Thursday, January 31, 2008

Field Trip to Cats Academy

I managed to take a few photos of my first visit to a bilingual kindergarten in Taipei.
I must say the facility was very impressive and vibrant. And kids upto 6 years old go there from 7:30 AM to 4:30PM.

Taiwan - As a Tourist

Often when I call friends and family to visit us for a holiday the first question I get is What is there to see in Taiwan?

Well in short Taipei , the capital of Taiwan is a modern cosmopolitan city comparable to Singapore and Hongkong. The major differnce being its not an English Speaking Country.

I am writing this post so that if you had say at the most 7 days in Taiwan what would you do.....

Day 1

***Fisherman's Wharf: See the unforgettable famous Tamshui sunset view.

Areas of Interest in this Bali - Danshui - Guandu Area
1.New Bali Left Bank Park
2.Shihsanghang Museum of Archaeology
3. Tittot Museum - crystal glass works

Fort San Domingo

Fort San Domingo was built by the Spanish in 1629 but later seized by the Dutch. Since the Dutch were then known as the “red-haired people,” the fort is also known as the “Red-Hair Fortress.” It is listed as a Grade 1 historical site. The exceptionally-beautiful red-walled fort consists the main fortifications, the former British consulate, and a southern gate. A Qing dynasty cannon mounted in front of the fort is of great historical value. With a superb view of Danshui Old Town and Mt. Guanyin, the upper floor of the fort is fit for painting or photography.

Huwei Fort

Located roughly 500m to the west of Fort San Domingo, Huwei Fort was built in 1886 by Governor Liu Ming-chuan. The fort, listed as a Grade 2 historical site, bears Liu’s inscription “Key to the North.” The fort’s walls, corridors, and gun platforms are all still standing. The corridors contain a display of records and photographs shedding light on Danshui history. The top of the fort offers a bird’s-eye view of the Danshui River.

***Tamshui old street: Offers more than a great place for fresh seafood. It is a town with beautiful views and colourful history.

If you are a nature lover then Guandu National Park is worth a visit
Guandu Nature Park is an aquatic bird preserve bounded by the Danshui River and its tributaries. Because seawater rusheing in at high tide cannot get out at ebb, a marsh filled with mangrove and reeds is formed. The lush vegetation harbors the many organisms that waterfowl feed on.

***Shihlin Night Market: A great place for tasting local snacks and bargains.

Day 2
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall: Built in homage to the former president of the Republic of China Chiang Kai Shek.
✰ Martyr's Shrine: Watch an elaborate ceremony of changing guards at hourly intervals.
✰ National Palace Museum: Holds the world's largest collection of priceless Chinese art treasurers, which spans Chinese's nearly 5,000 year of history.
✰ San Keng Tofu Street: Both sides of the streets are lined with stores selling famous Sankeng Tofu.
✰ Hsienmenting: A popular place to try tasty local snacks and shopping for local handicrafts, clothes and toys

These options are away from Taipei

Personally I would recommend only Taroko and Yingge as must visit places.

Day 3 -
Taiwan has regular bus services offering tours to these locations.
North Coast & Yeliou (Juming Museum) Tour (1 Day)

So these trips can be planned ahead incase you intend moving away from Taipei
Needless to say there are enough things to visit and enjoy in Taipei .
The useful website for it is Taipei Metro Click on each station and it will give you plenty of options to visit tourist attractions.!

✰ Yehliu: See the natural rock formations - an amazing array of artistic shapes created by erosion and other natural forces.
✰ Yangmingshan TienLai Hotspring: Exclusive Arrangement! Yangmingshan is removed for
its wealth of unusual volcanic features and outstanding natural beauty. Taiwan's famous Deluxe class "Yangmingshan TienLai" hotspring 20,000m area consists of hot & Cold OUTDOOR hotspring & SPA Health centre. Making it the largest in Taiwan. Enjoy the beautiful scenery while you relax in the hotspring. What an enjoyment!
(swimwear & caps required)

✰ Chiufen: the actual filming site of movie "Sad City": Here the old fashioned way of life still exists.With the aura of an old mining that still apparent,
Chiufen radiates a variety of emotions. you maywant to try some famous local dish such as Taro and Sweet Potato Ball etc.

✰ Nantien Temple: Landmark of Nafanau. Also the center for traditional religion of the local citizen.

✰ Ami Aboriginal Cultural Village: A-Mei - aboriginal tribe in Hualien. People of A-Mei are renowned by their beautiful voice and fascinating life style. In this cultural center, you can see A-Mei people's unique life style.

Day 4

The following link will give you ready made options to visit.
Taroko Tours.

