Finding Bobo (宝岛寻宝记)

Screenshot 2019-05-28 at 11.15.29 AM

It has been a long time since Felicia last traveled alone. It is something she always wanted to do. 2 months ago, she told me that she was planning a 6-day solo trip to Taiwan. I was feeling very excited and also worried about her solo trip. Felicia planned a very comprehensive and detailed travel itinerary, even outlining the bus routes and travel time down to the very minute.

Deep inside me, I have been asking myself if I should hijack her solo trip. So, a few nights before her trip, I asked Felicia if she was expecting me to come along. She said she would love to but she understands my hectic schedules.  The sensible part of me told me not to intrude her solo trip but the other mischievous part of me urged me to give her another memorable surprise.

Of course, with the posting of this blog, it means I have listened to the mischievous inner voice. The truth is, it was a very difficult decision to make. Thanks to 3 great friends – Tracy, Chen, and Chowpo who persuaded and convinced me to take the leap. Felicia was already on the 2nd day of her 6-day trip, it wasn’t too late to surprise her, they said. Without much hesitation, I booked a last-minute air ticket to Taipei.

Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)

Taking a flight to Taipei was easy. To track Felicia down was a little tricky. She was constantly on the move and it was difficult to pinpoint a location to “ambush” her. After studying her itinerary meticulously 36 hours before, I figured out the best location to surprise her was at Taichung’s Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). I took a 1-hour bullet train from Taipei to Taichung where Chen picked me up and drove another hour to the destination.

Screen Caps5Screen CapsTaiwan (10-13th May 2019)2

Sun Moon Lake is massively big! Thankfully, I have my good pal Chen, a local resident in Taichung, who was extremely familiar with the tour route around Sun Moon Lake. We took a gamble and arrived at one of the stopovers 30 minutes before Felicia’s estimated arrival time.

It was the biggest and most ambitious “catching game” I ever played. It was so fun and exciting. Like 2 overgrown old boys, Chen and I hid at strategic locations to spy on every tourist. The second when we spotted Felicia, the adrenaline in us peaked! It was exhilarating!

Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)1Screen Caps1

We followed Felicia for a good 15 minutes. She was walking around, taking photos. We were so afraid to be spotted by her. I have no idea when or where to make the “appearance”. We just have to tail Felicia to find the best moment to surprise her.

Watching Felicia from a distance, knowing she was traveling alone, showed me a new side of her that I have never seen. Felicia is more independent, braver than I thought. I could have just watched and followed her quietly from a distance. Seeing her enjoying her solo travel experience, I felt a deep sense of relief that she made the right decision. It is often me who tied her down, always worrying for her. At that moment, I just realized my wife is more independent and stronger than me.

Screen Caps6Screen Caps2Screen Caps3Screen Caps4

I will never forget the seconds leading to the moment when I surprised her. I approached her from behind, placed my palm softly on her shoulder. She didn’t react violently or in shock. She turned around calmly and saw my mischievous face. Those few seconds lasted like a lifetime. It was like the old days when I surprised her in Perth or when she surprised me outside my bedroom. We had countless surprises for one another, and every surprise never fails to bring a smile to our face.

Of course, being me, I acted cool. Felicia, like always, was speechless with my behaviors.

“Hey, so coincident to bump into you here? Chen and I were walking around nearby. What are you doing here?” I said. “Okay, got to go, bye!”

It is a priceless precious moment. One that we will remember for life. And fortunately, we have a nice video to replay this beautiful memory.

Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)3Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)13

Thanks to Tracy, Chen, and Chowpo for convincing to make this trip. I am truly glad I did. If not, it is something that I will regret for a long long time.

Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)5

Felicia and I spent the remaining 3 days in Taipei. I tried not to impose too much change to her travel plans. The only complain – she didn’t expect me to come so we squeezed ourselves in a tight cozy tiny backpacker hostel room.

Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)11Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)12Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)10Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)4Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)7Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)8Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)9Taiwan (10-13th May 2019)6

Enjoy the video. 

A Belated Happy New Year Blog

photos37

Usually, I try to finish my vlog editing and blog writing within 48 hours after I shot all the content. This takes a lot of effort and it drains out a lot of energy into the late night. Editing and uploading a travel blog takes me around 3-5 hours now. I realize I am unable to travel and edit my content on a daily basis now. I must be getting old and rusty.

