Over Chinese New Year we made a special trip to Taipei to spend a day with Ben and Andy’s host family. As they have done before, they planned a delightful day for us with fabulous and abundant food and interesting places to see.
We started off by taking a group photo. It took a couple of tries!
There we go! Not having one of those little flags that tourists groups use to herd everyone together, someone would just raise their arm and we’d all follow. From left: Host Parents, Meredith and I, host brother and sister, host cousins
We first went to one of our favorite restaurants, Din Tai Feng, which is famous for it’s xiaolongbao or soup dumplings. We have branches in Shanghai, but this lunch was at the original restaurant, a typical multi-story, cramped, and packed Chinese restaurant. The new ones are slick, Western style.
After lunch, we took the subway to a small, but beautiful glass museum, the perfect place for people from a town known for it’s glass!
The glass museum
Meredith and I got to learn how to make glass beads:
Bead making is harder than it looks! A bit like chewing gum and rubbing the top of your head at the same time.
Takes a lot of concentration
While we waited for our beads to cool, we walked over to a nearby temple.
So did everyone else!
It was a beautiful and fabulously decorated temple
One of the ceilings
Some more of the exterior decoration
We then took a walk in a nature preserve near a river. There was also a market in the preserve and we got to sample some of their wares.
This guy is squeezing sugar cane. The juice was delicious!
Some more of the snacks available–heavy on the meat and fried foods!
You wouldn’t think so by looking at these snacks, but people in Taipei are much thinner than people here in Shanghai!
It was now time to go back and see how the beads turned out.
Meredith’s is on the left, mine is on the right. As you can see, getting a bead that’s actually round takes some skill.
Next we went off to explore the Shilin night market
Nope, we weren’t alone there either!
Loved this mailbox we saw on the way. Must be they get a lot of junk mail too.
We’d like this rule enforced in Shanghai!!
Tasty fish balls
Lots of displays of colorful fruit for fruit salad
Bumpy colorful fruits (or maybe they’re vegetables)
The story of an expat in China’s internet life, on a T-shirt!
The Chinese love their crabs!
These tasted like round pancakes!
After our pre-meal snacks we headed off to a fish restaurant where you got to pick your fish.
- Nobody was buying the big fish
Or this huge scary crab
One of their services was pulling the legs off the live crab and then hacking them up.
Here’s the crabs we got to eat.
Fully stuffed, we said goodbye and headed back to our respective homes. A really lovely day had been had by all.
And although Chinese New Year is over, I have to post this fabulous mail envelope for Year of the Snake
And finally–happy 18th birthday to my dear daughter. I no longer have any babies! 😦