30.3.13

life is about balance.

I do not deny I am a wanderlust but sometimes, I simply thirst for some solitary crush to do something on my own. Rejected friends' invitation to read a book, catch a few episodes of drama and a good nap listening to the rain with a little bit of sleepiness caused by coughing syrup. Mentally rejuvenating, simply.


ps. and hey I'd love to introduce my first read on Kindle, Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres :)
24.3.13

Starbucks Coffee Seminar - Fruitful Coffee Journey

Today we will talk about my sweet encounter with Starbucks throughout the recent Coffee Seminar thanks to Ms. Cheyenne and the rest from Starbucks marketing team and of course, all the coffee masters.

There were quite a huge crowd when I stepped into Starbucks Capital Tower and all of us were then rotated to different stations - Coffee Press, VIA Ready Brew, Starbucks Roast Spectrum and  Pour Over Cone Brewer during our two-hour workshop.

First, get a sip of plain water so that you can taste the real taste of coffee, oh-hoo that sounds like a coffee connoisseur. Laugh. Coffee masters shared with us the fundamental and enemies of coffee before we heading to coffee tasting.

Enemies of coffee: heat, moisture, light and oxygen.
Fundamental of coffee: freshness, water, proportion and grind.

Then the coffee masters had the new Starbucks Tribute Blend ready for us in the classic 8-cup French Press. To bear in mind, filtered water is encouraged with 1 tablespoon coffee powder with 180 ml water to make a perfect cup.

It was really cheerful the way Starbucks coffee masters explained to us the coffee culture in Singapore. Some people said it is rude to slurp your drink but it is just fine to slurpppp the coffee over here, in Starbucks. By slurping the coffee, you spray the coffee across your entire palate. 

We can even pair the coffee with fruits or nuts to enhance the depth of coffee texture or reduce the acidity level.

Next, we get introduced to Starbucks Roast Spectrum where each coffee bean requires a balance blend of temperature and time to reach its peak, catering to different taste buds. Generally, Starbucks roast profiles are classified by Blonde Roast (Veranda Blend), Medium Roast (Kenya) and Dark Roast (Espresso).

Moving to the right end of the spectrum, the coffee loses its moisture and acidity as the roast darkens. Asian and African coffee tend to fall in medium-to-dark roast with bold and sophisticated flavour. For instance, the new Tribute Blend is described to be spicy and full-bodied, adorning with berry and dark cherry notes for its multi-growing region in Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific. On the other hand, Americans favours more on lighter, mellow one like Blonde.

The last station would be manual Pour-Over coffee brewing system that is currently available at Starbucks Capital Tower.

This single-serving system, invented by Melitta Benz in 1908, is easy to use besides allowing the full extraction of coffee. It enables one to prepare as little or as much you want for the serving. Pretty cool stuff, I'd say. Well that marked the end of my coffee journey with Starbucks coffee masters.

Appreciated the fruitful lesson that opened my eyes as a layman besides bump into two new friends, Jimmy and Penny. :)


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Scentiful day trip and stomach-gurgling coffee chat was awesome!
best companion of all - kris, alf & danny


Photographed during Starbucks Coffee Seminar at Starbucks Capital Tower on Mar 24, 2013.
17.3.13

Cingjing Veteran Farm - Green Green Grasslands 清境农场 - 青青草原

Today we will visit to one of the main attractions in Cingjing Veteran Farm: Green Green Grasslands. Dear visitors at the age of 15 - 30, you may apply for Youth Travel Card for free [ how & where to apply? ] to entitle for half price admission over here.

Everywhere seems misty due to the cold weather when we were there last October.

Next, we will stamp on our hand to mark our entry into the mountainous area with scenic greenery and a flock of sheep.

After a short walk from entrance, we are now at the Sheep Musical Castle and meet my babes who were standing by white wooden fence. Guess what were they doing?

Gosh, what a lovely creature, even people like me who is not an animal lover also put my heart out to feed them and pat oh their furry head! They are just tame and sweet, wandering around to be fed by visitors and photo taking, each of them.

Later, we will walk down the slope to the prairie and made some pictures with white metal sheep sculpture on our way.

My babe, Jureen looked so epic in this shot. It was like she actually talked and laughed to an ignorant creature. Funny, but really a heart-wrenching moment that I see from this picture.

The prairie was just amazing to get out from hustle bustle of city life, for a day. While I was wondering this place must be cool enough for wedding portrait, I found a young couple who was making their own wedding pictures with the help of tripod. And my babe, Vivian was busy as well with her sheep chasing-and-hugging moment. Laugh.

Further down the slope from the prairie, there is where Animal Husbandry Area with horses and ponies around, located.

Green Green Grasslands is gorgeous with its huge landscape. You might think it is the end of our journey today, and if so you are totally wrong. We are heading to another part of the farm after this pet pen.

A short walk after pet pen, we are now at this apiary where we are able to witness how bees are kept and how honey is harvested. The friendly Taiwanese dude also showed us how nutritious the pollen is and how to test purity of honey via lighting up honey on fire. The honey is pure if it burns up.

Lastly, we are now at the last spot where the Cingjing Windmill is located. Unfortunately, there was not much windmills left and the natural light began to dim in evening. I even exchanged contact with old Taiwanese couple from kaohsiung and get babes free fruit treat after random chat with them, overseeing the seas of cloud. Taiwanese are very friendly, really.

Despite having a really bad cough at Green Green Grasslands for its misty and cold weather, as I just recovered from sickness the day before I went aboard, I really enjoyed the day with my babes where I started to miss the place already even I am just flipping my folders for last Taiwan trip.


ps. when can I get back there again?


