Alright, so my dad just sent out a quick summary of what we did on my trip to Taiwan, so I think I'll just copy that & embellish it with my thoughts & pictures & stuff where I see fit. (Because that's just how lazy I am. Also, I don't have a proper computer chair yet in my office & I'm pretty sure some carpal tunnel is in my future if I don't keep it short.) So here's papa's summation: "Celeste came to visit us and we took her to a few close places that are unique to Asia. 1) Taipei 101 Tower and fastest elevator in the world. (Freaking amazing. There is also one of the best malls there that I never got a chance to shop, and it was Taipei Fashion Week of all things. I was DYING to go to everysingle fashion show they were having, but it didn't happen. :( Really cool regardless.) 2) Wulai waterfall and a Chinese market street. (Beautiful & freaky respectively. Everyone there was telling me how they had the best food there, and yes, some nice restaurants we went to were amazing, but most of what they're proud of is the street vendor food, including chicken feet, chicken with heads still attached, chicken butts (not kidding), snake soup, very small snails, grubs, warm drinks with gelatin cubes that do a darn good impression of ice cubes to the untrained eye, and many other unidentifiable food products.) 3) Zoo and Panda bears. (Also amazing, I'd definitely put the Taipei zoo up there with San Diego, it was fantastic. I thought a zoo might not be much fun without Sawyer to ooh & awe at everything, but apparently I'm still 3 years old when it comes to animals. I thoroughly enjoyed it. When you walk in, they hand you a paper with your appointment to see the Pandas, at that time, you join the other 3000 people in line and are rushed past the pandas by zoo security at a pace that didn't allow my dad to even get one picture of them. It was great though, Chinese people are funny.) 3) (yes, my dad did put #3 twice, he's so stinking cute.) The National Palace Museum; when Chiang Kai-Shek left Mainland China he brought many very old artifacts and artwork. Cooking pots and stuff that is several thousand years old. We also visited his residence (one of many). (I'm not a big museum gal, but this was definitely cool. It was great to see all the craftsmanship and beauty of simple ancient tools, I can't imagine taking the time to make things that beautiful during that time. It's crazy.
4)The Martyrs Shrine; just in time to witness the changing of the guard ceremony. (fanTASTic! When I grow up I want to practice marching 9 hours a day. And wear a mirrored helmet. Seriously these guys were awesome, not a single mistake, and I was looking for them. You can see the train tracks from their years & years of hourly marching.) 5) two very nice Chinese dinners, thanks to our LDS cab driver and the temple engineer and his family. (freaking yum, although I must say that shabu shabu or hot pot dining is much more trouble than its worth in my book.) Sunday while Joyce taught piano, Celeste and I went to the Craft store at the hospital and was able to see some of the great artwork the Chinese do. (and were able to have great talks & father/daughter time, something I forgot how much I love/missed.) We went to Longshan Temple (Taoist) and to Snake Alley. (these were both really, really cool. It was weird at the temple to see people worshiping in such a public setting, there were as many tourists as worshipers, but they didn't seem at all inconvenienced by people snapping pictures of them at their temple. Very odd to me. I kinda didn't like being there for that reason. At snake alley, another famous night market there is this one restaurant that specializes is snake meat products and has a pair of boa constrictors out front to draw a crowd. The snake-wrangler girl was pure entertainment, I didn't understand a word, but she was an awesome show-woman.) Monday we used the High speed train (up to 260 miles per hour. Wish we had those here.) and went to Tainan and saw the forts that was used to defend Tainan, the first Chinese settlement in Taiwan. Tuesday we went to Yeliou on the North shore and saw the Mushroom rocks and other strange rock formations created by the force of tide and waves. (Yeliou was probably my favorite of all. The coast there is primarily sandstone & it is like no other place I've seen or every heard of. I felt like I was on another planet.) Then we continued along the north shore to where the Danshuei river empties into Taiwan strait. Spent some time visiting the many shops there (I had soaked my shoes, socks & bottom part of my pants through at Yeliou, and was kinda miserable until my cute mom insisted on buying me not one, not two, but three pairs of socks. The cute lady who took us on this excursion was so sweet, she emptied her entire package of kleenex from her purse to line my wet shoes with, then we shoved my thrice-stockinged feet in my poor wet old man shoes and I was nice & cozy the entire rest of the night. What a difference dry feet make. And being babied a bit by your mama doesn't hurt either.) and then rode the train home to get ready for her return to the US and our trip to Malaysia. When she went to the airport; we went with her and went to Malaysia." Long story short- my parents are the greatest, Taiwan is awesome & I am so grateful to have been able to go on this trip. My husband insisted, my sisters & neice took care of my girl and I didn't worry about her a bit thanks to them. And my blog-readers told me I was a 'tard if I didn't go. So yeah, thanks for that.