Monday, June 15, 2009


More of the tunnels.

Watch out for those rocks!

This is supposed to look like a frog and the pagoda is the frog's crown.

Crazy ants trying to drag a dead stick bug into their ant hill. Dad and I tried to help them in their feat but probably only made things worse by jamming the dead bug into a crack, oops!

more from Taroko

Here are a few more pictures from the majestic Taroko Gorge.This area of the gorge is called the tunnel of nine turns. There was a rock slide before we went so all the tourists had to wear hard hats as they walked through. Sparrows nest in the cracks in the rocks. There were so many flying about feeding their little chicks.

Mom and I coming out of the water curtain cave.

The one thing that will continually amaze/annoy me about Taiwan is the sheer number and amount of people everywhere. You can never get away from the people! When I go back to Vancouver I will probably have reverse culture shock because we are so used to having so much space. Taiwan is about the size of Vancouver Island with a population of 23 million people. Apparently, the Taiwanese feel that foreigners live a lonelier life because we like our personal space and time to ourselves. They are always used to having people around them at all times. It is nearly impossible to find a one bedroom apartment in Taiwan because it is unheard of for people to live on their own. Many families still live with their parents and grandparents. One of the questions I teach in my beginner's class is "How many people are there in your family?" So many of the kids reply with "There are 9 (10 or up to 11) people in my family; they are my mother, father, 2 brothers, grandmother, grandfather.....etc and me." It is going to take forever to do our demo when all the kids have to present to their parents.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Taroko Gorge

Crazy Sunday!

Went hiking up spectacular Yangmingshan with Katie yesterday. Just can't get enough of the Dr.Seus trees, stinky sulphur vents and majestic tree ferns. It's like going on a mossy stairmaster for an hour.
Met up with Danielle and Chris for dinner and found ANOTHER pub with Guiness on tap and POUTINE! I can now be a complete and happy person. Have you ever seen me look this joyful before?

Dragon Boat Festival

Here are a few pictures from the Dragon Boat festival when my parents came to visit. The first day was pretty relaxed. We decided to see the main sights of Taipei. I took them up Taipei 101 (my second visit) and then to Ximending for some shopping and beers.

The next day I thought I would take them up Yang Ming Shan. I absolutely love this hike and have done it 3 times now. It is one of my favorite things to do in Taiwan so far. I think mom found it a little grueling but dad loved it! It's a bit like Taipei's version of the Grouse Grind but a million times prettier and more interesting.

The bus ride off the mountain was crazy. Because it was a holiday everyone was out hiking so we didn't have any seats, the bus was crammed and the road was incredibly windy . Mom claimed it was one of the craziest bus rides she had ever been on.

After the hike we decided to head back to Taoyuan. I had never taken the train back to Taoyuan from Taipei (only the bus). So I wasn't totally sure how to do it. We asked a couple of people to help us and they sent us on the wrong train. We were going in the right direction, the only problem was the train did not stop in Taoyuan, it just flew by my train station. It turned out we were on the express train to Taichung which is another city halfway down the country! Thankfully, Taiwan is not that big so it was only a 2 hour train ride and another 2 hours back. We made it back to Taoyuan by 10pm, just enough time to take my parents to Great White Shark one of my favorite places to eat in Taoyuan.
Dad and I posing along the east coast highway.

Mom and I in a tunnel in Taroko Gorge.

This is a town we stopped at for a nasty seafood lunch along the east coast on our way to Taroko Gorge. We ordered our food by pointing at the seafood tanks in front of the restaurant. We got some gross tiny crabs, prawns with heads, eyes, shells intact (yes...I ate prawns, my environmental morals are going downhill) whole squids complete with ink sacs and eye balls and topped it all off with a water, ginger, oyster soup. Mom and I stayed clear of the squid but Dad actually ate most of them. The plate was left with a pool of black ink, mmm-mmm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mom and Dad in Taiwan

Mom and Dad came and visited me for the 4 day Dragon boat festival. It was a very fast trip but we managed to fit in as much as possible. I loved having them here and it was so nice to be spoiled and sleep in a REAL bed! They left early this morning. That means back to work for me.