Friday, April 08, 2016

Renovation: Ceiling Fans Service Centres Experience

Its been almost one year since my post on "Renovation: Ceiling Fans" and I have called the various service centres to service my fans for various reasons so I thought I pen down my experience and thoughts.

I have a total of five ceiling fans at my home, bought from three companies but all installed by my ID's contractor. As I have false ceilings at all five locations where the fans are installed, metal rod reinforcements to the real ceiling were needed. So far there were no complaints about the installation. Not even from the fan service team whom before the service visit had warned that they would charge extra if the fan issues were due to incorrect installation not done by them.

So the issues were with the fans, or should I say the un-necessary noise the fans were producing.

The first fans to have noise issues were the Crestar fans. They have this occasional "ting ting" sound when the fan spins. I called up the service centre and they promptly took down my issue, ask me to send a picture of the remote control and fan to them and then fixed an appointment for me.

The service staff came promptly at the scheduled timing and went ahead to fix the issue once I describe to him. It seems to be a known issue and they went ahead to add rubber sleeves to the cables. The whole service experience was great. Thumbs up.

Next was the Aeratron fans. They have this occasionally knocking noise that was becoming more and more obvious and annoying. And they have this creaking sound whenever I switch the fan on or off. I tried to call the service line for Elmark (where we bought the Aeratron fans from) but there was no answer. So I decided to drop a feedback on their website but after a week there was no response. Hence I drop by one Saturday morning to their office.

Even though the fans are under warranty, they want me to pay SGD50 (transport fee blah blah blah) before they will come down and fix the issue. I was not happy with this I do not expect any reputable company to charge for servicing of products they sold me and still under warranty. But I still paid.

The servicing was delayed for almost a month as I needed a Saturday appointment and it was around the Chinese New Year period. It also seem to be they were waiting for another job near my area before they will come have a look.

When they finally came, the technicians added rubber into the blade area to stop the parts from moving when the blades are rotating. It didn't fix the issue the first time and  I had to call them down for another round of rubber adding to reduce it. I do still get very occasional knocking sound every now and then but am just closing one eye on it. Pay for servicing leaves a sour taste.

My Haiku fan also started to have this occasional vibration sound that seem to come from the black plastic cap in the middle of the fan. A call to the service centre and the staff apologies for the issue (plus point service). They did explain that as the fan was not installed by them, they will have to charge a fee of SGD125 if the problem was due to incorrect installation by a third party. An appointment was easily arranged. The technician came, checked, re-position the black cap and the problem was solved. Good service experience.

Final thoughts? Do try to record the sound so they you can play back to the service team if it only happen occasionally. I recommend Crestar and Haiku Fans and I would probably not be shopping at Elmark for any fans going forward.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Taiwan 2015 - Day 5 & 6: Flying Cow Ranch/Taipei

Today marks the final day at Flying Cow Ranch. We had a quick breakfast and head for the three free morning activities again. But before that, some photo taking with the popping balloon dessert statue.

Spotting unusual insects with the boys on the way to the activities area makes fun bonding time.

Fed the calves and fed the ducks again. Lucas got pecked by one of the ducks as he didn't release the food fast enough. Must be quite a shock for that poor boy as he cried for some time while giving the ducks that anguish look. But nothing a cup of ice-cream can't solve.

Driver Wu's son came to pick us at about noon from Flying Cow and left for Taipei. He brought us to Taoyuan for lunch at one of the Hakka eatery. They have tang yuan in savoury broth and dumpling which taste so yummy.

Back to Taipei, we stayed at Hotel Puri at Ximending. This is one of the highly rated for family with children. They have rooms with double queen beds. The hotel renovation is both new and modern.

After a short rest, we make our way to Shilin Night Market. The last time I came here with Lilian, the night market was still on the streets. Now, its gone underground.

I cannot help but to get the black pork sausage again. This time, it's HUGE.

There was this stall cooking a huge pan of oyster omelette and there was a queue for it. We took it to mean its good so we helped ourselves to two plates too.

We explored the other stalls and found this interesting dish call Coffin Toast (官财板). Its basically a very thick toast with the center cut out and filled with different ingredients. This has got to be one of the nicest and most interesting street food on this trip.

After all the fried and heaty food, time to cool it down with a glass of iced honey bitter-grout drink. The bitter-grout they used are white in colour. Very refreshing.

We took a walk around the ground level outside and there were more stall and restaurants. One of the restaurants that caught my attention was the BBQ Beef place. But we were too full to try it. We did settle for some more dessert along the way.

We call it a night after that. The next day we had some free time before our flight in the early afternoon. The boys kept talking to each other on the phone like they were separated for a long time.

We walked around Ximending, enjoying the last few moments in Taipei. Came across this shaved icing shop. They make almond flavoured shaved ice that is so fine, it literally melts in your month. Just check out the photo below, so fine it looked like fur.

