Tuesday, 18 December 2012

travel: Taiwan 2012 Day 4: Hehuanshan, CingJing Farm

The In One City Inn we stayed at in Taichung is not like the previous resort boutique-like accommodation with nice surroundings, so there is no really more pictures I could post here in regards of the accommodation.

Breakfast was quite extensive, ranging from the basic Asian fares such as porridge, to more Westernised options - sausages and salad.

A few more trinkets and details of the inn. Beautiful flower details on the ceilings.

Our plan for today was to go to Hehuanshan Peak. We were back to our initial itinerary schedule after our diversion from Taroko yesterday. James drove us to a short walking trail where we saw a beautiful waterfall - called GuanYin waterfall (nothing to do with the goddess though, apparently). We walked to the top through a very easy trail (and some stairs...), for around 20 minutes. 

Beautiful nature and serene surroundings. Times like this, I felt so lucky to be alive to experience the beauties the world has to offer.

smaller stream halfway to the top

The waterfall that waited for us at the top of the trail
On the way to the top, we saw this little guy eating. We spent a good few minutes trying to get the best shot of it. LOL, see how much of city people we are? Even finding a mantis got us excited.

After walking that trail, obviously we felt hungry again, so James drove us to our lunch destination at Hehuanshan. On the way there, we dropped by the Old England Manor - a very expensive but beautiful European style accommodation. The owner is a very rich person who owns this Manor and another two Shangrila resorts also in the vicinity of CingJing Farm.

I contemplated to stay here when planning for our trip, but as our schedule is quite packed, and looking at the price (some of the rooms could cost around AUD700), it would be a pity to just stay here to sleep. If I was going to fork out that sort of money for an accommodation, I would not be going anywhere from check-in until check-out time.

From here, we got a glimpse of our accommodation for today. It's the yellow building in the below picture.

We had lunch at a place called Lu Ma Ma that served some unique and traditional dishes. (Worms, anyone? See below menu, bottom left side)

We opted for non-bird food. Chicken in spicy and sour sauce, Omelette with herbs, Mountain Cabbage, and Fish with some herbs.

My favourite: the fish. I was not even willing to leave the little bits of meat off the bones.

We also ordered a beef soup, where we had to dip the beef pieces in a bowl containing soup mixed with some herbs. The soup on the fire itself is bland to drink by itself, so to give the beef meat some more taste, you have to dip the meat in the bowl.

Total damage: TWD1170. James told us that the lady gave us 10% discount. Thank you Lu Ma Ma!
It totally broke my heart to leave this cutie behind:

very very cute shiba inu
Some more pictures of the restaurant and its surroundings...

Restaurant's front

We planned to hike a bit to burn those lunch we have eaten, but Hehuanshan was completely enclosed in fog and mist, and it was freaking freezing. When we arrived, it was 2 degrees and it's not even just the cold - it was also windy. 

very dark and foggy
So we decided to not go ahead with our plan to hike. What to do now? We went to Green Green Grassland - a place that I did not really want to go and even opted out of our initial itinerary for CingJing Farm. It is one of the touristy things to do, but I'm not interested in these:

Ehhhhh... if I wanted to see some baaa's, I just need to drive a few hours outside Sydney to the countryside, and I would see sheeps, lambs, goats, horses, pigs, cows, and whatever else typical farm has to offer. No need to fly halfway around the world to see some sheep.

Oh, by the way, by this time of my trip, I have a very big peeve against mainland chinese tourists - as this frequently happened throughout my trip so far, whenever I need to use the toilet in touristy places. Obviously the toilet would be packed and people need to queue. When it's my turn, not even 1 minute after I got in the cubicle and had my pants down, some crazy ass lady always bang on the door, *clickclack* (trying to turn the knob to open), banged again, *clickclack*, and shouted, "You Ren Ma??).

.... that much chinese - I know.

So I replied grumpily, "yes, you, yes."

Then again - banging, clickclack-ing, asking again... . 

Lady, you deaf or what? I just need to pee, not even had to unload those big lunches and dinners and snacks I have eaten so far. Besides, the door was locked. Even if there was no one inside, you would climb over the door to get in the cubicle, or what? And then I got out, it was always the same type of freaking rude-ass woman: slightly old, curly puffy hair with their tourist hats on. In HongKong, in Macau, in Taiwan. This annoying species is everywhere.

Actually, one time I dropped the F word (that was at Yehliu's public toilet) to her face. Well, she probably would not understand what I was cursing about anyway (although F word is pretty universal), and I wouldn't be seeing her again for the rest of my life. Probably.

Rant over.

Continue on... . 

beautiful shot from Green Green Grassland

So afterwards, we dropped by Carton King, where all their products are made of paper and cardboard. Definitely unique and some of them are absolutely beautiful and very detailed.

1/2heart became a part of the cardboard family... . And he wasn't too keen.
Some snacks we bought from Carton King...  Some plum wine, and very yummy coffee biscuits.

Then off to across the road to Misty Plaza. 

Seediq tribe display
We saw a kiosk selling some mochi. They cost TWD10 per morsel, but the shop had a package price of TWD180 for 28 pieces, and you get to choose what flavours you like yourself. Who cares if we would not be able to finish the whole box? To pass up such a bargain on mochi would be a sin.

Then James drove us to our accommodation for the night: Rose Provence Lodge.

Type of Room: Erh, I don't quite know, but it is at the top floor, and it has gorgeous view - supposedly - I'd be able to tell tomorrow morning when the sun's out.
Cost: TWD3960 (includes dinner, breakfast, and afternoon tea. Wi-Fi in room is available)

Dinner did not taste as good as it showed on the pictures. The food were actually quite bland, and we did not finish ours and decided to gorge on the mochi we bought earlier instead in our room.
The fare includes basic dinner, which was some pasta, but I opted to upgrade my dinner (pay additional TWD200) to get some steak with soup. Even this was disappointing.

However, the decor, layout, and the details of this place is stunning and charming. Lots of dried flowers hanged on the ceiling and wooden beams; rustic and old style furniture... . View of the dining area:

Inside our room:

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