Results tagged “Friends” from Hong Kong and Taipei 2014

6:30 - woke up from a dream I was on tour in outback queensland and there was complications with flooded roads and then I found the Holy Grail. Yup. But tried a different pillow and slept somewhat better.

Got up at 7:30 and we went down for breakfast at 9:15.

South-east Asia doesn't really do dairy - too many people just never got the mutation that lets people digest lactose.  This was pretty much the only cheese we saw.
South-east Asia doesn't really do dairy - too many people just never got the mutation that lets people digest lactose. This was pretty much the only cheese we saw.

At 10:00 we met two of Stu's friends from when he was studying Japanese in Japan two years ago. They brought along a friend who spoke better english, and one of the girl's dads, who became our chauffuer for the day. Yup we got driven around all day :) The drive out of Taipei was a crazy crazy mix of English, Japanese and Mandarin. Fun stuff :)

They first took us up to Jiufen, a little tourist village in the hills. We walked up the "old street" seeing lots of cool stuff, and tasting all sorts of food including taro balls, pineapple cake, peanut and ice cream rolls, bubble tea and Stu got an ice coffee.

North coast of Taiwan from Jiufen
North coast of Taiwan from Jiufen

This dude is shaving off peanut brittle onto ice cream in a wrap - sooo good!!
This dude is shaving off peanut brittle onto ice cream in a wrap - sooo good!!

The peanut brittle ice cream before being wrapped
The peanut brittle ice cream before being wrapped

The group at Jiufen
The group at Jiufen

Then the real foodie tour began. At the end of the street they took us into a "local" place (apparently the tourists don't know about it) where we had taro balls and beans on ice (I think I would have preffered them warm but they were nice enough anyway). Also a moichi cake with a radish filling which was a nice mix of sweet and savoury. I forgot to take a photo of the taro ball dish, but we had an amazing view from where we sat.

View from lunch
View from lunch

Then we dropped in to see the old Shengping movie theatre which used to entertain the gold miners.

Lanterns in Jiufen Old Street
Lanterns in Jiufen Old Street

Entrance to ShengPing Theatre
Entrance to ShengPing Theatre

Restored ShengPing Theatre interior
Restored ShengPing Theatre interior

Announcing a movie - or something - we don't actually know what!
Announcing a movie - or something - we don't actually know what!

Next foodie stop we had these jelly meatballs which had a jelly coating around some meat. Also a rice cake which was quite nice.

Rice cake and jelly meatballs
Rice cake and jelly meatballs

And finally another place that did fish balls, which had four different things in it.

Fish balls
Fish balls

All three restaurants were those crazy places that are always super crowded, but they specialise in one thing and it's super quick service so you're in and out quite quickly so doesn't take too long to get a table of six free. Otherwise you just join some other people until they're done and leave heh.

After that we were quite full, and then we went down to the Gold Ecological Park, a museum setup on the site of an old gold mine. That was all quite interesting.

The group at the Gold Mine
The group at the Gold Mine

Gold mine entrance
Gold mine entrance

Gold in the museum
Gold in the museum

Gold crabs in the museum
Gold crabs in the museum

Gold bar in the museum
Gold bar in the museum

Air compressor used in the mine
Air compressor used in the mine

Chamber used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922
Chamber used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922

Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922
Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922

Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922
Chalet used by Crown Prince Hirohito for his visit in 1922

Jiufen village
Jiufen village

Further down the valley we stopped at a nice waterfall (in a no stopping zone, but everyone else was stopping anyway).

waterfall north of Jiufen
waterfall north of Jiufen

Us at the waterfall
Us at the waterfall

And then onto the coast. It was such a lovely day and the mountains and the ocean looked glorious.

Mountains in northern Taiwan
Mountains in northern Taiwan

Mountains in northern Taiwan
Mountains in northern Taiwan

We dropped off one of the girls at the station as she had to go to work, then headed back into the mountains. We ended up at Pingxi where - Sky Lanterns!! We actually decorated this huge sky lantern with wishes (I couldn't think of anything to write so wrote something pretty inane). Then they lit it and we set it off. So much fun, but there must be hundreds of the things littering the surrounding countryside!

