We got in the early evening on Sunday, September 14th having left in the morning of Saturday, September 13th -- Taipei is 15 hours ahead of Irvine. We unpacked and walked around the hotel a bit, then off to bed.
I woke up at 5 this morning Taipei time -- not my initial plan for my first day, but I had enough sleep. I looked out my window and saw this beautiful, early morning scene outside. Steve and I got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. We ran into bishops and their spouses who arrived either last night after we did or early this morning. It was wonderful to see them and to catch up for a few minutes! Our friends we were waiting for arrived, and we set out to plan our day.
A postulant from our diocese, Peter Huang, was raised in Taiwan and his parents live here. He is here to visit his parents and to help us plan a fews days of sight seeing before our House of Bishops meeting. I learned long ago that, when there is this much of a time difference, going in a day or two early to acclimate before the meeting starts is a great way to ease into being in a different country and time zone! Peter graciously offered to be our guide for a few days, and I gratefully accepted! As it was scorching out (okay, it probably isn't as bad as what my friends are going through in Southern California right now), we decided to spend most of our time in the National Palace Museum. Rather than hire a car to take us around we are utilizing metro, buses and cabs. The cab to the museum (with four of us in the car) was only $6.00 total -- such a deal! We got to the museum and I had to take this picture of heading to the entrance from mid-way from the bottom. It was hot and I needed a momentary pause in the heat before going any further!
As the museum does not allow photography, you will have to google the museum to see parts of the collections we saw -- the museum is VAST and we saw the main, important pieces (we knew that because the lines of tour groups queued to see them was enormous!) We got in those lines and were overwhelmed by the intricacy and beauty of the pieces!
We all got hungry, so Peter lead us to the restaurant at the top of the museum. It was wonderful! We each ordered the kind of tea we wanted to drink, and Peter took care of the rest. Starting with beef noodle soup and then all the different dim sum dishes to share. It was a feast, and something we needed to take some time off our feet and feed our hunger. Here is a picture of Peter dishing out some more soup for someone. You can see we had already done pretty good work on the dim sum dishes! There were eight of us -- Kirk Smith, Peter Huang, Michael Hanley, Marla Hanley, Andrew Waldo, Mary Waldo, Steve and me.
After lunch we headed to two more exhibits and the gift shop (no one bought anything!) and then headed back to the hotel. As we entered the hotel Marla stopped and stared at a sign that was in Chinese. I asked her why -- she told me that she had just seen a sign in English before the sign changed about the House of Bishops meeting. We waited for it to come around again and I snapped this picture.
We were all tired, so we took a few hours to rest (and in my case work on my personal travel journal (written long hand) and to work on this one.) It is quiet here, hot and windy outside. Inside the hotel is very peaceful up on the guest floors. Down in the lobby there is a steady stream of tour buses pulling up to the front of the hotel, letting the passengers out to take photos in the beautiful lobby (I will take a picture of that tomorrow). After a few minutes of picture taking the tourists are gathered back into the buses and drive off, only to be followed by yet another bus or two!
Peter came back and collected us all, taking us to the Huang family favorite restaurant -- Yi Yuan at the Westin Hotel. We dined on amazing food, including the Huang family favorite Peking Duck and a special Banana dish with sugar web made right at the side of our table (see pictures below -- I took the picture of the duck before the chef carved it table-side.)
We had a great time, talking about the church, family, life, etc. We laughed, we shared, we ate, and we laughed some more. It was the perfect way to end our first day here -- talking about mission and ministry and what is happening in our lives. It was a blessed time!
I am having problems posting my blog, so this may be sporadic. I finally successfully posted one to have it disappear into the ozone -- so if you see that one, it is slightly different from this one -- oh well!
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