shanlung (shanlung) wrote,



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Tinkerbell2014 Chiayi and earlier

1 TWD = 0.0331379 USD 1 USD = 30.1770 TWD

My flight was to touch down in Taipei Airport on 10 Apr 2014 22:25 pm. It was with a bit of trepidition as we flew over the same area that MH370 disappeared and not appeared since. I was happy the lights of TaoYuan International airport beckoned to us that we would land soon, and on time. I thought I be out and into Taipei before midnight , checked into a small hotel near Sungshan railway station and having dinner on Taiwanese snacks in Lor Her Night market.

As usual with plans by mice and men, it all went awry. There was this huge humongous crowd at immigration controls. Consisting of what must be Mainland Chinese on holiday into Taiwan. It was orderly and well organised. The que moved, but as said, it was a huge crowd. I got out my paperback to read in that que. Was about 1 am when I cleared immigration, a process that used to take ten minutes or so on the past. Then at that time, the buses were less frequent. And yet another 30 minutes for bus to Taipei. By the time I reached Taipei at 230am, I knew all the snackie places would have closed. And I was hungry as I used a cheap airline who did not provide food. So I made my way to the only place where I could stay the night, enjoy myself and have a good meal which was one of those Taiwanese san wen nahs. Nothing like in the heydays of early 1990s, but still a wonderful place to stay over and have dinner of very good traditional Taiwanese food at charge similar to good restaurant.

Those that wonder about the san wen nas or sauna in Taiwan can read
what I wrote in 2005

It was the Tien Lung (Heavenly Dragon) san wen na that I went to. That cost less than a hotel. It seemed that travellers making more use of that. When I turned up with luggage, they gave me a ticket for my luggage to be collected when I left Tien Lung in the morning.

I then checked into my old hotel and found inflation raised the nightly rate to TWD1200 from TWD850 in 2011 and TWD1100 in 2013. I found my old Taiwan SIM card of one year ago could be resurrected for a fee of TWD100. And since I still had TWD300 credit left, all that restored to me.

I was reminded how wonderful spring was in Taiwan. Flowers were all over the round abouts and streets of Taiwan. And it was a nice cool 23C.
I decided to go to Wulai that I love to return to again and again.

I used my phone to get in touch with my Taiwanese friends. To let Mr Yu of Chiayi know I will take the high speed bullet train to see him on Monday 14 May. To find my old American friend Arthur Truman was in town but will be flying off the next day to his new assignment in Turkey.

We arrange to meet somewhere where I used to live in Mingsheng Ser Chi (Mingsheng district). I could hardly recognise that area with so many new buildings.
He drove down to pick me up to have good lunch. We both love good food which would be best enjoyed with good friends. Then the afternoon to his place in Tien Mu to see his wife (I was his Best Man then) and his son. Tien Mu during the time I was first there with quaint restaurants changed in character to elegant restaurants. I think the whole world is changing but I got trapped a few years ago.

I got back early to my hotel with no English name. And it was ritual for me to go over to Lor Her Jia Night Market. Which remained the way it was, serving the food I had known for the last 25 years, with games as I known for 25 years, and little boys and girls netting fishes the way it was 25 years. A very comfortable section of life I had known of Taiwan the last 25 years. And at prices like it was 25 years ago. I did not upload photos of Lor Her Jia night market this time, deliberately. No changes of Lor Her Jia Night Market at all. So refer to those old photos which were unchanged

Even to the same fortune teller with his Java bird

And him in earlier year. Note the price remained the same.

I decided to go to Wulai the next day that I love to return to again and again.

I picked up my lunch of roast suckling pig and skewers of wild boar meat. Mulberries were in season. I never noticed mulberries before growing that for Riamfada. Scrawny fruits as compared to the large succulent mulberries of Taiwan.

Walked a bit beyond the town and got to a cafe up the slope just before the little train to Wulai.

More in Flickr folder
Tinkerbell2014 Chiayi and earlier




Took the train up to the top of Wulai to look at the waterfall there. Wulai extended way beyond and I spend days and days on my bike in the past going inside and beyond. I then walked down again into Wulai town.


That day was nice and chilly. Ideal for going to one of the hotsprings of Wulai. A hotspring that I had been to over the last 25 years. And pleased to see it was like the first time I was there 25 years ago. Cameras not allowed but I had to sneak in some shots so you folks known how that was like now, and 25 years ago. On the other side of the glass blocks will be the women section that of course, men not allowed as everyone will be naked. There were also rooms that you could use with your GF or wife and family






The next day I decided will also be another hotspring day. I went to my old breakfast place at Minsheng road for that wonderful HsiaoLung Tang Pao (meat dumplings is an inadequate description) and the Siang Tou Jiang (salty beancurd)


The laupan niang (proprietress) and all in that shop greeted me as old friend. Asking politely for my wife and son. They all knew my ritual of seeing Tinkerbell would always start with me in Taipei for a few days first.