Siguangtandiao Bridge over the Keelung River, near PingXi
Siguangtandiao Bridge over the Keelung River, near PingXi

Us on the Siguangtandiao Bridge
Us on the Siguangtandiao Bridge

Keelung River in PingXi
Keelung River in PingXi

Railway bridge over the Keelung River
Railway bridge over the Keelung River

Sky lantern in flight
Sky lantern in flight

What the different colours are supposed to mean
What the different colours are supposed to mean

Us painting wishes on our lantern
Us painting wishes on our lantern

Stu's wishes
Stu's wishes

Train approaching
Train approaching

Lantern alit, about to take off
Lantern alit, about to take off

Letting go
Letting go

Flying away
Flying away

Flying away
Flying away

Lantern sculpture in PingXi
Lantern sculpture in PingXi

Then a fairly long drive back into Taipei. It was nearly 6pm by this point and we went to Din Tai Fung for dumplings (xiaolongbao). This place was very much organised chaos. You (apparently, I didn't see this part) go and get a number for the number of people in your group (1-2, 3-5 or 6+), along with a menu and an ordering sheet, then wait around outside. When your number is called you can go in. The restaurant is like four storeys high! Although the room we were in was fairly small - it had tables for six. We didn't have to wait long outside, but apparently the wait on the weekends can be like two hours! We got six dishes - three lots of dumplings (pork, chicken and vegetable), as well as some sort of chicken schnitzel, a noodle dish with "pork mince" that had some beans and tofu in it, and a noodle dish with peanut sauce. All thoroughly delicious.

Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung

Xiao Long Bao - soooo good!
Xiao Long Bao - soooo good! NT200 ($8.50AUD) for ten pieces - amazing value

Eating a Xiao Long Bao
Eating a Xiao Long Bao

Chicken schnitzel
Chicken schnitzel

Pork mince noodles
Pork mince noodles

Taipei 101 from near Din Tai Fung
Taipei 101 from near Din Tai Fung

Coloured pool in Daan Park
Coloured pool in Daan Park

And finally we got dropped off at our hotel.

It was a wonderful day and we saw stuff we would *never* have seen doing things by ourselves.

Collapsed in front of Jack the Giant Slayer before bed.

My best sleep in so far - 6:30! Got up at 7 and did photo/blogging stuff.

Breakfast was McDonalds again. They're a bit hopeless though. Saturday I asked for three hash browns and got four. Sunday I asked for four and got three. They were trying to be helpful and save me money by combining things into a meal, but the people reading off the receipts and even computer boards couldn't get it right. Sigh.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

After breakfast we got ready and headed back to Kowloon to go up Sky 100 again (we got a Sun and Stars ticket which gives two admissions). It was pretty hazy, so looking towards Hong Kong island wasn't the best, but it was still pretty cool.

Sky 100
Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

Our hotel from last time is on the left
Our hotel from last time is on the left

Hong Kong from Sky 100
Hong Kong from Sky 100

The old Kai Tak airport is now a passenger terminal
The old Kai Tak airport is now a passenger terminal

The passenger terminal
The passenger terminal

Right in the middle is the checkerboard pilots had to visually line up with
Right in the middle is the checkerboard pilots had to visually line up with

The checkerboard is being lost amongst the buildings
The checkerboard is being lost amongst the buildings

New Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and view north-west
New Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter and view north-west

Stonecutters Bridge
Stonecutters Bridge

Looking north
Looking north

Looking north
Looking north

Crazy Hong Kong apartment buildings
Crazy Hong Kong apartment buildings

Then we met up with Chris and Anne at the Central Ferry Piers where we took a fast ferry out to Cheung Chau. We were almost last on the boat, so didn't get a window seat, although the windows were pretty grimy anyway so wouldn't have been great for photos.

ICC from Central
ICC from Central

The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - not quite open yet
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - not quite open yet

Central Ferry Piers
Central Ferry Piers

The ferry we took to Cheung Chau
The ferry we took to Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Once we got there, we wandered down the main drag until we found somewhere to have some lunch.