Other posts on Taroko
Taroko Drive

Taroko: The gorge was formed by rushing river waters, which have cut straight through the marble and granite to create a beautiful, narrow ravine with waterfalls and patches of mist clinging to the mountains, surrounded by subtropical forests.
✰ Cijin Island: 10 - 15 minutes ferry ride to the island. On the island, cycle richshaws can be rented to go around or stop and rest at the former British Consulate - a popular spot for drinking coffee while taking in the views of Kaohsiung's harbour.
✰ Love River + Hobby Mannbo: The 12 km river is one of Kaohsiung’s most popular tourist destination. It’s a beautiful and restful scence with different flowers blossom in 4 seasons. After20 minutes ferry ride, stop at Hobby Mannbo, a
convenient Place to enjoy a drink while admiring the surroundings.
✰ 85 Building: Once Taiwan’s tallest building. The elevator will whisk you to 75th deck in just 43 seconds (600feet/minute), close to world record speeds. You can view the city sight and horizondefining mountains.

Day 5
Mei Non Hakka Village: Know more about
"Hakka" culture.
✰ "Five Cent Driftwood House" : A cavernous eatery
built without blueprints. mortar, glass, driftwood- lots of driftwood - and recycled wooden train tracks have turned the site into an architecturalmarvel with country flair.
✰ Sun Moon Lake: The largest lake in Taiwan.There is an island called "Guang Hua Island" inthe middle of the lake. Northern part of the island,looks like a sun, southern part looks like a moon,that's why it's called Sun moon Lake.
✰ Wen Wu Temple: Enshrine, worship Confucius,Guan Gong & Yue Fei.
✰ Feng Jia Night Market: A great place for low-priced clothes, delicious local snack.

Day 6

Yingge is a must visit.
It is easily accessible by local trains.

Yingge Ceramics Street: Famous place for producing ceramic in Taiwan.

✰ Discovery of Taipei: Travel 1000 years... Discover the city's past and present. The aim is to give visitors an overview of the city major construction project
and interations with international community.
✰ 101 Shopping Mall: Enjoy your shopping in the world's tallest building.

Day 7

Taipei Zoo

Wufenpu is another area you must not visit especially shopping for ladies.It has the largest number of shops for ladies and children shopping.
The prices are vey reasonable.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Visit to Aboriginal Museum

Well, if you visit this museum you very well know you have lived in Taiwan too long!

To get records right the museum is called

It has 4 floors divided as follows

1.People and Natural Environment
2.Livelihoods Utensils and Dwellings
3.Clothing,Decoration,and Culture
4.Beliefs and Rituals

Year 2008 for me!

Like any other year this is another as uncertain as life can get.
This is our second year in Taipei so there is every possibility we may have to move before the year ends... may be not...I have learned to live with it....

In 2008 ,

I want to get back to working on my weight - losing 10 kgs would be ideal but its extremely tough job...having not yet started neither cutting down on food nor excercising....but I hope to hit the gym atleast 3 times a week and consciuosly cut down on intake. I am ashamed to reveal my weight of 75kgs but I think that would be great motivation to come back and post a status need to be 65kgs by end of the year 2008.

I want to work on skills acquired and start making money. One thing I still have not been able to come to terms with life after quitting a full time job is that I don't earn money on my own....and its harder because I have to literally earn it from home...the easiest to get started is to get back to Options Trading a skill I believe I picked up while in Singapore....and I still believe if you can make it happen and make money for you its best of 2 are at home and can probably make as much as a full time job...its a life time skill. no bosses, no retirement etc...I know a few individuals and believe me all of them women who does day I want to be in that situation....and will be...

Another of the skill I like to acquire is how to trade foreign currencies.....still very new to me....ideally I would like to attend a course but thats an impossible option in Taipei but if we do move I will make every effort to do the same.

Another area I need to focus to get rid of lot of junk at home.every year we keep adding more and more things to our home and its extremely hard to get organised...this is something I really want to make an effort this year.

Apart from these, all my targets for my children...

For Riona by end of the year she should be a fluent reader...its been hard on me and probably her....she is on Level 3 on her school reading scheme getting her to Level 7 is the target for the year. I feel not reading early deprives the child a lot of learning they could acquire just because they read early...we are diligently working on it. writing too have to come in....

For Tanya most of the basic skills are there now its a matter of self discipline and self motivated effort we need to really gear her up to that arena...

Year 2008 The beginning

We are 24th day into the new year and I just feel I have caught up with 2008 this week.

I have been hoping to blog since Monday ,I guess it takes a while to get back...when you are away for so long.

What have I been upto?

We were back in Taipei on 5th all tired and exhausted after so called "winter vacation".ITs been always the same the trips back home to India.