This end our first family overseas trip with my parents and the first time the boys took a plane. They sure enjoyed themselves on this trip as they were still be talking about it many moons later.

Also see:
Taiwan 2015 - Day 1: Ningxia Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 2: Baby Boss & Rouhe Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 3: Cingjing Farm & Flying Cow Ranch
Taiwan 2015 - Day 4: Flying Cow Ranch

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Taiwan 2015 - Day 4: Flying Cow Ranch

Today we start the day early with buffet breakfast at Flying Cow Ranch. Its quite a spread from Taiwanese porridge to sausage & bacon. The boys cannot enough of salted eggs.

Flying Cow Ranch has 3 main activities that are free: Feeding milk to the calves, chasing ducks and milking the cow. The activities area is about 15 minutes walk from the dining area. So we took a stroll there. Spotted a number of big spiders on the way.

The first activity the boys did was feeding milk to the calves. You have to use two fingers to secure the cap as the calves sucks pretty hard. As there were not much people, the boys went feed the calves a second time.

While waiting for the second activity, the boys tried their hands on feeding leaves to the goats. And boy do the goats pull hard. It felt like we were having a tug of war with the goats.

The second activity was feeding the ducks. These ducks respond to the bells which the staffs ring and would go to where the bells were. Their feather felt so smooth and soft. But be careful, they will not hesitant to peck your hand if you do not release the food.

The final morning activity was about an hour later so we walked around the ranch and explore. They had a rabbit house with all kinds of different rabbits from around the world. The black goat looked like its about the leap out of the fence for some food.

The last activity for the morning was milking the cows. Only Xavier had a go as Lucas was too young and could only help comfort the cow while Xavier milks. The staff also had to hold the tail as an "early warning system" in case the cow wants to do big business.

We had a slow stroll back to our rooms after that. The room my parent had was at the top floor and it looks so homely with the wooden ceiling.

We had lunch at western food restaurant. The food was nothing to shout about but the dessert is pretty interesting. Its a milk pudding inside a mini balloon. What you do is poke it with a toothpick and the pudding is revealed. Fun.

After their afternoon nap, the boys went for their afternoon activity which is painting their own cow coin bank. Xavier did a spotty cow while Lucas splash it with yellow and blue.

After that we had a family activity, making cookies. Looks simple but its pretty hard work, especially for the boys. At the end of it, eating the very cookie you make yourself taste so good.

We took an evening photo before the sun sets. The night activity was the same as yesterday. But we still went for it and make a different pencil case.

Also see:
Taiwan 2015 - Day 1: Ningxia Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 2: Baby Boss & Rouhe Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 3: Cingjing Farm & Flying Cow Ranch
Taiwan 2015 - Day 5 & 6: Flying Cow Ranch/Taipei

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Taiwan 2015 - Day 3: Cingjing Farm & Flying Cow Ranch

The next day, driver Wu pick us up early for the next part of our trip. We will be leaving Taipei and going to Cingjing Farm enroute to Flying Cow Ranch in Miaoli.

Its a pretty long drive, about four hours to reach Cingjing Farm. It was long and winding as Mr. Wu's VW Transporter T5 climbs the hills confidently. We had lunch near Cingjing at a place call I Na Ko Restuaurant (伊拿谷). The view from this restaurant is simply breath-taking.

We saw these huge clay jars just outside the restaurant and were curious what it was. Turns out its roasted chickens, set in a up-right position, with all the chicken essence/fats dripping to the bottom. Looks so good, we have to order it to try.

The roast chicken is served with salt and spices and chili sauce, very crispy, very additive. The black sausage is actually squid meat made with squid ink. Its a refreshing dish and I love it. The clams, the roast pork and the steamboat of goodies, all round up a great lunch.

After filling our tummy, we head for the hills. Cingjing Farm is located on the hill top, 1,750 meters above sea level to be exact. That about similar to Genting Highlands. But instead of casino and hotel, you are greeted by free roaming sheep and endless rolling greenery.

The boys were hesitant at first but it didn't take long before they went around patting the sheep, feeling their fur and feeding them.

I suggest spending maybe four hours at Cingjing Farm. Slow down your pace, take in the greenery and have fun with the sheep. There is another part to it where the horses have performances but we didn't manage to go as it was too rush for us.

After Cingjing Farm, we set off towards Flying Cow Ranch. But not before stopping by Carton King Creativity Park. This place showcase everything that can be made with cardboard, including the giant rocking horse Xavier sit on.

By the time we reach Flying Cow, the sun had set and it was dinner time. They have a night activity that starts at 8pm and as we wanted to be part if it, we practically wolf down our dinner and rushed to the activity hall. That night's activity was making your own pencil case using patterns printed on tissue-thin paper. The whole family had fun cutting the patterns they like and putting them together to make their own unique pencil case.

