More photos in Flickr collection Tinkerbell2013
Tinkerbell2013 was from 28 May to 17 June 2013. This consisted of 4 parts.
Part 1 A period in and around Taipei from 28 May until I went to Chiayi on 3 June
Part 2 Chiayi with Tinkerbell until 9 June when I went to TaiDong and Green Island
Past 3 TaiDong and Green Island until 14 June when I went to TaiNang
Part 4 Alishan with ChengHung and friends and departing Taiwan on 17th June
First of all, Sieben is still with us. I wrote of perhaps having to give him up before my travelling about.
But he insinuated himself into my wife's heart and she decided not to give him away.
Since my last visit to Tinkerbell, I got myself back into a Taoist forum. Which was why my last report covered some of the Taoist temples in Malaysia. I had not realised I took so much of what I had seen in Taiwan for granted. Not noticing many aspects until this particular trip.
Part 1 Taipei and around Taipei
Tinkerbell2013 01 Taipei
I checked into the hotel I used the last time I was here in 2011, a hotel with no English name and cost about 40 USD a night in the vicinity of Sungshan railway station. This was next to Rao Her night market, a place I was fond of walking around and enjoying the various Taiwanese delicaies and looking at the fun and games and the people enjoying the place.
Wonderful delicious Stinky Tofu of Taiwan
Above fortune telling using Java sparrows.
Look at the many more photos in Tinkerbell2013 01 Taipei
I never had enough of this night market. I was here almost all nights when I was in Taipei. Even if I had dinner elsewhere, I still would cross the street into this night market for supper.
Changes did take place like it or not. Not all changes were bad. I found Taipei to have lots of rental pedal bikes in automated rental station next to all MRT stations. And a lot of bicycle lanes to allow safe riding. The first 30 minutes of bike were free and about 30 US cents for every 30 minutes after that. You can rent from any station and return to any other stations. http://www.youbike.com.tw/about.php
I was on touch with ChengHung my very good Taiwanese friend I met one lonely night in 1990 on a forlorn track in Taroko. And the rest of the plans of this trip in Taiwan fell into place.
After Chiayi and Tinkerbell, I would be going to TaiDong on the East Coast. A couple of our Taiwanese friends , Hsiao Hu and Hsiao Ping, and good friends of mine opened a B&B in Taidong. I would stay with them a couple of days and then take the ferry to Green Island.
In the last weekend in Taiwan, he and a bunch of others that had been to WulingNongChang would be going to ALishan and I was happy to see them again.
The next day, I went to Taipei101, the tallest building in the world for a short while. Before I went to the observation floor, I passed by the LiuLiGongFang show room. You do recall the LiuLiGongFang pieces that I used to hold down paper for LiBai and other birds to shit on. A very undignified usage of those pieces. Here is a couple of those pieces. Used in a more elegant way then the way I used them.
Evil Sieben // Jackie long & winding road to trust // Being a peasant
And some shots of Taipei from high above
I made a visit to Hsin Tien Gong, a temple dedicated to KuanKung, the God of War and God of Literature.
Despite it being on a week day, the temple was packed with followers.
Those in blue gowns chant Taoist sutras and led the crowd in prayers
I noticed a lot more than when I was not reporting on the temple such as the chantings, which I had not paid attention to before. It was close to lunch. I was happy to meet Nelson Liu, a Taiwanese very much into wild Taiwanese birds and a real expert on the Taiwanese Blue Magpies and had taken stunning photos of the Blue Magpies and other Taiwanese wild birds.
I went up Mucha Hills. The Mucha hills were south of Taipei city and famous of the tea gardens.
Below are just some of the signs to the tea houses and tea gardens there.
I went up YangMingshan. In particular, I went to Datun park. The last time I was here was about 22 years ago when this park was first being set up as a nature park. It was kind of barren then. I am pleased with the changes as the park became a lot more lush and matured.
A pretty tourist from Hongkong
Tinkerbell2013 01 Taipei
Part 2 Chiayi with Tinkerbell
Tinkerbell2013 02 Chiayi A
Tinkerbell2013 02 Chiayi B
I took the High Speed Rail to Chiayi on 3rd June. I was picked up at the High Speed Rail station by Mr Yu. We had lunch and then went to his factory. Tinkerbell was now kept at the factory and no longer at home. It made more sense as he and his wife were largely at the factory at any rate.