I am writing this belated new year blog in the wee hours (as I am still coping and adjusting from my recent jetlag). I just came back from my long 17-day travel. There are tons of photos and videos waiting for me to sort out. I love sharing my blogs and vlogs with my loved ones back home. I just need to finish all the travel blogs before my next trip.

 

This new year, Tracy and I made a short 4D3N trip to Taiwan. I chose the destination because I volunteered to deliver 3 large boxes of hardware to my friend in Taiwan. We flew out at the same time as Felicia and Elkan (who were flying back to Singapore) on new year eve.

Despite being a frequent traveler to Taipei (at least 2-3 times a year), I realize that there are still so many places around Taipei I have never been. Thanks to Mr. Chen, Sean, and lovely family, I had a great rewarding trip. From local art districts to geothermal sites, every moment is a brand new refreshing experience.

photos17

This was also a good short casual trip for me to test out my new tiny travel gears – The new DJI OSMO Pocket and Huawei Mate20pro. The verdict? Amazing compact travel gears for bloggers and vloggers! The DJI Osmo Pocket is super user-friendly and it captures footage in 4K quality! Huawei Mate20pro is awesome too. Its HDR photos are stunning! With this trials, I convinced myself I do not need to carry heavy bulky gears for my upcoming US trip.

photos20

Sean and family picked us up at the airport and he drove south to avoid the rainy weather up north. Sean brought us to an unusual tourist attraction, Longteng Broken Bridge (龍騰斷橋) at Mouli County (苗栗縣). This unusual attraction is actually an earthquake ruin caused by 2 major earthquakes – the 1935 Shinchiku-Taichū earthquake and the 1999 “921” earthquake. Since then, this unique ruin has been listed as a national monument by Taiwan’s Cultural Heritage Assets.

photos16

Just 15-minute drive away, Sean brought us to an old locomotive village, Sheng Xing Train Station (三義勝興車站) where we saw many adorable “self-paddled” electric train coaches. These mini train coaches offer a colorful rejuvenation to the long-abandoned railway track. This place reminded me of Shifen Old Street (十分老街). There are many local shops selling local crafts and food.

photos15photos19photos18

By nightfall, Sean drove us back to Taipei where we joined hundreds of thousands of people congregating at Taiwan’s most prolific new year countdown site, the Taipei 101. It was a traffic nightmare and many roads were closed. Thanks to the uncanny skillset of Sean, he managed to avoid many roadblocks miraculously. It was pouring cats and dogs and we were worried about finding a parking lot. Another miracle happened when our car came to standstill just right below Taipei 101 just 5 minutes before the final countdown! What an amazing precision! We were in the right place at the right time!

photos21photos23photos22

Despite the cold rain and foggy weather, we had an enjoyable and memorable countdown. This was my first ever countdown at Taipei city. Getting out of the traffic was a nightmare. It took us more than an hour to leave Taipei 101. We were extremely lucky when we got back to our hotel before 230am. I remembered when we were in Kaohsiung 9 years ago, we were stuck in traffic for more than 4 hours!

We stayed one night in Taipei and 2 nights in Beitou (北投溫泉), a small hot spring town location right beside Yangmingshan (阳明山) National Park. Pardon my ignorance, I have never been to these 2 places despite their close proximity to Taipei City! I complained to Mr. Chen and Tracy about their “inhospitality” for not bringing me to these sites earlier. I felt like a frog in a well. I always have this false impression that all the geothermal attractions are located far far away from Taipei city. Goodness, where have I been for the past few years? This is such an unforgiven mistake.

photos36photos25photos35photos24photos26

There are so many hot spring resorts in Beitou. Sadly, I am never a fan for hot spring as my body is not able to take the slightest warm water. It was still a delightful trip for me to visit the geothermal sites (hot spring lake and sulfur lake). The sites are not as big and impressive as the ones that I saw in New Zealand but it is located just minutes away from the city center.

photos32photos33photos34

This is a surprisingly rewarding trip for me as I didn’t expect to see so many new things in Taipei. Taiwan is indeed a “treasure island” full of many hidden gems. What a great new year with so many new discoveries. We are blessed to have good friends like Sean and Chen who sacrificed their family & working days to show us around. Thank you once again! May our countdown to 2020 filled with happy discoveries and rewarding journeys!

photos29photos27collagesphotos30photos28photos31

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: