Monday, 28 June 2010

Europe assignment - day 4 Barcelona & Zurich

I am in love with Barcelona. Gaudi's Sagrada Familia~~~oh~~~~I love!!!!!! Walking into it is like entering a jungle of rock sculpture. It feels organic, artistic, clashing, flowing, modern and classical all at the same time. His mosaic art is just so inspiring and fun to look at, too! Going to go buy a book on his work the day I get back to Taipei. The rest of the city's architecture, its mix of classical and new, proper and wild is just amazing. I want to come back!

Zurich - just arrived but I already have really good feelings about it. Will see more tomorrow.

More pix here.

Europe assignment - day 4 Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I


More pix here.

Europe assignment - day 4 Barcelona


Innovative green building in Barcelona that emits 75% less CO2 than the average building, but costed EUR1.200 per square meter to build, which they say is about the same as the average building.

More pix here.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Europe assignment - day 3 everywhere in and around London

Day started at 7, ended at 23.

Imperial Wharf - turning a polluted riverside where a coal processing plant was to an expensive residential area with penthouses that go for £3,5 mn.
no pictures - too too too too busy

Westfield shopping center - the largest in Europe, uses huge amounts of natural lighting to reduce energy usage
few pictures, no shopping - too too too too busy

Lunch on the bus

BedZED zero carbon community - cute wind cowls that guide fresh air into the apartment, forcing stale air out

Central Saint Giles - green building with vibrantly colored ceramic facades

Arup (designer of BedZED, Central Saint Giles, Beijing Olympics Bird Nest, etc) office - presentation

Dinner at One O One - can't remember what I ate. Too tired.

Think I'm going to fracture a rib coughing and sneezing so much because of hay fever. Hopefully Barcelona will be better.

Got to get up at 3h45 to catch 7h00 flight to Barcelona tomorrow.

Good night everyone, good night London!

More pix here.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Europe assignment - day 2 London & Stoke-on-Trent, England

More pix at the Gallery.

On assignment in Europe

Hello from London!

I'm currently on assignment in Europe. Would love to chat more, but our itinerary is so intense I hardly have time to sleep. First day of traveling was over 24 hours, second day of work was more than 18... Hardly any time for good photos either, as I have my hands really full reporting on such an intense schedule.

I'll upload what I have to my Gallery. Here are pictures from Day 1 - transit after transit! Taipei to Hong Kong to Frankfurt to London. Four countries in one day. Feeling pretty accomplished.

To my Gallery.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Office politics

Office politics is a pain. Trying to figure them out and then finally getting it just gets worse and worse. I think I've had enough. My mind is much too simple to be able to deal with all of this. I'm just going to pretend I don't know.

OK, back to my happy happy know nothing mode. I'm just going to believe that as long as I work hard and do well, no one can stop me. Watch out, world!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

New benchmark, yay!

The past week has been incredibly amazing. Although I'm still in the same place, doing the same thing, I ventured out a little bit, learned a lot about myself, about other people and about how to and how not to deal with certain types of people. I met some new people, I saw what people in the industry think of me and I saw how much I've grown in the last five years. I've reached a new benchmark in my career! But I'm afraid I can't publish anything about it until much later.

I'm just so happy for all of my parents' support. I love you, Mom, Dad and Mama! Yay! Must celebrate! Must celebrate!! Must celebrate!!!

Life at the office will be miserable for a while, but ooooooh well. I don't care. I am just so happy right now. :D Woohoo!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Hong Kong - roundup

An architectural and commercial marvel, Hong Kong’s sky scrapers and shopping centers keep its wealthy people housed and pleased. In addition to the very tasty local food, there is also a huge variety of international restaurants and bars, which are great when you’re not from Hong Kong and missing food from back home.

On my first private trip to Hong Kong, I expected to lose myself in the crowds of fast-paced business professionals who seem more like like schools of sardines, as they move in and out, out and about through the subway, trams, escalators and airport. I lost myself, and it felt great. But there was something missing. Asides from some of the iconic buildings that seemed to be wrapped in glass, nothing else seemed to make me go, “oooh, nice,” and then take lots of pictures.

The Central, Admiralty, Wanchai and Causeway Bay areas were the shopping and financial district of the island, and the buildings and streets there were modern, nice looking and quite clean. But once I left that bubble of internationals and money, it just felt dirty, messy and old without character. It was a very strong and unpleasant contrast. I stayed at a hotel on the border of Sheung Wan and Sai Wan, which is west of the bubble, or what my friend calls "the Truman Show studio," and got a feel of a different Hong Kong - one where people line dried their clothes from the windows of their tall, paint-peeling apartment buildings.