We went to "Delicious Seafood Restaurant" and had quite a nice lunch of squid, prawns with cashews, fried rice and vegetables (after travelling for several days and eating generally bad food, I was having vegetable cravings).

Our view while we ate lunch
Our view while we ate lunch

Squid
Squid

Prawns with cashews
Prawns with cashews

After lunch we had a good long wander around the island, visiting a temple, walking along the beach, walking up to a pagoda, then back through the middle of the island.

Temple in Cheung Chau
Temple in Cheung Chau

Insence
Incense

Temple in Cheung Chau
Temple in Cheung Chau

Anne and Stu in Cheung Chau
Anne and Stu in Cheung Chau

Beach in Cheung Chau
Beach in Cheung Chau

Headland north-east of Cheung Chau
Headland north-east of Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau

Fa Peng Rock
Fa Peng Rock

Pagoda on the Mini Great Wall walk
Pagoda on the Mini Great Wall walk

Chris, Stu and Anne in the pagoda
Chris, Stu and Anne in the pagoda

Pagoda on Cheung Chau
Pagoda on Cheung Chau

Timed our arrival back at the ferry pier perfectly to get on a slow ferry back to Hong Kong. It was a bit crowded in the departure hall, but we made it on. And got some fairly nice sunset type photos over the water.

Locals carry dogs, not babies, around in strollers
Locals carry dogs, not babies, around in strollers

Departing Cheung Chau
Departing Cheung Chau

Departing Cheung Chau
Departing Cheung Chau

Sunset
Sunset

Sunset
Sunset

Lighthouse on Green Island
Lighthouse on Green Island

Sunset
Sunset

Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour

Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong from Victoria Harbour

Ferry and ICC
Ferry and ICC

Central Apple Store
Central Apple Store

Walked back to Central station from the ferry and trained it back to Tin Hau. We picked up some beer from 7-Eleven and had that while cooling off from the walking. Then we went out to find some food, but disaster! Meat on a stick place was closed! So we got some fried chicken from "Hot-Star - Large Fried Chicken" which was ok, but not the same as meat on a stick. Then went to bed.

Fried chicken
Fried chicken

5am wakeup. 6:20 up. Slept fairly well I think.

Went and got takeaway maccas for breakfast.

Maccas breakfast
Maccas breakfast

At 10:00 we were out the door. We stopped in at 7-Eleven for some sandwiches and chocolate, then headed out on the train to Chai Wan.

In the corridors at Tin Hau station
In the corridors at Tin Hau station

From the train you walk up the hill and then through a cemetery on the side of a hill. A very steep hill. With a lot of stairs. A *lot* of stairs. A couple of hundred metres straight up. But the view was pretty good :)

The start of the big climb - in the cemetery up from Chai Wan station
The start of the big climb - in the cemetery up from Chai Wan station

We have to climb all the way to the top of this mountain!
We have to climb all the way to the top of this mountain!

Part way up, and already a great view
Part way up, and already a great view

Ossarium at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
Ossarium at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery

Radio transmitters at the top of Mt Parker
Radio transmitters at the top of Mt Parker

Going up!
Going up!

Nearly there!
Nearly there!

At the top we stopped for a water break then we walked along the road for a while which was very flat and easy.

View along the road at the top of the hill
View along the road at the top of the hill

Zoomed in a bit
Zoomed in a bit

Then it was onto a track, which again was mostly flat and easy going. Except for the constant *stream* of people coming the other way. Busiest walk I've ever been on. I suppose it would have been quieter on a week day.

Marker indicating the way to the Dragon Back hike starting point
Marker indicating the way to the Dragon Back hike starting point

View south towards Red Hill
View south towards Red Hill

Then finally the start of the Dragon Back hike proper. You go up. And up :) But then you get to the ridge line, and that's where it gets really pretty. Spectacular views and a bit of up and downs as you go along the top. Just lovely and worth the effort. And we had an amazing day for it too which was great. And it was very windy on the ridge but we found a sheltered spot to eat our sandwiches.

