Friday, April 04, 2008

First Days in Taiwan

(Paul & Juliet; their home; the pool)

We took the high-speed train to Kaohsiung. Our first glimpse of Taiwan outside the airport was of rice paddies and farms, palms, warehouses, a few mysteriously posh apartment buildings in the middle of nowhere. Then I fell asleep.
Paul met us at the train station and drove us to their apartment complex-community just ouside the city (near a village called Bird's Nest in Chinese). It is gorgeous: A waterfall and fishpond, landscaped pool, towering palms. The townhouse-style buildings are set on both sides of narrow avenues lined by potted plants.

Right away Paul drove us in his trusty Zace (1st photo) up to an open-air cafe high above the ocean; waves as far as we could see, patios and fingers of rock far below. We chatted and sipped delicious coffee and jujube-longan iced teas. Richard hit it off with the owner, Omar, because he's from El Salvador and Richard once wrote a song about the massacres at El Mazote.
Nearby, nestled in the hilltops, were a university, some temples, and the old British Embassy (which we saw later).

When Juliet returned from teaching her English students late in the day, she brought a lovely bouquet for our guest room (2nd photo). We woke to a relaxing, yummy brunch of her cooking: tofu with greens and mushrooms, squash cooked in coconut milk, pineapple juice, and toast slathered with rose jelly and sugarcane-sweetened peanut butter made by Juliet's mum in the Philipines.

We went to a small food market tucked into an alley for some fruit (4th photo), then to an orchid greenhouse/nursery. Orchids grow very well in Taiwan. They blossom best if taken up into the mountains for several weeks, then brought back down into the humid air. The ones Juliet and Paul buy for their apartment last for weeks, even months.

While Juliet attended a school seminar, we went with Paul to the local "junk market". That'll be part of my next post...


tweetey30 said...

Wow. If Jeff and I get to go to
France in the next few years we are going to have some great news to swap. Oh by the way Boy does Paul look like Richard. I had to take a double look when I passed that one.

SME said...

That's what everybody said...all the boys look a lot alike, just like Richard's dad. Some people thought Richard was Paul's older brother. ;D

tshsmom said...

Yeah, you can't hardly tell the boys apart when you look at their baby pictures. Aaron says it's easy to tell them apart....he's the tallest! ;)

Gardenia said...

Looks beautiful - how maybe that's the way to go - since all our jobs are going overseas, maybe we should all move and take them back?

Courtney said...

Okay, I want ALL of those orchids... :D

SME said...

Aaron would say that. Turkey. ;P

Heehee, Gardenia, I wonder what would happen if Canadians and Americans suddenly migrated en masse to Asia? I think they'd treat us like we treat Asian immigrants; they'd accuse us of eating their pets, wonder if every teenager they saw was part of a "Canadian gang", and tell us we all look alike!

Courtney, I felt exactly the same way...