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Eating in Hot Taipei (Part 2)- Beitou and Pingxi Railway Station

As I mentioned, we moved to our new hotel Beauty Hotels- Hotel B6 俞美精品飯店. 

台北市108台北市萬華區武昌街2106

坐落於食衣住行育樂包羅萬象的觀光購物集散地

No.106, Sec. 2, Wuchang St. Wanhua Dist., Taipei City 10843

(02) 2388-3008

As this hotel is in the middle of Xi Men Ding, it is about 10-15min away from the station, compared to the first hotel we stayed in which was 5mins away only. We waited till around 2pm and tried our luck to see if we could check in. And they did, and best part was, they actually upgraded us to superior room!

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Things we love 

Everything! The shower is the best!!! With our favourite rain shower. Bed is huge! Tv is HD awesome! And its right in the middle of Xi Men Ding, even at 945pm, we could go out to buy the fried chicken, we also got the shishamo and squid! Next to it they also have pao pao cha. Hubby chose Mei Gui Tie Guan Yin for me to try, and the lady added some other flavors which was really delicious. One of the best pao pao cha I drank! I love the mixture. Instead of munching tapioca balls she gave some other chewy stuff to add the tastiness!

Things we not like
The space too small, no space for our luggage to lay out.

Going towards Beitou HotSpring

Taking the Metro station from Xi Men Ding to Taipei Main Station and change to Xin Bei Tou Station,. It is just walking distance to the place.

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As you walk along the road to Beitou Hot Spring Museum and Hell Valley, it is accompanied by greenery and a park, streams of water and nature.

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Even though, I have been to Taiwan many times, I didn’t get to explore Beitou Hot Spring, so added this in my itinerary. Do note that the Beitou Hot Spring Museum and Hell Valley closes at 5pm and on Mondays. We actually didn’t know about it but manage to visit both places in time.

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The place was crowded with students, Taiwanese and tourists, eagerly entering the entrance before the closing time. If you look around, you would feel that it resembles alot like the Japanese baths, that’s because they were built during the Japanese colonial era, and yet with a hint of European style as well. The place is heavily redeveloped and transform into the musuem that we see today. The rich culture and history of the hot springs in Beitou is explained and shared in the musuem. Take time and get soaked in the knowledge of the Beitou Hot Springs.

Walking further down the road, we came to the Hell Valley, 地熱谷. 

It was given the name after several incidents happened, but I also think its because the heat symbolises Hell too.. You can even feel the heat just from standing on the platform. Having the temperature of 80-100 degree celsius, it’s not place you want to play and run around. Tourists used to be able boil eggs from the water, till efforts of government attempt to prevent more accidents thus building the fence around the walkway. There are places around where you can enjoy the hotspring at affordable prices. But the fact that we are already sweating like pigs, there is no doubt that this is the last we wish to do now. If you come in during the winter or spring period, it should be quite enjoyable!

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After this, we head down to Shilin market, sorry I didnt have pictures, as me and hubby was just busy eating all the delicious food and with hands filled with goodies and drinks, it was just to difficult to take pictures. kekeke!

 

Pingxi Railway Station

The next day, we woke up early to visit Ping Xi Railway Station. Although it is a railway station, its bustling with tourists many stuff to see and eat!

At Taipei Main Station, you have to approach the Taipei Railway ticket counter (TRA) to purchase a train ticket to Rueifang Station.

The whole journey will take less than 40 mins and honestly you would have a tough time to find a seat. I manage to get a seat, but poor baby stood the whole time.

At the boarding platform, there will be a  display board that shows the arrival of trains at different timing. Good thing I was with dear, as I was very confused with all the timing anHGd train.

The train ride allows you to stop at different train stations, I chose Shifen as there is a waterfall and shops to view and also release lantern. Most people would also choose Pingxi and Jintong. You can get a map at the station ticket office before you board the train, and slowly make your decision on where to visit.

I would have love to visit the other stops, but it was so hot!!!! And I actually spent the whole day at Shifen but managed to do lots of things.

Do make sure to watch the time and not miss the last train back to Rueifang and Taipei Main Station. 

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I keep downing the cold melon drink, as it was scorching hot.

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After having some Taiwanese snack, we headed towards the waterfall, that is a must see at Shifen. I almost died walking up the steep slop as it was really hot and I was like feeling faint. Regret not putting sunscreen, but I did bring a “God-given” umbrella. Thank God I brought. I was really dying from the heat. My hubby was like encouraging to finish the “hike” and sacrificing the cold melon drink to me.