I then took the bus up beyond and over YangMingShan and a ten minutes walk down a small road to HuaYiChung


I had my lunch there first. Of Taiwanese clam chowder that tasted so winey


And savoury pork vermicelli.


This hotspring was even more elaborate than the one at Wulai. But I could not find a way to take photos in there.

After a couple of hours I left.
And just outside I saw a family of Taiwanese Blue Magpies. The shot I took were not as good as my friend Nelson. But those shots were taken by me.




I watched them for a while as they played their games in the branches. Almost as in playing tag with each other. I left only when they flew off and left that area.

On Monday 14 May, I was in Chiayi and Mr Yu picked me up at the High Speed Rail Station. Had a simple lunch. Best lunch is a simple Taiwanese kind of lunch.
During the lunch, Mr Yu told me the plucking problems to point of bleeding he reported to me end Feb was over a couple weeks later. The problem that brought me to Taiwan was thankfully over even if that prompted major changes in my plans to fit a visit to Taiwan this year in between Docenting thingie and checking out countries to retire in.

Then we went to his factory. Tinkerbell was kept there. A logical place as Mr and Mrs Yu were there almost all the time. None of the kids were in Chiayi now.
I felt I aged as I seen them grew up, put through school and taken for tuition classes and now all studying in Universities and staying in campuses. First was the eldest San Siang that you recalled I tried to force into the English world . I just checked back into my livejournal and realised that was in 2005 and he was 13 years old then.

I was told he would be graduating from the University this year.

My first sight of Tinkerbell in her cage in the factory.


Mr Yu harnessing Tink


With so many taking selfies, I thought I should take a selfie too with Tink


We then went to a little temple. Mr Yu explain this was the temple associated with the shrine in his factory. As distinctive from the main temple that he went to and on the committee. It was very enchanting that all the temples big and small in Taiwan were on excellent relationships with each other and non of them ever claim monopoly on faith with all encouraged to come and go to various temples.

Tinkerbell was on the stand with me holding it on the passenger side as Mr Yu drove to that little temple.

She was kind of on my lap. I was telling Mr Yu about Yingshiong. Of how I gave him away in 2006 to Jurong Bird Park. And my joy and surprise as he recognised me and flew around me and landed in front of me. More or less what I wrote in Facebook as it occured and wrote again in the last Livejournal. Tinkerbell was pecking away at my fingers holding the rod which I ignored and went on about Yingshiong. I told Tink to stop that pecking and I continued on Yingshiong. The pecking turned to biting me hard and I turned my head to look at Tink. She then stopped the biting and place her head on my belly. Since she stopped biting, I ignored her continued on Yingshiong. Tink then peck my fingers and bite me. I turned my head to look at her and she stopped the biting to place again her head on my stomach. I then saw it was in the I want my head rub position. It then hit me and Mr Yu at the same time. That Tink was getting fed up with me talking about another bird when she was there and why did I not enjoy her but got to yack on and on about another bird?

The fault was all mine. I was lost in the past and gone events and ignore the present there and then with Tinkerbell.
Tink got her head rubs and I kept my mouth shut on Yingshiong and I did not get pecked and bitten as long as I gave her head rubs and beak rubs.

While Mr Yu was doing his ritual thanksgiving in the little temple, Tink was doing her recalls to me



We then went on to the main temple. With Mr Yu in discussion with the temple committee, I went to road at the back of the temple with Tink
The bald patch on the neck was only slightly bigger than what it was last year.


Other than that, Tink looked fine. She did her recalls to me.






In all those recalls, a flight feather came loose and she took it out. That was hardly plucking.


We then walked about the area behind that big temple. And came across a mulberry bearing fruits. Big juicy mulberries compared to the scrawny berries from my old mulberry bush in Oman. I recalled how Riamfada loved the mulberries and thought Tink would love the mulberries too. Tink refused those wonderful mulberries much to my dismay.



More in Flickr folder
Tinkerbell2014 Chiayi and earlier

I then came to a road that was familiar. I wrote of that in 2008 April

I extract what I wrote then

We turned into a road and came onto an amazing collection of cactus. They were looked after with tender care by a 80++ year old sweet darling. She was as fascinated by my Tinkerbell as I was with her cacti. She must have had at least 200 cacti of 70 different types. The bulk of those cacti were kept outside her garden. I wondered how long that would have lasted if kept that way in most other parts of the world.

