About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The World's Her Oyster: My Kid's Scuba Certification Options

My kid's first dive trip, January 2015  Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Taiwan is such an auspicious base to dive. It's a subtropical island., with its own islands, archipelago and off shore reefs. There are also direct budget flights to some amazing diving destinations in Asia.

It’s a pretty penny to always pay for my kid’s “Discovery” scuba dives as she isn’t certified. Her first discovery dive was part of my 40th birthday present to myself, she was 9 years old. It was an easy shore dive in Sabah, Borneo, at the islands nearest Kota Kinabalu. but she really wasn't relaxed and didn't descend, barely just under the surface.
 Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park from the airplane (2015)
Fortunately, she didn't quit and had some positive experiences when we went to Bohol for CNY 2016. Now that she’s 12, it’s time for her to get her PADI Open Water certification. The question is where? The plan is assuming this is the cheapest way, is for my daughter to do her PADI eLearning ($202) written work at home and then do her diving skills test later in summer.

I have only done 2 dives in Taiwan (Kenting and Fulong) and I would not want her to dive in either of those places. The entry and exit were horrid shore dives, strong currents, choppy and visibility wasn’t great (Kenting was after a typhoon.)

There are budget-friendly, ideal options in neighboring Asian countries. I have a summer holiday coming up and we can kill birds with 2 stones, or 3 stones if I decide to get my EFR (Emergency First Response, around 4000 NT) that would go towards my PADI Rescue cert. So the destination’s diving season would have to be at this time as well.

In terms of budgeting, its not just the certification costs which vary (some including accommodation, equipment, books or not) but also travel costs. The cheapest place to get certified and with direct, budget flights is in Na Trang, Vietnam. She’s never been to Vietnam and I’ve never dove there. I was actually looking to go there this year anyway, as its close and cheap, and I was thinking of just snorkeling. However,  now that I am focused on diving, I've read reviews that the visibility conditions of Na Trang's Hon Mun Marine Park are just so-so because of more offshore construction and urban pollution. The diving conditions have got to be worth it, as this is isn’t either of our first dives. (I was spoiled getting my Open and Adv. Open Water in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras, and diving for 5 months in the Red Sea.) Traveling to Vietnam also requires visas, which cost (90 USD for both of us including stamp fees).

Will we return to Malaysia for her Open Water?
Cheap, direct flights with 2-3 hour land transfer exist in The Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. In terms of prices, certification in Anilao, or Leyte is cheap and conditions good. We could also return to both Anilao or Bohol as our diving experiences there were so wonderful and we barely scratched the surface at either place. Can’t beat cheap flights to Manila from Taipei.
Taiwan has five major diving regions with fantastic visibility and varied marine life year-round: Kenting, Orchid Island, Green Island, Xiao Liu Qiu, and Dungji Island.

  1. Kenting is the most popular destination of the bunch. Here on the southern tip of Taiwan, divers can enjoy both shore and boat diving into warm waters brought by the ‘Black Tide.’ Kenting Marine Park boasts 1100 marine species and 80 species of coral. Pelagic fish such as barracuda are common, while rarer sightings include swordfish and humpback whales. Taiwan Dive (Open Water 10,990 4 students-14,000 individual TWD, EFR 4,500)
  2. Xiao Liu Qiu, just 30 minutes from Taiwan’s southwest coast, is a newcomer to the dive scene. Diverse coral reefs and walls make pleasant dives. I visited here on a day trip and vowed to return for a dive because everyone I know got hang with turtles. Spotting turtles is almost guaranteed.
    She's too young to dive (2010) Xiao Liu Qiu
  3. Orchid Island, which lies off Taiwan’s southeast coast, is home to some of the best visibility in the country. It is regularly more than 100 feet (30 meters). Dive sites here include coral gardens and an impressive Korean tanker wreck at 100 feet (30 meters.) Additionally, Orchid Island is known as a breeding ground for sea snakes, which are commonly spotting during dives year-round. Blue Ocean House蘭嶼.藍海屋潛水渡假村 need to be 15 years old
  4. Green Island, which is easily accessed from Taiwan’s east coast, is popular with local divers who like the variety of marine life. Common species include Coconut crab, batfish and spotted rays. Green Island also contains Shark Point, perhaps the most famous dive site in the country. Every spring, large numbers of hammerhead sharks gather here. Scientists believe they use the area as a breeding ground. This dive is technically advanced due to the negative entry and heavy current. Dive companies will generally only take divers with more than 100 dives to Shark Point. Get My Boat (Open Water 17,500 TWD)

    Cool Diving (Taitung) (Open Water 17,000-19000 TWD including 3 nights accommodation and breakfast)
The Philippines
Panglao, Bohol

  • Boho:l My kid and I dove here during CNY the year before at both Panglao and Anda and had a fabulous turtle experience. The French couples running both shops were amazing and I wouldn’t mind going back. In Panglao, we dove with Carol Le Roux owner of Equation Diving. She was so patient and thorough and detailed with my daughter. She would be an excellent instructor for her Open Water.
Anda will forever be burned into our memories because that was where we were when my Dad and brother told me my niece was killed. We canceled our diving plans for a few days, just shocked and immobilized with grief. Eventually, we dragged ourselves to FlowerBeach Diving, run by artist and yogini Delphine Sun and her husband. We had a long encounter with a green turtle which was meaningful because we associate my niece with turtles. If we would of had the time and money, I would of stayed in Anda for more diving and still consider Delphine and her husband as possible instructors for Z's Open Water.

There are direct flights from Taipei to Tagbilaran, then a 3 hour land transfer to Anda or a closer 30 minutes to Panglao.
Anda, Bohol

  • Anilao: O
    ur most recent dive experience was in Anilao and it was extremely relaxing, with more turtle fun. I’d love to go back and dive the underwater photographer's delight of the “Twin Rocks.”
  • Dauin, Negros Island (head to Apo Island post-certification)
  • So Good Bay, Leyte With superb corals and the allure of the ever-elusive whale shark, Leyte has become one of the Philippines’ premier destinations. From graceful pelagics to macro oddities, Leyte is sure to delight.  (Fun dives P1600/903 TWD, Open Water P 18,500/10,500TWD, EFR P7250/TWD 4090, Snorkel w/Whale sharks P2800)
Getting Here: Flight to Cebu, Fast 3 Hr Ferry, Flight to  Tacloban, Leyte+ 3 hour land transfer
  • Palawan
    I traveled to Palawan back in 2001, flying into Puerto Princessa and traveling up to El Nido for some stunning diving. There weren’t nearly as many dive operators as there are now. It was like 2 guys on the beach in traditional longboats and the fancy resort with its own island. I wouldn’t mind going back and seeing an old friend I met on my first trip. There are direct flights to Puerto Princessa and I can show my kid the underground cave river. The gringo trail made the land transfer to El Nido easier, as the road is now paved, and they have tourist vans to shuttle the 6-hour journey (some even including a trip to the underground river).

The pristine waters of El Nido offer beautiful coral reefs, while its beaches are uncrowded unlike the popular Boracay, exploring the lagoons by kayaking is a great way of visiting the islets, coves and caves are also abundant. Inland El Nido, springs and waterfalls are also found. Bacuit Bay composes of limestone islands, where its possible to either dive, snorkel or hike.(12 years + Open Water 23,500 P/ 13,258 TWD)
  • Turtle Divers, "Serena, ☎ +63 920617532 (info@turtle-divers.com) Turtle Divers this local dive center offers Discover Scuba dives, Fun dives as well as PADI and SSI dive courses. Run by professionals with high safety standard. Good location with classroom.
  • El Nido Adventure Scuba, Rizal St., ☎ +63949-9108460 (info@elnidoadventurescuba.com) 7:30-21.00. Dive with the "locals" and most experienced dive masters in the area. SSI and PADI open water and advanced dive courses are offered.
  • Submariner Diving Center, Hama Street Brgy Masagana (Beachfront), ☎ +63 905 484 1764 (info@submariner-diving.com), Submariner Diving Center is the first and only PADI 5* Dive Resort in El Nido, Palawan Philippines, which is operated by the German Ronny Oliwka who is PADI MSDT and TDI AN/DP Diver. Submariner is also certified as Aqualung Partner Center who offers high standard in Diving and Education as well as diving gear branded by Aqualung and Apeks. Not only the Equipment considers a high standard. Also the staff is highly qualified
Other Palawan Dive Shops: Palawan Divers, Sea Dog/Plankton Divers
Anda, Bohol