The week of 7th I guess, I was just putting things back to routine.Riona had started several new activities and reschedule some of Tanya's so we literally have a packed week with least activities on Friday so that Friday evening is for relaxing!

Weekend was packed with a Grand farewell party for a family leaving Taipei for Mumbai after 4 years and we had a great Chinese cuisine Dinner with a Chinese family!

The week of 13th just as I thought "Great going" and I can start my planning for the New Year it goes...I bump the car into a barricade before I knew I was pushing a railing of atleast 10 feet long down the road and the car display inside was showing "LOW TIRE"...Not sure What happened but I decided to reach home somehow driving it and stopped only after I parked it and saw the front left was fully flat and the car had severe scratches all over.

Then the whole week goes getting the tire changed , getting the leasing company to arrange for repair , provide a replacement car .....getting used to driving that car....these may sound mundane but in a country where you cant speak English they all take a lot more effort to just get things done.So I have a car I need to drive which I am just not used to also had a field trip with Tanya's class , Had a Girl Scouts Meeting at South all in all I had a packed week with no spare time .

Some highlights of the week was a visit to the Aboriginal Museum of Taiwan, also a great "SUSHI" lunch with friend Urmi.

Other areas I have been thinking of writing about is

Year 2008 for me!
Visit to Aboriginal Museum
"Sushi Lunch"
Who is a Roman Syrian Catholic?
Mongolia - An Insight
France - How much do you know?
21st Century Skills - our kids ought to know
Net Etiquette

The week of 21st began with researching the web on American Standardised tests which Tanya needs to take this semester.Having never lived in America I can never get to know the right pulse these tests are to be viewed at...

I attended a fantastic talk on 21st Century Skills needed for our kids in Lower classes at the school. It was extremely informative as much it opened my eyes to what our kids get exposed daily to!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Singapore - Cycling

Cycling - Yet another skill!

I had a mission on my way back that the kids needs to pick up cycling.
Although Tanya rode a bike with stabilisers since 4 she never got to get rid of them inspite of our best efforts.

So finally even though everyone laughed and made fun of I managed to find a coach in Singapore to get them to learn.
Tanya was cycling comfortably in less than 2 hrs of coaching although Riona still lacks confidence.

But believe me there is someone who can teach cycling and the coaching was excellent!

I would have been more happy if Riona also became a pro but considering she did not even pedal enough earlier I think what she is doing now is great!


Holidays at Kochi - Ashley's Baptism and the family

We had a great time meeting up family in Kochi.

I was seeing my sister's family after four it was a great family reunion. We tried hard to get some good photos together but with 5 children under 8 there is very little one can accomplish I guess!

So the photographs aren't that great but they hold great memories for a long time to come.

Singapore & Bangalore

Singapore we had a fabulous time spending a day with Riona's only friend she can recall at Aspen Heights,unfortunately I took no photographs.

Bangalore we had a great time attending a Wedding, meeting up friends and shopping.

Since most of the time I had the flu bug lingering we got to do some serious shopping only at West side and Land Mark.This season I must admit for ladies and children the clothes at Westside was outstanding.

It was great for the children to play with Tanya's only friend from her first school in Bangalore!We met up with some great families we have been friends over a decade now!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

X'mas Celebrations in Taipei

Girls at the Church Choir.. Trust me even Riona sang on stage!

Tanya's ginger bread house from Girl Scouts

Final photo with Santa in Taipei Airport
Tanya never gets tired of Santa Photos!

X'mas Celebrations in Taipei

Tanya's classroom made Ginger bread houses!

Riona's X'mas Concert

Girls at Church Choir

X'mas Celebrations in Taipei

They began with the party at the American Club.

Some photos

Tanya's church class X'mas presentation

X'mas Celebrations in Taipei

This time I made every effort so that the girls can actively participate in all Christmas related events.
Last time we were just a month here .Moreover thusyear may be the last X'mas in Taipei one never knows...

Tanya took part in a Poster Contest for the Winter Wonderland.

She never won any prize which was quite disappointing but what amazed is her work and determination to see to its completion on time.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I seem to never have the time to get back to blog inspite of all my efforts...
There is so much to blog about and fond memories to remember as time passes by and we have welcomed a new year....I am still holding onto the great memories of the year gone by! And so much to look forward to in the coming year...
I am going to begin blogging about the past X'mas season and the great holidays we spent in India!

I have divided the posts under the following headings...

X'mas Celebrations at School/Church/Girl Scouts/Winter Concert.....
Holidays at Bangalore
Holidays at Kochi - Ashley's Baptism and the family
Cycling - yet another skill..

And I must say the "flu bug" doesn't seem to leave me alone....I have been down with fever more often the last few weeks than I have been the rest of my life...