|My Family, Chiang Kai Shek Entrance Gate|
It took them six years but they made it to Taiwan, finally. I really didn't expect them to. I figured my brother when he and his Korean wife moved back to Seoul, he would be the first family member to come visit. My Mom couldn't fathom sitting on a plane so long, my Dad is still working and my brother Ed suffers from seizures which are exacerbated by stresses, spikes in his blood sugar (as well as gluten). Then out of the blue about a year ago during one of our weekly Skype sessions my mom revealed she voluntarily wanted to fly out and see is. It was nothing short of a miracle.
My Dad sent me a message from Narita airport their plane would be delayed one hour, it wasn't. And I didn't know which airline they flew, so didn't know which terminal they were. Anyways, after some time, I found them, exhausted of course and quickly bought bus tickets to Banciao and got off at Fujong. I booked two nights at the Jade Hotel. It actually was harder to book tickets for all of us because I didn't want my bro to sleep alone (in case of seizures) and I wanted my folks to have a room to themselves, which seems easy enough, but most all the available places charged an 8 year child as an adult and wouldn't allow to add an extra bed. The Jade Hotel has kids under 12 free and also could add an extra bed. The rooms were smaller than the photos, but it was clean, staff was nice and it was conveniently located near the Fujong MRT station. It was next to a large EsLite Bookstore with shopping and places to eat everywhere.
|Night Market adjacent to Jade Hotel and Eslite Bookstore|
The Jade Hotel is within walking distance (about 10 minutes) to the sublime Lin Family Mansion and Gardens (林本源園邸). That day and the next happened to be record breaking high temperatures in all of Taiwan and the highest was where we were at in Banciao. It showed. All of us were sweating buckets, my folks were in shock: culture shock, climate shock coupled with jet lag. They dragged their feet the whole time but were happy troopers.
|Family Portrait, Lin Family Mansion|
|Me with my daughter, Lin Family Mansion|
After the heat and hunger made us restless, we walked back to the Hotel via the traditional market. My mom bought a hat, my Dad an umbrella and each of us a sweat handkerchief. Z and I pointed out various foods an by the end of it they had a couple of bags of apples, mangos and lunch boxes. My father spoiled my daughter, carrying her on his sweaty shoulders. We were turning heads wherever we went.
|Ed watching my Dad carry Z in the market|
On the way back to Jade Hotel we got off to see the square at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial (中正紀念堂) so by time we arrived at Fulong station it was dinner time. Finding food everyone liked proved tricky. My brother is on a gluten free, low-glycemic diet to help control his seizures (a modified Ketogenic Diet) which means even white rice will spike his blood sugar. As for my mom, she too is gluten free, but as a lifestyle choice and even tho they wanted western food, it was all wheat of course and thus impossible. Z and I thought Sushi Express would be a safe bet. My mom just had the miso, Ed just had a plate of broccoli and my Dad just had the tea, so dinner that night was not a success, but they were all good sports. I think they were too jet lagged and dehydrated for any kind of appetite, so they just had fruit in their hotel.
|My Dad observing, Sushi Express|
I promised them Tainan would have more food options. The next day we took our time checking out, made it to Taipei Main Station and took the lunchtime Kavalan bus to Jiaoxi, Yilan County.