Finally reached….

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The thing that made us run towards, its the shop with COLD, ICE DRINKS!!!!

After downing and another drink, we sat down to appreciate the puny waterfall, which my hubby said, its seriously nothing compared to Niagara Falls.  Of cos la, its not like its Victoria Falls to compete with it.

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After a long day, we went back to hotel for a nice cold bath!

 

Love, Wendy

Eating in Hot Taipei (Part 1)

So why did I titled it as Hot Taiwan, because my hubby and I went last August, and OMG!!! its freaking hot and humid at 33-34 degrees!

I seriously don’t recommend going to Taiwan during their summer season. I went Taiwan many times, but never during summer, so it was kind of a shock for me. Nevertheless, we went ahead as we needed a holiday! So here we go!

I love Taiwan, the way they speak, the friendliness, the food (of course) and others!

When we reached the airport and we went to the first level where all the bus operators are located. And we realized that the Fei Go last bus service is 515pm! And we reached at 525pm! Missed by 10 mins!!! Fortunately, me being in events company always have back up plans, the hotel that we booked also gave another bus option: from Guo Guang Bus 1819 at 125twd per pax. So it was still fine, only that we still need to change to train and spend a bit more time. If we take cab, it will be around 1000.

Finally reached our hotel Forte Orange Hotel Ximen, which took about 1.5 hrs bus ride. To return to Airport from hotel, you just need to inform the hotel receptionist the day before, your flight details.

Forte Orange Hotel Ximen is only 2 mins frm the Ximending. We didnt have much choice of hotel as it was peak season , so we chose this.

I find the boutique hotels in Taiwan really small, maybe its just around those prominent tourist spots like Xi Men Ding. There was really not much space to put our luggage and walk around the hotel.

Things I like about this hotel: 
1) Near Xi Men Ding, if you are staying in the middle of Xi Men Ding, it might have been too noisy with all the noise of music and promotion being broadcast, an experience I encounter in my second hotel, will share more in next post)
2) It has its unique style
3) Affordable for its basic needs
4) Friendly service
5) Tv is just infront of the bed, feels cosy
6) though toilet is just next to the bed, even after someone shit, there is ventalialtion above the toilet that you don’t smell a thing!!

Things I don’t like 
1) Too small room (not much space to walk around after dumping the luggage on the floor.)
2) The shower room has no cover (so make sure you are comfortable with whoever you are going with. For me, I was with my hubby, so it was still fine.)

Overall, I give it a 7/10, as location and price is very important for me.

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Settling down all our luggages, we changed to cooling clothes and started scouting for our dinner!

Randomly walking around, we past this place that had Chou Toufu (Smelly Tofu). And they have hotpot! Though I would recommend this place more during cold weather, but seeing the crowd inside the shop, I am quite convinced that its good. And true enough, the food was delicious!

Its called San Ma Chou Chou Guo (三妈臭臭锅) Xi Men Shop, 萬華區昆明街85號

They have other outlets as well at other cities in Taiwan.

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We ordered Big Intestine Hot pot, 100TWD, and added small intestine and some other ingredients. You can add which ever items you want more!

And I love the cold melon drink, refreshing in the hot weather and best part is, it is free flow.

After that, we walked around and chanced upon another gem.

Before this, I have never eaten 滷肉飯 (Lu Rou Fan), Braised Pork on rice before. Its Taiwanese style, so its not the same as those I have eaten in Singapore, which the meat is harder. The sauce is so OMG. The braised pork is freaking delicious!!!!! I love anything that is braised actually. I kept craving for it when I came back. Thank goodness I found a Taiwanese restaurant that serves this at United Square.

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I dont remember the shop location but its the same street as the Hotpot, at 140. Only managed to capture the shop name here.

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Filling our stomach, we went back hotel to rest and watched some tv series, wanted to rest early, as we were quite tired.

….. THE NEXT MORNING

Being a very routine person as I have gastric problems, I must have breakfast at 9am, and since Ah Zhong Mian Xian, only opens at 11am, I decided to have Mac Donalds for breakfast. Bought for my sleepy hubby, who is a late sleeper and waker.

Even Taiwan has the Hello Kitty plush toys, and they were selling those toys that was sold out in Singapore. There is not much of craze here. Honestly, I don’t really know what’s the fuss about. But I did see one I thought was cute but that week, they didn’t have the one I wanted, so I didn’t buy.

