Friday, December 20, 2013

The Hobbits- The desolation of Smaug

Last Wednesday I went to cinema to watch The Hobbits- The Desolation of Smaug. 

Overall, it was a good movie. The story picked up from the last episode, whereby the dwarves, along with Bilbo Bagggins and Gandalf the wizrd, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland from Smaug the dragon. The story is easy to follow and my favorite part of the movie is the interaction between Bilbo and Smaug. There is so much chemistry between the dragon and the hobbit and I love love Bilbo's unique hobbit-humor. In addition, their role were played by none other than Holmes and Watson pair from The Sherlock- Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. My favorite actors and drama of all time.

I missed Sherlock, please air the season 3 soon!!!

Anyway, check out for the interview of Bendict Cumberbatch on his voice over as the smaug.

Am not to sure whether its an aftermath or what, but watching the movie reminds me bits and pieces of scenes in The Lord of the Ring trilogy I watched like something 10 years ago. Mind you I have a very bad memory when it comes to remembering the storyline and characters of the previous movies which I have watched. Sometimes when I watched the sequel of a movie, I will start to question Peter like, "how come this or that character from the previous movie no longer appearing? oh he was dead? how did he die?".... 

Usually Peter gets really pissed off with me when I did that. 

Anyway, coming back to Lord of the Rings. Some of the things Frodo Baggins said keep on lingering in my mind for days. It was a scene at the end of story in The Return of the King when the journey and fellowship ended and everyone went back to their home. Everyone were celebrating their victory and reunion with their family members, the Hobbits were dancing and drinking, except Frodo. He seems to be disconnected from the rest of his friends and family, his life before the LOTR journey. 

I can't remember exactly what Frodo said but its was something along the line that he can no longer go back to his old life nor he knows how to move on after going through such a painful yet so magnificent and life altering journey. Well, as usual, I have to google for it and this is the exact words of Frodo:
".....We were home. How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on... when in your heart you begin to understand... there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend... some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold. Bilbo once told me his part in this tale would end... that each of us must come and go in the telling. Bilbo's story was now over. There would be no more journeys for him... save one. 
My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on."
Back then, I didn't really quite understand what is the significant of the name Bilbo mentioned by Frodo at that scene. But after watching Bilbo's story nearly 10 years after, now I finally see the connection. Bilbo was the first hobbit to embark on such a journey! They went through the same adventure that one would never imagine a hobbit would experience. They went through the same struggle and burden of carrying the ring. And at the end of the journey, both of them did not and could not go back to their old life. Strange enough, somehow I was able to recognize why they felt and acted that way. At the end of such a great journey, one will inevitably succumb into one of these two scenarios: either he spends the rest of the days living in the shadows of that journey, reminiscence those moments knowing the fact that the rest of his life will never experience the magnitude of such a journey again. Or to be overly contented with the achievement of the conquest. Knowing he is and will always be different from others, he spends his life waiting for another peak which big chances that it never comes. 

Of course I never experience a magnitude of such a great event/ journey in the past 30 years in my life. But sometimes I wonder, as I'm passing the gate of "30 years old" this year, should I just leave my youthful days behind, contented with the fact that there will be no more "wild and young" journey ahead, and move on with living the life of a normal 30 years old married woman should be. Is there any possibilities that I can still achieve another heights in my life?

Anyway, its a thought for another day. 

Leave you with the Hobbit theme song from Ed Sheeren, I see fire. Enjoy!

Oh, misty eye of the mountain below
Keep careful watch of my brothers' souls
And should the sky be filled with fire and smoke
Keep watching over Durin's son

If this is to end in fire
Then we shall all burn together
Watch the flames climb high into the night
Calling out father, stand by and we will
Watch the flames burn auburn on the mountain side

And if we should die tonight
Then we should all die together
Raise a glass of wine for the last time
Calling out father, prepare as we will
Watch the flames burn auburn on the mountain side
Desolation comes upon the sky

Now I see fire, inside the mountainI see fire, burning the trees
And I see fire, hollowing souls
I see fire, blood in the breeze
And I hope that you'll remember me

Oh, should my people fall
Then surely I'll do the same
Confined in mountain halls
We got too close to the flame
Calling out father hold fast and we will
Watch the flames burn auburn on the mountain side
Desolation comes upon the sky

Now I see fire, inside the mountain
I see fire, burning the trees
I see fire, hollowing souls
I see fire, blood in the breeze
And I hope that you'll remember me

And if the night is burning
I will cover my eyes
For if the dark returns then
My brothers will die
And as the sky's falling down
It crashed into this lonely town
And with that shadow upon the ground
I hear my people screaming out

Now I see fire, inside the mountain
I see fire, burning the trees
I see fire, hollowing souls
I see fire, blood in the breeze

I see fire, oh you know I saw a city burning (fire)
I see fire, feel the heat upon my skin (fire)
And I see fire (fire)
And I see fire burn auburn on the mountain side

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Taiwan Trip Photoblog: Ye Liu - Jiu Fen - Hua Lian

After an eventful day at Tapei city, we decided to go out of  Taipei city centre for once. Our first stop was Yeliu Geopark, a cape situated in a small town in the middle of no where called Wan Li. Yeliu geopark is located between Taipei and KeeLung, whereby you can catch a bus from Taipei main station itself.

