Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in Taroko

We had a much-needed break from work for the Thanksgiving holiday, so headed up to Taroko National Park on the east coast of Taiwan for some hiking and biking.  It was so wonderful- fun people, good scenery, and lots of fresh air and laughter. 

 This is Hualien, the coastal town we stopped in on our way to Taroko.  The mountain scenery was fantastic.

On the way to a trail in Taroko National Park, we climbed down into the river bed to look around.

The suspension bridge was not scary at all...until the middle where the rails were only about waist-high.

There were lots of signs like this one, so we did as we were told.
After two days in Taroko, we caught a train up to Taipei along the coast.  There, we broke off from the group in search of a hot spring resort.  We found one in Yangmingshan (outside of Taipei), and spent the night.  In the morning we stopped by Longshan Temple before we caught the high speed train home to Kaohsiung.
 I will try to upload some video clips from inside the temple.  Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was just as fun and relaxing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Royal Tour

I'm trying to do a better job of taking pictures of everything here- our neighborhood, trips we take, and just generally all the great and funny things we see on a daily basis.  But, I am loathe to be that annoying foreigner with a camera.  So, I've taken only a few, and mostly surreptitiously.  Alas!  In my own apartment, I can take as many pictures as I like!  Plus, I owe my Auntie Betty pictures of our apartment.  Here they are:

We have, of course, a thrilling living room, complete with a 10,000lb table.  I am not kidding, that coffee table is a monster.

A sweet teeny kitchen that leads out to our balcony,

Two burner stove, no oven,

Oh, look, I made some noodles with miso, garlic, and tofu.

Bedroom with a REAL bed (not common here, it seems)

A big closet,

 The bike room,

Miniature musical washing machine,

And lastly, our awesome retractable drying rack. Edit: Sorry for the gross lighting conditions.  It was evening, after Ms. Yuki and her cleaning crew left.  If I waited for the weekend and daylight, the place would be trashed again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Butter Lion Birthday

I had a superfun birthday despite working in a country where Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day is not a holiday.  I got mega awesome gifts, had a fantastic dinner, and got an obscene number of "happy birthdays" on facebook.

Birthday awesomeness began when I returned to my office to find a sweet card and Butter Lion gifts on my desk.  My love for Butter Lion knows no bounds.  Doraemon is fairly awesome, too.  Banana Chippy is totally cute, but Butter Lion has stolen my heart forever.  I dare anyone to go to the Butter Lion link and not fall hopelessly in love.

So, awesome Butter Lion trinketry, only to be followed up by complete surprise- a Taiwanese Junior High messenger bag!  All the local teens have these bags, emblazoned with the name of their school.  It's waterproof and sturdy and perfect for riding to and from work.  In response to my dad's annual question, 28 feels pretty great.