I felt sorry I had to abandon that 80++ sweet darling yesterday and I was going to make it up to her. I had an interest in cactus and succulents with a nice collection which I had given to Mrs Yu who likes plants. I noticed that my sweet darling's big collection lacked the L Williamsi. It so happened that the L Williamsi I had given Mrs Yu had grown and had little buttons. Sweet darling was delighted with the 2 buttons I gave her. She knew what I given to her. She showed me that she had one of that, but that was small and dying.

Her collection had been the awe and inspiration of many living around her. My wife's friend that we visited briefly later was amazed and even more delighted that I could give her neighbour a cactus that she never had before.

The cactus collection was a shadow of what it was. The sweet darling apologised that age caught up with her and she did not have the energy to look after her cactus and much of it was given away.

Here was that sweet darling


Sweet darling showing me what became of the Lobophora Williamsi I gave her. It was then about the size of the button you see at the base of the plant.


Tinkerbell was then returned to the factory and her cage. There was going to be a dinner at the temple later that night.

Tuesday saw me and Tink at padi fields before our breakfast.



Then through the street market of Chiayi



I told her what would happen if she plucked and plucked



We then went to our favourite part of Langtang lake. It was under refurbishing the last time we were there in June 2013. It was completed this time around. The side benches were removed and replaced with a table in the center. I think I preferred the past where one could lean against the fence. I am sure others preferred it the new way with a table.




Bitchy Tink refused the tomatoes I so lovingly cut and laid in front of her.

But she did her recalls to me.










We rode out to buy lunch to share with Tink.



And back to lakeside to relax and play about.

More in Flickr folder
Tinkerbell2014 Chiayi and earlier





The harness made by Mr Yu was too tight. I found one of the many harnesses I made for her to use on Tinkerbell the next day.

Padi field first and followed by breakfast





Then through the Chiayi street market





And to Langtang Lake




Camera on timer


And back through Chiayi city as we were having lunch with Mr and Mrs Yu before going to Kuan tze Ling





I told them during lunch that the grey harness was the ideal size and should be used as the model for any harness. The red harness was too tight and I seen Tink doing a lot of preening on the red harness. Tink hardly preen at all in the grey harness.

Tink eating noodles from the beef noodles


More in Flickr folder
Tinkerbell2014 Chiayi and earlier

At KuanTzeLing, Mrs Yu was shooting us pretty well. She could follow Tink instead of me and my guessing the flight of Tink.





When we went back to the factory and Tinkerbell cage, I saw a piece of wood that I inserted as another perch to give Tink a bit more walking space.

I keep my fingers crossed that the wood is not poisonous. I hardly think that wood is poisonous. Mr Yu will keep an eye on that as well.



There was a perch there before. Tink must have chewed that to pieces. And she was left with that stone perch meant to trim her claws.
Tink love the new perch and moved onto that almost immediately. You can see for yourself Tink much happier with that new perch.

In the Chiayi train station, I noticed free bikes for loan just for the asking. So unlike Singapore where one is conditioned to pay and pay the regime whatever the regime want to charge you, and you then got to thank the regime for their screwing of you. In Singapore, you even got to pay to use public toilets. A junior Minister here will also be paid 5 times what President Obama will be paid. The regime declared that is necessary as otherwise , the Ministers will be corrupt. Which implied all other countries are corrupt since they do not pay their politicians a fraction as much as Singapore.



I was taking the train on 17 April to the East Coast of Taiwan and Taidong prior to going to Lanyu or Orchid Island on 18 April Friday.
I was staying with Hsiao Ping in her B&B
A delightful place I happily recommend to one and all.

Hsiao Ping offered me her bike to ride about. But I told her I wanted to go to ChiPeng hotspring which was 20 km or so away and for the afternoon and I needed a better bike. She rented for me a better scooter for TWD 500 for the day.

In Taidong, I noticed lanes dedicated for bicycles and motorbikes


Or else the motorbike and bicycles lane combined together


That poor guy forced off the bike/bicycle lane as I was there taking photos.

I went on to ChiPeng. That you might have seen in and some very iconic photos of Tinkerbell then

Such as






I went to that hotspring which looked like what it was before way in the past before Tinkerbell, and the time with Tinkerbell, and on the 17 April 2014.
There were some places which did not seem to change. Even if there was only one of me , and no Joy and no Tinkerbell this time.





Tinkerbell2014 Lanyu (Orchid Island)

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Tinkerbell2014 Lanyu Orchid Island

I could not see Tinkerbell and immediately leave Taiwan. I needed a period to resettle my soul. I used that time to revisit old friends or to see and enjoy parts of Taiwan.

