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.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nantou Day Trip

My Taiwanese parents Amy and David Wu invited me for a day trip organized by their apartment building to Nantou Co. Have I not mentioned David and Amy before? I always am in conversation. I met them  after our first six months here in Tainan. They have a "grandson" Chinchin who is 2 years older than Z and those two are playmates. Amy and I used to go regularly to the Flying Club Gym before they tore it down and now we both go to E Powerhouse. They often invite me to their home for breakfasts and dinner or we eat out, go to some farmers markets, orchid markets, etc.  They are both 3 years older than my parents and David has  a daughter from a previous marriage who is an accountant to the stars in Hollywood. They both are KMT supporters, David being involved in KMT intelligence, I dont like to talk politics with them, but other than that they are my great friends. "Chin-chin" lives in their building a few floors below and he is Amy's grand-nephew, her sister died and she practically raised her nephew Chin-chin's dad.

This would be my 3rd trip to Nantou Co. The first was with Joy and Yanni a few Dragon Boat Festivals ago where we stayed in alpine like dwellings with picturesque views. The second being a school staff trip were Z and I shared a lonely and incredible cabin under brilliant stars, and did a nice morning hike. And now with David and Amy.

Anyway, I already knew what I was getting myself into going on this trip, but I wanted to spend some time with them. We left bright and early at 630 am and even tho everyone refused many times the bus company's offer of KTV, the stewardess managed to get 2 brave souls, plus herself, to belt out sad Chinese love songs  as the sun started to come up full force. Too early for overly loud KMT, Z had me stuff tissue into her ears.

We took a pee break at some temple to a god of fortune as did many other tour buses. I had to carry Z thru thick black clouds of toxic incense fumes, as every devotee did their ritual prayer with 3 incense sticks. We found the squat toilet and I pushed our way outta there as we were choking from the smoke. I bought Z a bag of chopped guava for a healthy snack and boarded the bus.

We arrived in Chunghua at the entrance of some park, walked out and started on a path along a rushing mountain stream. It was beautiful. The air was radiantly crisp. the weather not cool nor hot, cloudy and perfect for a hike. Unlike CO trails, the trails here are paved, or staired, so its pretty easy, maybe a bit slippery, but we just hiked straight  up pretty much, taking breathers for old David and Z. Z and I were sweating pretty early into it and I had to try and restrain her from running up as I didnt want her to pass out, and learn to pace herself. We walked in and along the stream and a cypress forest. Our trails met with the crowds at a giant cypress tree were we along with everyone took our picture. We kept walking to a forest canopy observation trail where we walked along the cypress heights, seeing what plants live off the cypress limbs and to sounds of unseen birds. A few teenagers would scream to hear their own voice which was the only bother. On the walk down I had to carry Z on my back and at the bottom was a restaurant where we lunched a modest 5 course meal. After lunch I bought some wild mountain vegetables (the curly insides of ferns which are edible) and noted fruit I had not seen anywhere else. We boarded the bus and continued to a lake, where Z and walked around, took some pics back on the bus to a tea shop, than a coffee shop, bought a yellow orchid that is now in my kitchen. Lots of bus, too much bus.

We ended the day in the most boring tour. I had no idea it could get so boring. After the bus company laid into us as we were tired and helpless, laying into us with product after product of magical creams for whitening the skin or for tired muscles and mosquito bites, etc, endless in your face buy this try this, they dropped us off at a factory. I guess its the most famous food factory in Taiwan and they had us look at boxes in their storage room before shepherding us into a room with a movie screen, and I knew I couldnt sit through that. I stood outside the door as they tried to get me to go inside. David tried to explain to the staff I wouldnt understand, but I countered that I could, I just thought that this whole concept would bore me to tears. So Z and I played hide and seek in the vicinity, Chin-chin and his mom also walked out a while later. Turned out it was more advertising to  buy more of their foods at cheaper than store prices.

More bus than dinner, a not very exciting dinner somewhere outside of Tainan and we were dropped off around 845 pm and I was exhausted. I very much enjoyed the fresh mt air, the lunch, seeing the cypress and bamboo forests, walking around the lake. I could of done w/o all the in my face advertising, the stop at the food factory. But it was a different experience I got to share with Z and David and Amy and I am grateful.

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