Thursday, September 27, 2007

Grandpa's Love

When I start to form my words to say for this entry, I feel how I am so blessed by God. I can't say thank you enough to Him for surrounding me with people who knows how to love and be loved.

Before I even begin to say more, let me say this first. This story is about how much my father love my children. Not to make you think that my mom love them less, I have to tell you that my mom and my dad are 2 different people that is capable to love all of us in their own way. But they have one thing in common, they both capable to love us unconditionally.

My father is a loud person while my mom is a quiet person. They are both very smart and caring person. Let me give you the example of these 2 people. My mom way to show her constant love is by caring for our daily needs and wants. She will make sure that the fridge always stuffed with food and drinks that we love. Dining table laden with dishes that we like. Diapers, baby soap and shampoo, milk always in full stock ( it means 3 bottles/cans extra at the very least ). If one of us just complaint that for example because of last night I slept in the wrong position and as a result I have neck pain, then within a couple hours you can bet that the masseuse will already arrive in my room ready to massage my neck ! Once in a while she will surprise us with generous gift for no reason at all but just to show us how much she loves us. Big toys for the kids, several costume jewelries for me ( I just starting to collect them), and 4 Ralph Lauren shirts for R. Yes, that's my mom.

My father has his own way to show us how he loves us. He is blessed with a much better health than my mom. So he an still walk 6 kilometers every morning and still able to carry LL for an hour for example. He is very healthy. The healthiest maybe in this house. My mom is not allowed anymore by her physician to carry heavier than 5 kg. Now LL already weight 12 kg. So she can't do a lot of things that my father still can. So she sit in her working chair with 2 phones on her hands. One a normal wireless phone and the other is her cellphone. With these 2 weapons she start sending orders to everybody. She even gave our maids at home and drivers money to buy cellphones and she help pay for their phone bills too. I like to tease her by calling her a general who sit on her console table and start delivering orders. That's why R recently just throw her old office chair ( when she went out of town for 2 days! ) and bought both my father and my mom new, high-tech office chairs! Hahaha....

Oh yeah, funny thing about my maids and drivers cellphones. They are all more expensive that what my parents are using and even me! Three of us bought the most basic cellphones.

So here is my story about how my father show his love to LL and KK.

Every morning my father will go for a walk with R and sometimes my mom ( I can't wake up that early! 4 AM ) he will time his exercise so that he can come home on time to hold KK's hand and walk him to the car and he always says " Have a nice day at school KK! " Sometimes KK asked him to accompany him to school, he never refused this request even though it means he will be in the car for 1.5 hrs!

Then almost twice if not three times a week, he will take LL to the zoo when it just open around 8 AM for about one hour walk. We are lucky that the zoo is only 5 minutes away from our home so if he leave home at 8 AM, he will be home by 9.05 AM.

He also found out that going to the zoo in the morning is the best time. At that early hour, the zoo is totally empty, even the zoo keepers just sit and drink their morning coffee. If you see some people walking around the cages, they usually are the vet. Plus, the air is cooler. Another plus, morning is when the babies monkey are out in the open for exercise. Those baby monkeys are so cute, they are for the show so they are use to people get so close to them. But I am still scared to approach them to close so I use my camera's zoom lens.

Another funny thing is, I am surprise that the animal recognize my father because he has done this so often and he always bring some fruits with him to the zoo ( my mom was surprise when the bananas she bought for KK was gone because my father gave them to those animals! ). I am surprise also that some animals refused the food because they are not hungry at all.

Pic: "I want more banana, please! "

Pic: The zoo is deserted in the morning.

Pic: My father immitate the peacock's sound and the sound can make the peacock showing off his beautiful tail.Pic: Say "Hello!" to the zoo's cat

Few days ago, my father took LL to see the sea port where the ferries will take people from Jawa to Madura just because she show no reaction when he told her about the sea while they both watching TV! He felt so bad that LL misses a lot of thing that KK experience during our stay in US and Canada. I feel bad too sometimes. KK toddlerhood was really very colorful. I took him regularly to the beautiful parks, to the aquarium, to the zoo, to the science world, and many other great places for children. LL did not have the chance to go to that places yet and we already brought her back to Indonesia. She was 6 months old that time.

