Friday, April 25, 2008

85 housing B&B

You don't have to pay NT$ 8500 for a night in the Splendor Hotel to share the same view of Kaohsiung harbor/city now. Located in the 85 tower building which is the tallest building in Kaohsiung, the 85 housing B&B provides a low profile luxury for less than NT$ 2000. The 85 housing B&B is a legal business suite rental agency. The owner, Mr. Hsu and his wife, started this business 2 years ago; 4 business suites overlooking Kaohsiung harbor and/or Kaohsiung city are located on the 31st floor (view of harbor, city (partial) and the heart of ocean park; NT1700~1900/night; check in 17:00, check out 13:00), 23rd (view of harbor; NT1500~1800/night; check in 17:00, check out 13:00) and on the 17th floor (one room has a view of the city; NT1400~1600/night, the other has a view of the south wing of the tower; NT1100~1300/night; check in 16:00, check out 12:00) of the north wing of the tower respectively. To offer the best quality of rooms for clients, a medical quality level air filter is provided and the couple clean every corner of the room with disinfectant after clients have checked out and I have to say they have the best toothbrush/paste set that I have ever used in accomodations.

All rooms are equipped with cabled TV, DVD studio, refregirator, hairdryer, electric teapot, coutch, NT100 coupon for breakfast in a cafeshop and parking included, which makes this is a good deal for anyone who wants to stay overnight in Kaohsiung.

For reservations call: 0927522331 for Miss Cho/ 0925362331 for Mr.Hsu or email:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Firefly Season

I was amazed by the number of fireflies flashing in the HuiSun Forest Station about 10 years ago. It was nothing like being occasionally visited by a lost lighting bug in a suburban area; hundreds of thousands of little fluorescent lights shimmering in bushes at the same time making the scene a festival like a Xmas lighting show. A few years ago, I visited the DongShi Forest Area and was touched by these fallen stars dancing around in the forest and the craving for a firefly trip tickles me whenever the temperature raises. Last week, I took a vacation and paid a visit to these long-lost friends in DongShi and HuiSun Forest Areas.

There is a good bargain to be had if you reserve a room on the DongShi Forest Area's website. A cabin with 2 king-sized beds, breakfast, entrence fee and parking, Spa, tour and coupons for a meal and tea are all included in the package of an overnight trip for only NT$2,999 for 2 persons (NT$3,999 for 4 persons). The firefly tour starts at 19:00 and 20:00 daily in front of the registration building. There are 4 trails for firefly seeing in DongShi Forest Area and are well indicated with direction signs. (Map of DongShi Forest Area)

There are two trails for firefly seeing in Huisun Forest station. With red LED lights along the trails, it's easy to find your way back without a guide. Group tour is given daily at 18:50 in the parking area across the shop. Light polution from cars driving by makes Huisun forest a less enjoyable venue for firefly seeing but the beautiful formosan blue magpie makes it worth it.

The Luciola cerata Olivier is the most common species that can be seen all over Taiwan from the begining of April to the middle of May. The peak of firefly courtship is from 19:00 to 21:00. I tried to catch these horny fairies with my camera by long time exposure, luckily the moon light helped to present the depth of view by lighting up the forest a bit. Here are some tips for firefly shooting: ISO 400 or above; aperture: as big as possible; exposure: 2mins to 10mins depending on ambient lighting and ISO/aperture combination; focal length in 35mm film: 50mm or above (fluorescent lights are indistinguishable from the background when the focal length is too short (example); too much zoom-in limits the number of fireflies on screen); focus: Manual (set to infinite); flash light: off.

Venues for firefly sighting in Taiwan

View Firefly Sighting in a larger map

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Sound of Ocean

There are many drumming teams in Taiwan but I have never seen a performance like The Sound of Ocean before. The Sound of Ocean is the masterpiece of the U-theatre which contains 5 parts: Collapse, Flowing Water, Breaks, Listening to the Ocean Heart and The Sound of Ocean. Each part was connected with sounds of drum, gong or singing and instruments for each part were placed in position during these interludes insensibly. Stories of rain drops gather into a stream , a river flowing to the ocean were told by sounds of drums whereas waves of the ocean were presented with the engulfing sounds of gongs. Performers integrate martial art into their performance as dance/movement and stillness of meditation, making The Sound of Ocean a feast of both sound and vision.

See for yourself: A clip posted on Youtube by slave2fashiondolls

Photos taken in Tainan on Apr. 22