High visibility water around the island is full of coral reefs and marine life, making scuba diving the most popular activity for tourists in Ishigaki. The island has been ranked the number one Japanese diving destination for more than 16 consecutive years. In particular, Manta Scramble and Manta City, just off the island's northwest coast, is known to have one of the highest encounter rate of manta rays, and large number of divers visit the island during April-November, when the dive area is accessible. There are a large number of dive operators and rates are more or less standardized at around ¥12000-14000 for two boat dives (not including gear rental).(Open Water 54,000 Yen/15,000 TW)

Dive Shops: Prime Scuba Ishigaki, Umicoza (海講座)Two dives ¥12960, full gear rental ¥5400, Viking Scuba Kabira Two dives: ¥12960, full gear rental ¥4860, Tom Sawyer. A double dive is ¥13,500 and full diving rental is ¥4,000
There is some fine diving in Jemeluk Bay both from the beach and from boats in deeper water. After a gentle slope out from shore, the wall here drops off dramatically to depths of 40 m plus. The coral is healthy and fish life abundant. There are some good drift dives further east at Selang and Bunutan but these are generally only suited to more experienced divers.

Dive Season: April-October. A single dive on Perhentian Kecil costs around US $23; prices go down to US $20 if you do more than four dives. Some popular dive sites such as the famous Sugar Wreck, Temple/Pinnacle, and Rendang Island cost more because of the extra effort required to get there. Night dives are more expensive, starting around US $40. Strangely, beach dives cost the same as boat dives on Perhentian Kecil.

(Open Water RM990 7,487 TWD/ Rescue RM1000)

Getting there: KL fly to Kota Bharu. Once in Kota Bharu you can either take a one-hour taxi (maximum of four people) from the airport directly to Kuala Besut -- the port town -- or take a public bus to Jerteh and then on to Kuala Besut. In Kuala Besut you must purchase a round-trip speedboat ticket for US $23. The boat takes around an hour to reach Perhentian Kecil. There is no jetty on Long Beach, so you must transfer to a smaller boat (and pay an additional US $1) to be brought onto the beach. Plastic a problem?

There are multiple dive centers on Kecil's Long Beach and Coral Bay (from North to South): Anti Gravity Divers, Sunlight Divers, Turtle Bay Divers, Seadragon Divers, Matahari (formerly Coral Sky) Divers, Spice Divers, Steffen Sea Sportsand Angel Divers, Ombak Divers (Coral Bay),
Quiver Dive Team A PADI 5-star IDC center located in Coral Bay on Perhentian Kecil offering all types of dive courses (Bubblemaker, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster and Instructor). Fun dives cost RM80 (for students who complete a course RM75). Night dives RM140. A full day dive safari to neighboring Redang island with 3 dives including buffet lunch costs RM380 (minimum 4 divers required).
On the big island (Besar) are a number of dive centres, placed on different beaches:

  • Na Trang Vietnam April to August when diving is at its best and demand is low. During this time, discounts are available on already low diving and accommodation rates.
Mun Island, Nah Trang
Close off-shore from Nha Trang sit a series of islands that offer decent diving and snorkelling, easily accessible by day trip. The city has about two dozen dive shops, making for fierce competition and great value. For certification training, Nha Trang offers perhaps the best value in the world, with PADI open water courses available with full equipment rental for as little as US$250. A two-dive boat trip with equipment rental and modest lunch can be had for as little as US$45, also a phenomenal value.
Coastal and undersea construction has stirred up a lot of sediment in the area, so under-water visibility is sometimes not great. The area is heavily fished, so fish life is also limited. You wouldn't cross the world just to dive at Nha Trang. But if you always dreamed of getting a scuba certification, Nha Trang is a great place to do it, and any diver passing through would enjoy a couple of dips. The shops generally offer good-quality equipment and experienced, certified dive-masters. Diving goes on year-around, but in the October-December windy season, the boat ride can be a bit rough and diving is limited to a few sites in the lee of the islands (PADI website).
Dive Shops:
  • VinaDiving - Vietnam Dive Center, 23D Biet Thu, ☎ +84-918.98.4049 (, fax: +84-918.98.4049)07:00 - 21:00. Running since 1997. As known as Vinadive, services from Snorkeling and scuba diving to professional PADI and SSI courses. $60 for TWO Dives (non-certified divers, $45 for TWO Dives (certified divers), $18 for snorkeling. Safe, friendly, professional and fun.
  • Aloha Mark Scott's Diving Vietnam, 24/4 Hung Vuong, ☎ +84-122-903-7795 (MarkBrianScott@gmail.com), . 06:30-21:00. is an American owned company.Very fair prices and services from Snorkeling and Introductory dives to Instructor courses. $75 for TWO dives (with certification) and $90 for two Introductory Dives. The Boat has plenty of room for lounging and Never Rushed. American English spoken. $75-$375.  
  • Octopus Diving, @ Louisiane Brewhouse, 29 Tran Phu., +84 58 352-1629, Dive Vietnam with Octopus Diving. We are Vietnam's longest running PADI Five Star Dive Centers offering a full range of high quality PADI courses from beginner to professional. Fun Dives, Nitrox, Snorkelling and Discover Scuba Diving trips to Hon Mun Marine Protected Area everyday.
  • Sailing Club Divers, @ Sailing Club Nha Trang, 72-74 Tran Phu., +84 58 352 2788, Vietnam's longest running PADI Five Star Dive Centers offering a full range of high-quality PADI courses from beginner to professional.

Koh Lanta, Thailand All Boat Dives. Koh Lanta enjoys rich waters with both hard

and soft coral. Manta rays and whale sharks visit the deeper pinnacles annually. The best time of year to spot them is from February to April. You can see leopard, zebra, and guitar and blacktip reef sharks. You may also be lucky and see devil rays too. Expect batfish and octopus, pulsing clouds of anthias and schools of jackfish too. Barracuda school and also patrol keeping a keen eye on the many varieties of colorful reef fish that make these colorful reefs their home. There are many varieties of nudibranch, shrimp, pipefish and even seahorses to keep the macro lovers happy. Scorpionfish and stonefish hide in the reef while lionfish stalk and mantis shrimp scuttle around. (Open Water 14,400 B/ 13,500 TWD, EFR 4600/ 4326TWD, 2 FunDives 3300) Getting Here: Krabi Airport to speedboat transfer
2015  Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park


I've been lucky enough to have snorkeled in Pankgor (East Coast), and on Tioman (West Coast) when my Z was very little. I wonder if we will return for the Perhentians? For sure Sipadan is on our list after her certification.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Why We Love Spring in Yilan (And You Should Too)

We lived in Tainan for six years which is on the opposite side of the island. In many ways, the climate is just as different. Tainan was wonderful in winter; sunny, dry, not very cold, but it really didn't have much of a spring. Summer comes on like a switch in the south. At least in Yilan, Spring really sticks around much more leisurely, giving us all a long breath between the winter monsoons and summer typhoons.

These are some of my favorite Springtime moments happening now in Yilan.

Morning Glories: I noticed mid-March all the wild morning glories blossomed. Everywhere. Along the roads, paths, in the fields, around the trees. It sure adds another layer to the visuals on my daily dog walks.

Purple Herons: Apparently, these herons only nest in Siapu下埔, Yilan on their migration NE to China.

Return of the Big Critters: The macaques behind my house also came back with the warmer weather, which makes me wonder where they go in winter. They aren't the only ones though; there is wild game. The little Formosan barking deer (Muntiacus reevesi/山羌), and wild boar are also back. An old man (friend of my landlady's mom) came to my house yesterday as I was going to work, and told me he was hunting for deer behind my house, but accidentally caught a boar. I am pretty sure these are protected as they are endangered. Unfortunately, locals lay these traps everywhere and usually catch the neighborhood dogs, which is why I keep mine on a leash.

Clothes Can Dry: We've had quite the dry spell since the Lunar New Year; the river in front of my house slowly shrunk and is now a trickle, a small brook. Last week, about a dozen white herons were feeding on the tiny fish that got trapped in the shrinking pool and I've had to water my garden by hand, but the good news is, the clothes on my line, dried in a day.

Prime Camping: Now is the time for tents. It will be too hot in a month or two and perhaps wetter. There are some campsites nearby, but I suggest pitching a tent in a patch of green for free, which is what I saw this morning on my early dog walk. Here are some nearby spots in my neighborhood:

  • 蜜蜜雞地, 264宜蘭縣員山鄉坡城路90號, 03 923 0761
  • The Spooky Camping Site 山水幽谷營地, 262宜蘭縣礁溪鄉匏杓崙路143號, 0933 985 196
  • Mountain Dew 山上有水露營區, 262宜蘭縣礁溪鄉匏杓崙路150-8號, 0919 347 289

Planting Summer Melons: We have seedlings of red and yellow watermelon and cantaloupe in the garden. I can't wait for watermelon salsa and watermelon water! There's nothing more refreshing in summer (coconut water and sugarcane juice perhaps, but I can't grow or harvest those).

Will I grow gourds or bitter melon? I doubt it, my neighbors gave me more than I could use last summer.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: The patch of green beside the street in front of my house is the ad hoc neighborhood "dog park". The winter monsoon sent most of these feral canine packs huddled somewhere undercover. The dry March has them all lazing out in the sun. My kid nicknamed this one pack the Motley Crew, and they are no fun when I'm walking my dogs, they are very aggressive. The elderly neighbors carry walking sticks/weapons on their daily dusk walks.

Green Expo 2018 3/31-5/13: This is the 19th year. I've only been to one Yilan Green Expo, while my kid has taken field trips every year. Yilan's previous politicians have been notorious for slowing down development for the sake of environmental preservation, so this festival is a product of that legacy. Its a venue for local agriculturalists, botanists, and crafters using local agricultural products to showcase their wares, while teaching kids (and grown-ups) about caring for the earth.  It really attracts the crowds on the weekends, buses of them-which can't be too good for the environment.

Spring in Taiwan is a rather short, sweet affair so I intend to savor it while I can. The countryside in Yilan, my front porch is the optimum locality to do just that.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Holiday Homebodies

Christmas, New Years, birthdays came and went and we are still here. Of course, Christmas isn't a holiday here and it really is just an advertising gimmick to get people shopping, so we have to really cultivate all that cringle cheer, sans family or Colorado snow. Ten years in Taiwan, we are experts at this by now. Every year, my kid's presents seem to reduce, thankfully Grandpa saved the day with a package or two from home. In January, we went to Kyoto for a birthday getaway. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.

On the honor roll again, 2nd place in her class
Zen and Emm

2018's Chinese Lunar New Year (of the dog) was our first in Taiwan. Z wasn't up to going anywhere (although I had my heart set on Bali.) It was the one year anniversary of her cousin, my niece Emma's tragic death. The whole family is still reeling. The wounds are still so fresh. Staying at home for 2 weeks, with our dogs and taking it slow and easy, was what needed to happen. 

Z's kumquat painting
I caught up on yard work when the weather was cooperating. There was a week when it was sunny and warm and we made the most of it, picnicking with friends, napping in hammocks. People all over Taiwan come to our part of the woods for holiday. Their giant buses and cars visiting the nearby lake jam up the small country lanes, but they don't go as far as our tea farm. It was a blessing to be able to enjoy the wealth of our little house location with all this time to paint, do yoga or do nothing. I had time to really reflect on where I came from and where I want to go. I made goals and plans and have been pretty successful thus far with little self-disciplines I have integrated into habits. It's very easy to slip into auto-pilot, especially being a single mom.

Z's vegan orange layer cake with a kumquat glaze

My kid baked a lot, and I am trying to lose the 4 kg I gained during winter. (I am thinking of making a cooking book or blog post of all the fabulous desserts she created.) She finds baking relaxing, an avenue for her creativity and a way to use all the local fruits our neighbors bless us with from their orchards.
Our first Chinese New Year's dinner in Taiwan
For the actual Lunar New Year dinner, one of our kind neighbors (the uncle of my landlady and the grandpa of one of Z's classmates) invited us over. They had quite the spread and made sure we were stuffed. They had the traditional foods and the burning coals under the table, explaining all the dishes and customs, including all the prayers and incantations that had to do during the day and after supper. The grandpa joked,"Its so simple for you, you only have one God, we have so many." I wondered if his grandson would be able to keep up these kinds of traditions when he grows up, he was so interested in getting as far away from the dinner table and back to his computer as possible. His other relations had 4th of July grade, visually beautiful fireworks. My dogs, the dogs in the neighborhood were not exactly feeling their enthusiasm.

Returning to art again in 2018

Friday, December 29, 2017

Taipei Day Trip: Walk Like An Egyptian

Last month, I took a day off and took my kid to the AIT (American Institute  Taiwan), the ad hoc embassy to renew her passport. This is the second time we renewed it here in Taiwan. We were caught in morning traffic on the bus from Yilan, stuck in mountain tunnels. We had to make an appointment weeks before and I was nervous we'd miss out spot. I was missing classes (and money) to do this necessary renewal. (We can't travel or renew her ARC card if it has less than 6 months on her passport.)