After resting a while more after eating, we went for the famous 阿宗麵線 (Ah Zhong Mian Xian)!!! Almost every Singaporean I know, when they are at Taiwan, this is something they would include in their itinerary. I honestly can eat this everyday!!! Such a simple dish yet it makes people come back for more.

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阿宗麵線 (Ah Zhong Mian Xian)

No. 8~1 Emei St., Taipei (East XMD Pedestrian Area) 台北市峨嵋街8號之1,

Tel: (02) 02-2388-8808, 2388-8182

2 sizes- Big bowl for NT$55, Small bowl for NT$40.

It opens from 11am – 10.30pm.

Next is to explore Jay Chou’s restaurant. I have heard some good and some okay only, so I wanted to see it for myself.

Mr J French-Italian Restaurant II (Mr.J 義法廚房II)

250 WuXing St. Taipei Medical University Taipei,
Taiwan 02-2377-9090

Here is directions: 

Take the train to Taipei City Hall, Exit 2, take escalator up to ground level, turn right and you will see many shuttle bus stops.

The shuttle bus to Taipei Medical University is next to the shuttle bus stop to Taipei 101. (it should be further down) There is one that is free and one that you need to pay. We didn’t know and got on the one that needed to pay and still ought to scout around for the restaurant. 

There is a shuttle bus every 15 minutes from 7am-7pm.

Once you alight from the shuttle bus, walk to the right of the main building entrance (Taipei Hospital) towards the Library and you will see Mr J’s restaurant!

Directions credits to : Blog

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After asking a security guard, we found the place! As we went at 4pm, its was quite quiet and empty, only a few students or tourists. I enjoyed the quietness though. We ordered to share as we were still quite full and was going to try some other food at another location after this. The food is quite alright only not exceptionally good that you would go all the way here just to try. So I guess its the name of Jay Chou that made this place attractive. I remembered watching this show few years back where the hype was still strong. It was Jay Chou’s first attempt at directing a movie, after testing his own works through his music videos. I do admire his dedication and talent.

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I would say their drink was something that I remembered was exceptionally good. I ordered the Fa Shi Xian Nai Cha (I guess translated to be Magic Milk Tea?)

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The squid ink was not too bad as well. This obviously was a dish not chosen by me, as girls wouldnt choose something so black for a date. Yes, its the hubby.

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Getting on the shuttle bus and heading to our next food location!

Its my favourite Braised Pork Meat Rice!!!! There is another brand that was quite recommended.

胡须张 (鬍鬚張Formosa Chang)

Take the metro to Hou Shan Pi Station and Exit 1. Walk straight along Jhongpo N. Rd. to the intersection of Jhongpo N. Rd. and Yongji Rd. Look out for this sign!

Walk towards Wufenpu, and you look out for the signboard on the right.

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It was really crowded when we reached. The whole place was bustling with people, but the service staff were so efficient that we immediately got a seat and in less than 10mins, we had our food. I would say the braised pork is not as nice as the one I ate on the first day. But I really love the Taiwanese style pork..and sauce!! It really melt in your mouth and the meat is so soft and yummy!!! Formosa Chang is little commercial to me, but nonetheless, I still dig the meat!

Next, we went to Wufenpu and Raohe Street!

I made a quick shopping at Wufenpu, and surprisingly, my hubby was the one who had more buys than me, he managed to find his berms at a local brand shop. He is no picky about clothes but it must be comfy. And since he seldom shop, I was glad he found some clothes that he liked.

Raohe Street is like a night street market that is also popular for many tourists. Of course food is the number one thing to look out for!

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It was a really long and hot day, we went back to hotel to rest for the last night. Tomorow, we gonna move to another hotel smack in the centre of Xi Men Ding. We wanted to try out different hotels and see the difference. And I am glad we had the new hotel! Will talk more in the next post!

 

Waiting

Didnt really write any post for a long time, as I am feeling on the low side. Wonder if its all the hormones giving me this feeling.. I am thankful that I don’t need to worry about anything, but as a woman, we tend to find something just to worry about.

I am getting a little impatient with the moving.. Waiting is a torturous feeling. Waiting for the bus, waiting for food.. Well this part of my life is called waiting. You cant do anything but wait.

Waiting for my pass to be done but not sure what is going to happen, whether i can successfully do everything as planned, waiting for baby to grow well till full term.. waiting for people to do their job.. waiting frustrates me.

