Taiwan 2010-11, Monday – Thursday

This was my first time taking a direct flight from the states to Taipei and I gotta say, it’s nice not having that inconvenient break in the middle. Movie selection was kind of meh so I slept most of the time. For breakfast we had a choice of either “scramble egg” or “pork rice porridge.” I’m glad I opted for the western style (which included potatoes, scrambled eggs, and sausage) because the rice porridge looked like prison food. All in all, thank God for a smooth flight without obnoxious crying babies (there was a baby nearby, but it slept for the most part; such a guai hai zi).

We (my sister and I) arrived in Taiwan around 6am local time on Monday. We waited for my mom and brother to arrive an hour later before getting driven back to my dad’s new apartment. My dad’s new apartment is quite nice and modern, and he finally has a washing machine (he’s been handwashing for at least 5 years). I also browsed through his rather small CD collection and discovered he has a Bryan Adams album.

Later in the day we went to my grandma’s house to meet up with some more relatives for lunch. From there we went to Nan Liao, which is famous for a “17 km scenic coastline.” It was a nice walk, but not much else.

For dinner we ate at a restaurant inside a department store (Da Yuan Bai). It was called the Skylark Restaurant and supposedly served California cuisine. Not sure if any of the food was really uniquely Californian, but it was pretty good nonetheless, and unlike most Asian Americans, I actually savor the opportunities to eat western food in Taiwan because a lot of “good Taiwanese food” is not to my liking (e.g. seafood, meat with bones, chicken feet, etc). Call me whitewashed. I forget what we did after dinner, but I was pretty much conked out from jetlag.

On Tuesday we celebrated my grandma’s 91st birthday at my dad’s apartment! This was particularly special because all 7 aunts got to meet together, and at one point we had 8/9 aunts and uncles together. So that was pretty cool, moreso for my mom than the rest of us, but that’s okay. I took lots of pictures and tried practicing shooting with manual focus. We had lunch and dinner at fancy restaurants, which means I didn’t really like most of the food, but fortunately nobody really gave me any beef (ha-ha, no pun intended) about it, except my mom of course. I was pretty much half-asleep for dinner; still jetlagged.

Before relatives started coming I set up my dad’s new iMac, although it could hardly be called “setting up” because Apple has made the mac dead simple. While setting it up, I couldn’t help but admire the build quality and feel of this piece of machinery. Whether you love or hate Apple, you have to admit that its products are nice and pretty. And that’s enough for most people to want them.

On Wednesday morning we went and bought a wireless router and set it up, so now my dad’s apartment has wifi. His drastic computer upgrade is now almost complete; I just remembered we have yet to configure his wireless printer that came with the mac. In the early afternoon, my dad came back from work and we made our way to Shitou. We stopped by the 921 Earthquake Museum which was actually pretty interesting. The museum is built on a site that was severely affected by the major earthquake that took place on September 21, 1999. I’ll post pictures later.

In the evening when we arrived at Shitou, we checked into our hotel, had dinner, and then attended a night tour, which was mostly pretty boring. The only interesting part was seeing the stars against the black of night, and catching glimpses of tree frogs inside bamboo poles with water inside. I was able to catch a photo of one of the frogs before it retreated deeper inside the darkness of the bamboo tube, but unfortunately my camera settings were completely whack because I was shooting in manual mode for night photos (most of which turned out to be garbage), and so shooting a flashlight illuminated frog resulted in massive washing out :(

Today (Thursday), we hiked around Shitou, which is mostly forests on a mountain. Took lots of photos and tried to become more accustomed with actually using settings on my camera instead of shooting in auto and program modes. We’ll see how those turned out…

Sorry this post is kind of boring, but hopefully in the next one I’ll compile some more “funny” things.

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