I know you all want to hear about and read about my times in Taipei, even if they were a long time ago. I figure it will also give you a good break from my posts about teaching, since that’s pretty much all I’m doing lately. So here goes the first weekend, part two.
We woke early, having agreed we would be going to have breakfast on YaMingShan and walked to the car, which was parked in the underground car park underneither the neighborhood high school.
Nothing but silver/gray.
The day was beautiful and clear; it wasn’t too hot yet and I was ready for breakfast.
Things you should know about me: I’m a morning person and that includes breakfast. I wake up ready to have long winded debates, and I”m also always hungry right when I wake up. We ended up waiting a little longer than I’d have liked before breakfast.
J, G and IY’s adult daughter, works at the National Palace Museum, so we stopped there first. I got to see her office in ‘The Creative Centre’
Apparently kids can sign up for art classes. I wish I were a kid!
Check out the space!
The kids get to make things related to the current exhibit- did you know that the NPM has so much in their archives that they can only have a small section of it on display at once?
After this quick stop, we made our way up the mountain to find our breakfast. It was already nearly 9 by the time we began our drive, so we stopped at a roadside market under the dew dusted trees.
Everything was grown on the mountain, and you could tell- it was all so fresh!
We bought some Lychees and some other fruit and bamboo, and set off again.
I’d been picturing some fancy restaurant at the top, where we would be in a national park, but what actually appeared in front of me, as I walked from the little parking place was much, much better.
We went inside and set to work. Up against the wall were bins of leafy greens that you could choose from. We started with four. The Dengs told me to choose but since I didn’t know what any of them were, I just pointed to the first ones I saw.
Next came the carb portion. We choose Zhou, which is similar to/the same as Congee; a watered down rice porridge. Ours came with little bits of sweet potato in it, which was nice. As I mentioned, I’m not a rice fan, but this was kind of nice, thick, and satisfying.
I was a huge fan of the side dishes. This is the first time I tried bamboo, but it would from now on become a favourite for my time in Taiwan. Or at least it has thus far.
I sat down at a little wooden table, and we didn’t have to wait very long before the dishes began crowding in!
One thing I love about eating out in Taiwan is that you never seem to have to wait for longer than 10 minutes for your food!
By this time I was hungry, so I was excited when our table started filling up with vegetarian breakfast greens and delicious dishes.
I liked the egg pancake, but what I really liked was the pickled taro inside. It was….slightly too salty, but had a nice crunch to it. There was also a plate with a whole tofu slab on it, which was okay.
G and IY bought me some of the taro, since I”d mentioned that I liked it, and we set off for the top of the mountain.
Having just stuffed myself with a delicious breakfast, I fell asleep going up the mountain, and probably for good reason, because as we neared the top, it looped around and around in a sickening fashion, harkening back to the memories I have of the ride to the Ju Ming Museum from childhood visits.
The views from the top were breathtaking. I couldn’t believe I was actually there and kept exclaiming incredulously about the scenery and how lucky I was. I must have looked and sounded ridiculous, but I couldn’t have hoped for a better weekend.
Did I mention that Yamingshan is also a volcano? It releases beautiful gases into the air, causing it the whole mountain to look alive. Don’t worry- it’s dormant!
According to my Rough Guide Taiwan book, the site sits on top of a fault line (probably the one that created the Central Mountain Range here on the East Coast) .
There were little hot springs around the volcano too-
The scenery was just jaw dropping. I couldn’t get enough of the flowing grasses or the sweeping views. The entire area was replete with greenery and I was in the middle of it all.
There are trails you can hike to the very top too, but we didn’t have time that day. We stopped for a snack, since we’d had breakfast so late.
IYU taught me how to open one without having to peel it. Pinch and open!
They have a light texture, which is somewhat slimy and not unlike what I’d expect the experience of eating an eye to be like. They are incredibly sticky, which you might not expect. IYU tells me you have to watch out for worms inside, but I didn’t find any (thank goodness). I also think someone should make jewelry out of the pits and sell it on Etsy!
Not long after, we went for a walk through the bamboo forest.
From the little observation platform, you could see great views of Taipei and New Taipei City.
Soon it was time to leave. We drove back down, and I fell asleep again. This would end up being a pattern for the weekend. I’m not sure whether it was the heat, the fact that I could finally relax, or riding in the car that made my eyelids heavy, but I didn’t fight it. I drifted in and out of sleep as we made our way through Keelung, the northern tip of Taiwan, beyond Taipei.
I wanted to stop and walk along the craggy rocks, but remembered how tepidly warm the ocean had been in Wai Ao and didn’t think twice about being trapped in the car.
Back in Taipei, I woke up again to this sign outside the window of the car. Something tells me this isn’t what they meant to say.
IYU had to meet a friend, so G and J and I walked around the National Taiwan University Campus. Luckily it wasn’t dastardly hot, but I was dastardly tired.
Everything was so beautiful, and the light was perfect for photography.
It looked a bit stormy, but we didn’t encounter any rain. I soon admitted how tired I was, and we drove back home where I slept while G made dinner.
I woke up and asked if I could help her cook. We made this:
Let me just tell you that dinners here are the best anywhere. There is something about eating with a family that puts restaurants to shame. They said they thought that I liked eating at home better than a restaurant, and I told them they were right!
Like I mentioned, I’m really liking bamboo. I have also rekindled my relationship with okra.
Loofa and the mushrooms here are both other veggies that I’ve discovered. Enoki mushrooms are long and skinny and have a very chewy texture that takes a bit of getting used to. We had an entire conversation about the fact that Loofa were dried and used to wash yourself in the US, which they thought was humourous. It tastes good!
Dessert is always a good lookin’ plate of fruit.
I’ll leave you here- because there is one more day (sunday) and more pictures! I want to be able to give you a break between my word heavy reflections on teaching posts. Tell me what you think!
Is there anything you’d like me to post about? I already know I need to find out about hobbies 🙂