Caitlin was in Taiwan for eight days. I was quite intent on introducing her to the cuisine, transportation, and trying to show her the basics of Taiwanese life. At times I went a little overboard, shoving all kinds of weird experiences and foods down her throat, but she was a great sport.
Friday (August 24), her first day, I’ve already detailed: we went to Taipei for the National Palace Museum, Modern Toilet, and the Xilin Night Market (where we visited a large temple).
Saturday (August 25) we went back to Taipei and went to the top of Taipei 101 and visited the Jade Market.
Sunday (August 26) was spent in Hsinchu. We had brunch with many of the fine ladies and gents of the foreign community. Since it was raining, I’m pretty sure this was the day we saw ParaNorman! at Big City.
Monday (August 27) we traveled back to Taipei to fulfill a promise I’d made to a friend to take pictures of a missionary’s grave at Christ’s College in northwest Taipei. The weather was beautiful, and Caitlin and I both marveled at the mountains. After we visited the college, we took 45-minutes’ worth of metro rides to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. We intended to see the Salvador Dalí exhibit there, but our timing was off. It didn’t matter, though; the memorial grounds were beautiful and welcoming, and it was there that I spent my two-year Taiwanniversary.
Tuesday (August 28) I showed Caitlin the two main temples in Hsinchu. For dinner we met up with some of my students, Sunny, and Annie’s Mom at the Train Station Night Market. Caitlin tried stinky tofu, and I gagged down some, too, at the kids’ insistence.
Wednesday (August 29): Sunny, Jack, and Jessica picked Caitlin and me up at 8am. Annie’s Mom, Annie, and Ting Ting were in a car behind us. Our crew drove to the other side of the island to Yilan, where we played in a river, saw a waterfall, ate incredible seafood at Su-ao Pier, prayed at a temple, visited a cold spring, and had shaved ice. We returned to Hsinchu at around 8pm, and I immediately jumped on my scooter and joined Yvonne, Polly, and some other work friends for dinner at a restaurant.
Thursday (August 30) we joined Hannah for dinner at a delicious Thai restaurant downtown. Other than that, I packed, ran errands, and tried to get ready for my move back. I had drinks with a few friends at Chocolate’s bar, but it was a very mellow day overall.
Friday (August 31) was similar to Thursday. I transferred my scooter to my friend Amanda, who promised to love and cherish it. That evening we had dinner with several friends to say goodbye, during which there were back-to-back earthquakes centered in Hsinchu/Miaoli. During the first, I punched Caitlin in the arm out of excitement.
She experienced the full Taiwan: typhoons, earthquakes, west coast, east coast, Taipei 101, Taiwanese hospitality, stinky tofu, street food, night markets, temples, scooters and trains and the metro and traffic. She did it all. Posts with pictures from Hsinchu and Yilan are on their way.
And then, it was all over. Early Saturday morning, September 1, 2012, I boarded a plane and left Taiwan.