So I went with my father and LL to the port. Going to the Madura island is easy because we arrived in the port at 7.30 AM, we did not waste time waiting for the ferry to take us there.

Once we were on the ferry, we went up to the sitting area. Since it is very dirty, my father carry LL with him all the time but off course at sometime, she keep struggling for him to put her down so she can walk around and explore the ferry herself. Since it is dirty and most importantly it is not safe at all, we brought her back to the car, but by then the ferry is already almost at the Madura's sea port.

Once the car got out from the ferry, we just made a U-turn and go back to the ferry again that can take us back to Surabaya. Here is the problem. When we left Surabaya, it was early morning, but when we were in Madura it was around 8.30ish AM. A lot of people were already there waiting to ride the ferry to go to Java island. So we ended up waiting for hours for the ferry while being couped up in the car. My father forgot about this and to make it worse, that day was Monday, the busiest day.

So for hours we have to think of a way to entertain LL so she won't cry in the car. I keep telling my father that he is lucky I decided to come with him that day! One, because I know how to entertain fussy babies in the car. Second, every time I go out with my babies, I always very well prepared with lots of milk,food, children music CD , and toys.

That's not all, when we have to deal with fussy children, we have to be creative and easy going. We happen to use a LX 450, it's a big car and the driver, Djo, always moisturized the leather often and as a result the leather is very slippery. This is what I did. I tilt back the back rest of my chair in the middle row to the maximum and I teach LL to use the back rest for a slide. You have no idea how happy she is with this new invention. This new "slide" kept her busy and happy for 2 hrs! The songs also kept her happy too. So when we finally arrived at our garage, not only able to keep her from crying but she was in a very good mood. Even though we just spent many hours stuck in the car. From 7.30 until 11 AM.

On the ride back to Surabaya, the ferry that take us back manage to collide with another boat that just park quietly in the middle of the sea!!! Can you imagine that? Maybe the captain was asleep that time ....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

At the Taipei 101 Observatory Deck

Funny that we have been to Taipei 101 building so often yet we never manage to go up to their observatory deck. A long time ago we already saw a one hour story on DISCOVERY channel about how Taiwanese can built this slim and tall building in a country that has many earthquakes. The key is a giant concrete balls inside the tower that will swing around to keep the tower balance during earthquake. They call these giant ball damper. Weighing 660 metric tons each. They are the world largest damper. Pretty amazing sight on TV but they look even more amazing up close.
Pic: The dampers

To get up to the observatory deck you have to pay first to get your ticket. Then you wait in line and the elevator will take you up to the 89th floor, 382 meters above the ground. It was amazing, the elevator door just close on us and in just few seconds we already arrive at the 89th floor. The ride is so smooth we can't fell a thing too. TAIPEI 101 Observatory’s elevators are Guinness Record-breaking high-speed pressurized elevators, with a speed of 1010 meters per minute. It takes only 37 seconds to reach the 89th Floor.

At 382 meters above the ground the 89F Observation Floor offers visitors a commanding view of the city and Taipei Basin at all directions. And what an amazing sight that is. We were lucky too that there is no cloud to block our view. No rain. So I get a good chance to shot some photos up there.
Once we arrived, we can borrow their pre-recorded audio tour guides that can speak in seven different languages. We also use their high-power binoculars too.

I do not have much time to go to the souvenir shops or enjoy my cup of coffee at their bars that day because we just stay at the restaurant on the lower floor level for a long time with Richard's ex classmates and their family. Plus I just bought so many heavy novels and recipe books at the bookstore in TAIPEI 101 Mall.

The Mall sells mostly very luxurious stuff. Most of the famous brand stuff such as Luis Vuitton and other brands have their flagships stores in there.

Pic: That is the longest tunnels in Taiwan. I was in there for over 20 minutes by car.