I was delighted as can be imagined to see Tinkerbell again. Your recalled at last meeting 2 years ago, I was a bit worried that her neck showed a small bald patch and I was worried it might have gotten worse. I am please to report the bald patch remained the same small tiny patch.
First photo of Tink this trip
Yu's factory behind Tinkerbell
Bald patch on Tinkerbell neck
Tink was either on me or on Mr Yu. We have a happy relationship between the 3 of us.
We went to RenYi reservoir.
It was clear Tinkerbell never forgot me. There were only 2 person she would fly to.
Mr Yu and me.
The next day, I had Tinkerbell all to myself. TinkMobile was for the two of us until end of my trip. I was surprised that the old bike was still functioning very well.
We went to my favourite spot by LangTang reservoir. I was shocked to see my favourite spot by the side of the reservoir was gone. Chiayi was refurbishing that place and the old bamboo clump and trees and platforms were being removed.
We found other places around LangTang to hang out
I no longer had the desire to go to BanTienYen area as you all well understood. Neither did I wanted to go to further places like Tsaoling on the scooter. I think when one got older, the less one is prepared to travel about on a bike. I dared not rent a car as Mr Yu would then insist that he would drive me whereever I want to go.
At any rate, it mattered little where I went with Tinkerbell as long as I was with her.
I noticed we were back to the harnesses made by Mr Yu. I felt the harnesses made by me were better and more elegant. I refrained from asking for harnesses made by me as I was very very careful not to hurt Mr Yu in any way.
By padi fields of Chiayi
By streets of Chiayi market
Deity Tsai Sun Yeh (God of Wealth).
Another God of Wealth holding an ancient Chinese ingot of gold
The ladies of the temple were practising sutra chanting
It made little difference if the sutras were Buddhist and the temple was Taoist. They happily make use of each other seeking what is common which is a lot better. The Shites and Sunnis have more in common that Taoist and Buddhist. Yet sadly, that did not prevent Shites and Sunnis in wanting to blow up and kill each other.
Formal temple chanting
The days went past too quickly. On waking up, I would ride over to the factory to say hi to Mr Yu and pick up Tinkerbell. They woke up a lot earlier than I do.
Tink and I would go for our traditional Chiayi breakfast of me ger. The proprietress and folks there knew us for a decade now and we both were always welcomed. The story of how I would be back year after year for ten years now and we both became institution in the shops that knew and welcomed us
And then we would go to the reservior
Tinkerbell2013 02 Chiayi A
Tinkerbell2013 02 Chiayi B
Last shots of Tink in padi fields of Chiayi Taiwan and the mountains of Alishan behind
Tinkerbell2013 02 Chiayi A
Tinkerbell2013 02 Chiayi B
Past 3 TaiDong and Green Island
Tinkerbell2013 03 TaiDong and GreenIsland
On 9th June, I took the train around the Southern Taiwan to reach Taidong railway station. And was picked up and taken for lunch by Hsiao Hao. A source of aggravation in that he refused to let me pick up the tab.
None of my taiwanese friends allowed me to pick up the tab despite pleadings from my part to do so.
We then went to check in at their B&B.
I cannot recommend highly enough of their B&B
Should you be in that part of the world, stay there and enjoy that part of Taiwan and their knowledge of that part of Taiwan
When I was there, a bunch of folks from HongKong checked in about the same time and they would be staying there for a week. They were great people. Seemed that folks from Hongkong love to visit Taiwan.
Taidong as seen from my balcony
Hsiao Ping or Stella
With Owen, Stella's son.
All too soon, my time with them came to an end and I was to take the ferry to Green Island on 11 June from TaiDong harbour. That was a working harbour with catches from the sea. I was at the harbour early and could see the catches coming in and the fish auctioning taking place
The guy in the blue t shirt is using an awl to extract the flesh near the tail to see the fat content and so help him to decide how much to bid for the swordfish
You heard the saying as noisy as a fish market?
Now yuo can hear just how noisy a fish market can be.
Finally I got on the ferry to Green Island. I found myself with 3 Taiwanese going to the same hotel. On that basis, we became good friends. Especially when they found I was on my tenth trip to that island. And Tinkerbell herself been to Green Island .