Lanyu , 蘭嶼, or Orchid Island, was a place I last went to with my wife in 1993 or 21 years ago. I was working in Siemens then. I could not even remember if we flew or took the ferry to Lanyu with our German friends. I remembered the most delicious chili paste/oil, the most powerful chili paste/oil was in a little restaurant in this island. We bought a small jar for a song and that lasted for a year before I had to leave Taiwan for Guangzhou.

Lanyu was called Lanyu or Orchid Island as it was originally covered with beautiful orchids. The orchids were so beautiful that they were picked to near extinction. A poor reward for being beautiful. But the name Lanyu remained even if no orchids were left now.

Langyu Island

I decided to take the ferry this time. Flying was uncertain as bad weather would postpone or curtail flights. I was to stay at Lanyu from 18 April 2014 friday returning to Taidong 22 April 2014 Tuesday and then taking the train to reach Taipei by evening with my flight out by late evening 24 April.

At Taidong port

Ferry landed at Lanyu and port of Lanyu.


A guy with stronger leg muscles then mine and better lungs and more macho on his bicycle to do Lanyu

I had absolutely no recollection of this port at all. I thought never mind, I surely would find somewhere where it would click together again. I got onto the scooter rented for that few days and rode off. As I rode on, none of the places I seen fitted in my memory. Over 20 years ago, the people in Lanyu were largely the original aboriginal Tao people. Wearing the traditional loin cloth then. And staying in semi subterranean houses to withstand the typhoons that lashed the island. I saw clusters of buildings build in the Taiwanese style and lots and lots of Taiwanese there doing business or visiting. I checked into the motel I booked. I was specially noted as folks normally go for a night or two nights and there I was, booked for 4 nights. On top of that, I was a foreigner who could speak Chinese but not able to read Chinese. The establishment jaws collectively dropped when I told them I was in Lanyu 20 years ago as if I was an Ancient Relic (AR) that came alive. That motel was proud that they were one of the earliest and that was ten years ago. They got even more proud they now got an Ancient Relic (AR) in tow and staying with them.

I then rode off to explore this little island. I was told a couple of hours will be necessary to ride around the island when all you need to do is to twist your wrist to get up the hilly bits. Might take longer on a bicycle even with strong leg muscles and good lungs and fire in the belly.

The fields of taro yam were about all that looked like of what I remembered.




Eventually I came to a track splitting off the road that lead up to the mountains. You understand that I got to turn off into that track.
Eventually coming to a lady there shooting bugs and lizards with her camera.

I shot a lizard of Lanyu with her. The name in Chinese was so complex that I could not remember that, with names of bugs and butterflies and birds she was telling me. She was in Lanyu with a group of her friends that I met up with a while later. They all were amazed I was one of the AR. And of course, they saw photos of Tinkerbell, Riamfada and my Dommy in the ocean. I happily accepted their offer to join their explorations about the island as that lady been there 5 times already. Her memories were a lot more intact and coherent then mine.

We all rode up a zigzag track on side of the mountain to near the light house on top. Got off the bikes and onto a foot track.

I was well aware I possessed an ok right arm among my 4 limbs. I agreed happily with them the view must have been very good for them up there. But the view where I was at was good enough for me and declined to join them. I probably could get up there, but not sure of coming down. 20 years ago, I could have hop and skipped up there or get up there in a leap and a half.


Later posing at the gate of the lighthouse.

On the way down with the Lanyu harbour below




Shot more butterflies and bugs



Later in the evening, went with them to a place where the famous Scops owls could be found. Sadly no time for me to go back to my motel to get my dazzling super bright 600 lumen head mounted light. Which was probably better for the owls who then did not get their eyes nuked by me. Their calls could be heard and tracked up the tree. Then the flashlight showed them clearly. Human eyes behold those owls a lot better than the photos from my Olympus shot with a tiny flash attachment. I had not brought with me the HUGE flash attachment currently acting as a door stop in my apartment



One bit of advise for those who want to photo Scops owl to know their camera function very well before hand. Well meaning advise as how to set ISO numbers in the dark cannot work well for the first time. It took me about 10 minutes to comprehend ISO numbers on Olympus can be easily set with a couple of buttons after finding that on the Internet.

Take my word that the Scops owl in those dark photos. You want better photos of Scops owl of Lanyu island, go google for them.

That evening was finished with dinner. I felt embarrased that I became their guest and could not pay. Here was that famous flying fish of Lanyu.
Quite delicious too.

