Welcome back to my Thanksgiving series, which will be in three parts, the third of which hasn’t happened yet so I can’t tell you whether it will happen at all. As you know, we work on holidays here, so Thanksgiving might just be another boring day at work.
I woke up, popped down to breakfast the second it opened (perks of being an early riser!) and finished all before my room mate (and I imagine everyone in the hotel but the other five people at breakfast) were even out of bed. The air conditioning in our room was broken so that it kept blowing freezing air all night no matter how much I tried to turn it up, so I’d slept fitfully in my coat and was eager for a nice cup of warm tea.
After my room mate, Taylor, had showered and breakfasted, Mary Kate came over and we chatted for a few hours about life. I haven’t had this experience so it was really nice just to bond with some friends. We lost track of time even, and had to scoop our belongings into bags to check out in time! Off we set for the Longshan temple, after checking our bags at the hotel.
Longshan Temple, first stop.
We got off of the MRT and somehow ended up being led by a woman towards the temple. I wasn’t sure where she was leading us, but she didn’t seem to want to let us go. Chattering on and on, she turned around, grabbed our arms, eager to steer us in the right direction although we did know where we were headed.
Inside the temple were many people milling around, each with their individual agenda. There were huge tables piled with offerings of fruits, incense, and cakes.
The detailing on the temple was ornate and beautiful.
Beautiful as the temple was, I failed to get the etherial feeling I get when I enter a Church or Cathedral.
Still, with so many people around me devoutly ‘baibai’-ing (as they call the devotions with incense) I felt something had to be around me, it couldn’t just be all the incense.
Can you spot Mary Kate? We couldn’t either!
I wandered around, taking pictures. Somehow got separated from the other two girls, but not feeling lost.
Finding them again, Mary Kate had bought some incense for NT 10 and handed us each three sticks. Taylor and I proceeded to stand with ours for a very.long.time.
After the temple, we moved to lunch. We walked past this strange TV area in the MRT underground walkway. Many old people watching TV and eating lunch. The TVs weren’t even playing the same programme!
Walking down the street, we ran into Samantha and Allison, who we were going to meet for lunch at Macho Taco, somewhere they’d been wanting to eat forever. Although I’d pledged not to eat a) with a fork or b) anything eatable not Chinese this year, I relented for social graces.
I usually dislike guacamole and detest sour cream, but I’d forgotten to ask for it without it and just rolled with the punches. Surprisingly, they added a delicious dimension to the meal.
Clearly I disliked it 🙂
We moved from being utterly stuffed to walk to the Huashan Culture Park. I had looked this up online, decided it was a bit odd looking, but followed along with the pack. I was so glad I did, because it ended up being amazing and reminiscent of home.
Inside one of the buildings were many little stations showcasing Chinese arts and crafts. I had my name drawn by a guy who wasn’t very good at it. I’d been hoping to get the other lady, but my paper was passed to him first. Oh well.
We heard there was a building in which they sold spiked cider and my friends wanted some, so off we headed to try to find it.
Eventually we came upon this lovely vintage inspired fair type thing. They did indeed have cider and my friends left happy. I was filled up by the fact that it felt like a Waldorf Christmas fair.
A little bit of a farmer’s market thing made me miss London. It’s everywhere I’d rather be.
Here’s where it really began to remind me of the holiday fair at Waldorf school.
A fuzzy friend
While I was meandering around taking pictures and drinking in the cosy, holiday cheer, my friends were waiting for the home made spiced spiked cider.
The man made each individual cup by hand adding the brandy, apple juice, slivers of apple, cinnamon sticks, and sugar together in a pot, then boiling it unitl piping hot and steaming of fragrance.
He had a little bowl for everything, just like Martha Stewart.
I marveled at the atmosphere. and my beautiful friends.
All in all, a wonderful weekend that made me miss home more than ever.