It was my pleasure to show them the delights of this enchanting island
Green Island memorial park with Shogun behind
Names on wall of memorial park Green Island
My 3 friends with Shogun behind
With Tink there ten years or so ago
Part 4 Alishan with ChengHung and friends
Tinkerbell2013 04 Alishan
On Friday 14th June, I left Green Island and was back at Taidong where I caught the train and reached Tainan early evening.
In above simple sentence, so much were swept aside but which must be mentioned to show how Taiwan and Taiwanese were like. I decided on Tuesday, when I was leaving for Green Island I better booked the train to TaiNan or I might not have seat and had to stand. But I had no time to do that. Hsiao Ping bought the train seat for me, giving that ticket later to the taxi driver to hand to me. That taxi driver was called the first time that Tuesday to send me to the harbour. On Friday when I came back from Green Island, I gave a call to that taxi who drove to the train station to hand me the ticket. He was so surprised when I insisted on giving him 200NT (about 7USD) as token of appreciation of his getting the ticket from my friend and later giving that to me. That is Taiwan for you.
In Tainan, I was met at the station by one of ChengHung friend Chan TsinChi and taken by him to check into a hotel there prior the next morning when we would go to Alishan. I was embarrassed when TsinChi who was organising the weekend meet said he knew me and was in WuLingNongChan a couple years ago. I had no recollection of meeting him and I felt so bad. TsinChi told me he came during the evening for a couple of hours.
I then smiled with relief. The evenings at WulingNongCHong was when wine and beer flowed like water with the good food. He could be sitting next to me and I would not have known it. And I was later told, with photos shot, that he was sitting next to me that evening.
TsinChih was living in Tainan, a city next to Chiayi and he felt he knew Alishan mountain much better than others.
The next morning, he picked me up and we rendezvous with ChengHung and others at the foot of Alishan mountain.
We all drove up and then turned into a side road. I was in Chenghung's car then and I told him I been on that road and that we were going to Danayuegu. He knew I roamed about Alishan but the details kind of surprised him.
View down the valley of Danayuegu overlooked by the restaurant
Photos of me and tink at Danayugu ten years or so ago.
That is the valley down below the restaurant as can be seen in photo above.
The 3 monkeys who hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil were as distinctive as could be.
After the lunch, we drove to ErYangPing for what they termed as constitutional walk.
Never be fooled for a moment that when the Taiwanese brought their kids that the walk be easy. Taiwanese would walk rings around anyone and their kids would walk rings around their Taiwanese moms and dads. It was a flight of steps too many for me.
My legs gave up the ghost and I went back to GO and did not collect my 200. I waited there humbly for my friends to finish their walks.
We all got back into the car to drive to where we would be staying for the night. I was more and more amused as we drove on. I was getting into a part of the world where I thought I never be in again. I was in my friend Cheng Hung's car and he was not clear were we were going to other than to follow TsinChih who was leading the way. But I knew the area very well. I told him we were going to the area just above BanTienYen.
The area where Tinkerbell flew away and gave us all a fright. You knew that I had an aversion of going back there with Tinkerbell. But in this case, Tink was not with me. And I mentioned many times before this was a very beautiful part of ALishan mountains.
Ten years ago, tea gardens dotted this place. But many of the farmers opened themselves as B&B and accomodations for eco tourism.
We reached there in the pouring rain
Tinkerbell2013 04 Alishan
Kind of mystical place with clouds rolling in and out again
We had dinner there. Part of the dinner was a video introduction to the place. That we could expect to see luminous mushrooms , fire flies and the Taiwanese giant flying squirrels active during the night. The last time I saw the giant flying squirrels was during the escape of Tinkerbell at BanTienYen. And a couple of giant flying squirrel running on boughs at tree tops towards Tinkerbell spooking her to a flight across the valley to my sinking heart. Nice to know that night the squirrels were vegetarians eating flowers leaves and fruits. Even if I had known that earlier on, the sight of the huge squirrels bounding on top of tree branches to Tinkerbell would still scare me to a near heart attack.
Video of the place we stayed at, and luminous mushrooms, fireflies and giant flying squirrels with the host and guide. That people pay to see help protect the environment as the locals will take care to protect what is now their bread and butter. Instead of trapping them for the cooking pots as before. It seemed that area was a haven for wild birds watching too. Wild Mikado pheasants photos were on the walls of the house in case you miss actually seeing them outside.
