Thursday, January 19, 2012

week 68_the Oklahomans in Taipei_DAY 4

Wow... still covering my Mom & Sister's recent trip to Taipei!

I figure now you can all see exactly what you have to look forward to if you ever make it to this friendly Asian island! :) .....and if you will never make it here, you can still consider this a glimpse at a day in the life...

The crew met me for lunch this day. I was working again, but lucky for them Jason was off work again and he is a great tour guide!

Bamboo Shoots at Formosa Chang's
Casual sit-down restaurant selling dirt cheap
traditional Taiwanese food
Chrissie enjoying some 'lu ro fan'
(pork with rice)
Lu Ro Fan, with orange pickled vegetable on the side
[pronounced "loo row fun"] ~~~ This stuff is delicious! 
After lunch, they headed to check out the National Palace Museum ~ an art museum housing countless treasures rescued from destruction in mainland China, and possibly the largest collection of Chinese art in the world. The collection is so large it can never all be on display at one time (they rotate seasonally) and I've heard that the National Palace Museum's vault is probably the most secure location on this entire island! (Looking back, the mainland Chinese would like to have all this artwork back now, of course...)

National Palace Museum - with it's aqua and orange tiled rooftops
Mom with a Chinese lion
Brief glimpse of the grounds
It was raining so unfortunately they did not get to tour the gardens that day

After the National Palace excursion, I am told the ladies entertained themselves by cruising some of the many department stores near our home. No photos of them shopping though ;)

Ah yes, time for me to get off work and join them!
After a long day of walking, we decided to wine & dine the girls at the best spot in town ~ Din Tai Fung ~ a dumpling restaurant that every local and every visitor eats at if they have ever been to Taipei! I know that you can't smell or taste the food in these photos... but I'm craving it even now as I post the pictures!

Window into the kitchen where delicious dumplings are being made!
Dinner together at Din Tai Fung
the most famous restaurant in Taipei, serving Taiwanese food
[1 part soy sauce, 3 parts vinegar + fresh ginger = dipping sauce,
Basket of fresh steamed crab & pork dumplings,
steamed pea shoots, Taiwan beer, tea, Chicken broth soup]

At least you know if you make it to Taipei there is plenty of good food to be found! Ha, I feel like the photos from this day are all food - but of course, that is always the highlight of our vacations, finding the best local food! :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

week 68_the Oklahomans in Taipei_DAY 3

On the third day, the ladies were finally forced to venture out on their own, as the hubby and I were both scheduled to work.

As a moderately easy adventure we decided to send them to the nearby town of Yingge - a mecca for ceramists and all things pottery. From Taipei City, it is easy to take the blue MRT line to the last station (West) Yongning. From there you can take a taxi ride to Yingge Old Ceramics Street, and it's only about 15 minutes drive if I remember correctly. The night before their mini-trip I made sure to write down the names of Yingge and the MRT station in Chinese for the girls so that there would be no confusion.

AND, luckily it seems that they really enjoyed their day in Yingge!

And they're off! Down the escalator into the MRT station!
[The Taipei blue MRT line runs almost entirely underground]
Guess the toilet in the floor was part of their adventure? These are common in older
Asian construction and still considered more sanitary than a Western toilet, as you
never sit down on a surface that others have sat on - you just squat.
Ladies, for those of you who've never tried it, imagine holding your purse and toilet
while squatting over a hole in the ground with your clothes down, trying not to touch
the floor.... challenging!
Ah! They made it to Yingge Old Ceramics Street. Love the cobblestones.
Some pottery on display. 
Art and ceramics are everywhere there! It's a fun place to visit :)
And the ladies even enjoyed a nice afternoon tea.
I'm especially pleased that my Mom & Sis enjoyed their day trip to Yingge... not only because both Jason and I were unable to entertain that one day, but also because it was probably a real adventure for these two Okie girls, exploring a small town in Asia on their own with no tour guide and no Mandarin Chinese ability!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

week 68_the Oklahomans in Taipei_DAY 2

For the next three days I stayed cooped up in the office, up to my neck in urgent... or at least very pressing business, but my Mom & Sis continued to explore the glorious city of Taipei with my husband... and managed to take a day trip on their own to the nearby town of Yingge one day...

DAY 2:
Tour of a local Grocery Store
I think now they understand
why I don't always know what is right in front of my face...
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
[they are standing under the center arch on the right side there...]
Very impressive grounds and great Chinese Architecture!
Touring the Chiang Kai Shek grounds
with the wonderful hubby tour guide

Everything here is "cute" and animated... even the people getting run over in the street!
Look both ways before crossing...
The Okies enjoyed meeting up with me near my office for lunch, of course!
Typical Chinese lunch box.
Mmm... Barley & Pea soup for dessert! (Not sure that's how they felt about it)
For the afternoon, they toured the TAIPEI 101 Observatory, the highest view of Taipei City

Complete with high end gift shops selling
impressively hand carved coral and precious stones
And we wrapped up our evening with a tour of the trendy XimenDing Area
[popular area with the young folk for shopping and entertainment]
We kept the ladies busy enough to forget their jet lag! And then collapsed each night ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

week 68_the Oklahomans in Taipei_DAY 1

Now that I have been in Taiwan for well over a year, my Mom & Sister have finally come to Taipei for a visit! This week has been a whirlwind of sightseeing with feasting and shopping sandwiched in-between. Beginning with the 1st day of the new year (2012) and every day since, Jason and I have been touring them around Taipei and beyond, showing them all the best places!

Honestly there has been so much going on that I think I will mostly tell the story of their visit through pictures... It has been a blast, and I can't believe our 10 day visit is over already! :) Fortunately we put our time to good use and saw many awesome things/had some great experiences during their visit!


The Jianguo Holiday Flower Market
Lots of flowers, plants, seeds, trees, and beautiful things for sale!
Mom liked the orchids.
Browsing jewelry at the Jianguo Holiday Jade Market (next door to flower market)
Too bad we have no idea how to tell the good from the bad here ~~~ we're amateurs :)
But Mom & I still managed to purchase a few affordable bracelets.
And Chrissie purchased a pig for good fortune! [Designed to place a coin in his mouth] 
After touring the day markets, we headed to Longshan Temple for some traditional architecture and people watching.
Lastly, we walked through 
the Snake Alley Night Market adjacent to 
Longshan Temple, 
before heading home to give our feet a rest!

It was a great start, and a successful first day in the city!

Monday, January 2, 2012

week 67_Happy 2012!


We recorded the TAIPEI 101 fireworks show this New Year's Eve for your viewing pleasure ~~~ but are having technical difficulties! Will try again soon...

In the meantime, am spending my week with sister & Mom in Taipei!

Hope you are all enjoying the New Year!!!

Here's to 2012, Year of the Dragon :)