Us at the start of the Dragon's Back hike
Us at the start of the Dragon's Back hike

Looking along the Dragon's Back
Looking along the Dragon's Back

View from the top of the Dragon's Back
View from the top of the Dragon's Back

Remote control glider
Remote control glider

Local dude with his remote control glider
Local dude with his remote control glider

Stu holding the remote control glider
Stu holding the remote control glider

Looking back along the Dragon's Back
Looking back along the Dragon's Back

Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir

Looking across to Stanley
Looking across to Stanley

Shek O Country Club
Shek O Country Club

Stu at the top of the Dragon's Back
Stu at the top of the Dragon's Back

Dragon's Back peak marker
Dragon's Back peak marker

Us at the top of the Dragon's Back
Us at the top of the Dragon's Back

Starting to head back down.  We're on our way down there to Shek O
Starting to head back down. We're on our way down there to Shek O

Shek O village
Shek O village

Made it to the end of the Dragon's Back
Made it to the end of the Dragon's Back

Then we headed all the way back down. When we hit the road we caught a number 9 bus down into Shek O. We got changed and had a swim at the beach. I was a little (a lot) paranoid about all my stuff on the beach so didn't go out very far. But it was super refreshing.

Beach at Shek O
Beach at Shek O

Stu body surfing at Shek O beach
Stu body surfing at Shek O beach

After a swim we went had some very expensive beer at Copacabana and a fancy hot dog before catching a bus back to the train line.

Relaxing after our swim
Relaxing after our swim

Expensive hot dog
Expensive hot dog

Shek O beach
Shek O beach

Catching the bus back
Catching the bus back

Shek O from the bus
Shek O from the bus

Sunset over Stanley
Sunset over Stanley

On the train back we messaged @Chrispycon to see what they were up to. We met up with Chris and then later Anne and Bronte for a drink at Oaky bar.

Chris and Stu enjoying beers at Oaky Bar
Chris and Stu enjoying beers at Oaky Bar

Then we wandered down to find some dinner. We went to Saigon, a Vietnamese place. We ordered a bunch of dishes to share which were all delicious. A great evening, probably better than just going back to the hotel and going to bed ;)

So went to sleep very quickly on Wednesday night. Slept really well but woke up at 3:30 local time. Managed to sleep for about another hour before getting up and doing all the day before's GPS downloading, photo downloading and blogging.

Stu had a very slow start. Then we contacted @Chrispycon to see if he wanted to go have breakfast with us. This was a bit after 8, when I'd been awake for nearly four hours. Hrmmm!

Anyways, Chris and family live about two buildings away (he can see the back side of our hotel from his window), so he came over and we went for a walk to get breakfast. Went to a little cafe (Peace Square) he sometimes goes to lunch at. I had some pasta which was nice with a bit of bacon and mushrooms.

Stu and Chris at Peace Square
Stu and Chris at Peace Square

Breakfast at Peace Square
Breakfast at Peace Square

I dropped into a 7-Eleven to see if I could swap out our sims, but the guys didn't really understand me. But then another tourist explained to me how the sims work and the data plan can be taken out of the prepaid value, which meant they were going to work for us after all. So we went back to the hotel to sort ourselves out. Stu's old HTC One Android is completely retarded, and once again I had to battle with APNs on it. It didn't actually create an APN at all for the new sim, so had to make one for it. Stoopid stoopid phone.

Anyway, got that sorted and went over to Chris' to see their apartment. It's small, but it's quite light and airy and there's all sorts of hidden storage in all the furniture.

The view of our hotel from Chris' apartment
The view of our hotel from Chris' apartment

Cosy living room
Cosy living room

Chris' apartment
Chris' apartment

Small kitchen
Small kitchen

Yes, they have lost washing off here!
Yes, they have lost washing off here!

Then we headed out. We wandered through Victoria Park, where there was some big Buddhist event happening. And saw the Causeway Bay Occupy tents (there was barely anyone there though). Then we hopped on a train to Central.

Ceremony in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay
Ceremony in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay

Occupy Hong Kong
Occupy Hong Kong

Keep Calm and Join Us
Keep Calm and Join Us

Fake Milk Powder - Fake Election
Fake Milk Powder - Fake Election

Those people on the footpath are selling cheap Chinese-imported iPhones.  Right outside the Apple Store.  !
Those people on the footpath are selling cheap Chinese-imported iPhones. Right outside the Apple Store. !

