Family in Taiwan Round 1

March 7-9, 2015

I am very lucky because not one, but three of my family members decided to come to visit me in Taiwan. Due to scheduling reasons they were not able to all come at the same time, but I was able to find subs for my classes for both of their visits. First to come were my dad and sister!

On Saturday, March 14th I went to the airport to pick-up my dad and sister, but not without fighting my way through a crowded train and train station. I had to go to the Taichung HSR station to get to the airport. There was also a national lantern festival going on at the Taichung HSR station at the same time. I jammed myself onto a packed local train that took me to the HSR station and then I had to fight through another crowd to get my ticket and then get on the HSR. I made it to the airport and was there to greet my dad and sister. Seeing them was so surreal.

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I couldn’t believe I had them there in the flesh. After some happy hugs and tears I rushed us all back to the HSR station and faced another type of crowd on return to the Taichung HSR station. This crowd was lined up and ready to leave the festival. There was a huge line for the taxis and that was what I was going to use to get us back to Fengyuan. After speaking to a taxi driver I agreed upon 1,500NT. The most outrageous taxi price I have heard of in Taiwan. We were definitely getting screwed, but there was no other way to get home quickly. After the taxi driver dropped off another passenger in the Fengjia area he headed to Fengyuan at lightening speed. I was a little bit fearful for my life, but we really didn’t have any other choice.

Back in Fengyuan I got them settled into their hotel and then went home to get some rest before a busy week.

On Sunday morning, we got on the train to Chunghua and started walking towards the large Buddha. I don’t know what it is about that city but I always get stopped and asked to take a picture with someone. My sister is tall, blonde, and blue-eyed so it was even worse than usual.

The Literary Pathway

The Literary Pathway

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

After strolling around the Buddha area we made our way to the Chunghua Bus Station and waited for a bus to Lukang. It was so full that my dad had to stand up by the driver and just hold on for dear life. In Lukang, I walked my dad and sister around. I had them taste some Taiwanese street food while walking through the old streets. At one of the temples in Lukang there was a celebration going on, so my dad and sister were able to see a few performances and a small celebration parade. When we were walking around the other temple a Taiwanese woman attempted to drag my sister to the front of a huge crowd that was giving sacrifices to a god. I had to yell at my sister to follow me and I walked them out of the temple area. I wanted to cut her blonde hair off then and there.

Having walked around for quite awhile we finally sat down and waited for my friend Oliver, who lives in Lukang, to meet up with us. Oliver arrived and we exchanged quick hellos before wandering over to a U-bike station and renting bikes that would take us out to the glass temple. Of course, one of our Easycards wouldn’t register on the U-bike station, so with the help of a Taiwanese man we were able to register it again and starting bicycling.

We took our time walking through the Glass Temple and the Glass Museum located right next to it. Soon enough it was time for dinner so we bicycled back to Lukang and met up with Oliver’s co-workers at a local hot pot restaurant in Lukang. This was a frustrating and amusing experience for me. My sister is a very picky eater so pretty much anything I would order her she wouldn’t like. (I eventually gave up later that week.) So, we just had to order food and go with it. Then I found out that my dad and sister hadn’t been practicing with chopsticks, so watching them try to eat was funny (at least I thought it was). With full bellies we said our goodbyes and headed back to Chunghua and then Fengyuan.

It had been a busy first day and we were about to have many more ahead of us.

On Monday morning, we got back on the train, but this time we headed to Taichung to catch a bus towards Sun Moon Lake. At the lake we rented scooters and were off! I was very happy since I was on a newer scooter that scooted like I was on air. We stopped at the temple and then made our way to the cable cars. Although the ride is a bit spendy, 300NT each (10USD), we still did it. It was less than appealing for me. I am not a fan of heights and it was a windy day so the cable car was swinging back and forth. We got off at the end of the ride to walk around, but all we found was the entrance of a small “tribal” amusement park. We got back on the cable car to return to our scooters.

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We continued on our way. I showed them the wharf where we got to eat more Taiwanese street food. Then we arrived to what I was waiting for all day. The Cien Pagoda. I wasn’t able to see it the last time I was at Sun Moon Lake, so this time I made sure we had time to walk up the mountain to the pagoda. We also got to ring the gong at the top of the pagoda for good luck and happiness.

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Once we were done looking at things we went back to the bus stop and got on the tour bus. Back in Fengyuan we went to Creme for dinner. I didn’t want to veer away from Taiwanese food, but I needed to put some food in my sister.

After dinner I scooted my family to my school to at least show them the outside of where I work. Then we packed our bags and went to bed. It was off to Taipei area the next day!