods. I might not want to leave my house at all. Thank God I'm not born there. 
The wooden planks trail leading to those clusters of giant trees never seem to end. There was this other group admiring the tree behind. We did walk over after they have walked away. We took as many photos as we wished. We were the last group walking around. Any tour group with me around would be the slowest, always the first in starting but ended up as the last. Hhahahaha.....
I think this is the last of the trail. Those stone slabs erected looked like were looking at tombstones. I refused to take a photo with those tombstones as I could not understand a single word of it. And this is where I kinda enjoyed taking photos where I wasn't in the photo itself. It's too tiring to pass the camera over and I wouldn't get the result that I wanted anyway,

While waiting to get back to our hotel, we were discussing with the tour guide about where to get the best sunrise view for the next day. Our tour guide told us that we would have to walk down to the train station to hitch a ride and to walk from where we were staying, it would take 15 minutes. That was a total lie, I looked at the route from the station to our hotel, it would take us more than 30 minutes and we had to leave for sunrise watch at 5 a.m. which means waking up at ungodly hours. I was praying hard that we wouldn't have to walk but the van would be kind enough to drive up to take us. I haven't finish praying when the van driver himself called up the tour guide to say that he would drive us straight from where we were staying. Hallelujah~!!! 
Goodbye, forest....
If you've never experience God personally and always find that God never answers your prayer, step out of your comfort zone and go to a foreign land where you know you're 200% dependent on Him and Him alone, over there you will find God. He's always with us but sometimes we chose not to see.