The double king size bedroom we chose made sure there are plenty of space for the boys and us. These rooms seems bigger and newer than the accommodations closer to the restaurants and activity area.

Also see:
Taiwan 2015 - Day 1: Ningxia Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 2: Baby Boss & Rouhe Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 4: Flying Cow Ranch
Taiwan 2015 - Day 5 & 6: Flying Cow Ranch/Taipei

Monday, September 07, 2015

Taiwan 2015 - Day 2: Baby Boss & Rouhe Night Market

I heard pretty good reviews about Baby Boss and thought it would be fun for the boys. So Lilian and I brought the boys to Baby Boss while my parent explore Taipei on their own today.

Baby Boss is like a theme park with many different jobs for the children to experience. Each jobs takes about 30-40 minutes and at the end of it, they get "paid" Baby Boss (BB) currency. More on that later.

We went on a Monday and there were just a handful of people. The whole experience was in Mandarin and I'm glad Xavier understand what the instructors were talking about and replied in Mandarin the best he could.

The first job, petrol station attendant. The boys were briefed what they had to do, like direct the car to the spot, confirm the customer wants to top up petrol (汽油) and not soy sauce (酱油), clean the car, and wave goodbye to the customer with a smile. Lucas was lost at times but Xavier helped guide his little brother on what to do.

The next job was a popular one, being a pilot! The boys got dressed in captain's uniform and process to fly the plane. We could see their activities in the plane as they installed a camera inside and its shown on a big TV just outside the mock up plane. There was another group of students from the local preschool who played the role of stewards and stewardess, serving their teachers and parents (who acted as passengers). So fun.

Having earned some BB currency, the boys used some of it to enter the Pizza-Making class. This class requires them to pay for the pizza materials with the currency they earned from the earlier jobs.

The instructors got the boys to wash their hands, roll the dough, spread the tomato sauce base, load it up with the ingredients and the pizza was ready to go to the oven. The boys were happy with the pizzas they made and they became part of their lunch.

After filling their little stomachs, it was time to head to outer space as the boys become astronauts. The space suits looks awesome. The oversized helmet looked comical on Lucas though.

Xavier got dramatically excited when he found the rock sample. A little wave, a little rumbling in the spaceship and soon they were back on earth from their space mission.

From Spaceship to Ship ship, the boys don on sailor clothes as they try their hands on loading the containers onto the ships. 周杰伦水手怕水 came to my mind when I taking taking those pictures.

The next job they took on was Police. BB seem to have two different Police jobs for different days and today was Traffic Police. And the boys got to march around the park shouting slogans and directing traffic.

The next two jobs are interesting as they involved getting a ride on a vehicle. The first was as a Security Guard. I went for a short walk outside the park so I do not really know what went on here. Ha.

But I was there when they were playing Firefighters. This is a also a hot favourite hot here as it involves sliding down the Firestation pole, riding in the Fire Engine to the fire scene and putting out the fire with real water.

So after each job, the boys get a card stating the job they completed. I didn't mention about the Balloon Magician as I thought that is one of the job you can skip. Its not meant for young kids and the older kids may not learn much as the instructor would be busy handling the young kids.

The BB currency can be exchange for small gifts at the end of the day, like that ruler on the bottom left. Of course as a theme park, they have season pass and encourage children to come again. Hence the currency can be "deposited" into their BB Bank, earn interest and be combined with the children's earnings in future to exchange for bigger items.

Please cater a full day at least for Baby Boss. We only did maybe about 25% of the all jobs they had to offer.

We went to meet my parents at Rouhe Night Market for more yummy food.

So what is the must try at Rouhe Night Market? It had got to be 福州世祖胡椒饼 Pork Pepper Bun. The filling is so juicy, so soild, so meaty, it makes me so hungry now just blogging about it. My mum bought extra for us to tabao back to the hotel even. The queue will be super long, but it will be worth it. Not to be missed.

And I cannot get enough of the black boar sausages. The meat is just so firm yet juicy. This stall had like 9 different powder flavors for you to add to it. I chose the lemongrass powder (I think), was yummy.

This stall selling gilled giant mushrooms caught our eyes too. As the boys are not into the spicy peppery buns, we got them these to try. Those giant shrooms are so delicious and taste like sausages actually. They too have different flavor powders you can choose to add to them.

Popiah, something our family loved. This stall had so much fillings and different ingrediates in their popiah, we couldn't get enough.

It started to rain when we were halfway through and we decided to head back to the hotel for an early night as tomorrow, we will need to be up early to check out of Cosmo hotel and head to Flying Cow Ranch.

Also see:
Taiwan 2015 - Day 1: Ningxia Night Market
Taiwan 2015 - Day 3: Cingjing Farm & Flying Cow Ranch
Taiwan 2015 - Day 4: Flying Cow Ranch
Taiwan 2015 - Day 5 & 6: Flying Cow Ranch/Taipei