Tayto Park: The Crisp Themed Amusement Park

Tayto Park: The Crisp Themed Amusement Park

In Ireland, the most beloved Irish crisp that everybody loves are Tayto crisps. Founded in 1954, you would be hard pressed to find an Irish person who doesn’t like a bag of Tayto! So of course, with people here loving everything got to do potatoes, it was just natural for the owner to set up an amusement park!

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The Famous Crisps!

The park opened in 2010 and they are continuously expanding it with new amusements and zoo animals! It was in the summer of 2015 when I first visited it, and I remember thinking that it wasn’t too big. Yeah it was nice, but there wasn’t really much in it.This time around however, it has gotten much bigger! This is Irelands first major theme park, so of course it’s extremely popular, especially for families.

We decided to go as a family and we had a great day! Although I feel it is a bit expensive as you need to pay extra if you want to go on the majority of the amusements there, (you can buy tokens at the entrance or inside the park)  but it’s a nice day out even if you don’t decide to splurge on the amusements. You can go and visit the many animals in the zoo, and the kids can even get their faces painted!

It really is catered for families, so I wouldn’t recommend going just as a couple, it’s not the most romantic (or quiet) of places!

The park is located 30 minutes from Dublin, so it would be an ideal day trip if you are coming from the capital.

Parking is free and you will receive a packet of Tayto when leaving!

If you’re curious and want to find out more, you can check out their website here: Tayto Park

 

Aisling

Enjoying The Beautiful Day

If you’ve ever read my blog, I always complain about Chengdu’s weather; it’s terrible. It would depress you, especially in the winter. But thankfully the summer is finally rolling in and for the past few days we’ve woken up to beautiful weather!

It’s amazing, one week everyone is wearing coats and layers…. then literally the next week the coats are off us. In just one week the temperature rises so much! From 13degrees one week, to about 19/20 the following.

Recently it has topped 28 degrees, so I think winter has finally disappeared!

We wanted to take full advantage of the sun so a few days ago we decided to visit Huanhuaxi Park. 浣花溪公园。 We thought long and hard about whether to go to uni (yeah right) but we thought it best to skip class and have a whole day to ourselves! It’s not often that we can appreciate the sun (minus the grey pollution shrouding it)!

We decided to cycle instead of taking the bus, so first we went and ate some food, then we cycled about 35 minutes to the park. We arrived at around 1:30pm, and it was a great time to visit! It was a Thursday, meaning everyone would either be at work or school. During the weekend all the parks are just so crowded, so we really wanted to visit when it’s nice and peaceful.

I love Huanhuaxi Park because it’s big, very pretty and it’s generally nice to walk about.

After our walk we decided to have some Jasmine tea and sit beside the river, drinking our tea and reading our Kindles. At the moment I’m reading ‘It’ by Stephen King, just in time before the new film comes out!

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Reading ‘It’ and drinking tea. 

Having tea in a tea house is something that I enjoy doing in Chengdu. Everyone is laid back and they like spending hours just sitting, talking and drinking tea together. The tea-houses have a very relaxed feel to them. Our tea cost 15元 each, or about €2, and they give you a big flask with hot water to refill your cup.

After a few hours we decided to head home… and by the time we arrived back I was exhausted!! The sun really makes me tired! I suppose, because we don’t get much sun in Ireland,  and when I’m out in it all day…. I definitely need to recharge my batteries when I get inside!

Unfortunately, some Chinese people here hate the sun! They prefer the dreary grey sky. How weird is that!!??

Oh well, I’m going to enjoy the sun while it’s around. It doesn’t stick around for long here!

再见

爱玲

Chengdu Vs Xiamen

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Chengdu

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Xiamen

Here are a few differences which I found between Chengdu and Xiamen. Because Chengdu is situated in the West of China, while Xiamen is in the East, it has a more Westernised feel to it.

People walk much faster in Xiamen. Chengdu is known as being a relaxed city… they actually walk too slow sometimes!

Because Chengdu has an army of street cleaners and sweepers, it’s really quite a clean city, whereas Xiamen is unfortunately much dirtier. It’s a shame; the weather is great and it’s such a touristy place, you would imagine they would keep it cleaner.

Xiamen is definitely more expensive. Rent is also ridiculously expensive… but also food and drink also costs more than Chengdu. Also, during the Summer, they increase the prices of things for tourists. We got charged more for bananas we bought at a stall because we were ‘tourists’.

I was really surprised to find out that there were not many foreigners in Xiamen. Instead it was bustling with Chinese tourists, mainly from Taiwan. I heard that many Westerners leave Xiamen during the summer, but to me it was strange not to see many. There are increasingly more Western people coming to Chengdu, so you are bound to see one now and again.

Because Chengdu is in the West, the people there are kind of sheltered from the influences of the Western culture. This means that they are still sort of surprised when they see a Western person. They would rather shout “HALLO” to you when they have actually passed you….instead of saying it directly to you. In Xiamen, they are definitely not afraid to try and speak English to you. They are braver.

I thought Chengdu had a lot of fruit.. but Xiamen definitely has more.. and it’s more delicious! The mangos are huge…. and they have a much nicer juicier taste. Also the bananas taste much better.