While many of the folks staying there went for the guided tour later on after the dinner.
We stayed to drink tea and Kaoliang liquor.
In time they came back with excited comments on the luminous mushrooms, the fire flies and sightings of the giant flying squirrels. We drank on.
The next morning after breakfast was bird watching. I should have gone on that. Instead I joined my friends on a morning walk having not learned my lessons in walking with them. That even if their kids were not there, they could walk very fast.
Others who chose the camping option
And the road was steep. Being wet and misty, algae and moss grew on the road making that very slippery.
I gave up. I felt the slippery road which caused me to slip was dangerous. And if I gotten more tired, the danger would increase. I retreated to a farm house and a friendly elderly farmer to wait their return.
We left soon after for the final destination of that Sunday. We were back on the main road towards Alishan mountain. And as soon as the car turned left from that road, I knew where we all would be going to. To a place I never thought I would be in again.
I was in Dinghu yet again. The place where I first experimented using the Dyneema fishing line as a leash on Tinkerbell many many years ago. Dinghu was a lot bigger than the 12 odd houses I had known of before.
Testing of fishing line at trip to Dinghu hamlet at Alishan mountain
I was sad to see that they were demolishing that big rock that Tinkerbell flew up on.
Old photos in Dinghu with Tinkerbell
I excused myself from their walk in this area. I explained I was here before with my wife and Tinkerbell. And I needed to be alone to explore the area with my memories.
Soon after, they returned from the walk and that was the end of the weekend with them.
I was dropped off at a railway station near Taipei and I made my way back to my old hotel near Sungshan railway station.
The next day I was at the airport in the departure lounge waiting for my flight. I received a message from Nelson Liu that he discovered a nest of Blue Magpies inviting me to join him. That was a bit sad as I love the blue magpies. That discovery came too late for me. I was consoled later when he send me some shots of those beautiful blue magpies
I was also very glad I remained free from Old Nic. I was worried that I might be drawn back into smoking in Taiwan. I have too many friends who smoked especially in Chiayi. I knew of a friend on 15 years quit who reverted back to smoking when he was on holiday in Taiwan. My smoking friends were stunned I stopped smoking. They were happy for me. I never felt I needed to smoke in Taiwan, even when I joined them as they walked outdoors for their ciggies.
I also decided on a trip in 6 weeks time. I will be joining Cheng Hung and friends on a trip in mid August to China, Qinghai Province. I was promised very little walking be done and very little cycling as we would be travelling about in a van. We will see then.
Tinkerbell2013 04 Alishan
28 June 2013
I have kicked Old Nic for One miraculous year, five incredible months, 11 bloody hours, 8 misc minutes and 30 odd seconds. of cold turkey after about 45++ years of smoking. 26390 cigarettes not smoked, saving $13,855.10. Life saved: 13 weeks, 15 hours, 10 minutes.
LiBai mash making.
About 300 grams of beef mince, with 200 grams of chicken mince and 150 grams of dried anchovies(for the calcium). That was all done up to the kitty mash formula I wrote about in
Pakistan//Tinkerbell Kitty Mash//Dommie at the beach Ramadhan 2010 //Villa walkabout 2
Instead of the almond and brazil nuts, about 100 grams of human grade groundnuts(peanuts) were used.
Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7
suri - Read "Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris"
milli - read "Found the perfect treat and Yingshiong first "step up""
if you forgotten about clicker training
Tinkerbell Legacy - VH parrot and Clicker Training Rant 06
Some thoughts on clicker - The initial experience with Tinkerbell
Clicker training and bonding with Tinkerbell
To Shanlung-Charlie and clicker training
Charlie and clicker training - beyond touch target //LiBai on finger and in slow motion videos —
Tinkerbell Legacy - - Rant 03 (a flighted parrot mentality) & Understanding the mind of your grey
Above is probably the most important of all I have written, and the foundation to all that I have done.
FREE FLIGHT IS LIFE AND DEATH PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF UNLESS YOU DO KNOW.
NEVER EVER FREE FLY WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE AS THIS CAN LEAD TO LOSS AND DEATH OF YOUR BIRD.
(edited on 4th November 2011 to include below)
To Shanlung - How to do Free Flight Outside
If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust
I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice