Pictures from Asia: Part 3, Street Photos

The last instalment of the pictures from Asia is the street photos.  These are just things I found interesting.  Some require a bit of explanation, and some don’t.

These below are pictures from Button Street, an area in Taipei where can find all sorts of buttons, ribbons, fabrics, zippers, yarn, etc:

Taiwan Street-3876 Taiwan Street-3874 Taiwan Street-3870 Taiwan Street-3867 Taiwan Street-3863 Taiwan Street-3861 Taiwan Street-3858 Taiwan Street-3855 Taiwan Street-3854 Taiwan Street-3853 Taiwan Street-3850 Taiwan Street-3848 Taiwan Street-3846 Taiwan Street-3165 Taiwan Street-3168 Taiwan Street-3170 Taiwan Street-3171

These are pictures from the night market we went to for late evening snack:

Taiwan Street-3984 Taiwan Street-3981 Taiwan Street-3978 Taiwan Street-3975 Taiwan Street-3971 Taiwan Street-3970

 

The pictures below are from a paper museum and paper store.  They have all sorts of handmade papers, and even a facility where you can try your hand at making your own handmade paper:

Taiwan Street-4068 Taiwan Street-4063 Taiwan Street-4062 Taiwan Street-4058 Taiwan Street-4050 Taiwan Street-4046 Taiwan Street-4044 Taiwan Street-4042 Taiwan Street-4030 Taiwan Street-4029 Taiwan Street-4028 Taiwan Street-4027 Taiwan Street-4024

 

A few pictures from a Lego store we visited:

Taiwan Street-3548 Taiwan Street-3545 Taiwan Street-3535 Taiwan Street-3526

 

Near my parents’ house, there is a foot bath pool.  The water is drawn from the natural hot spring in the area.  It’s free and open to the public.  The water is quite hot, apparently with healing properties from the minerals.  My mom said in the winter the pool gets very busy because a hot soak is more desirable in the winter.

Taiwan Street-3413 Taiwan Street-3408 Taiwan Street-3399 Taiwan Street-3392 Taiwan Street-3385 Taiwan Street-3376 Taiwan Street-3374

 

 

Here are some miscellaneous random pictures from Taiwan:

Taiwan Street-3218 Taiwan Street-3367 Taiwan Street-3361 Taiwan Street-3418 Taiwan Street-3420 Taiwan Street-3424 Taiwan Street-3431 Taiwan Street-3444 Taiwan Street-3452 Taiwan Street-3462 Taiwan Street-3509 Taiwan Street-3511 Taiwan Street-3559 Taiwan Street-3567 Taiwan Street-3568 Taiwan Street-3793 Taiwan Street-3840 Taiwan Street-4020 Taiwan Street-4055

 

 

I did tell you I had a lot of pictures, right?  Alright, here are some pictures from the Dragon Boat Carnival and Beer Fest in Hong Kong:

Taiwan Street-4284 Taiwan Street-4281 Taiwan Street-4271 Taiwan Street-4267 Taiwan Street-4263

 

 

Lastly, some “others” pictures from Hong Kong:

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If you remember, after my trip to Asia last year, I only posted 3 pictures because I am really afraid of looking at people’s “I’ve been here” vacation pictures.  This year, I said, screw it, and subjected you to so many of my vacation pictures.  If you’re not from Taiwan or HK, I hope you saw something interesting.  If you are from one of those places…dude, I feel very bad for you!

 

Pictures from Asia: Part 2, Family

The whole point of this trip was to spend time with my family.  I have so many pictures of my kids and my parents together!  Since my parents don’t live in Vancouver, my kids rarely get to see them other than on Skype.

Joshua now knows that Gong-gong (grandpa) will give him pretty much anything he asks for.  On this trip, he has gotten into the habit that whenever mommy says “no”, he can turn to Gong-gong and probably get that toy car to add to his collection.

My parents playing with Savanna.

My parents playing with Savanna.

Very jet lagged Joshua.

Very jet lagged Joshua.

My dad preparing a feast for us.

My dad preparing a feast for us.

My mom hanging out with Savanna.

My mom hanging out with Savanna.

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad's slippers.

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad’s slippers.

 

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad's slippers, even when the slippers are apart.

Joshua likes to put his shoes next to my dad’s slippers, even when the slippers are apart.

Joshua enjoying Gong-gong's company.

Joshua enjoying Gong-gong’s company.

Gong-gong and grandson.

Gong-gong and grandson.

Joshua.

Joshua.

Handsome little Tiger.

Handsome little Tiger.

My godmother came to visit.

My godmother came to visit.

Tiger and Joshua playing on the iPad.

Tiger and Joshua playing on the iPad.

Gong-gong goofing around with Joshua.

Gong-gong goofing around with Joshua.

Tiger giving Joshua a hug.

Tiger giving Joshua a hug.

Still very jet lagged Joshua.

Still very jet lagged Joshua.

My dad preparing another feast in the kitchen.

My dad preparing another feast in the kitchen.

Savanna killing me with her sweet smile.

Savanna killing me with her sweet smile.

Joshua gesturing that I love him "this much".

Joshua gesturing that I love him “this much”.

Gong-gong playing Lego with Joshua.

Gong-gong playing Lego with Joshua.

My grandmother, who no longer recognize us due to Alzheimers, still enjoys our company.

My grandmother, who no longer recognize us due to Alzheimers, still enjoys our company.

Cooling off in the air conditioned hotel room.

Cooling off in the air conditioned hotel room.

My grandpa's ashes.  He passed away almost 2 years ago.

My grandpa’s ashes. He passed away almost 2 years ago.

Even though my grandma doesn't recognize us, she was keen to hold Savanna.

Even though my grandma doesn’t recognize us, she was keen to hold Savanna.

Pretending to be cool on my uncle's brand spanking new Harley.

Pretending to be cool on my uncle’s brand spanking new Harley.

My aunt trying to put Savanna down for a nap.

My aunt trying to put Savanna down for a nap.

Going for a trike ride at my aunt's farm.

Going for a trike ride at my aunt’s farm.

Feeding chickens at my aunt's farm.

Feeding chickens at my aunt’s farm.

This is Joshua's first time meeting my aunt, and he really took to her.

This is Joshua’s first time meeting my aunt, and he really took to her.

The same carousel I was addicted to at Joshua's age.

The same carousel I was addicted to at Joshua’s age.

Hanging out with gong-gong.

Hanging out with gong-gong.

Hanging out with po-po.

Hanging out with po-po.

Waiting for our ice dessert at Ice Monster.

Waiting for our ice dessert at Ice Monster.

Hanging out with po-po.

Hanging out with po-po.

Joshua watering my dad.

Joshua watering my dad.

Chilling out.

Chilling out.

Joshua insisted on sleeping in the crib in the Hong Kong hotel.

Joshua insisted on sleeping in the crib in the Hong Kong hotel.

Disneyland HK.

Disneyland HK.

Disneyland HK.

Disneyland HK.

This is the smile that makes me do whatever he wants.

This is the smile that makes me do whatever he wants.

Winnie, my very cool BFF from our SFU days.

Winnie, my very cool BFF from our SFU days.

Winnie's gorgeous son, Seth.

Winnie’s gorgeous son, Seth.

My parents at the Beer Fest in HK.

My parents at the Beer Fest in HK.

Joshua at the Science Museum in HK.

Joshua at the Science Museum in HK.

My girl.  She grew so much while we were on our trip.

My girl. She grew so much while we were on our trip.

My goofballs.

My goofballs.

Getting ready for the trip home.

Getting ready for the trip home.

Last meal in HK.

Last meal in HK.

Last meal in HK.

Last meal in HK.

Flying home.

Flying home.

Savanna grew a whole tooth on this trip.

Savanna grew a whole tooth on this trip.

Pictures from Asia: Part 1, Food

I have decided to post some pictures from our trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong in 3 parts: Food, family, and street.  I had to split up the posts to 3 parts because there are just too many photos to put in 1 post.

Food is all the things we ate that I managed to take a picture of.  This shows about 1/3 of the food we had, because the rest of the time I was either holding Savanna or didn’t have my camera with me and didn’t manage a picture.

Family is mostly the kids and my family in Taiwan.  This may not be interesting to everyone following the blog, but it’s more for my family to see the pictures.

Street is street photography of random things I saw in Taiwan and HK.

Today’s theme is food.  You can see how I quickly put on 3 pounds on this short trip.

Our first meal in Taiwan.  My dad went all out.

Our first meal in Taiwan. My dad went all out.

Various mango desserts.

Various mango desserts.

Pigs' ear, intestine, and lobster balls.

Pigs’ ear, intestine, and lobster balls.

Sausage, BBQ pork, and lobster balls.

Sausage, BBQ pork, and lobster balls.

Getting street food in HK.

Getting street food in HK.

Grass jelly, mango, and tapioca dessert.

Grass jelly, mango, and tapioca dessert.

Black sticky rice, coconut milk and mango dessert.

Black sticky rice, coconut milk and mango dessert.

Mango pancake with whipped cream.

Mango pancake with whipped cream.

Beef and rice noodles.

Beef and rice noodles.

Ma po tofu and rice.

Ma po tofu and rice.

Veggie rice and lok bok.

Veggie rice and lok bok.

Braised beef on noodles and soup.  Sooo good.

Braised beef on noodles and soup. Sooo good.

Shop owner in HK who wasn't too impressed with me taking his picture.

Shop owner in HK who wasn’t too impressed with me taking his picture.

Chinese meat sauce and noodles.

Chinese meat sauce and noodles.

Wontons.

Wontons.

Korean rice dish.

Korean rice dish.

Chinese pastry with braised beef slices.

Chinese pastry with braised beef slices.

My dad's homemade Chinese pastry.

My dad’s homemade Chinese pastry.

Peanut ice dessert.

Peanut ice dessert.

Fresh squeezed sugar cane juice.

Fresh squeezed sugar cane juice.

Fried squid.

Fried squid.

Grilled corn.

Grilled corn.

My favorite street food--oyster pancakes (oysters, veggie, yam paste, and sauce).

My favorite street food–oyster pancakes (oysters, veggie, yam paste, and sauce).

Oyster pancake shop.

Oyster pancake shop.

Lining up to get oyster pancakes.

Lining up to get oyster pancakes.

Pumpkin and salted duck eggs.

Pumpkin and salted duck eggs.

Scallops and crab legs.

Scallops and crab legs.

Red bean cart wheels.

Red bean cart wheels.

Sweet potato and grass jelly ice dessert.

Sweet potato and grass jelly ice dessert.

Taro and grass jelly ice dessert.

Taro and grass jelly ice dessert.

Giant wonton.

Giant wonton.

Steamed fried buns.

Steamed fried buns.

Rice noodle.

Rice noodle.

Ice Monster: Original mango ice

Ice Monster: Original mango ice

Ice Monster: Bubble tea ice

Ice Monster: Bubble tea ice

Ice Monster: Mango Ice

Ice Monster: Mango Ice

My all time favorite breakfast food: Chinese donut and egg in Chinese pastry.  I can eat this everyday!

My all time favorite breakfast food: Chinese donut and egg in Chinese pastry. I can eat this everyday!

Dumplings and green onion pancake.

Dumplings and green onion pancake.

BBQ pork and rice. C$2.

BBQ pork and rice. C$2.

Road side bento box of BBQ duck and rice. C$2.

Road side bento box of BBQ duck and rice. C$2.

Indian curry.

Indian curry.

Japanese noodles.

Japanese noodles.

Chinese meat sauce and noodles.

Chinese meat sauce and noodles.

Taro cream cake.

Taro cream cake.

Prime rib. Yum!

Prime rib. Yum!

My uncle is an accomplished baker.  He made the French bread in the picture.

My uncle is an accomplished baker. He made the French bread in the picture.

Big meal at my uncle's house.

Big meal at my uncle’s house.

Rice vermicelli soup.

Rice vermicelli soup.

Did you miss me?

We got home last night, after some brutally long and unnecessary delays for various reasons.  We are doing loads of laundry and settling back in.  We’re all still on the Asia clock, with Joshua winning the jet lag award for being up since 4:30 am.

We had a fantastic time with my family in Taiwan and Hong Kong.  I took almost 1,500 pictures.  Now I am going to sink into the deep hole of going through so many photos!

It’s nice to be home to sleep in my own bed, and have Sammy back.  At the same time, I sorely miss my family and the delicious food in Taiwan.

Taiwan-4406

Hey, wanna see my vacation photos?

I’m always afraid of people asking me if I want to see their vacation photos for one reason: I have no interest in seeing 100 pictures of the same person standing and smiling in front of a monument or a landmark.  I guess I have something against the very generic “I’ve been here” photos.

Now that we’ve been back from our vacation for almost a week, I feel terrible not posting some pictures on this blog, but I also feel terrible if I’m making you look at my vacation photos.  So I promise I won’t show you any “I’ve been here” photos.

I found that traveling with a wiggly toddler makes photo-making quite difficult.  I often passed on opportunities because either I was carrying Joshua, or he’s whining for me to carry him.  Why did we not use a stroller?  More on that later.

I’ve decided that I will post my favorite 5 pictures.  Here they are:

At the biggest fish market in the world, a number of shops sell these dried fish flakes called benito flakes.  I’ve used benito flakes for cooking before.  You can make a very quick and simple fish stock from just boiling some of the flakes.  However, I’ve never seen benito flakes in this massive quantity.  You usually buy a small pouch of it from the supermarket and it lasts a long time.  Here, you buy it by the kilograms.  This vendor sells six different types of benito flakes.  When you walk by the shop, the first thing that hits your senses is the strong fragrance of the flakes.  These flakes are big, not like the tiny shredded stuff you get at supermarkets.  And here you have choices of which mix of fish you want.  We bought a very big bag that made our entire suite case smell like fish flakes.

When we visited the Meinji Temple, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I’m not a temple-goer, and am not familiar with the history behind this place.  My favorite part of the visit was the big structure on which people hung their wishes and prayers.  Yes, you have to pay a fee to buy one of these tablets to write on.  But the reason I really liked this, is that you get to see how real people can be in their wishes and prayers.  Some people asked for blessings for their families, their health, careers, exams.  Some people simply asked to be happy and fulfilled.  It’s like reading people’s raw emotions and what’s truly on their minds without knowing who the person is.

This picture has nothing to do with our vacation, but it was taken during our vacation.  Joshua was sitting next to Cliff on a bench while sharing a serving of fries at a fast food joint.  I love how Joshua just loves to be with his daddy.

Tokyo is a very busy place.  On our first morning there, we were up so early that we thought we’d go explore the city early.  Big mistake.  We were caught in early morning rush hour traffic, and we could barely get on the metro.  People push and shove to get on and off the metro.  Sometimes a train comes into the station, and you can see the people plastered against the window of the train.  They almost fall right out of the train when the door opens.  I wish I had pictures of the crazy train ride that morning, but I was too busy trying to hold onto Joshua without being pushed too far from Cliff.  So here’s a picture of the busiest intersection in the world in Shibuya.  It’s a 5-way intersection.  When the light goes green for pedestrians, sometimes a thousand people rush through it.  When we went, it wasn’t that busy, but you can still see from the picture that people fill up the intersection.

Lastly, we also visited my parents in Taiwan on our trip.  Here’s a picture of a noodle dish my dad made.  It was my favorite.  He fries green onion for a long time at a very low temperature until it wilts, and add dried shrimp, soy sauce, and sugar.  I call it green onion confit because it preserves the green onion for a long time.  Essentially it becomes a savoury topping you can put on noodles or whatever you like.  It keeps in the fridge for ever!  He makes the noodle in a thick, homemade chicken and ham stock, tops it with the green onion confit, and the dish is to die for.

Yes, I’m alive

It’s been over 2 weeks since I posted on the blog.  That’s probably the longest break I have taken in over a  year.  Yes, I’m alive.  Barely.  Well, ok, I’m exaggerating a little.

The winter wasn’t as tough as I expected, but going into spring has been tougher than I thought.  After a series of flus, piling on the busy season at work, I just felt exhausted.  Making it to the office for 7 am became harder, and keeping my eyes open at the dinner table sometimes became impossible.  I barely tried any new recipes worth mentioning.  Wah wah wah.

The good news is, all this is coming to an end this week.  Come hell or high water, we’re getting on a plane on Saturday morning to begin our vacation!  We are spending 4 days in Tokyo, and 8 days in Taipei.  I can barely wait to take my shoes off and throw them on the airport security conveyer belt, and yell, “So long, Sucker!” to my regular life in Vancouver.

Last time we flew with Joshua, he was just shy of 5 months old.  He sat in our laps, cuddled, drank milk, played with toys, cried for a few minutes, and slept.  This time he’ll be 17 months old.  I have no idea what to expect.  I’m bringing a cooler full of food, drinks, snacks, and everything I can think of to distract him–crayons, coloring book, iPod, iPad, and toys.  We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes!

Thank you for your patience with my absence.  I promise things will get a little more exciting here after this!

Taiwan

From Maui, we flew to Taipei through Honolulu and Tokyo. This is Joshua’s first time meeting many of his relatives. He charmed everybody, especially his Grandpa. He smiled at his Grandpa right out of the airport, and then some.

Joshua was very popular in Taiwan everywhere he went. Everyone, including store cashiers and strangers, commented on how fat and prosperous he is and how cute he is. Ladies come up to squeeze his thighs and he would giggle with delight.

First picture with Grandpa:

Taking the High Speed Rail to Kaoshung:

Meeting Great Grandma:

Meeting Great Grandpa:

Meeting Great Auntie:

Checking out the market:

Picture with Great Uncle:

Charming Great Grandma:

Grandpa requested another picture with Joshua:

Meeting Great-God-Mom:

Hanging out with Grandpa and God-Cousin:

Hanging out with God-Cousin:

God-mom with all the boys:

Watching mommy and daddy eat shaved ice:

Found his toes:

Hard to tell where the elbow is:

Last picture in Taiwan before flying back to Vancouver: