Saturday, February 7, 2009

2009-02-07 Cherry Blossom in Guangxing, Wulai

Around 11:30 a.m. I went to Guangxing (Guangsing) Riverside Park with my friend and her 4-year-old girl. It rained in the morning, but the rain eventually stopped as we approached to the park.

Guangxing area is famous for chicken farm restaurants along Guanxing road. A lot of Taiwanese people like to drive there and have dishes and soups made of chicken mixed with various kinds of ingredients. I am not into food from those resturants, but I was baffled by one cuisine called Bag Chicken(布袋雞, Bu-dai-ji). My friend and I saw a lot of signboards printed with 布袋雞 as we walked to the park. I tried to figure out what it meant, but I couldn't; so I asked my friend what it meant. She didn't know it, either. But we pictured some horrible scenes that chickens were put into bags and beaten to death, and then a cook took them out to boil them, pulled out their feathers, and took out their guts, etc. Really horrible, it's not a good imagination around lunch time.

(Note: I checked what Bag Chicken means after I got home. It's a kind of cuisine made of a whole chicken. A cook takes out all bones without cutting the chicken open. The cook only can cut off its head, neck, and rump, and left two holes, but takes all chicken bones out via those two holes. This special cutting method makes the chicken like a bag.)

Wulai has become a popular region for cyclists, and we found that Xindian city government developed few bike pathes in Guangxing region.

Most cherry tress along the road to Wulai were in blossom, and cherry blossom is more accessible along the bike path we took to the park. Those flowers looked fabulous after the rain.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2009-02-03 Rescued Stray Cats

Three of my friends rescued two stray cats in the vicinity of my school. I have been a cat-sitter (Okay, I coined this word.) for one of their cats several times, so they asked me if I could take care of them for few days, and they will try to find people who are willing to adopt them. I am packing and will relocate myself to other place, but I still live in a roomy apartment now and have spare space for those two kittens, so I told them I could take care of them until I move to new place.

Soon my friends bought those two kittens to my apartment. It seems that they are brother and sister. They weren't timid even though they were surrounded by four people. They explored every corner in my apartment soon after they came out of carrying box.

They were really cute and energetic.

As we were busy with preparing litter box for them and trying to figure if they need toilet training, the brother came to my guest room and poo on my blankets, and soon the sister follow suit.

It seemed that they love the blankets.

They played for a while and eventually got drowsy.

When I took pictures of them, the sister already fell into sleep.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

2009-02-01 Hiking In Maokong

Today is the last day of Chinese New Year vacation, Patty, Kitty, Chris and his friend, and I went hiking in Maokong region. We started our hike at NCCU around 10:00 a.m. and took Tea Pickers Trail to Maokong. There weren't a lot of tourists because of Maokong gondola's breakdown. We arrived at Maokong station about 11:30. and had lunch at 小木屋 restaurant. After our lunch, we climbed up to Erjiaoge shan(鵝角格山) whose trail is steep way up to the ridge and slippery down to it foot. I love this trail because I can see most part of Maokong gondola cable line on the top of the mountain. After hiking up to Erjiaoge shan, we went to Xinghualin and turned to Zhangshan temple, and then got back to NCCU about 5:00 p.m..

I didn't take a lot of pictures because I didn't want to slow down my pace and I wanted to build up my ability and strength so that I can do longer and challenging hikes in the future. Here are pictures I took during our hike.

The day was balmy, we enjoyed the warmth of sunlight and soothing breeze of the day. A lot of stray animals came out to enjoy the nice day, too. A stray cat came out and had sunbath, it was completely relaxed and wasn't alerted.

This is a view of Maokong gondola line from the top of Erjiaoge shan. There was no cable cars shuttling back and forth over the valley now. I took a picture of same spot last year which I still could see a lot of cars in a line. It will take me approximately one and a half years to see cable cars again.

This is where landslide happened, which has made Maokong gondola stop running for months, and Taipei City government decided to rebuld pillar forward about 30 meters.

I took this picture while I was strolling on the campus of NCCU. A kite without a runner. (I shoud find some time to read The Kite Runner.)

2009-01-26 First Hike of CNY And A Strange Taiwanese Accent

Today is the last day of the Chinese New Year vacation. It's been 9 days since the eve of Chinese New Year. Time flees.

I hiked to Jiajiuliao alone on the first day of the vacation, and I revisited Jiajiuliao hiking trail with my hiking partners: Robert, Chris, Kitty, Katannya and her sister. Both hikes were pleasant even though it rained lightly.

The river bank near by the trailhead of Jiajiuliao hiking trail is known as Red River Valley (Hong-he-gu 紅河谷) by Taiwanese hikers. I read an article online that gives the origin of the nickname. The article says that the scenary of Hong-he-gu looks like few scenes from Red River, a John Wayne movie directed by John Ford in 1948. The rocks dotted in the riverbank are red in bright sunny days, but I don't think the scenary there looks anything like scenes from Red River. At any rate, it gives an possible explaination.

When I hiked alone on the trail on the first day of Chinese New Year, I ran into few Taiwanese hikers. When we gave greeting to each other and exchanged conversations, I spoke to them in Taiwanese at times. I was told by one hiker that I had a strange accent when I spoke Taiwanese. My Taiwanse is rusty because I have rare chance to use the language in Taipei, but I didn't realize it became so bad until the hiker pointed it out.

I listened to myself carefully and tried to figure out what my Taiwanese sounded like. My Taiwanese is under the influence of Mandarin. I think my Taiwanese now sounds like reading Chinese and speak what are read in Taiwanese. I found a clip that a choir sing a Taiwanese song when they read its lyrics in Chinese on Youtube. Their Taiwanese are with Mandarin accent, and it's what happened to my Taiwanese.

This song, In Love With North Raiway (戀戀北迴線), has beome famous because of Sunrise Record Store Event happened on December 4th of 2008.

Sunrise record Store is located on Zhongshan N. Road. This store doesn't have grand window to deplay albums it sells, but it has great music ablums ranged from local Taiwanese music to world music. The store usually plays some songs to promote some albums and pedestrians usually can hear melody when the pass by. During the period of CHEN Yuen-lin's visiting in Taipei, some policemen took extreme measures without consulting legal process. On December 4th of 2008, Some policemen broke into Sunrise record store and Sunrise record store was force to shut down, and some facility were taken away by policemen because it played this Taiwanese song. This event stirred up a lot of Taiwanese's anger.

(I try to translate the lyrics into English, I would make a lot of mistakes, please pardon me.)

戀戀北迴線 In Love With North Railway

詞/曲:黃麒嘉 Written by HUANG Qi-jia

火車載阮要來去 The train is taking me to

台灣的後花園 Taiwan's rear garden

世間尚水的所在 The most beautiful places in the world

攏置彼一屏 Are all located there

瑞芳金瓜石 Rui-fang, Jin-gua-shi

溫柔可愛的基隆河 Tender and lovely Keelung River.

濛朧三貂嶺 Misty San-diao-ling

青青雙溪水 Emerald green water of Shuang-xi

悠悠擱綿綿 Extended and continuous

親像一首詩 Like a poem

行到福隆 Arriving in Fu-long

看見著海邊 Seeing the seashore

轔轔嚨嚨 (describing noise made by the train)

搖過基隆河 Passing through Keelung River

唭唭喀喀 (describing noise made by the train)

攀過三貂嶺 Climbing and passing San-diao-ling

船隻漂來又漂去 Boats floating back and forth

海風帶鹹味 Sea breeze carrying salty smell

海面金金地閃熾 Surface of the ocean flickering with golden light

(To Be Continued)