The next morning, I finally saw a bit of Lanyu that I recognised. That was the airport runway on the edge of the island. Very unique and could not be forgotten. Especially as I tried to teach my girlfriend then (she was not married to me and merely living in sin with me) how to ride a motor scooter. I thought the runway would be safe enough and bigger and wider than the road. She managed to nearly run the scooter off that runway. Access to airport runway was a lot more informal and easier in earlier days. Since then, her riding on bikes remained behind me.


I rode on slowly around the island

A photo from my ride


Do yourself a favour and fire up Google Earth and get to Lanyu and check out systematically the street views of this beautiful island.
Or go to my flickr folder to take a look

More in Flickr folder
Tinkerbell2014 Lanyu Orchid Island




What Google Earth will not show you even with their street views would be my lunch of fried rice with flying fish. With that book A BRIGHT SHINING LIE of Vietnam war long borrowed by Arthur Trumen from me and returned back for me to read again.


Delicious and from this restaurant


Neither will Google Earth show you the drying fishes of Lanyu





The marker to the side road leading to the last night Scops owl excursion


The forest of Scops owl


The mosquitoes were merciless in the day time and I left after a few minutes and a few pints of blood to them.

A bowl of noodles and flying fish for my lunch. Yes! my last flying fish of Lanyu as I was getting tired of flying fish even if they were iconic of Lanyu



A free bike you could have to ride on in Lanyu just for the asking. Where the people were treated as people by the government and not subjects to be squeezed of money like in Singapore. Where the top 30 highest paid politicians are all from Singapore. And where the Singapore newspaper rank as 154 in the world by Reporters without Borders and BBC, March 2014, named Singapore as the most expensive country to live in and Gallup Poll named Singapore as the most emotionless and most unhappy country to live in even when compared to basket cases countries like Bangladesh and Phillipines and compared to war torn countries like Syria and Iraq. Now you all understand why I cannot wish to retire in Singapore and must find another better country to be part of.

Enjoying my sorbet of pandanus fruit


And with others that enjoyed it too


Riding around the island, I came across this place deliberately growing the food plant of one of the most beautiful butterfly of the world, the Magellan Birdwing butterfly


Photos would not do justice to this butterfly. There was an exquisite shimmering of blue and green from the yellow wings as if flew about.
You cannot get better view by googling as this butterfly must be appreciated in flight.



After I seen it for the first time, I kept seeing the Magellan Birdwing over the next couple of days. I nearly got into a bad accident as I saw a pair twirling above me in great beauty. I jammed on the brakes to hear a crash behind me as a truck jammed the brakes just avoiding knocking me down because I wanted to take photos not knowing that truck was behind me.

Two ladies on free loan bikes around the Lanyu. I could not imagine they brought their own bikes as all with own bikes looked as if they the state of art bikes. Obviously they got legs of iron, powerful lungs and fire in their bellies.



In that four days, I could not find that restaurant or that fiery chili paste/oil.

I got back to Taiwan and Taipei by evening of 22 April.

On 23 April I went to the National Museum of Taipei. I had seen an ornate carving done on the Rhinocerous Hornbill that I wanted to take photos of to show my Docent friends. To find the humoungous crowds of Chinese from Mainland China were all there in divisions and battalions. I was elbowed by this old battleax accusing me of trying to sneak into her precious tour group as if I had nothing better to do and as if the National Museum was for only her tour group .

I then found out no cameras allowed. In the past, few people where in the museum and one can quietly take photos provided you did not use flash.
Around each exhibit gathered crowds a dozen deep. After the que of 30 minutes through the door behind 10 battalions of tour groups. I missed where I wanted to go to. I looked at the crowd to reque under, shook my head , and moved to more tranquil places where I knew tourists battalions from Mainland China would not condescend to go to.

Eventually I met up with Chen Hung and wife to have dinner with. My greatest pleasure to pick up the bill this time. I apologise for the shortness of time I gave for this trip because of the fright Mr Yu gave me which happily was over. I was to go to Pokhara in March, check if I could retire there,m organise a 4WD to do Annapurna with him and other Taiwanese friends as what I wrote about in Last Footfall in Nepal

And eventually flying back into Singapore on morning 25 April

30 April 2014

I have kicked Old Nic balls and told him to fuck off for Two miraculous years, three incredible months, two luvly days, 10 bloody hours, 51 misc minutes and 31 odd seconds. of cold turkey after about 45++ years of smoking. 41996 cigarettes not smoked, saving $22,047.93. Life saved: 20 weeks, 5 days, 19 hours, 40 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.


(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.

Durrell-life member
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice

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