Photographed with TOU babes at Cingjing Veteran Farm - Green Green Grasslands 清境农场 - 青青草原, Nantou on Oct 15, 2012 during my two weeks stay in Taiwan.


Location
NO. 170, Renhe Rd., Datong Village, Ren’ai Township, Nantou County, Taiwan(R. O. C.)

Contact
Tel: +886 49 2802748
Fax: +886 49 2802203 

Website
http://www.cingjing.gov.tw/en/about/index.php
16.3.13

so-much-more


ps. there is so much more to learn within the two years time frame I gave myself


Photographed with Wilson, Hooi Yee, Teng Yew, Lee Chon and Danny at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore after attended SMART Investment and International Property Expo.
14.3.13

Starry Minsu 观星园 @ 南投

Hey it is Friday tomorrow! Thus I've bear the excitement in mind to hop on a journey to heaven-like getaway with you guys on this lovely Thursday. Tonight we will travel to Starry Minsu 观星园 at Taiwan. It was a really chilling night when we checked in. Now we will place all the heavy luggages in our room with balcony overseeing a wide, misty horizon. Rather disappointed that we gonna miss the romantic starry night owing to unpleasant weather.

However, our unpleasant mood going to disappear like a zing looking at the sizzling dinner that was prepared heartily by Mr. Lee 李大哥 and his wife. The cozy feeling filled our heart amidst the cold, misty night at a faraway hilltop from home. Hot steamboat in winter night, guess this depicts just well the warmness on our body and soul.

Ground floor where we wandered for quite a while after steamboat is designed with cashier counter, kitchen, a few tables and plentiful of photo arts by previous guests. I always have a thing for framed wall art decor, as shown. 

Next, we sneaked into Sherril's room to give her a big surprise. Really appreciate Mr. Lee for doing us a great favour to get this beautiful birthday cake from town. Happy Birthday babe and may all her dreams come true by blowing the candles lit using my iphone app. Wonderful no?

The night was way too awesome to skype with someone dearie, Shir Ling at Germany to ease her homesick for a bit, or more perhaps. Not to forget our inside jokes, as well. The laughter sang up its own way to our sweet dream on bed. There's been some time I never feel so happy and laughed crazily.

Our one-night stay at Starry Minsu 观星园 has further cheered me up to be able to wake up with my gracious thought in such a breathtaking morning. Peeped out from my five-feet tall's vision, I saw a big big world which triggered my determination to head on some major decision to be made after my Taiwan trip that the dream went true currently. A bliss, I always cherish.

Exterior building shot of Starry Minsu 观星园 at day time and we will now meet all the beautiful little something under the azure blue sky together.

Close your eyes, stand by the wooden fence, feel the breeze and take a deep breath; what a beautiful illustration of God's creation.

And here's where we will have our heart made breakfast by Mrs. Lee 李大嫂 amidst the picturesque mountains and sweet blooms surrounding us.

Babes played with Mr. Lee's Husky while I went for a stroll round the building. Did you notice the combination of brown plus blue for its eyes? 

And now it is time to leave this beautiful place. Xiao Pei is here already with Volkswagen mpv to fetch us elsewhere where we will be there together soon.

I knew it is heavy-hearted for all of you to leave such a beautiful place, just like me! Life has to move on anyway. Let us bagged our rejuvenated soul for the next journey where I am still thinking where to go next. :)


ps. I hope you will heart this heaven-like getaway as much as I do


Photographed with TOU babes at Starry Minsu 观星园, Nantou on Oct 16, 2012 during my two weeks stay in Taiwan.


Location
No. 96, 大同村博望巷, Renai Township Nantou County, Taiwan.

Contact
+886 4 9280 2242
hclee0701@yahoo.com.tw

Website
http://starry.nantou.com.tw/
13.3.13

胡国雄古早面 @ 埔里

Hey people, I know it's pretty long from my last travel in Taiwan. Laugh. So I promise I will try to explore all the places we've been together in upcoming posts. As soon as possible, I hope. Today, we'll go down to earth to a famous local food stall 胡国雄古早面 which is located in Puli, Nantou. Xiao Pei brought us there with placing much emphasis on the liquor-soaked eggs 紹興冰Q蛋! We'll find it rather strange to have the egg yolk won't flow like being frozen where the egg white is of the unique aroma of herbal tea plus chinese liquor.

Just a sneak peek of how we get to travel together over this space, that is the ritual before starting a meal nowadays, from big ass camera to dainty camera. Laugh.

Xiao Pei introduced us a few other side dishes such as 切仔面 the homemade Taiwanese noodles, 猪舌 the pork tongue with julienned ginger, 烫空心菜 the chinese spinach and 过猫 the sautéed vegetable fern that sounds like 'over the cat' if we translate blindly into English.

Lastly, we are all hungry to finish this bowl of delicious 滷肉飯 the braised pork rice that we must have a try in Taiwan dear non-muslim readers before leaving for the night.


ps. are you full tonight? :)


Photographed with TOU babes at a famous local food stall 胡国雄古早面Puli, Nantou on Oct 15, 2012 during my two weeks stay in Taiwan.


Location
No. 3, Rén'ài Rd, Puli Township Nantou County, Taiwan 545

Contact
+886 4 9299 0586
12.3.13

National Taipei University 國立臺北大學

Get to wander around the university with Taiwanese friends who did us a great favour as university tour guide. You could spot a familiar sight or two over here if you happen to be fans of Taiwanese idol drama perhaps, laugh.


ps. a few more new friends in the city, hooray!


Photographed with TOU babes at National Taipei University, Taipei on Oct 21, 2012 during my two weeks stay in Taiwan.