Sunday, November 13, 2011

Taiwan - 4th Nov 2011 - Day Two

Day 2 of our Taiwan adventure started pretty early as we had a relatively long day ahead of us. We quickly settled our breakfast & checked out. Even though we made it on the dot, we were still later than our tour mates and had to settle for 2nd best seats on the tour bus.

Goodbye to a wonderful stay at Evergreen..... come to think of it.... any hotel is good as long as there is sufficient space for 3 beds..... ahhh.... had a wonderful night's rest.

Our 1st stop for the day was a visit to a "castle". I was expecting some majestic stronghold like those in Europe.... I was sorely disappointed when all I got was something akin to a bungalow-like residence. Before we reached the "castle", we walked along a bridge called "Centipede Bridge"... I can't remember the significance of this bridge even though the tour guide explained it to me. I can only blame the fact that I am overloaded with chinese explanations.... my brain still taking it's time to process the information.

Finally, when we reached, I found out it was called "Chateau de Olliere". I am not sure why it is called a chateau since there is nothing French about it. The designs were mostly Victorian in nature.... I had a distinctive feeling that Victorian's are from the English side.....

Oh well, since we are here, let's make the most of it and started snapping away.....

At the Chateau, you could opt for a Victorian style afternoon tea with lovely cakes & pastries. Since we had a rather heavy breakfast, we decided to explore the area instead. We stopped by the souvenier shop & met up with the tour kaki that I made friends with at the airport. Uncle Jonathan happened to wear a 'Fox' sweater like Baby G's & we couldn't resist taking this photo of the 2 of them. What a cute, 'foxy' pair.

Baby G was also quite taken with our tour leader, Prissilla & wanted to take photos of her. After getting our lovely fridge magnet, we waited around for our other tour mates to finish their afternoon tea. While waiting, Baby G decided to have some fun with the camera. Here are some of his shots....

The weather was pretty sunny and gave us good light for some nice shots. Love the natural lighting on the pics.

The next stop is the famous Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). Even along the bus ride towards our destination, one is simply in awe of the beauty of the surroundings. Just opposite the lake is the Wenwu Temple (文武庙). Just looking at the temple itself, one can really appreciate the sheer beauty of it.
Even the carvings on the walls were simply breathtaking. I marvel at the painstaking effort that the sculptors must have put in. Awesome.....
At the temple, Daddy recalled that Ah-Ma made some donations and had their names carved out on the walls. We searched about 4 panels and finally found them. What a stroke of good fortune.
The caretaker told us about the history of the temple and explained to us that it houses Guan Gong, Yue Fei & Confucious. As part of a donation, you get a joss stick that burns with a golden ash & say your prayers.

Tourists can also 'bring home' a ship of ingots. Here's Baby G & his Daddy bringing back the ship....

An interesting aspect of the temple is that you have to enter via the side entrance that shows carvings of dragons and exit from the side entrance that shows carvings of tigers. The main entrance is not meant for people but for the deities to enter. As you enter, you have to cross over entrance.... left leg cross over for males and right for the females..

I decided not to put too many shots of the lake here as the pictures doesn't do it justice. You really need to be there to take in the beauty of it all. Just looking at it has a kind of calming effect.

Just outside of the temple, there are a few street hawkers selling Taiwanese sausages, little trinkets, souveniers, etc. Baby G spotted the sausages & promptly asked us for one. He was a little reluctant to even share it with us.

More shots of his favourite tour leader.....
After the visit to the Sun Moon Lake, we went for our aboriginal lunch (原住民风味餐). It was a generally simple fare. The rice in Taiwan is short-grained rice & it looks very much like those Japanese pearl rice. Baby G actually ate an entire bowl of rice without any ingrdients to go with it.

During lunch, Baby G also started talking to Auntie Karen & Uncle Jonathan. The common topic, iPhone & what games they had. Uncle Jonathan showed Baby G some of the cool games he had on his phone & Baby G was sold.
After lunch, we got on our bus towards Kaohsiung. As it was a long ride, we had a little pitstop. There we were given about 15mins to walk around. I ended up buying some more tidbits.

Almost after over an hour of bus ride, we reached the E-Da Skylark hotel. This hotel is situated near the theme park. We were to stay here for the night before going for the theme park on the next day. I am loving the beds again.... super huge & comfy....

After we settled in, we had dinner at the hotel's Chinese restaurant. It felt like a little like a wedding dinner with about 8 course. Lucky the portions were not really that large, but even so, we didn't manage to finish up everything.

The E-Da Theme Park has 3 shopping malls all linked together. Again, most of the clothings were for winter wear and nothing really caught my eye. Instead we bought a t-shirt for Baby G. We even found an Animal Kaiser game machine.... and the best part, it's so much cheaper... only NT30 (SGD1.30) as compared to our $2 per game at home. Since we had time to spare, we let Baby G play.

Here are some beautiful night scenes from E-Da. Even the interior looks like you are in Europe.

And that ends our 2nd day in Taiwan..... tomorrow, we will be doing Baby G's favourite part of the trip..... Theme Park.....

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