The thing that I found really interesting this time were the tall, narrow, double decked trams that go “ding ding!” every once in a while. I wonder how they manage to stay upright, being so close to the sea, which huffs and puffs once in a while. But I’m guessing the tall buildings everywhere block out the gusts of wind that could knock the trams over.

Trams come several times a minute, and there are several stations per block. Very convenient. It being double decked has its advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, you can fit more people in each, but I found the narrow and steep stairs a bit scary, especially when their wet from the rain. But as you can see, even the old folks can manage, so perhaps it’s just about getting used to things.

If I ever have to work or live in Hong Kong, I guess I’ll just have to let it grow on me. And escape to a nearby country every two or three weekends. As for visiting again, I will have to set my expectations right - perhaps to just enjoy the food and shopping with some girlfriends.

Also next time, I'd like to see more of what the local people do and how they act. Hopefully the construction that seems to be going on everywhere, from the buildings to the roads will mostly have been completed. It was starting to make me feel like I'm still in Taipei where subway construction and blocked off roads don't seem to end.

The funny thing is, though. While I was in Hong Kong, the place I was missing was...Tokyo. I have yet to figure out why. Does anybody know?

Hong Kong - Yung Kee 鏞記

Roasted goose 燒鵝

lo mein 撈麵

Very tasty roasted goose! It's very much like roasted duck, but I think not as gamy. It's very juicy and you really feel it as you sink your teeth into the firm meat and the juices come streaking out. It comes with a thick dipping sauce that tastes of plum, citrus and a little bit of salt, so it's mostly sour, but sweet as well. The sourness of the sauce does a good job of balancing the greasiness of the goose that starts to creep in after about three pieces.

I had an interesting experience ordering my food here. I asked if they had a small roasted goose set lunch, they said yes. And they brought me one big plate of goose. I asked if it came with rice, or vegetables or noodles or something. They said no, but I can order it. So I ordered a small plate of lo mein, which are these thin, al dente wheat noodles that I love. The noodles came with 2 sticks of vegetables and a salty broth. The bill came out to be 200 something HKD, which was unexpected. I never imagined a Chinese meal with some goose and noodles to be so expensive. So the bill and the service were rather unpleasant surprises. When I took a closer look at the menu, there was a goose rice dish, and that was only HKD38. Hm. Feeling like a scammed tourist. On the bright side, though. The goose was tasty.




Yung Kee 鏞記
32-40 Wellington Street
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2522 1624

Hong Kong - Victoria Peak

Victoria Harbor

50's are the new 20's

Cable car to the peak

Canadian tourists that I freaked out

I have a confession. I cheated. The view from the peak was actually really grey, hazy and depressing. I did some coloring fun on the computer. This was the last day of my trip, and it was kind of fun because the two Canadian guys that sat behind me in the cable car thought I was a professional photographer and said hi. How flattering that was! Not that I want to be a professional photographer, but it felt good to look like someone who knew what she was doing. Well, I only told them my first name and that I work in Taipei. As I was waiting for my flight at the airport, they googled and found me, and asked for pictures. Haha.


搭cable car到上面的時候
我只跟他們講我叫Michella, 我在台北工作

Hong Kong - Chee Kee 池記

Congee with pork and squid and something else - not very memorable

Barley water, warm, mildly sweet and spiced with ginger - tasty

Although the congee I ordered was the wrong choice, I'd give Chee Kee one more try. Next time, I'm getting what they're famous for - wonton noodles. What was I thinking?!


Chee Kee 池記
#52 Russel Street (by Times Square)
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
+852 2575 6322

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Hong Kong - Cecconi's

Dinner at Cecconi's with Jack, who has great taste and is always so nice! Thanks for a wonderful meal, Jack. :)

caprese - the mozzarella was really good, and the blanched & skinned cherry tomatoes softened the texture of the salad, making it feel much more "laid back." Is there such a thing as a "laid back salad"? I don't know. But it was good.

Butternut squash risotto with feta cheese, pine nuts and spinach. I loved it. Better shared - it's huge.

Jack's chicken in mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes. The peas in the foreground sounded promising on the menu - buttered and sauteed with pancetta. Pity the peas tasted like they were from the frozen section of a supermarket.

pavlova with fruit - very sweet, very sour, quite intense but not overwhelming.

tired after a long day of work

tired after a long day of traveling and walking, but happy

Cecconi's Italian
43 Elgin Street
Soho, Hong Kong
+852 2147 5500

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Hong Kong - trams

Hello Hong Kong!

The first thing I noticed when I got into HK was the tram. They look...smooshed. Reminds me of the bus in Harry Potter. Very cute. Very old. During the afternoon showers, the ceiling was leaky and got me all wet.