When I don’t know what to expect or when things are going to happen, I lose all motivation… its like waiting around and not able to control anything.  

recently, I had this feeling that everything is done for me and i have little control over the choice i can make. I can only everyday smile at baby and talk to him. And he will kick or move around as if he knew what I was thinking and respond. The day become more tolerable.

Montserrat Monastery, Barcelona

Having time in my hand, I am sitting on my Ikea Big boss chair, with my big belly writing this blog, with some tiny ticklish kicks from baby.

I am finally writing my blog about one of my favourite place when I was in Barcelona last year, which I have yet to blog about.

As it was my second time in Barcelona, I decided to venture a little further away from the city and taking an off the beaten path trip. After reading many raving comments about this place, I decided to give it shot. Honestly, I was a little scared, as I had to plan everything from the train station journey and all. And the timing must be accurate, or I would miss the ride back to the city. Nonetheless, I gave it a shot.

First thing first! 

How to go to Monsterrat Monastery

You need a full day, in order to enjoy the the place, and the last train back to the city  is 645pm. There is nothing very fanciful in the night, so it is more of a day trip.

I found this website very helpful in helping me plan: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/tour/barcelona-montserrat.html ,just remember that one of the highlights of the place is the famous Basilica choir boy performances of Gregorian chants and other genres of religious choral music. The performances can be heard free of charge in the Basilica at  13:00  daily with the exception of Christmas holidays, July and some other festive periods during the year. So when you decide your train timing, do take this into consideration.

After deciding the time I wish to take the train, which was to reach the Plaça Espanya station at 10:36 am,  I went to the entrance of R5 railway line. Make sure you reach earlier so that you can choose a good seat as its a 1hr journey. The later you go, it will have more people taking the cable and all. Yes, yes, its my Singaporean Kiasu syndrome.

When you reach the Plaça Espanya, you will see a booth that has staff recommending which ticket you should buy. If you have the whole day free for the trip, I suggest to buy the Trans Monsterrat Ticket (26.60 Euros) which includes the following:

1) Return train ride from Barcelona to Montserrat, either with the Cable car ride option to the monastery, or if you prefer the Track Train mountain train ride – but remember you need to specify which when you buy this ticket because they are not interchangeable. You either buy a Cable Car version or you buy the Cremallera version of this ticket. Once you have selected your ticket version you cannot use the other method.

I chose the Cable car option, which means both to and fro would be Cable car rides. You cannot chose 1 way Train and 1 way Cable car.

Trust me, if you are not afraid of heights, Cable Car is the way to go!!

2. The ticket also includes 2 return journeys on 2 different funicular rides (funicular is a mountain train that goes up steep slopes). You catch these funicular rides once you arrive at the monastery and not to be confused with the funicular ride to the Monastery from the train from Barcelona which is called the Cremallera funicular. These funicular rides give you access to different parts of the mountain and you will be able to visit the very top of Montserrat mountain as well as visit Santa Cova cave. You will also be able to go on some mountain walks with amazing views. Normally you would have to purchase the funicular tickets separately once you arrive at Montserrat but with this ticket the two funicular return rides are included in the price.

Make sure you check out the timing as well, dont miss the last train/cable back to the city while you are up on the cable. 

3. You also have 2 free metro rides with this ticket. Each metro ticket costs  €2.15  each.

Super worth it!!! Cover my trip back to the city and for another metro ride. 

There are no discounts for pensioners or children with this ticket because the ticket already offers a discount for the fares. e.g. if you purchased the funicular rides separately (once you arrived at Montserrat monastery) you would need to pay an additional€10.00 (Return) or  return or €6.60 single for the funicular from the Monastery to the top of Montserrat mountain and/or another  €3.20 return or €2.00 single for the funicular ride to Santa Cova Cave from the Monastery.

4.Access to the audio visual area on Montserrat.

Which is a must go!!! You must not miss this!

Although it is possible to walk both of these destinations from the Monastery it is not recommended because it is pretty steep and not an easy walk. And it will take you one night fall to walk the steep path.

Things to bring when you are planning this trip: 

1) Water bottle is a must!!! You can purchase up there, there is a convenience store and a restaurant. But me being on budget, I brought my own.

2) A sandwich or some food, as you don’t want to miss the choir while buying food (which is always long Q), so its better to grab a bite first!

3) Sunglasses or umbrella (its can get really sunny)

4) Camera, of course!