I think because many Chinese tourists visit Xiamen, both myself and my boyfriend have noticed that the Chinese people there look different to the people in Chengdu. In Chengdu, they have rounder faces (I think anyway), whereas in Xiamen, they have a different looking face. I’m not sure how to explain it, but a lot of women have more oval faces… they just look different to Chengdu people. I’m guessing it’s because there are a different mix of people in Xiamen.

Chengdu is overflowing with e-bikes, we also have one too…. because they are just so handy and cheap to get around with, and because the ground is flat, e-bikes are everywhere. In Xiamen, there are not as many. I think Xiamen has a different regulation with having an e-bike, so not as many people have them. From what I’ve seen, it’s usually just for people who have a business; so they can transport their goods easier.

I missed Sichuan food so much in Xiamen! And no Hot-Pot to be seen! For people who don’t know what Hot-Pot is, it’s a large pot with simmering oil and spices. You put different food into it to cook it in the spicy oil; like  sliced potatoes, boiled eggs, meat. It’s great to eat during the Winter. In Xiamen, there was no Hot-Pot restaurant to be seen. That is one thing that I will miss if I move to Xiamen.

Coming from Sichuan, where most of the food is spicy…to eating sweet food from Xiamen is quite strange! They prefer to eat food that is more sweet in taste. The food really reminded me of the Chinese food I would get from our Chinese take-away shop in Ireland. The taste is really similar. In Xiamen you could order ‘Sweet & Sour Pork’, whereas in Chengdu you would never see that on the menu. Also, the food in Xiamen is not as oily as in Sichuan. Sichuan food can be too oily sometimes.

One thing that really surprised me was that shops in Xiamen would play Western English music. It was so weird to hear! In Chengdu, you rarely hear English music… they always have Chinese music playing in the background. I’m not a huge fan of Chinese music… so it was nice to hear English music being played in shops.

There are too many people in Chengdu! Everywhere you walk there are people. Compared to Chengdu, Xiamen is so so quiet! You could walk in a park and not meet one person the entire time. It was great walking around the island.

No Tea-houses in Xiamen. We were walking in a park and I noticed ‘Huh… there are no tea-houses here’. In Chengdu, you could find 4/5 of them in one park; people sitting for hours drinking tea and chatting or playing Mahjong. In Xiamen however, this tradition simply doesn’t exit.

Those are some differences that I noticed between the two cities… If I remember any more I will add them.

Xiamen is a much more beautiful than Chengdu, but Chengdu has more charm I think. It is more traditional and has kept more of it’s old culture than Xiamen. Xiamen has become more Westernised. I love both places in different ways!

再见!

爱玲

Our favourite park in Chengdu.

Because last Sunday it was such a nice day, we decided to go our favourite park; Huan huaxi Park.  Before this however, we decided to get lunch in one of our usual eating spots while we lived in the old apartment. This is one of the first places Rafa brought me to eat when we were first meeting, so it has good memories for me. Unfortunately we haven’t eaten there since last March, since we left the old place. It is run by the husband and wife, and it isn’t even a restaurant, just an area big enough to fit around 5 tables. We would often see their small grandchild there. At that stage she couldn’t really walk yet. We used to say ‘let’s go and see the baozi baby’.  Ha I’m not sure how we ended up with that name, but I think it was because whenever we would see her she would be wrapped up in layers of clothes, literally like a ball. We always joked that if they let her go she would roll away.  Baozi’s are steamed buns by the way.

The man doesn’t even sell baozi buns! But we ended up calling him ‘baozi man’ too. We would usually get jiaozi’s, and they are very nice! They come with spicy dipping sauce, and so far, we haven’t found another place that sells these. The owners have their own dialect (not sichuan dialect) so we are presuming the jiaozi’s are from that province.

It was so nice to see them again. The husband and wife were there, and suddenly we saw the little baby! She was much bigger now, and was blabbering a little in Chinese. And, she was no longer afraid of me; giving both of us a wave! After our food, we explained to them that we don’t live near there anymore so thats why we don’t go anymore. But we did promise to ourselves to make sure to go more often. I missed those jiaozi’s and of course the baby. We have a photo of myself holding the baby and we showed it to my family. My little 4 year old nephew asked ‘Is that your baby?’ Then, during our Skype session he would ask ‘where’s your baby that was in the picture?’ Aw kids!

So after our lunch, I decided we could go to Huan huaxi Park which was quite close to where we were. Coincidently the last time we visited was this time last year! So we haven’t been there in a while!

I think the reasons why I love this park is that it’s big, there are bamboo trees everywhere, theres a huge lake to walk around, and it doesn’t feel as cramped as say ‘People’s Park’. Because it’s so big, it doesn’t feel like there are so many people in it. I also like the layout of it. Luckily it was a lovely sunny day, so that added to how nice it was. It would be a good place to go running in in the mornings as it’s also free.

We decided to get some teas and sit by the river. I wanted to get my red tea 红茶 hong= red, cha= tea, but unfortunately they didn’t have it. That was the only tea I knew in Chinese, so he ended up giving us one that we had tasted before and liked. We sat for over an hour, until my poor feet were covered in mosquito bites. They are still itchy as hell! Then we went for our stroll, taking some videos to send to my family later.

Here are some pictures from the Park. Some of these are from last year. 

The younger baozi baby!

The younger baozi baby!

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Chinglish is everywhere.

Chinglish is everywhere.

再见!

Aisling.