Photographs from Our Holiday in Taipei (2017)

So I did it! I have managed to processed all the photographs taken during our trip to Taipei within three days of return. That is a feat of discipline. I still have years old albums unprocessed, waiting to see the day of light. With more and more different shapes and forms of distraction we have in our daily life, it is getting harder to focus on to something and get it done. This change of mine is so positive that I am feeling the energy. Next, I would like to memorize some quotes from Romeo & Juliet so that I can pen down something artistically intelligent in public without referring to the Internet. It is a long story for another day.

This is me in Shifen, Taipei - a photo taken by my wife Cynthia.

My wife and I have spent six nights in Taipei. We stayed in Mandarin Oriental for three nights. Then we stayed in Our Home 187 in Jiufen for two nights. Finally, stayed in Mandarin Oriental for another night. I brought along my Nikon D700 as well as my two lenses – Nikkor 24-70mm f2.4 and Nikkor 70-200mm f2.4. Pretty heavy stuff but it was worth it. Especially the long lens for photographing the animals in Taipei Zoo. I always love the results from my Nikkor 70-200mm anyway, even for the portrait. Photo albums as follows.

In addition, I have also taken some pictures using my Nexus 5x. The quality is not as good. But at times, the phone camera serves its purpose to add context to short journals. Links to the entries as follows.

Day 02 Stay Home Holiday – Walking and Swimming in the Sun

Last night, while I was blogging, my wife played World of Warcraft. When I was done blogging, she watched a Turkish TV-series called Magnificent Century. It is about a Christian slave girl being sold to the Ottoman Empire and has got the Sultan falling in love with her. The slave girl looks very much like a younger version of Drew Barrymore. In another word, while my wife distracted my blogging with World of Warcraft, she too has distracted my Path of Exile gaming with a very interesting TV-series.

Like she is now distracting my blogging with Magnificent Century.

Magnificent Century - A very interesting Turkish TV-series.
Magnificent Century – A very interesting Turkish TV-series.


After dropping my wife at her office, I returned home, made myself a cup of coffee wanting to start my study for the project management profession exam. I took a look at the book that is as thick as a phone book. I gave up and have decided to record a video for the game Path of Exile instead.

My fourth video on Path of Exile. This is becoming a habit.
My fourth video on Path of Exile. This is becoming a habit.


I really ought to study. I have almost completed chapter 3. I got to the last page of the chapter and remembered that I have to memorize 47 or so processes. I closed the book and moved onto my next agenda.


Time to leave home as I have a health specialist appointment at two in the afternoon. My plan was to drop my car at my rental parking lot in town and take a train to Orchard. Lunch at Somerset 313’s food court (a rather uptown shopping mall) was good. My favorite Vietnamese stall is gone, together with HMV downstairs. I found a nice Japanese stall instead, which seems to be run by a Japanese. I had fried Mackerel with rice. It was yummy.

And I took some photos while I was killing time crawling from malls to malls.

Christmas decoration and shopping starts very early here in Singapore.
Christmas decoration and shopping starts very early here in Singapore.
Really ... who invented teddy bears?!
Really … who invented teddy bears?!


After my appointment, I have a decision to make. I could take the train back to the car. Or I could walk.

Just that, the whole journey would be close to five kilometers under a very warm sun with a pair of shoes that were not fit for walking long distance.

But hey. How could I pass out an opportunity to do some outdoor activities while I am not working?

Walking from Orchard to Marina Bay too me close to an hour!
Walking from Orchard to Marina Bay took me close to an hour!


I am home! I could study. Or …

… I could swim! I have tried a different way in my swimming approach hoping that my not-so-smart Garmin wearable vivoactivity HR could automatically detect my laps perfectly.

Of course, I could only dream.

Garmin wearable / swimming app continues to be unusable. If my breaststroke could have a peace of 0.51 min/100m, I must have been a mutant or something.
Garmin wearable / swimming app continues to be unusable. If my breaststroke could have a peace of 0.51 min/100m …


One of my favorite games Marvel Heroes has a special announcement. I have got to work on my next video!


Tonight’s dinner was stir fry chicken breast slices with green and red peppers, boiled green vegetable, and brown rice. I love cooking. It is therapeutic.


After dinner, time to continue working on my next video! I like making videos on announcement related topics (one hour or so together with recording). It does not take too long to work out the materials. I really hope that it will be useful for the fans of the game.

My latest video on Marvel Heroes. Wow. Two videos in one day.
My latest video on Marvel Heroes. Wow. Two videos in one day.


It took me one and half hour to write this blog entry. Time now is 11 pm. And I blame Magnificent Century. Men are really not good at multi-tasking.



Day 01 Stay Home Holiday – A Super Active Day

In my current line of work, once a year I have got to take a two weeks long holiday. Normally, my wife and I would take a long haul flight to somewhere far as tourists. This year round, Cynthia has changed job, I have a project management professional exam to prepare, and we want to save some money. So I am staying put in Singapore for the first week of my holiday. Next week, my wife will join me.


I woke up like every other working day. Except, today is day one of my holiday! During my shower, I overheard my wife gasped and groaned loudly from the kitchen. My guess would be that she has once again made a mess while juicing vegetables and fruits. I could imagine juice all over the tabletop dripping onto the floor. Actually, all I wanted was to give her a hug. My wife is not a morning people. Yet she pulls herself out from the bed every other morning to make healthy breakfast for the two of us. As it turns out, there was a bit of a mess. I took over the washing after my shower relieving her for her daily routine.


After dropping my wife at work, I was back at home. Time to swim! As I am becoming more active these days – all thanks to this Garmin wearable watch that tracks heart rate among other things (which is mostly pretty dumb) – I managed to swim rather intensively for half an hour non-stop. I was looking forward to collecting some good data through my smart watch. Then again, my Garmin wearable watch fails me like before. I reckon if I was a professional swimmer, this watch would have automatically counted my lap time nicely. But I am not. Never will be. I have got to figure out a way on how to swim so that the watch can figure out what I do.

The swimming stats coming from this Garmin wearable watch and Garmin Connect is just disappointing. An undergraduate could easily program something much better by either removing out-liners and/or auto-combine/split lap times.
The swimming stats coming from this Garmin wearable watch and Garmin Connect is just disappointing. An undergraduate could easily program something much better by either removing out-liners and/or auto-combine/split lap times.


My plan after my swim was to make some French toast. The eggs were beautifully beaten; four slides of bread were trimmed; the coffee machine was ready. Just as I was soaking the bread onto the egg mixture, I saw some green mold on the bread. Now, that was disappointing. Perhaps I should have an early lunch instead.

I could take the car. Or I could walk. It is a 1.6 km walk from my home to the nearest food court. Why not exercise more?

It was drizzling so I brought along an umbrella. The walk to the market was pleasant. Overcast with fresh breeze. The food options were pretty meh though. Mostly unhealthy stuffs. I had black chicken herbal soup with cabbage rice – the healthiest food I could find in the food court. The chicken was prepared with its skin intact. And the cabbage rice was cooked together with thin strips of pork belly (which regretfully, I only discovered the latter as I was halfway through my meal). Not entirely healthy stuff.

By being active means that I would need more food intake. So I bought some banana from the wet market. The shopkeeper asked what sort of bananas I would want. There were so many types of bananas. Different shapes, different colors (one was muddy brown in color!). He asked if I wanted to fry them. I said I just want to eat them raw.

I bought some buns too as I plan to have some tea break with my wife this evening.

On the way back, I took a different route. It was a 2 km walk instead. The sun was up. With the rain, humidity shot up the sky.

A road less traveled (by me).
A road less traveled (by me).


After yet another shower, it is time to study! I made myself a cup of Nespresso all ready to prepare for my project management professional exam.

I barely survived the first chapter when I needed a nap.


So, nap I should.


I felt great! Time was running out though. There were so much to do today. I wanted to continue my study. But the material is really boring. So I checked out my YouTube channel and replied to friends’ comments. Yesterday I have published a video about our 16th wedding anniversary. Oh yes. Time flies.


I should study for real. I managed to finish up to chapter two. Very much common sense materials, so far.


It is music time! I miss playing music. My Filipino neighbors downstairs are super noisy from time to time. They love to sing karaoke. We could vividly hear all the notes and screaming. Well, guess what? I too used to jam. I could be pretty loud too! Except, there ain’t many in this world who have heard of or even like what I play. Because I write my songs. There is a saying in Singapore. If you can’t win them, join them. Good luck consuming my work-in-progress music /grin.

A simple setup of a mic and a guitar through an acoustic amp. It took me a while to set this up as I was out of practice.
A simple setup of a mic and a guitar through an acoustic amp. It took me a while to set this up as I was out of practice.


I have got to stop whatever I was doing (i.e. jamming) and start preparing for dinner. Tonight was chicken soup cooked with chayote. I have already deboned two chickens over the weekend. This soup was prepared with two chicken carcasses and two chicken thighs and drumsticks. Skinned.

After the dish was all set inside my pressure cooker, I continued jamming till 17:30. I had no idea that playing music can be a good workout to the heart too!

Playing music can be a good workout to the heart!
Playing music can be a good workout to the heart!


Time to leave my apartment and pick up Cynthia at work.


Home sweet home and dinner was at seven. The soup was delicious. We expected no less /smile.


Time to blog. My wife is now playing World of Warcraft with her level 85 Undead Warrior. This is very distracting.

