Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lin Family Mansion

Every day while taking the MRT (read: subway) I pass a stop that proudly advertises the Lin Family Mansion. Interestingly, my surname in Chinese is "Lin"-- but I never knew my family had a Mansion! One Saturday afternoon (after a traumatizing haircut) Eddie decided to cheer me up by visiting the mansion.

The buildings and gardens reminded me of some of the mansions we visited in SuZhou in China. Everything was designed taking balance and feng shui into consideration, the man-made mountains are reflected in a man-made lake.

For me the highlights of our visit were: the peacocks (reminds me of being a kid at the Saginaw zoo); the theater, which is two large covered porches set across from each other with a man-made pond in between; and the calligraphy inscribed on some of the walls, I can read some of the characters now!

Would I make a special trip to Taipei just to visit the Lin Family Mansion?? Nope. But if you're spending some time here and it's a great place for an interesting and relaxing afternoon.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Taipei Flower Show

Being from Michigan it seems strange to hold an outdoor flower show in JANUARY, but this is Taiwan :-) My hometown is still buried under a foot of snow, and I'm spending a sunny Saturday afternoon exploring the 2008 Taipei Flower Show in Daan Park in Taipei City.

The flowers themselves were beautiful. I proudly showed off my limited gardening knowledge by identifying the flowers I recognized, i.e. lilies, petunias, roses, etc. I was surprised how BIG some of plants were. I'm always seeing "exotic" flowers that we attempt to grow in Michigan that are huge here. Poinsettias grow like weeds here!

In addition to the flowers, I really enjoyed seeing the creative displays - including a Peter Pan pirate ship complete with a giant crocodile! It was a treat to see Taipei natives relaxing as families in the park. Too often everyone here seems so busy! (It's a big city;-) So seeing parents playing with their kids on a Saturday afternoon was nice.

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