Capital adventures

By marchmont

Taiwan Day 2 - International Women's Day

Despite the many visits to SE Asia I'm still not good at rice, noodles, congee, braised veg and fries for breakfast so it was limp white bread toast and tea for me.

We were all ready to leave at 9.30 but the bus was late so it was nearly 10 by the time we picked up the family (except Gordon who decided to stay 'home' and work) and got going.

The day was spent driving to various locations east of Pingtung City. First stop was a near deserted and drizzly Hakka Cultural Centre. And the first group photo of the trip was at the lake, all the females in the group for International Women's Day. It was an odd place that is probably busy at other times. There was an art exhibition and info about tobacco growing and rice paddies. And nothing in English, which is quite refreshing in a way.

Then to the 'Pork Knuckle' for lunch. Lots of food, most of it pork. Apparently it is a great exponent of a particular way of cooking pork. Dessert was sweet sticky rice filled with red bean paste.

Rain caused a slight delay and an alteration to the itinerary as we headed to the Wanjin Basilica. And the sun came out. It was interesting as of course our group are mainly Buddhist although one aunt was educated in a convent school. I found myself explaining the Stations of the Cross and Ash Wednesday.

The next stop was tricky as our big bus couldn't negotiate the narrow roads so a detour and a short walk was required. We were visiting a house dedicated to a famous Chinese comic stop artist, kind of like Chinese 'The Broons'. It is also a cafe so there was a refuelling stop while we looked at the wall art.

Back on the bus and of up into the hills to visit a village built after a typhoon destroyed a tribal community. The aboriginal people are mainly Christian so both the Presbyterian and Catholic churches had played a part in funding the relocation. I ducked out of the group for bit to spend time looking at the series of slate carvings telling the stories associated with the village, in Chinese and English. And I got 'hellos" from a couple of the local kids, who had great English.

The last stop, after a stunning sunset, was for dinner in a restaurant in the hills with a great view over a riverbed, and huge mosquitos. Pork, soup, tofu, roast chicken that as tradition demanded was pulled apart by an uncle with two pairs of gloves on, shrimps, fish, morning glory, and sweet soup of millet and longan all accompanied with beer, Taiwan and Heineken.

The kids were understandably tired but I did try and show Olivia the stars, Orion was the only one clearly visible.

Then back to the hotel to get ready for the main event tomorrow. We're leaving at 6.10!

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