5) Good pair of shoes (walking on pebbles is not comfortable)

Now we are all set, so lets go!

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Caught the cable car ride, super excited to up up into the sky!

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Just check out how far up have we gone!

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And we finally reached the top!!

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Enjoying the beautiful view of landscape, I sat down to have my sandwich which I bought for the trip, which was indeed very gratifying.

After meal, I started exploring the place….By then, it was already 12.15pm, I begin my search for the choir boys!

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And walked towards the direction of the church  (Basilica) and i saw a Q.. my heart sank…

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If you see on the right of the picture, there was a seriously long Q, after waiting for like 15 mins, the Q didnt even seem to be moving, I got a little anxious. The choir boys is gonna be performing at 1pm!! I dont want to miss it! There was a policeman patroling, finally with a little courage, and my broken spanish, I asked him, if this is the Q for the choir. Surprisingly, he understood and pointed the other entrance on the left which has no Q!!! The first q was actually to see the Black Madonna, the Virgin Mary. I didnt want to wait, thus, I gave up on seeing the Black Madonna, and spend more time elsewhere.

I immediately make a dash for it and came to big space…

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This is the entrance of the church hall! I quickly made my way and since I am all alone, I decide to be shameless and provide better picture for blog, I went all the way to the front second row.

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Check out the crowd that is already anticipating the performance! A little background about the Montserrat Choir boys…

They are also known as L’Escolania de Montserrat. 

Montserrat is home to one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Europe. Documents testify to the existence of a religious and music school in Montserrat as far back as the 14th century.

L’Escolania choir school is a children’s choir of sopranos and “altos”. When the repertory requires it they are accompanied by the Montserrat Chapel Choir, formed by old choirboys and by the monks of the Monastery Chapel Choir.

L’Escolania sings every day in the Basilica of Montserrat, often to a great affluence of pilgrims and visitors from all over the world. With their song, the choirboys transmit the beautiful message of the gospels which transcends linguistic, cultural and even religious frontiers. The midday Salve has become, over the past decades, the most visited daily act of the Sanctuary.

Since the end of the 60’s they have ventured further afield than the Basilica of Montserrat and have given concerts in the villages and towns of Catalonia and around the world. The most important in the last year have been with the l’Orquesta de les Nations, conducted by Jordi Savall and their participation in the opera “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Benjamin Britten in the Gran Teatre del Liceu, in Barcelona. (credits: http://www.escolania.cat/index.php?md=articles&id=343&lg=3)

Choir Performance schedule: 

From Monday to Friday:
1.00 pm Salve and Virolai
From Monday to Thursday:
6.45 pm Vespers, Salve Montserratina and Polyphonic Motet
Saturdays:
The Boys’ Choir does not sing
Sundays and religious holidays:
12.00 pm Salve and Virolai
6.45 pm Vespers, Salve Montserratina and Polyphonic Motet

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You really wont want to miss it, the beautiful singing and peaceful environment do make you make you feel relax.

After the performance, I was hungry again, decided to have some lunch at a shop that sells you typical sandwiches, hotdogs and all. And even had a chat with an old Russian man who was waiting for his wife.

Started looking for my next cable car ride…

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If you see those small little houses by the hills, those are the starting point to the Santa Cova or the top of the mountain!

Usually there will be a Q, so I only managed to visit the top of the mountain and gave the Santa Cova a miss.

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After looking at this picture, I was thinking this guy behind me in blue checkered shirt, seriously looked like Jon Lovitz. I remembered him from the sitcom, Friends, where Rachel went on a blind date with a drug addict.. Hhahaha they are looked very similar!

Up, up, here we go!

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I can only say the view up here is totally worth it!!! The air is so clean and the view is so magnificent. I think I was 1200m high up in on mountain. If I had known, I would have brought a picnic bag and just sit somewhere and have a meal. I saw a girl sketching when I was at the top too!

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I must warn you, do wear shoes that has very thick soles. I nearly died when I was in Paris and walking with my boots that had very thin soles. The uneven roads and walkways were a killer. These shoes that I wore this time round is my favourite!! It was like 4 cm thick, I was so comfortable walking on the pebbles and rocks. And mind you, the walkway from the beginning to the end was all pebbles and rocks. I bought it at Bugis for just 40 bucks! I was shocked to see this girl wearing heels, totally not advisable if you want to make it out here.

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I must say the whole experience at Montserrat is totally worth the time and not to be missed if you can visit.

