Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mid-Autumn Festival...

Click on the photo album below to see pictures of my trip to "Sun Moon Lake" and celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival in Taichung with Eddie's family. (Even though there was a typhoon, we still BBQ-ed!)

Mid-Autumn Festival & Sun Moon Lake

Morning Market...

A morning market is an experiment in barely controlled chaos. Grandmothers carrying their little granchildren and pulling shopping carts haggle with shop vendors and pick through fresh produce. The smell of fish, herbs, ripening fruit and freshly slaughtered meat mixes with the exhaust from the scooters and the aroma of breakfast shops. The melody of hawkers luring in customers, vendors and patrons bargaining and the intermittent honking of horns produces a cacophony that overwhelms and envelops you.

As I meander through the market, I'm greeted with one of two reactions: curious stares or a quick glance and dismissal- "Just another tourist, not a serious shopper. Obviously not worth my time!'

The few stalls I do stop at compliment me on my Chinese (which I know is just politeness) and ask about where I come from and what I'm doing here in Taiwan.

I make my way to the fruit vendor where I do my weekly shopping. This week fresh passion fruit is in season, so I buy a half-dozen for later. The vendor assures me they're sweet, even if they aren't I will still enjoy eating them - it's something that's rather hard to find in Michigan!

Sunday Morning Market

Field Trip to 小人國!

I really didn't get a break from school all summer as I got (had) to go to Mandarin classes! Having class all summer can be rough-- especially when all of your friends are on vacation. So we my class decided to spice things up and we did a variety of activities and took some field trips.

One of our field trips was to "Window On China" (小人國) a very eclectic park in Taoyuan County. I'd never been anyplace like it before! It was fun taking lots of silly pictures with all the mini-statues. Even better were the water rides and small amusement park in the "second" half of the park.

We made lots of good memories that day, including:

1) Small children staring at me (some of them cried when I tried to say "hello"!), but the Junior High School students were so curious! They tried to guess where we were all from (few of them guessed successfully!) But everyone said our Mandarin Teacher, Annie, was definitely from Thailand. She is Taiwanese!

2) My Korean classmate, Nancy, teaching me how to correctly imitate Buddha with the "Give me money" hand gesture!

3) Getting soaked on the log ride--- drying out in the HOT HOT HOT sun, and then going back and getting soaked again!

It was such a fun day! And definitely made having to go to school all summer bearable!