Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Summer Greens

I have been harping about starting my own pocket garden. I am no green thumb yet I have this overwhelming desire to have plants around my house so it can breathe. And with the kind of temperature we have right now, the thing that could beat the summer heat are summer greens. ha ha.

I also like to believe that it helps purify the air. And lessens our carbon footprint. The environment has taken so much beating from us earthlings that I am doing this little effort to provide a liveable place for the next generation. I wish my daughter to see how green the trees are, how lovely flowers are in bloom...

And so here is my first attempt. Baby steps. 

I've had my first attempt a few years back. But then neglect and sporadic care led to the inevitable demise. Sad. But I promise to do better this time. 

Now, my friend Kira, gave me two pretty cacti from The Green House Project which came with a care instruction. Sharing it here for those who share my absolute absence of a green thumb but nevertheless want to grow their own potted friends. 

Succulents Care Instruction

  1. Make sure to give them 4-6 hours of sunlight each day. The ideal time would be sunrise up to 10:30am and late afternoon from 4:00pm onwards.
  2. You can place your succulents where there is a good source of light, e.g., by the window, on the porch, balcony, etc
  3. On rainy days, you could place your succulents under a lamp with bright lights.
  1. When watering your succulents, first check if the soil is completely dry. You can do this by inserting a wooden stick 4 inches deep or all the way down to the bottom of your pot. If the stick comes out dry then it's time to water. 
  2. The ideal amount of water should be 1/4 the size of your pot. Make sure not to water directly above the succulent. Water the soil around the plant.
  3. Overwatering will kill your succulents!

Are you a newbie city gardener, too? Please share your stories. 



Monday, April 13, 2015

Taipei Diaries: Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

Not all who wander are lost. But not us. Over dark skies that loom to pour rain any moment, we were lost in the city of Taipei. This was Day 5 of our vacation. And by this time, we were already pretty confident in our commuting skills. After two station misses, I braved an inquiry with the local information office. 

It seemed that looking for the Taipei Miniature Museum is going to be really interesting. We were getting contrasting directions and locations. And yes, train stops. We've walked blocks and blocks in the inner city streets looking for the museum but instead we saw art galleries, urban gardens and quaint cafes that are apparently the hangout of local yuppies. 

Everyone was so helpful; it was overwhelming. Just when we thought we were at our destination already, we got back right to where our starting point was. It was crazy, tiring, and the hubby and I were already short on patience. I was ready to give up. But we collectively decided to give it one more try. So, we went back to the train station and double-checked the directional signages. That's the beauty of Taipei-- it's super tourist friendly. Tourist spots are marked and have directional signs for tourists to find them easily. Well, apparently except for the miniature museum. We just couldn't find it. 

Tired and cranky, I gave one more push and asked a group of office girls if they've heard of the miniature museum. One of those I inquired from showed me the most beautiful smile in the world and told me that it's just one building away from where we were. Boy, was I relieved. It better be worth it. 

Well, what do we know, the signage is miniature, too! We were looking up at the skyscrapers looking for it when we should have looked down!

Its location? The basement.

The museum is tiny in comparison to the museums in Taipei. But the treasure you'll find here is just short of amazing. Here are some of our finds here. 

The attention to details and the scale of the collection is awe-inspiring. My camera wasn't able to capture the beauty and elaborateness of each frame but being there, seeing everything was enough to compensate the street adventure we had to endure. 

The experience left me breathless with each breathtaking frame we saw as we walked through the museum. Awesome. Just awesome. 

The Miniautes Museum of Taiwan is the first museum to collect miniatures in Asia, gathering artworks from around the world. 

The Miniatures Museum of Taiwan 
AddressNo. 96, Section 1, Jianguo North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104 Phone+886 2 2515 0583

For directions, click here



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Taipei Diaries: Taipei Eats

A trip to Taipei is not complete without food. To me, it is a gastronomic heaven that is feast of the senses and your belly. 

Here are my personal choices. 

Din Tai Fung. Xiao Long Bao is almost synonymous to Din Tai Fung. This 1-Michelin Star restaurant originated in Taipei and is now all over Asia. Even heard it's coming very soon to Manila. 

The open kitchen shows the assembly of its crew preparing with precision each piece of Xiao Long Bao. Very strict quality control-- everything is measured and weighed!

I am in awe of this restaurant because they take customer service very seriously. The wait staff who takes your order is not allowed to handle the food from the kitchen. Only the kitchen staff carries it and when s/he arrives at your table, the wait staff places each order with care. 

Any time of the day, there is a long queue at Din Tai Fung. Interestingly even locals line up to eat here. 
After being seated, the wait staff will provide this bag stand.
The xiao long bao is so good we were at Din Tai Fung almost everyday. 

 Apparently, there is a proper way of eating it. 

These beans are super yum!

My all-time fave: chao fan

Next would be the night markets. First stop, Shilin Night Market. This is a crazy market place with underground food court. You will never go hungry here.

Smells like hell.
The famouse hot star that already found its way here in Manila. 

We traveled in a winding coastal road to get to the Keelung Night Market. And it did not disappoint. 
This is the kind of crows you have to brave to get inside the market.


And then there's a throwback to toilet humor. Definitely, not for the faint of heart. 

by the entrance of Modern Toilet
Make sure you wash your hands-- here.
Dining set: tub for a table, toilet bowl for dining chair.

Food served on a miniature toilet.
Sip your soda from a urinal!

Bon Appetit!