This is my wife's level 85 (or rather 86) Undead Warrior.
This is my wife’s level 85 (or rather 86) Undead Warrior.


It’s Father’s Day, Can We Stop Arguing?

Father’s day.  Started off pretty good.  We went “dim sum” together.  Only that my sister was late for half an hour.  Mum was late for one hour.  Dad wasn’t very happy.  But that is just Dad, he is never happy.

True enough, we had a big argument over one small thing.  Dad was trying to install something into the computer that in the end, messed up the Internet connection.  My intention was to let sister to “get her hands dirty” and learn how to remedy the case.  Hence I just walked away and he was so so angry.

What for?

Watched “Con Air” with my sister.

Fun to be with Friends

The lunch was as exciting as expected.  We have Kenny and Amy, Michael and Janet, Yvonne and Wilson, and the singles including Alex, Herman, Cedric, Anthony (Athena still in UK), Alex’s friend – Desmond and me.  Amy and Janet both have short hair.  Must be the fashion of to date.  Herman and Yvonne seems to have gained some weight.  Other than that, everyone looks very similar.

It is very fun to be with your friends really.

Mom’s Always Right

Black Friday and therefore, I stayed at home the whole day.  Thanks to Lora’s Internet account, I spent a few hours surfing the net.  Interesting enough, I got into the Singapore government website.  Found most I need from HDB and ROC.  Feel really happy.  Oh so happy.

Still fighting hard to stay away from nicotine.  Kind of hard this time.  It gets harder and harder each time.  God, I know a much stronger will.

Tomorrow lunch, I shall be meeting with a large group of Oxford HK Gang.  (Joked with Annie that I have been expelled from Oxford Sing Gang.)  Maybe I shall feel a lot better after I break the news to the whole world.

Now, I don’t really miss her that much.  I hate her for bringing me so many problems.  But on the other hands, as my Mum said, it is better to get a house of my own.  Things can get really complicated on ownership alone.  Parents always right.

Lovely Dad I Have

Had “Dim Sum” with Aunt Annie and Aunt Chan, and their respective daughters as well.  Kitty is not as stunning as last time I met her (one and a half years ago).  Wonder why.

Finished reading “Romeo and Juliet”, will read it once again.

What else have I achieved today?  Well, my Dad bought me a game (Command and Conquer).  What a lovely daddy he is!  And I practiced the “Beautiful Blue Danube”.

Met up with Alex for a drink in Wanchai and he also bets that I will see JP before I get married.  Anyway, his point is that I shall “let it be”.

I think I should.  Just too much for me to cope with already.

Time Heals

The one week stay in Singapore passed so fast.  I remember Sunday with Sam.  Monday lunch with Damien’s usual group to go East Coast.  Monday night with Annie – diner, drink and movie.  Tuesday lunch with Francis and Edwin and we went to East Coast again.  Tuesday night was supposed to be with Francis but he cancelled the dinner (as expected) and therefore I was so tempted to call JP out but Ginger dined with me instead.  Wednesday lunch with Edwin again as I needed him to drive me all the way back to Masiling to collect my parcel.  In return I have to give him a good treat.  Wednesday night out with Sam and his friends.  Thursday lunch with Colin (and Damien tugged along) at City Hall.  Dinner with Annie as I needed to buy some BBQ pork slice and floss.  Friday lunch with Benny as I have to return JP’s camera.

And I left the office at 3:30pm and headed all the way to Hong Kong.

So, I am in Hong Kong.  Strangely I feel that I still like Singapore.  How come?  And I think of her lesser and lesser.  Time heals indeed.

Flying Back from American to Paris

With the time difference (9 hr), it is kind of hard to say what is yesterday.  But technically, it was last morning when we have to get up early and drove to the airport.  Colin has been quiet since – May 4 – and he didn’t try to make any conversation at all.  It is very strange to me and I kept on thinking that maybe it’s me who has done something wrong.  On the other hand, maybe it is his personal reason.  Just that what a pity that the holiday ended that way.

Quite a long and adventurous travel for me as I have to fly from LA to Chicago and from Chicago to Paris.  Really surprised that my luggage can be automatically transferred through as the first trip was American Airline and the second one is Air France.  (Although at the end, the Air France part got confused and my luggage was the last one to come out.)  Watched Pulp Fiction a few times on board.  And the air hostess was drop dead sweet with a very nice smile.

Got back to my beloved hotel and my old room will not be ready until tomorrow.  Went for a haircut and my favourite barber was not around and I ended up with the one who can’t speak English at all.  Lucky Eric came out at last and it wasn’t too late.

Called up Sophie and she even wanted me to come to work in the late afternoon.  Crazy.

Called up Mohamed and we had an Indian food.

Tomorrow – back to work!!

Before I stop, I do receive 74 new mails today.  Wow!