Times Square
Times Square

From Central we climbed up and up to the Botanical and Zoological gardens. We stopped for a drink, because while the temperature was lovely, it was very humid, so we were all sweaty. Then we had a bit of a wander through the gardens, but really just near the fountain. Then through the zoo bit. There's a lot of birds and monkeys but not much else. So that was quite a pleasant excursion.

Fountain in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Fountain in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens

Very red looking ibises of some sort
Very red looking ibises of some sort

Fancy ducks
Fancy ducks

A silver pheasant
A silver pheasant

Hong Kong buildings from the gardens
Hong Kong buildings from the gardens

De Brazza's monkey
De Brazza's monkey

Cute monkey
Cute monkey

Black and white ruffed lemur
Black and white ruffed lemur

Orangutans
Orangutans

By then it was about 1:30, so I suggested we go get lunch at Dim Sum Square - because I wanted crispy pork buns! So we had a good long wander down the hill.

When we got to Sheung Wan, we couldn't find it! We thought it might have closed, because it wasn't where we thought it should be. The maps we had kept saying it was on the next block though, so went for a walk around the block. Then we saw it - it had moved across the road into a prime corner spot and had stickers all over the front of it showing the awards it had won. We had to wait a few minutes to get in (there was a bit of a queue). The interior was a lot more up-market than its last venue, so it didn't have quite the same rustic feel to it. But it was still just as cheap and the food just as good.

Chris and Stu ordering at Dim Sum Square
Chris and Stu ordering at Dim Sum Square

This is what we came for - crispy pork buns!!
This is what we came for - crispy pork buns!!

After lunch we headed back to our hotel so Stu could collapse in a heap. But it was only 4pm and I'd have gone crazy just sitting there for a couple of hours before dinner. So I thought I'd go on an Ingress wander. I walked up Electric Road, then headed down to the water. Then I thought I'd just keep walking along the waterfront. Except there's really no such thing after the first little bit. They're building a huge freeway out in the water so everywhere along the whole waterfront is a massive construction site. After much battling of limited pedestrian access, and barricade after barricade, I eventually made it to the Convention Centre, and battled my way out to the waterfront proper. It was just getting dark so all the lights were coming on and it was really very pretty. Stayed and took a heap of photos.

This is the view from our hotel.  More of the same takes up the whole view.
This is the view from our hotel. More of the same takes up the whole view.

Stu always loves the efficient use of spaces in places like Hong Kong
Stu always loves the efficient use of spaces in places like Hong Kong

Boats in Causeway Bay
Boats in Causeway Bay

Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay

The Noonday Gun
The Noonday Gun

Buildings in Wan Chai
Buildings in Wan Chai

Fountains outside the Sun Hung Kei shopping centre
Fountains outside the Sun Hung Kei shopping centre

Dredging works next the Convention Centre
Dredging works next the Convention Centre

Dredging works next the Convention Centre
Dredging works next the Convention Centre

Kowloon from the Convention Centre
Kowloon from the Convention Centre

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Convention Centre
Hong Kong Convention Centre

The Golden Bauhinia
The Golden Bauhinia

Ships that pass in the night
Ships that pass in the night

Ships that pass in the night
Ships that pass in the night

The Aqua Luna in front of some colourfully lit buildings
The Aqua Luna in front of some colourfully lit buildings

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Then I tried to find the station at Wan Chai (it took a while - I thought I'd gone past it) and got a train back to the hotel. Just in time to meet Chris and Anne. We headed out to Zanzo, a Japanese restaurant, for some quite expensive beer, and a bunch of tasty little tapas style dishes. A very pleasant evening.

Walked back to the hotel, then realised I would need some food in the place for my early morning wakeups so headed out again. The nearest 7-Eleven was closed! For like a month. So found a Circle K near the station for some very expensive chips. Then back to the hotel to crash in a heap.

Butterfly hotel
Butterfly hotel

Foyer in the hotel
Foyer in the hotel