We're packing-up and moving home to the USA from China! Now how exactly do we do that…?
TAIWAN: Taipei & The Northeast Coastline
At the end of February we took a trip to Taiwan to visit my sister who happened to be there for a work trip. $250/1.5 hour flights later and we met her in Taipei, the northern capital city of Taiwan. Taiwan is a bit of a sensitive subject for China as they are outside the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) umbrella, but still part of the ROC (Republic of China). There are some who would like to see Taiwan join the PRC, while others are happy with their semi0autonomous state, thank you very much. We even saw some pro-PRC demonstrations while taking a driving tour through Taipei. When we were moving to China we were told we could likely not bring our push pin travel map as it had Taipei listed as a capital of Taiwan even though I believe it was also designated as part of the ROC. Apparently that was enough to likely get it confiscated by the Chinese government, but I digress. Let’s just leave this as a sensitive subject for now.
We really enjoyed our whirl wind 3.5 day weekend trip to Taiwan despite a day or two of rain, and had a fabulous time catching up with family. Poor Marla had to haul an extra ~60 lb suitcase for us from the US filled with things we had been ordering on amazon and shipping to her house. This is how expats do in China. Most families will chose to go home multiple times a year, but we prefer to use our time to travel around Asia…so when an opportunity to have a duty free shipment sent to you comes up, you inconvenience your family/friends to bring you a few extra necessities that you just cannot find anywhere else.
Now, back to Taiwan…
We got to enjoy a trip to the national palace museum, but they would not allow us to bring cameras inside. It was an interesting place with lots of fascinating cultural artifacts. My two big take-aways were the level of detail in Chinese carvings can be mind-blowingly exceptional (particularly the one elephant tusk carving with 35 concentric spheres of various carving motifs), and I wish I could have seen the famed jade lettuce sculpture for myself (it was on loan to another museum so we only got to see a picture). Out last stop was up into the mountains with Marla and some co-workers of hers to enjoy a fabulous meal before calling it a night.
The next day we decided to go off and check out a park that Marla had picked out. Despite the rain we had a good wander and worked up our appetite for lunch.
After Taipei 101 we took a jaunt around the north east side of the island to take in some scenery and an old gold mining town. The factories themselves were shut down around 20-30 years ago, but people still remain in the area looking for gold. One of the creeks on the way up the mountain was so sparkly it had to have been either covered in fine gold powder or have been spray painted very heavily. The jury is still out on that one.