If I'm taking the day off, might as well make a day event of it- and we did. From Taipei Main Station we took a taxi to AIT which is near Da'an station. Even 30minutes late for our appointment, it was a painless (expensive) procedure. I paid the $105US with my Taiwanese debit card, unlike five years ago running around banks for a bank that knew what a check was. (The AIT in Kaohsiung didn't want cash or credit but a bank check.)

We tried to make a yin-yang with the 2 different types of discarded tea leaves we drank. We used 2 date pits for the points
We had the whole sunny morning and decided to spend it drinking tea. As both of us appreciate traditional tea houses, the Wisteria was long on our bucket list. We took a taxi from the AIT and had one whole room to ourselves were we sampled two teas for a couple of hours.The menu was impressive. It definitely has more options than the equally atmospheric Jiufen Tea House.  Drinking tea in the Wistaria was quite a treat, not just for spending some peaceful time with my content kid, but the whole historical significance of the establishment. The Wistaria named after the vines that surround the building), is a Japanese-style wooden house built in the 1920s.  The house served as a residence for the Governor-General of Taiwan under Japanese rule prior to 1945. The teahouse, with its circa 1930s decor, was reopened to much fanfare after a long needed renovation in 2008.

The building became a teahouse and gained its current name in 1981 and was meeting place for political dissidents in the 1980's such as Lei Chen (雷震) fighting for a democratic Taiwan. Since then, Wisteria House has been and continues to be a favored meeting place for Taipei artists, academics, and literati. The teahouse was also used during the filming of Eat Drink Man Woman. There's an emerald room with tatami floors, a tatami room with large paintings including a nude, as well as chairs and tables if sitting on floors aren't your thing. It's ours so we sat on a tatami floor beside a sunny window in the largest room and had the whole space to ourselves. 

There were two other couples all in a private room. The proprietor at the cashier asked me if I came from Mexico, and I replied no, "I'm American, but my family is Spanish and Native American," and she complimented me on my bone structure" which made me smile as we conversed in Mandarin.  How strange, usually Taiwanese comment on how beautiful my daughter is. She's so exotic with her green eyes and thick wavy light hair. I'm so used to being invisible. 

Then we were off on another taxi, meeting some lovely, teen daughters of a family friend for lunch. We unsuccessfully convinced them to join us for the National Palace exhibit, but lunch took much longer than we all thought and they had places to be. 

It's possible to get mummy overload and when I was carefree in Cairo (2003?) before my daughter was born, that's what happened to me. The Cairo Museum of Antiquities has one of the oldest and largest collections of pharaonic items on the globe, but after so many mummies, my eyes kind of glazed over. I always felt pretty blessed to have seen the pyramids and this museum in person, as well as having a close encounter with mummies in the hollow burial sites in Siwa. (Picture me galloping alone on a ferocious stallion the sun setting behind Giza, a little scared and very alive.) A year later I was in grad school in York, England and had the good fortune to walk the among the collection of the British Museum. So when I saw a friend's post about the British Museum having a small exhibition in Taipei's National Palace Museum, I made it a point to take my kid.

I was pretty impressed how the British Museum set their exhibit up. Instead of overdosing on mummies, they presented six mummies from different genders, classes, times, including a small child, and it really was a digestible way to learn and appreciate life along the Nile between 900 BC to 180 AD. There were no photos allowed, and it was quite dark inside. Unlike my previous Egyptian mummy experiences, this was high-tech. The scientists had scanned the mummies and on the screen, you could see how the mummies were found, all the jewelry, tokens, amulets and their placements on their bodies. Obviously, we could see each item itself encased in glass and the layers of coffins. The paintings of some of the outer coffins were breathtaking. 

Poor attempt at a selfie with Egyptian mural in the background

There was one woman, I'm not sure if she was the married priestess or the temple singer, but they had placed amulets along each chakra. It blew me away that ancient Egyptians also shared this with Kundalini (from another ancient river civilization). How arrogant of me to think ancient people didn't know about glands and the endocrine system when they had the science to take brains out of nostrils.

I also appreciated how we could see the evolution of the mummy's outer coffin in terms of adapting to the times. It was blatantly obvious when Greek civilization was the hegemonic power, the mummy of the young man looked like a Greek, Orthodox saint. 

Our little Taipei day trip was the best Monday we had in a while. I highly recommend catching the Egyptian Mummies from the British Museum: Exploring Ancient Lives, before it ends in February.