Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best-known places of cherry blossoms in Taiwan?
Please name 5 best-known places of cherry blossoms in Taiwan and their best viewing dates. Please include photos.
hmm... some places I liked were Jing-Shan in TaiDong, you will see some nice scenery around there but the top of it is a bit of a goatpath, beware if rain has recently happened.
Many people like to go to AliShan National Park around this time to see the area they have set aside for sakura and cherry blossoms. That is much easier to get to than the others.
In the central area a good area to check is HsiTou and ShanLinShi (SunLinkSea) (not the literal translation but some of their english sign designers thought it would be clever to phonically approximate things... sigh. That one was better than some of the attempts I usually see.)
Anyways I preferred ShanLinShi to HsiTou; both are good but ShanLinShi has more wilderness and views and a more interesting drive. I think there is more cherry blossoms planted at HsiTou and it is more crowded/serviced than ShanLinShi.
Another good area that is hard to reach is WuLingNongChan (WuLing farm) and it is truely awesome place, probably the most difficult to get into; it usually is booked up and reservations for the hotel, however if you are willing to camp in possible below zero temps (when I went it was -2) you might have some luck. The road is a bloody goatpath in many parts, but it is worth it.
Ilan has some good spots inland. Check the highway admin to see if the road is open, it often is gone after typhoons. Avoid going here in typhoon season; you might end up stuck or worse.
(Most of the spots I mentioned are like this; the ones with the best access are HsiTou ShanLinShi and AliShan); the others tend to be dicey but should be open again by now.
You are guaranteed to be able to see a lot of nice cherry blossoms on YangMingShan's hiking trails. It will be crowded, however. It also is probably the easiest blossoming area to access for most Taipei citizens.
This is from my own travels around the island. I had some pics up on my old blog; hunt around on it if you care to. My new blog might have some stuff, but I haven't done much for cherry blossoms yet this year, and I think I have only been at that site for about 1 year.
Next month (March) is firefly season! I will have to see if any areas down south are good for viewing; its all new for me down here for now.
Seoul or Sydney: Which of them is a better tourist attraction?
I live in a country between the two, and I wish to travel this April. Which of the two has more accessible attractions, better food, and more budget friendly?
My list of Pros:
unique spicy food
locals are reputed to be very tourist friendly
parks and wineries
easier to adjust to the weather
general population are English speakers (and I hope to date some of the locals :-p)
Please help. Thanks.
Matt T's answer is quite thorough but there are some errors that I want to point out.
1. Seoul can be safer(less violent crimes) than Bangkok or Manila but it is as lively and noisy as those cities. The traffic can be miserable during the rush hour too. Seoul is a crazy city (in both good and bad ways)
2. The local people in Seoul don't speak English that well BUT there are tons of English signs on the street. Its public transit also has English announcement - in every stop/station, they give you a Korean announcement followed by an English announcement like "This stop is XXX. You can transfer to Line #4 the blue line." Also, the younger generations understand English quite well.
3. It is true that Korea is on a state of war de jure. However, terror or other provocation is not likely to happen anytime soon. Seoul is generally safer than Sydney. (Dangerous things can happen in Sydney by foreign extremists!)
Even if I am Korean, I would have to say Sydney is a more popular tourist spot. Korean food is amazing though!!!
What exactly is Chinese New Year?
I'm doing a Home Ec assignment and we need to know details about a particular celebration, what foods are eaten (include one recipe), what the values and beliefs of the people celebrating the event are and why it's an appropriate celebration for the people.
If you can help me with any of these points, then thanks. And I have already researched but all i can find is details on the star signs.
Thanks again for your help!
Chinese New Year is also known as Lunar New Year as the Chinese traditionally use the lunar calendar. The celebration is from the 1st to the 15th day of the first lunar month (these dates vary yearly on the Western Gregorian calendar). In China, Lunar New Year is known as the Spring Festival or Chun Jie. It symbolises reunion and a fresh start in one's life, similar to how spring brings new growth in nature. Being largely agricultural in the past, Chinese people spend the whole year working on farms and hence relished the new year as a time to socialise and celebrate family relationships. For the less well-off, it was also the only time in the year they had a chance to wear new clothes and eat delicacies, including meat.
There are many different customs and beliefs associated with this festival, some are unique to particular locations or Chinese dialect groups. Some are based on superstitions, while others are ancient traditions.
Some common important ones are:
- Spring cleaning before the Lunar New Year. Any sweeping done during the New Year is considered inauspicious, seen as sweeping away good fortune.
- Reunion dinner on the eve, considered the most important meal of the year due to the Chinese emphasis on family unity. The only absentees are married daughters who will eat with their husband's family.
- The giving of red packets or hong bao (containing money) by married people, to children and unmarried adults for good luck. These days there's more flexibility in this custom. For example working singles may also give to kids and their parents.
- Dragon and lion dances. The dragon in Chinese folklore controls the rain, hence the wish by farmers for a year ahead of rain. The lion dance is believed to ward off evil and bring good luck. At the same time there was lighting of firecrackers to frighten off evil spirits, but firecrackers are banned in some places due to risk of injury & fire.
- Lunar New Year visitations: On the 1st day of the new year, people will wear their new clothes and visit relatives to bring them good wishes. The 2nd day onwards is usually for friends and staying at home to receive guests. But there's no hard & fast rule.
- Decorations: Plenty of red colors as red symbolises good luck for Chinese. There are very intricate paper cuttings on red paper done by Northern Chinese women. Spring couplets are 2 pieces of calligraphy of 4 Chinese characters each, both couplets have to match the other in content & related meaning. Pussy willows & cherry blossoms are traditionally used flowers.
Food plays a major part of the Lunar New Year and is full of symbolism for the occasion:
- 2 mandarin oranges are brought along on visitations. The guest gives the host the oranges and the host returns the same number. In the Cantonese dialect, mandarin orange sounds like gold, so it's a good fortune gesture.
- New year cake or nian gao is a sticky sweet confection to symbolise a yearly increase in status. It is also used as an offering to make the Kitchen God say only good things in his annual report on the household to the Jade Emperor.
- Fish symbolises wish for surplus every year
- A common meal for reunion dinners is the hotpot or huo guo due to ease of preparation and wide variety of ingredients. Different regions have their own versions.
- Dumplings are very traditional in China, especially Northern China with their "jiao zi" dumplings in soup and "guo tie" pan-fried dumplings. The dumplings are made to look like ancient gold ingots for good fortune. Some have the tradition of hiding a coin in one dumpling to denote good luck for that one person, rather like for traditional Christmas puddings.
- In South East Asia, particularly Singapore, one unique dish is "yu sheng" or raw fish salad. Raw or smoked fish, lots of shredded veggies & various sweet sauces and other seasonings are tossed high with chopsticks to the accompaniment of auspicious sayings.
There are many many more customs & types of food involved, this is just a sample. For recipes, you could search the internet for things like nian gao, dumplings, tang yuan or sweet glutinous rice flour dumplings, snacks like pineapple tarts etc. Hope you get a good grade!
I had a dream where these two people were fighting with samurai swords in the forest.?
the scenery looked like bloomed cherry blossoms please tell me what it means. I've had it more than once.
the samurai sword may signify polishing or perfecting your achievements to date. the Cherry Blossom tree is the national tree of japan if that makes any sense to you. The month of May is connected with those trees, have you any important dates coming up in May? If you do you may be called upon for your knowledge on a particular subject. Hope this helps, having the dream more than once is definitely a warning sign-a good one though!
What was your most romantic experience ever!?
I was wondering if real life true love can ever be like in the movies. So, share your experiences?
My most romantic experience was Autumn 1999, when I saw this girl standing beneath the cherry blossoms.... We were fated to be together... We were fated to pretend...
She was holding her textbooks when I first saw her. A strong gust of wind came from no where and all her papers were scattering like shattered dreams. I had to help her..... I collected her papers, and as we went to pick up the last of the sheets, our hands touched, and as we looked up, our eyes met..... We gazed into eachothers eyes in silence. There was something between us, and she knew it too...
Her name was Olivia and she was also in year 11 like myself. I managed to score a dinner date with her. I knew where I would take her; To my favourite restaurant by the beach, overlooking the lapping shore....
Our first date was magical.. It was.. almost surreal....
We had this.. connection that just felt so right.. inexplicable..
We kept seeing eachother for the next 3 months..
My life was going so good. I thought she was.. the one.
I thought we were unbreakable, but that belief was shortlived.......
One day, I was riding the subway. I was on an express train which skipped many stations. I was too foolish to know, that this was just a sign. It was an express to heartbreak...
As it skipped a station, I could've sworn i saw something...
I swore that.. I saw Olivia.. in the arms of another man.....
I had an idea of who it was... It was my BEST FRIEND JULIO..
I went to his house.. His brother answered..
"Where is he?" I said..
"Who? my brother you mean?"
"Yeah whatever, you better tell me where he is.."
"I actually don't know man"
"Don't fucking lie!!! DON'T LIE TO ME!!!"
"Man, calm down.. I've been hanging out with my girlfriend, I don't care what he does.."
"I have to make him pay somehow.. on more ways than one.."
I punched Julio's brother, and got him to the ground, and I punched him again and again. I dragged him outside, and I put him in Julio's garage and tied his legs together so he could not escape. I went inside Julio's house, and seduced his brothers girlfriend then left.... I didn't care what happened at this point in time..
I went to chadstone, the local shopping centre. I went to Julio's hangout place with his other mobster friends in the underground car park.
"Julio you lying son of a bitch!"
I punched him..
"What was that for!?!" he yelled
"For hooking up with my girlfriend!"
"I did NO such thing!!!"
Word got around of what I did to Julio, his brother and his brothers girlfriend...
Olivia found out.. and the truth hit me..
That girl I saw at the station.. wasn't her... She was in Maui with her family at that time! The alcohol got to me and I was delirious and lonely and afraid... Maybe that was why I did what I did...
Olivia confronted me, under the cherry blossoms where we first met... Only this time, everything was different... The trees were bear, the skies were grey and a light drizzle of melancholic rain could be felt.....
"I heard what you did to Julio.. his brother.. AND HIS GIRLFRIEND!!!!" she bellowed
"What? What do you mean?!" I said
"You fucked her... I could never be with someone so.. obsessive.. and jealous.. and not to mention insane.. ARE YOU BIPOLAR OR SOMETHING? WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?"
"Please.. I can explain.... I was going through a rough time. I fell into a state of turmoil, a state of alcoholism... Please... Just give me a chance, this can work!" I plead..
"No.... I can't.."
"Please don't give up on us..."
"I would have given you the world.. but by fucking her you showed me exactly how much I meant to you.. how much the last 3 months meant to you!!!"
"You know what? Fuck you. Just fuck off alright you dumb cunt.
I ripped my shirt off.
"You could have had this!! You see these? (I rubbed my abs), You could have had that!!"
I walked away and I flipped her off..
I regret what I did everyday. I realise now, I had a drinking problem and an anger problem. I cry myself to sleep every night. How could I hurt someone like that? That just isn't human... I would do anything for a second chance.. But I know.. that if you love someone... you have to let them go...