Tuesday, June 29, 2010

count down continued...#94

#94 Setting Sail

Though our time in Keelung was wet and dreary, we were able to see the coast and capture a few good photos. The harbor comes right up to the city center near the train station. The city lights cast beautifully over the large fishing boats anchored for the night. Love seeing the sea, and imagining home (at least our home country) on the other side of this ocean (the Pacific).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

market experiences.

#96 Flower Power
There is a flower market here in Hsinchu that we would frequent when we first arrived. The flowers and plants were so beautiful - especially the many varieties of orchids. The purchase of our first orchid began as a very successful one. The flowers were beautiful and continued to bloom for nearly 2 months. Then one day a bud started to dry up and soon all the flowers fell off. Although dry and ugly for a few months, the flower seems to be growing a new stem and leaves - there's still some hope for flowers before we leave!

#95 Lobster anyone?
As our first visit to a fish market, we thought it fitting to order some fresh seafood for dinner. None of the restaurants offered menus, just a giant tank in front displaying their "menu" of sorts. We found one that looked promising and decided on lobster. We pointed out which one we wanted, the woman weighed it then ushered us to a table while a young boy took our lobster to the kitchen. Not long after, we were served a steaming bowl of soup and a tray of lobster meat (a very small tray). The soup was actually the remaining lobster - all of it - in a buttery, chicken broth! We fished around for what little meat we could find in the soup. The most surprising part of all was the price. We were at a fish market on the coast - where sea food is plenty, and this little lobster set us back nearly $50US!

94 days.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

96 days.

#97 Fruit Galore
Taiwan - the land of 1000 fruits
Okay, maybe not, but we have an abundance of fruit available right next door. I love being able to stop by the fruit stand on my way in for the night just to grab a piece to snack on.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's about that time...

for us to move on to our next adventure.

We have decided to leave Taiwan after our contract ends and do some traveling around Southeast Asia.

In the spirit of paying tribute to this country and our time here, we'll be posting (or at least attempting to) a picture a day for our final 100 days. Since I'm a little late - 97 days remaining in country - here are three photos to get you started.

#100 Scooters, scooters everywhere.

#99 beautiful banyan tree

#98 hanging out with new friends at the Rice Noodle Festival

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recent Happenings

Dinner at the Leo's

A few weeks ago, Sherry and her family invited us to join them for dinner. It was a cooking lesson for me and a Mahjong lesson for Daniel. When we arrived, Sherry's mother was making pizza. She taught me how to make pizza in a frying pan on the stove, which is surprisingly easy and delicious. Then we started to cook dinner, but I was distracted by learning Japanese with Grandma. After dinner Jason taught (rather tried to teach) Daniel Chinese Chess. Unfortunately, the game requires memorizing some Chinese characters so it's going to take some practice. Once dinner was cleaned up, the "grown-ups" played Mahjong - which was really funny because Sherry, who's the translator, didn't quite understand how to play and was struggling to explain it to Dan. After a few rounds, he got the hang of it. The night ended with a Tai Chi lesson.

Western Style Cooking Lesson

This past weekend we went back to the Leo's for a Western style meal. Sherry's mother wanted to learn how to cook steaks "Western style." So we had a great meal, complete with baked potatoes, green beans, broccoli, salad, rolls, and American beer. The family had a great time enjoying some of our favorites. We even got them to eat raw broccoli for the first time (in the salad), and the baked potatoes were a hit.

Making Zongzi - Rice Dumplings

After dinner Sunday we stopped by Shao Hu's house and learned how to make zongzi with Sherry's aunt. These rice dumplings are a traditional food eaten mostly during Dragon Boat Festival.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sun Moon Lake

This past weekend, our school sponsored a trip to Sun Moon Lake for all employees. We took advantage of this opportunity to visit one of the must-see places in Taiwan. The rain held off and the sun appeared, making for a fun day with friends.

We left early, 7:20am, taking a bus south to Nantou County. The ride took about 2.5 hours to get to the Aboriginal Cultural Center. In essence, this is an aboriginal themed amusement park...fully equipped with roller coasters and street venders. We headed first to the gondola ride that takes visitors to the actual lake. This is where traveling with a group pays off...our tour guide lead us straight to the front of the line and we boarded in less than 20 minutes, while others waited upwards of an hour to board. The gondola ride is about 5 minutes and goes up and over a few hills/mountains, before opening up to this vast lake.

The gondola made for spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains - these pictures don't do it justice.

We took an afternoon boat ride around the island then wondered around the market for lunch. After we had our fill of the lake, we headed back to the amusement park for some rides and other fun. Here are a few shots from the day...

Our day ended with a a wonderful buffet in nearby Taichung. It was nice to be able to just sit and talk with these people we've worked so closely with over the past few months. We had a great day and enjoyed getting to know some of our co-workers better.