The Marshalls have invaded Taiwan!
After nine years in Asia, John and I felt that it was time for my parents to visit, so we decided to fly them over for five weeks as a combined Christmas/birthday/anniversary present all rolled into one. We called them in December to let them know that their tickets had been purchased and that they would be joining us for the month of April. My dad immediately returned our gesture with an offer of free accommodations through their rental group in Bali, so we got an unexpected bonus with their trip in that we are all going to spend a week in Bali. (More on that later…)
It’s been a long time since I’ve done any honest-to-goodness blogging, and what better excuse than to regale y’all with tales of our adventures in Formosa!
Mom and Dad arrived on April 4th, on Tomb Sweeping Day. For John and I, it meant that we didn’t have to deal with much traffic going to or from the airport. Their flight arrived on time and they arrived looking quite fresh and fairly relaxed despite the long journey. Thursday and Friday were ‘rest’ days for them, although we managed to squeeze in some Japanese BBQ on Friday. Dad’s first comment as we sat down to eat was not to order anything too weird. Mom ate with gusto and Dad did a great job using chopsticks for the very first time. While we abided to his request not too order anything too off the wall, I think the whole concept of cooking our own meal at the table ended up being a strange, but terrific experience for them.
We spent Saturday touring Taipei and managed to squeeze in a visit to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. We spent some time wandering the perfectly symmetrical grounds of the complex and admiring the flowers and beautiful koi ponds, and as luck would have it, we had just in time to see the Changing of the Guard before moving on to our next destination, Taipei 101.
Most shopping malls in Canada don’t even come close to the luxurious mall decor found in 101. We wandered 101 for a bit while we waited for our table at Din Tai Fung, and ended up skipping a visit to the Observation Deck. $25 per person is much too steep in my opinion. My parents seemed to agree. We can view the city from the rooftop of our 36 floor apartment complex and while we might not get a downtown view of Taipei, we figured what we have at home is good enough and our hard-earned dollars will be put to good use elsewhere.
Taiwan’s very own Michelin Star restaurant, Din Tai Fung, is always a top notch dining experience for John and I, although my parents expressed slight doubts to begin with. It didn’t take long for my mom to become a fan of Din Tai Fung’s famous xiao long bao, and my dad seemed pleasantly surprised. It seemed as though he had made up his mind about the meal before we got started, but once the wonton soup arrived, he was clearly enjoying his meal.
We capped our day off with a walk through Ximending, where they got to see the Saturday artisan’s market and watch as dusk settled in over the city and the streets come alive with people, lights and music. Ximen probably wasn’t a good way to end the day, as they were clearly experiencing sensory overload when we left, but that’s Taiwan for you. Nothing is ever done here on a small scale.