Pic: That round ball is a mall that open 24 hours. Go figure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jianguo Holiday Flower Market In Taipei

Actually when I wrote my previous post with the title Going to Taipei Jade Market, I should have write this entry also but since I think there are too many information and photos I decide to split my entry into more specific stories so that you can enjoy the story and the photos too.

On the same day that we went to the Jade Market, we also go to this Jianguo Holiday Flower Market that actually is located on the same area. Both are under a bridge. While I was pretty shock to see how expensive the jades are , here at the flower market, I wish I can bring those lovely flowers and herbs back home!

Another thing that I wish was I wish I have not forgotten to recharge my digital camera's battery too! I wish I can video taped more.

It was a hot day that day but at the flower market because they have to keep watering/misting the flowers the air is somewhat slightly cooler than at the jade market.

From the entrance that is near the Jade Market, the sight is just getting better and better. The deeper you walk the nicer the plants are. We are not talking about plants only here, I found some organic vegetables farmers too. I can not believe how big some of their bamboo shoots are, about as big as your thigh maybe. I also admire their ginger. Very big and juicy looking. How can they grown them organically without any pesticide help and yet they manage to be that big is beyond me! Every time my strawberries are maturing before I can harvest them the ants already get to them first!

Below is the only video clip I made that day:

When I pack my stuff to go back to Indonesia I also pack some herbs seeds with me because I don't know at that time that in Surabaya now I can buy fresh herbs from the stores ( I even have many rosemary plants in my home ). But no matter what it feels better to harvest your own herbs from your garden, when you need them and as much as what you need only compare to buying them wilted from the grocery store and either not enough for your cooking or too much and then you have to throw the left over into your garbage bin. So I did try to plants some of the seeds but for some reason I don't have the luck. The grow a little but then they wilted. So I gave them all to my mother's good friend because she has the green thumb while I am obviously don't. So just imagine how happy I am when I saw at the market row upon row of every herbs that I wish can have in my garden. All displayed in that market, fresh, lovely, and so fragrant! And those lovely Lavender!!! My ultimate favorite flowers!!!!

By the way I am in the process of waiting for my lavenders seedlings to grow strong and big now. You have no idea how much attention I gave to these little babies!!!! I almost do not want to go to Batu ( a mountain resort ) because I am worry that if I left them unattended they will die again!!! I called my maid twice a day just to make sure she watered them twice a day like I always do. I also have thyme, garlic chives, and cilantro seedlings. They are all my babies!!! I bought the seeds from local stores. So far they grow healthily. So I keep both my fingers crossed. I do regret not to buy many seeds in that market because at that time I thought there is no way they can grow with these not so green thumbs! Look below at how many seeds they sell in that market... hundreds and hundreds of different seeds!

I also saw some very cute cactus. Now, cactus is my son's favorite plant. I don't know what he sees in them but the sight of cactus always makes him laughing like crazy! I personally do not like cactus even though some of them can be very interesting looking. Too bad that my son at that time is in his summer camp school so he can't see how cute those cactus! But you can see them here in my blog!

Beside cactus, my son now just discovering a love for bonsai after he saw them at Batu ( this is going to be another story in the future, I have tons of stories , not enough time to type them here yet! ), and off course we saw many bonsai in this market too.

My son bought his first bonsai in Batu lately and he love it so much he put it on his study desk, next to his cactus. Hahaha ...

The gardeners in Batu said it is very rare to see a young boy ( 7 yrs old ) who is so interested and love plants like my son. I am so proud of him!!! He love plants so much, he never pick flowers. He let them stay alive so he can admire them longer. I taught him to be like this. On the other hand, my father taught my daughter to pick and smell the flower, oh well...

Okay so if you consider yourself as a gardener or plants lovers and you do have time to spare, you can come to this Flower Market and have a wonderful time like me. This place is a popular weekend spots for Taiwanese locals.

Location :

The Jianguo Holiday Flower Market is located under the overpass of Section 3 of Xinyi Road and Jianguo Road in Taipei City.
Opposite Chien Tan Station
Taipei, NC 111
+886 (0)2 2882 6200

Open Hours :

It opens from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sundays.

Vary depending on store too.

I also put down here some interesting website that tells you more about this Flower Market :