Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ABC Wednesday: G is for a Green Pond

Green Pond (碧潭) is a small pound in the middle of one of the rivers that flow through Taipei District.  It is really only right at the city limit and only 20 minutes from our home.  It has been a favorite place for young lovers to date and paddle the small rented boats.  The pond can be crossed by a suspended foot bridge.  Many tragedy has happened in the lake, either young couples drown in the pond from tipped over boat or heart-broken lovers jump over from the suspended bridge.  We were warned not to go to the pond to play the water when we were young.  Things have been much improved since.

Chinese Valentine Day is at the 7th of July in the Chinese lunar calendar and this year it falls on August 16.  It is kind of tradition that young lovers should cross over a bridge during that day.  Although when we went to the Green Pond, it was not exactly the Valentine Day.  Nonetheless the county has a Valentine Day Festival during that weekend.  Many people were walking across the bridge.

Here is a more artistic view of the suspended bridge.

The lakeshore and on the lake also packed with people waiting for the sunset and fireworks.

Notice the little figure on the rock.  The gentleman has been showing off jumping off the rock for many years.  The local policemen have given up on stopping him.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

ABC Wednesday: F is for Fisherman

We have been quite busy recently.  Grace's father has not been in very good health and came to Taiwan with her sister from Hong Kong to see doctors in Taiwan.  His condition was a bit better last weekend.  We decided to take them for a trip to the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area.  Bradley has posted his trip to the area not too long ago.  We arrived at Daxi Fishing Port just after lunch.  There were no Greater Crested Tern for us to photograph this time.  But we arrived just in time for the returning fishing fleet came into the port.

Here one of the Fishing boat was steaming into port with Turtle Island in the background.

The waterway inside the port is quite narrow and it was amazing to see how the fishing boat maneuvered through the waterway like a car.

Here one of the colorful Fishing vessel was docking by the harbor ready for unload.

The labors on the vessel were quickly sorting out the fishes.  Most of them are foreign workers from Southeast Asia.

It is really hard work, not many local people are willing to take on this type of job anymore.  Here they were sorting out beltfish.

Here is a closer look of one of them, a very colorful looking guy.

Here the Taiwanese Captain was unloading a bucket full of fresh fish with the help of his assistant.

What a weather beaten, hard living character, a real Fisherman!

But look, he is really enjoying his life as the Captain of a Fishing vessel.

Now his assistant was pulling the bucket to shore.  The land based crew quickly sorted the fish for the buyer.  Bradley was one of the enthusiastic shopper.  How much?  He asked.  NT$500 (US$13) per kilogram!  Could I have this piece?  He asked.  How they laughed!!  They only sell the fish by the bucket!!!

She must be an owner of the Fishing vessel or daughter of the owner.  With earrings and fake eyelashes, mixing with the labors and carefully took down all the numbers.

Daxi Fishing Port is at Yilan county.  It is famous for the green mountains and sweet spring water which are said to produce beautiful girls.  Seeing these Fisherman's daughters in the mid of hard working Fishermen, We have no doubt of that.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ABC Wednesday: D is for Dandelion

I always consider Dandelion as a weed and a nonsense for the lawns. However, I must admit that it does have lovely yellow color flowers.

The yellow flower heads turn into balls of silver tufted fruits, which every kid loves.

That includes our lovely granddaughter.  Whenever she got a chance in the Spring, she would pick up every Dandelion in the neighborhood and blow on it.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Today's Flower #105: Orchids at Restaurant Sixteen

I (Grace) was at the Restaurant Sixteen of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in early June.  The table setting included a single green orchid in a frosted glass vase.

The dessert is a key lime pie which matched the orchid very nicely.  It is not only good looking but very delicious indeed, moist and creamy!

On another side of the dining table are orange orchids which stand out from the white tablecloth and simple tablewares.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Skywatch Friday & ABC Wednesday: C is for Chicago

I (Grace) went to Chicago in early June.  Chicago has become a more and more livable city with many historical landmarks and modern ambiance.  Here are some famous buildings along the Chicago River.  On the far left hand side is the newly opened Trump International Hotel and Tower.  The building with the clock tower is the Wrigley building which is the Headquarter for the Chewing gum company.  Behind that is the Tribune Tower which is the Headquarter for the major daily newspaper, Chicago Tribune.   The road between the two buildings is the Michigan Avenue, also called Magnificent Mile.

Here is a close up of the clock tower of Wrigley building and the neo-gothic style of the Tribune Tower.

I took the photograph from the lobby of the Restaurant Sixteen at the Trump International Hotel and Tower.  Here you can see that the Wrigley building has two towers: in the front (South Tower) is 30 stories tall, and in the back (North Tower) is 21 stories high.

Here is the small dining room beside the main dining room with fantastic view, clean design and more intimate seating.  

I took this photograph from my hotel window at 5:30 AM.  This is the other side of the Chicago River.  The twin "corncob" towers are the famous Marina Towers Condominium.  You can keep your boat at the lower dock, park your car at the lower levels, and live on the top levels.  A true Marina City with shops, restaurants, and cinemas.

Here is the same place late at night.  You can see the dark blue sky and the reflections on the Chicago River.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Today's Flower #104: TianLiaoYang (田寮洋)

Now, what is this.  There is no flower in it, way too late.  It is a ripe rice field ready to be cut down.  The yellow color is from the golden grain of the rice plant. TianLiaoYang was the last stop of my bird photographing trip of last Sunday.

The newly constructed Route 2C is a bypass road that went across mountain range to connect Taipei to the northeast coast of Taiwan.  The route went through very pretty valley which before the construction of Route 2C could not be access easily.  We visited the area several times before and have a blog of it here.  TianLiaoYang is several kilometers inland before Route 2C joined the costal Highway 2.  It is a wetland surround by low rolling hills with a railroad track went through its middle.  It was quite amazing standing on the hill watching the train went through the middle of the rice field.  It is really a Shangri-la frozen in time.  The wetland has been converted into rice field for years and farmed by the local farmers for generations.

As you can see here, the water of the rice field has been drained and the rice was cut down manually, the stalks have been tied up and let dry under the sun.  The place has been made famous for two reasons.  First, it has been a staging ground for migrating birds passing through Taiwan.  Several very rare birds have been spotted here.  The other reason is as the Route 2C opens, the government would like to convert the rice field for development, that has the local farmers up in arm.

The rice field was dry and the season was not for the migrating birds.  The only birds I saw was several egrats hanging around the edge of the rice field.

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