Another thing not to forget is the audio visual room when you back at the main area. It would be located together at the gift shop. This is included in the package that I bought at the train station. Why is it important? At the audio/visual room where you would watch this video that shows the whole view of the Montserrat and the choir singing. The song was so mesmerising and the view was indeed beautiful!!! It reminds me when I was young and my parents brought me to Science Centre, where there is a Omni-theatre, the visuals were like touchable! I was in awe…

There is very big gift shop where I think the restaurant is located, I cant remember, which I bought some small gifts and I really liked their diffuser which has a scent that is very special, only in Montserrat.

That’s all! Will try my best to blog again soon!!

A new year! 2014

So I am writing this on Jan 31, first day of Chinese New Year. This is a pre-prepared post as I can only share this when my first trimester is completed safely. Yes, you guessed correctly! I have a little one coming. This is a very nice Christmas gift for us.

Its very interesting how for my first month, which I obviously didn’t know, I was feeling a little strange already. I was so tired that I was sleeping at 1030pm, which is unusual, as I would usually sleep at 12am. And my back was aching more than usual, and my tummy was a little bigger, which I tried doing crunches, thinking I was just getting fat! And even drank cocktail during my cruise trip, which I don’t usually drink since I cant hold my liquor. The good thing is during first mth, all mistakes are forgiven. :) But taking medicine could be a risk, other than that I think its still forgiveable. So don’t be too hard on yourself if u made some when you didn’t know.

Currently in my week 17. I must say, I am quite fortunate, that I do feel nauseas and only vomit once in the morning. Once in a while, especially during weekends, I would puke more, but that’s it. Some are even luckier they dont get anything. But honestly speaking, I rather do have some, as it means the child is growing well. A mummy to be whom I knew of,  didnt feel anything during her first trimester, so she thought it was all good, but the baby was actually not breathing anymore. So I guess, being nauseas and puking is a good sign. But then again every mum has different experience, my friend who is very healthy had very little symptoms as well, but baby is growing well. She didnt even felt it and went on marathon at second mth, of cos, she didnt know. So its always best to speak to a gynae to know your body and situation.

How we found out? 

So back track abit on how I found out. Like I mentioned, I was feeling a little weird during my first mth and was late, but I didnt really think so, as I was not really thinking of having after 2 mths of failed attempt and changed my plans for US trip in the mid year, so this is really unplanned for. But you know when they say, if God give you treasure, you would gladly receive it.

I remembered I was in the toilet testing, as I was late for about 5 days and I am always very punctual, so I thought I was unwell or what. I tested, as I was washing my hands waiting for my result, I stared at the Clear Blue stick. Clear Blue brand is one of the best and most accurate brand which has 2 indicators, first the result, second to show that it is working. I kind of forgot what the indicators meant as I was in a blur stage. I saw a plus sign and a slash. After awhile, I went out to read the instruction box, and OMG!!!! I started shivering and my heart pounding real fast. My hubby was fortunately in the house today, since he always travel. I started calling him hysterically. “Dear dear!!! come quickly!” ” Holding the stick, ” I think, I think, we gonna have!” He was still puzzled, and finally looking at the stick, he started a smile and hug me. I think we were both in state of shock as we werent really prepared but we do know that it was something we had wanted.

So first thing, is to make appt with Polyclinic to be referred to KK hospital.

What’s the difference between private and KK Hospital? 

1)Waiting time

No doubt processing is a little confusing at the start with all the different dept to go to to get things done (such as blood and urine test, scanning, consultation), the waiting period is about the same as private.

2) Appointments Private KK vs Subsidised vs Private Hospital

Private KK and Private Hospital provides gynaecologist whom you can seek to make appointment with and be your doctor in charge throughout your pregnancy. You can ask for word of mouth recommendations.

I had a private gynae at TCM in the past for my menstrual problems and honestly it was really very EXPENSIVE!!!

Subsidised Patient at KK hospital means everything you do during your pregnancy would be subsidised. You may choose to switch half way but provided the gynaecologist you have in mind is still available when you need him/her. But you cannot choose your gynaecologist during your consultations and delivery.

My first visit cost a total of 114 bucks comprising of : Urine/Blood test, Scanning, Consultation and screening.

In private, I believe it would have amounted to a few hundred. Consultation would have easily costs 80 bucks.

Honestly having a baby is expensive in Singapore, but you can always choose a cheaper option but you need to have time and patience.

3)Emergency:  

You may always make a appt with the gynae if you have any problems. KK Subsidised: You need to go to Emergency and wait for your turn, which means can be a long wait or short wait dependent on the number of people waiting. Similar to A&E.

4) Delivery: Well, I have not reached this stage so I cant tell you yet.

Anyway, will update more soon..

Merry Christmas to all!

Received this video from my colleague. Its super creative and really interesting!

BERLIN: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

In my previous post, I mentioned that I went joined a tour, there were many tourists from all over the world and all walks of life. Coincidently, when I was at the lunch place introduced by the tour guide, Sophie, I met a Singaporean lady and she introduced me to her daughter, who was tall and pretty. She would qualify as a air stewardess if she wants, but she chose to study in Paris for her degree. I mean, to study in Paris, that’s like really a dream place man!!! She seems a little arrogant at first, but when you slowly warm up to her, she is actually quite friendly.

We started talking and realised that we both wanted to go the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. But I recalled in the morning, when I was at the meet up point, where I met the Tour guide who told me about the free tour, he mentioned that the camp was closed as they found a dormant bomb near the camp area. So we waited till after the tour and checked it out again. Thankfully, by that time, the bomb was removed and the camp had reopened.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

22 Straße der Nationen Oranienburg, Berlin, Germany

You can take a train S-bhan to Oranienburg and Bus 804 just right outside the train station. As Oranienburg is actually outside of Berlin, the train ride was about about an hour. Do check out the timing before you go. In Apr-Sep its open from 8.30am-6pm and in Oct- Mar, 8.30am-4.30pm. It closes on Mon.

I felt a little sorry to both of them, as I wanted to go to the wash room, but the toilet was so slow in washing, i meant those automated toilet. And it was taking forever!!! In the end, we missed the bus! I felt really bad, that because of me they had to walk. Waiting for another bus would mean we would have to wait another half an hour and would reach at around 515pm. So we decided to walk quite a distance. I was actually surprised meeting them, because many incidences made me felt that God was watching over me. If I had come by myself, I would have lost and not sure how to walk, as it was not as clear cut. And honestly to go so far out by myself, would have been quite lonely. I would share more why later on. There were only us in queue for the bus. Anyway, back to the journey there. Though we had to walk for about 15mins, we chatted alot.

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And finally…. we reached!

 

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The camp was really quiet and calm. It was so unbelievable peaceful at some areas.  It was nearing the closing time, but the sense of uneasiness and fear came not because of this silence. But what this place used to be. I felt at some points, I could hear screams and shouts amidst the silence.

Where I am about to enter sense thrills down my spine. I was actually shivering a little, not just because of the chill but from within and what I am about to see.

As we enter the infamous iron gate that reads, “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which means “Work will set you free”.

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I was greeted with a big empty space, where they would have their morning drills.

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The room shown below is formerly known as the dissecting room. I leave to your imagination of what went on here.

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The picture above is also known as the Medical Experiment room.

“The scope of the often horrific medical experiments performed by Nazi doctors on Jews during the Holocaust is far more extensive than previously known, according to the newly released testimonies of nearly 2,000 surviving victims.

The testimonies revealed that medical experiments were conducted not just at Auschwitz but at 30 concentration camps and ghettos, according to Gideon Taylor, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. A total of 178 different types of experiments were performed, he said.

“There were a few well-known medical experiments” that were known “but nothing about the whole range of medical experiments” uncovered by the testimonies, said Taylor, whose organization collected the information. “The Mengele twins’ experiments were known, but much of the rest are undocumented and but for this effort the material would have been lost.”

He was referring to Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous “Angel of Death” at Auschwitz who was known for his cruelty. Mengele weeded out those to be sent to the gas chambers and those to be kept for medical experiments.

The testimonies include the names of other doctors who similarly performed medical experiments, many whose names had been previously unknown, Taylor noted.

“Medical experiments are the least-documented atrocity,” said Eli Zborowski, chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem. “Some of the information from the testimony of the victims was known, but a lot of it is new.”

Zborowski said researchers from Yad Vashem, Israel’s central Holocaust memorial and research center, and the University of Haifa are now gathering information about the subject and that “the testimony will be a great contribution to their efforts.”

The testimonies were collected as part of the $5 billion German settlement of Holocaust-era claims finalized in January 2000.

They come as checks for $5,400 were starting to be mailed this week to the surviving subjects of Nazi medical experiments or their heirs.