According to wiki, the stratum of yeliu is basically composed of sedimentary rocks; the formation of sea bays is due to the impact of sea erosion on softer rock layers, while those hard and solid ones may therefore turn into sea capes eventually. The total distance measured from the entrance of the Yehliu Geopark to the end of the cape is about 1.7 km; we didn't dare to meet the challenge of finishing the entire landscape simply because its too hot. Peter was basically bathed in his own sweat and we have to go hiding under the shades like every 5 minutes. Well, we cant complain much since its summer time and the picture turned out to be stunning with the cloudless clear blue sky and crystal blue sea. 

We spent around less than an hour at Yeliu Geopark and left like boiled lobsters. We took a local bus back to Kee Long town and then re-routed to our next stop Jiu Fen. This is our second time visiting Jiu Fen. Although the old town still has it charm, but we got a bit bored since there was not much of difference in terms of the scenery and stuffs you can find in the shops compare to our previous visits. Nevertheless, we had a good lunch at one of the local beef noodles shop and the famous taco balls shaved ice. 

That pretty much summarized up our short and sweet Taipei trip. 

Our next stop was Hua Lien. We had to take a 3 hours Taipei - Hualien train since the journey its quite long. One thing I have to mention is that Taipei main station is MASSIVE, there is a centre court which is so big I wonder why they would waste such a big space. The second floor is floor of eatery place but its slightly more pricey compare to normal restaurant. The train station was jam packed with locals since its summer holiday, but thanks to my good planning, we bought our train ticket online 3 days before we flew to Taiwan. *patting myself at the back*

One of the great highlight of our 3 hour train journey was 台铁便当- taiwanese bento set. The bento set which cost around NT55 have this authentic looks and tasted delicious. I bought the set which came with a big piece of pork chop and some vege. yum yum.

Hua Lian is one of the most beautiful city in Taiwan, the city face the pacific ocean and having the entire stretch of central mountain range at its back. Naturally, the tourist highlight of Hua Lian are the mountains and the seasides.

Once we have checked into a cozy minsu (B&B), we went to visit a local night market named Zi Qiang night market which was famous for their local food. The spread is not as diverse as what Shihlin market in Taipei had, but it was charming in its own way. We had some finger food and one of the highlight was the coffin bread, which is basically a thick piece of deep fried bread stuffed with all sort of ingredients such as mutton, chicken etc.    

The next morning we booked a tour guide to bring us to Taroko Gorge. But before heading to the famous tourist spot, our friendly tour guide brought us for a scrumptious breakfast at a local restaurant in Hualien which selling the famous gong zheng pao zi. The queue is super long but am not too impressed with the pao, it tasted like normal pork bun but with thicker and chewy bread dough. 

After the satisfying breakfast, we headed towards the Taroko Gorge with much anticipation. The view at Taroko Gorge were simply magnificent, long stretch of mountains, huge and deep rivers, limestones, caves and cliff. Its just great scenery one after another. Because the national park was so huge we have to drive in instead if walking. Its consist of 10 attractions, namely: 
  • Tunnel of Nine Turns (九曲洞 Jiuqü Dong)
  • Eternal Spring Shrine (長春祠 Changchun)
  • Swallow Grotto (燕子口)
  • Jinheng Park (靳珩公園)
  • The Bridge of the Kind Mother (慈母橋)
  • Tiansiang (天祥)
  • Jhueilu Precipice (錐麓斷崖)
  • Lioufang Bridge (流芳橋)
  • Hill of Yu the Great (大禹嶺)
  • Buluowan (布洛灣)
However, we are only able to visit just 4 spots as some were closed down for maintenance. The tour guide dropped us at each of the attraction spots and wait for us to go in and explore on our own. It was pretty strenuous as we have to walk many kilometers from the main road into the small paths in order to reach each of these attraction. At one point we were climbing up hundreds of staircase which is ascending at 60 degrees up to a temple look alike bell tower. It was so tiring but the panoramic view of the endless stretch of mountains on top of the hill worth all the effort.

There was also this suspension bridge which hanging at least 100 meters above a dangerously looking cliff. If the height is not scary enough, it basically sway from left to right whenever the wind blows.  I enjoyed the magnificent view of the cliff which heightened a few folds by the adrenaline rush. But Peter who has problem with the height not even dare to look down while crossing the bridge.

Our second day in Hua Lien ended with the visit to the famous Qi Xing Tan.The beautiful beach was consist of no sand, just tons and tons of smooth little rocks. After a whole day of strenous walking, we just sat on the beach, played with the rocks and watched the beautiful sunset. What a great way to end the day! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas D.I.Y: Giant Origami star

This year, I will be in charge of Christmas decoration of our Pre-Christmas dinner at Church. For some reason, I am super excited about it. To be frank I'm not really an artsy person nor I have that many creative cells in my brain. But luckily I got a teacher called Pinterest. There are tons of posts about different ways to d.i.y the christmas decor with literally zero money spent. 

In order to channel of some of my excitement, I am gonna blog about the details of all the D.I.Y decoration idea which I come across in Pinterest and eventually experimented.

Today its all about origami stars, I stumbled on this youtube video on the tutorial of making an origami stars when browsing Pinterest. It doesn't seems like its rocket sciences, so I asked myself, why not try it now!

I experimented with whatever materials and tools I can find in the office. Now the only challenge was getting a big piece of paper. I dismantled a BIG brown envelope to make it 2 piece of brown paper. Other than that, I just need scissors, cello-tape and staple. And after 15 mins of hardwork, wala! here my giant star!!  

Not bad huh for a beginner. 

So now, I have a star shinning over me everyday when I'm working!! :p