Update and Impressions from Orchid Island

Well. Here we are, over 2 years later, still in Taiwan. I have recently updated some things on the server side, and migrated my websites to a new server, including this blog, which means it’s a perfect opportunity to write a new blog post. This time, we went to Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), a small island off the coast of Taitung in the south east of Taiwan.

Taipei Zoo and Maokong

Yesterday we went to see the Taipei Zoo, a zoo that seems to have lots of animal-friendly habitats designed with animals in mind rather than spectacle. It is comparable to Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna in that way, except that due to the subtropical flora, the zoo appears more exotic even when you are just walking between the enclosures and buildings. Lots of orchids and palmtrees in the parks. Also quite humid and hot – I got bitten several times by asian tiger mosquitoes. I hate those things.

 

Monkey chilling
Monkey chilling
The Monkey and the Frog
The Monkey and the Frog
Itchy Koala
Itchy Koala
Butterfly resting on floor
Butterfly resting on floor
Orangutan
Orangutan
Dragonfly
Dragonfly
Hippo x2
Hippo x2
Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom

 

 

 

After the zoo, we went up to Maokong by the Maokong Gondola during sunset. Maokong is an area/suburb that is famous for its locally grown tea. So we went to a teahouse with a spectacular view on Taipei City.

Sunset from Maokong Gondola
Sunset from Maokong Gondola
Taipei 101 seen from Maokong
Taipei 101 seen from Maokong
Maokong Gondola
Maokong Gondola
Teahouse on Maokong
Teahouse on Maokong

 

Easy to overlook Barbecue place

On Sunday evening, we stumbled across a Barbecue place in a backstreet that turned out to have really good food! Here are some impressions.

The place is 寶島燒‧創意食堂 (Bǎodǎo shāo‧chuàngyì shítáng – Google Translate tells me that’s “Taiwan Burn – Creative Canteen”. Hm.) near Minquan West Road MRT Station in Taipei City.

Barbecued food
Barbecued food. It was fantastic.

 

Barbecue place exterior
Barbecue place exterior

 

Roof. A little christmas-y.
Roof. A little christmas-y.

 

Inside the barbecue place
Inside the barbecue place

Yilan

Spontaneous visit to Jiaoxi in Yilan County. This area is well known for its Hot Springs, and this weekend there were a lot of people there.

We had dinner at a luxurious place called the Formosa Pearl. It was a restaurant inside a japanese-style garden, and also had a little wood craft museum with delicate wood carved sculptures (which, unfortunately, were not allowed to be photographed).

The food was also japanese, 10 courses with mostly variations of seafood dishes like Sashimi, Seafood hotpot, and also really tasty Sake. Unfortunately, they told us also that it is not allowed to take pictures inside the restaurant or of the food, so here are some shots from the exterior garden area. It was already dark.

Yilan Formosa Pearl
Yilan Formosa Pearl

 

Dining table. Unfortunately, taking pictures of the food was not allowed.
Dining table. Unfortunately, taking pictures of the food was not allowed.

 

Entrance. Looks oldfashioned, but was actually an automatic sliding door.
Entrance. Looks oldfashioned, but was actually an automatic sliding door.

 

Exterior view
Exterior view

 

View from the small bell tower that is also in the garden
View from the small bell tower that is also in the garden

 

A little bell tower in the garden
A little bell tower in the garden

 

A little open foot hot springs place
A little open foot hot springs place in Jiaoxi town.

I am going to Taiwan for a year!

It’s official – I am going to Taiwan for at least a year. My first goal will be to study Mandarin Chinese, of which I’ve so far only had rudimentary knowledge. I want to be able to communicate properly in Chinese, and have meaningful conversations.

I will be going to Taiwan at the end of October, and this blog for this time will turn into my photo blog for Taiwan.

Stay tuned!

Adding Windows 7/8 Multitouch capabilities to a libGDX game

pingK originally was a PC game created in 2006 by some friends and me over the course of 2 days. It subsequently won the Graphics meets Games award at the Eurographics 2006 conference in Vienna, and was also featured in the pong.mythos exhibition of the Computer Games museum in Berlin. I created the Android version in 2013 from scratch, using libGDX.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

libGDX is a great library/middleware that allows you to develop games for multiple platforms from the same Java source, which sounds like not such a big deal if you’re coming from a C++ background, but trust me, it’s not so easy on Java which is kind of surprising (mostly because Java has no preprocessor support, so you cannot #ifdef yourself around some stuff). It supports creating Android, Desktop (Win/Mac/Linux), and even iOS and GWT/HTML5 apps from the same source code, with an API that allows you to access common features such as input and OpenGL graphics in the same way on all platforms.