Michael Berenbaum, a Holocaust expert and professor of theology at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, says the extent of the Nazis’ medical experiments has “been under appreciated.”

“Only the specialists who followed this can appreciate how widespread it was, how it [the experiments] infiltrated otherwise respected medical society,” he said.

“I would say I could count on two hands the people who had all the details…But the details from the victims will make it more meaningful and powerful,” Berenbaum said.

Patricia Heberer, a historian with the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, said the experiments have been known until now largely through court records and “perpetrator” documents.

“In some cases, we know very little, and this can be a boon to scholars, particularly if we can match their testimony with documentary evidence,” she said. “That would be the best. Where we don’t have information because the experiments were conducted in obscure camps…they destroyed the evidence or we don’t have court evidence, this will fill in the holes — we may have only the testimony to go on. That makes it very helpful.”

Most of the survivors are now in their 80s. Many wrote their testimonies by hand, some typed them or dictated them to others. Many asked that their testimonies remain anonymous.

An 82-year-old man wrote that he was 20 when he and a Jewish American were “subjected to medical experiments. SS German Shepherd dogs belonging to the commander of the SS… [and] with a special poison on their teeth” were ordered to run after them and bite them.

“Afterwards, they examined our wounds, the blood,” the man said. “A doctor…ripped the flesh off my legs and examined it.” He said the persecution took place in Rabka bei Zakopane, a Polish village.

A 76-year-old man said his captors at Revier Melk, a concentration and labor camp, cut his arm without anesthesia with instruments that were not sterilized in order to cause an infection.

“At the time, they kept exchanging the bandages with different medicated creams and liquids,” he wrote. “Each time the cut was about to heal, they reopened it and started the whole thing from the beginning. A part of the experiment was also observation, and they also checked our ability to work with the wound…After the release the doctors said that I was very lucky. There are scars until today and pain and limitations.”

A 78-year-old woman who was persecuted in Auschwitz wrote that within a month after being placed in Barracks No. 10, she and other female prisoners stopped having their monthly periods and experienced instead “terrible effects of a rash” that the inmates believed came from drugs placed in their soup.

She said it was necessary to cover the rash when Mengele inspected the women because if he saw “even one sore, our life would be over.”

Taylor said these victims were discovered when they applied for German compensation to former slave and forced laborers. Of these 250,000 survivors who applied for such compensation, 1,897 in 33 countries checked off a box saying they had been subject to Nazi medical experiments. They were then asked to detail the nature of those experiments.

Among the victims receiving the $5,400 checks, 119 have died since applying.

Irene Hizme of Oceanside, L.I., who along with her twin brother, Rene Slotkin, was subject to medical experiments, said the money is no kind of payment.

“Five-thousand dollars is a joke,” she said. “But it’s wonderful to have this information. The historical contribution [of this project] is crucial.”

Eva Mozes Kor, 70, an Auschwitz survivor who founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute, Ind., dedicated to recounting Nazi experiments on twins, said the money was welcome for survivors who are in poor health.

Her 1999 lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant Bayer alleging that it collaborated in Nazi medical experiments on Jews was a factor in deciding that victims of Nazi medical experiments would share the compensation of slave and forced laborers, Taylor said.

“What was done to us was quite scientific,” said Kor. “There was a rumor that the experiments were pseudo scientific, but they were scientifically directed by the most prominent scientific institute of Germany at that time.

“They were studying eugenics,” she said. “The Nazis were very interested in multiple births and they said Jews, Gypsies, the physically handicapped and others were genetically inferior.”

Kor said she was injected with a deadly germ that was supposed to be fatal. She said some of the data from those experiments has been preserved but others, such as the experiments done on twins, disappeared.

Taylor said the CANDLES Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Memorial Museum would receive copies of the testimony.”

Nazi Medical Experiments More Common Than Thought, Stewart Ain,  1/29/2004

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The Gas Chamber

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The Toliets

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The place has left me thinking alot about what life is all about. Precious lives were lost when someone loses his sanity to become a racist. Extermination of a whole population become an obsession.

All of us were a little quiet, not sure if its because of tiredness or because we were feeling a little sad after what we have seen. In any case, I believe we have learnt alot about the history and hope not to repeat again.

Finally finished the tour for the day. I do recommend that you come earlier and have a guided tour to get even more sharing about the place. I am sure the stories will be even more thought-provoking.

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I am pretty excited about my next post, its all about palaces and pretty pictures!!