stored in: General, Vacation

Rewinding backwards, I am now going to recall the fun we had in Taiwan, starting from the last day we were there.

Monday, 7/18

On Sunday night we stayed at City Suites Gateway hotel near Taoyuan airport. Our flight was about 10am, so we woke early and took a taxi to the airport (100TWD). The Taoyoan airport has got to be one of the best. Wifi, massage chairs, prayer rooms, an eLibrary with eReaders you can use, and chairs with plugs for recharging you own devices, all free. Then there’s the Hello Kitty store and play area, lots of shops and displays. The layover could have been longer and I wouldn’t mind. We arrived in Vietnam, got our landing visa with no problems and took a taxi to E’s house, with lunch ready for us. (Story forward continues here.)

Sunday, 7/17

Today’s our last full day in Taiwan and we managed to squeeze in a few interesting sights.

I wanted to worship at a Presbyterian church that was referred by a Christian missionary couple that I know. But we had not seen the National Palace Museum, and everyone seems to say “you’ve GOT to see the National Palace Museum.” So we woke up early, got the MRT and a bus and join the huge crowd in seeing some pretty neat artifacts from China. It was worth the trip, though we were rushed (lunch appt with T’s friends) and probably didn’t do it justice in 2 1/2 hours. And I did miss going to church.

We made it back to the hotel to check out, and T’s friends picked us up for a fantastic lunch – the dishes kept coming and coming and coming…I wish I had a bigger stomach. The restaurant was known for Peking duck served with a thin tortilla-like skin. E must’ve had 4-5 servings.

When we first entered the restaurant at lunch time, it was bright and sunny. When we left, it was pouring rain. Half hour later it was sunny again. I am liking this sudden weather changes. The only thing that does not change is the temperature. Day or night, it’s hot.

T’s friend asked what we wanted to do next. I, being a real estate agent at heart, wanted to go see some model homes. They took us to an expensive flat with highly upgraded materials, spacious design, and stylish decor. Two features I noted: 1) On either side of the front door are shelves of shoe racks hidden behind sliding doors. Interesting place to put your shoes, but convenient considering you put your shoes on and off right at the front door when you enter and leave. You would never find that feature here. 2) The kitchen is not given space priority as it is here. It’s relatively small and not open. A tiny space for the maid is attached to the kitchen, which explains it.

Then I had my first shaved ice in Taiwan. I didn’t want to eat any from night markets and street vendors, but this was a little shop that looked clean. Everything they say about shaved ice in Taiwan is true, it was very good. And I didn’t get sick from it.

We relaxed at T’s friend’s flat after that, a walk to Family Mart, and before our lunch was digested, it was time for dinner. T’s friends took us to a place where everything was home grown – free range chicken and vegetables just picked from the garden. But to tell the truth, I didn’t think the food particularly good.

The dinner time was rather awkward for me. T’s friends entertained us almost all day, and now they are treating us to yet another meal. In the meantime, I don’t even know how to talk to them to get to know them better. I found myself shy and inhibited, like a kid who is forced to meet relatives from China, everyone is talking and laughing and drinking while I sit there with a stiff smile drinking water.  Well, they are not from China, and not my relatives…but it made me wished my parents were there so I can hide behind them. I felt like I was crashing their party. I appreciate their hospitality and kindness, especially when they went way out of their way to take us to the hotel after dinner. We can see the airport from our hotel room. I felt sad that half of our vacation has passed.

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