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Published: April 12th 2014
Rooftop at Chris and Annie's
After school on Friday, Chris and Annie entertained the school staff at their first "Happy Hour"
We arrived back home in Kaohsiung on Sunday, January 13th, having lost Saturday in traveling. The weather was very nice, such a change after Saskatchewan! We settled back in, getting groceries at the market, riding our scooters and Linda teaching. We were kept busy, preparing for Chinese New year at the end of January, painting lanterns and drawing horses and writing Mandarin characters for the apartment. David, our night doorman, and also our good friend returned to his duties, and helped us with our meditations and healing prayers for Tai. He and his wife made bracelets for Tai, and through the school, we had them couriered to Saskatoon. We were amazed to hear that they arrived in Saskatoon 40 hours after we left them with the school office. Tai continues to wear at least one of them all the time.
As Chinese New Year approached, we decorated our apartment, visited our dentist who amazes us, here in Taiwan, everyone is entitled to 2 cleanings per year at a cost of $3 each, and fillings are the same. Maurice had a crown replaced for around $500, significantly cheaper than Saskatchewan.
And then, on Friday, January 24th, our friends Marie and
Climbing Mondey Mountain
We climbed for about an hour, and here at the top, we rested and took time for a photo
Bernie LeClaire arrived around noon. Marie and Bernie are the couple from Saskatoon. We visited them while they were both teaching in Lugano, Switzerland. Maurice greeted them at the airport, took a taxi back to the apartment, and promptly told Marie to enjoy a glass of wine while Maurice gave Bernie a quick scooter driving course. Bernie did awesome, and was able to scooter to the school along with Maurice and Marie to meet Linda and take part in the birthday party for students that Linda holds every month. We toured the school, then headed back to the apartment before heading to Chris and Annie's for happy hour. Saturday, we hiked Monkey Mountain which is about 5 minutes from our apartment, then went off for Linda's Birthday supper at the '100 Restaurant' with some of our school friends. We had a full itinerary planned for Marie and Bernie, so while Linda taught, Maurice, Marie and Bernie visited Cijin Island, as well as heading out of town to the Mud Volcano and Meinong on the scooters (scootering was the highlight of their Taiwan stay according to Marie and Bernie).
Wednesday after school, we caught the High Speed Rail to the
Most dishes are 100NT or about $3.50. It was Linda's Birthday, so our school friends joined us to celebrate.
airport near Taipei, and flew to Manila, Philippines, arriving in our hotel around 11PM. We settled in, and next morning, it was back to the airport for our 11AM 1 hour flight to our destination, the island of Boracay. We landed Thursday around noon in Caticlan, took a 10 minute ferry across to the island, hired a tuk-tuk, and arrived at the Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel, a small and beautiful remodeled hotel in the Station 3 area, right on the beach. It was gorgeous and we enjoyed the view while sipping the complimentary juice served to us upon arrival. We unpacked, and went strolling along the beach and the walkway to get our bearings. The beach rivaled any we have been at in the world, soft white sand, little outdoor restaurants and quaint little shops lined the hard sand packed boulevard. We spent the weekend wandering the island, sailing and snorkeling, enjoyed the oyster buffets, rested and relaxed. All too soon, Monday morning came, and we packed up, bid farewell to the friendly staff, took a tuk-tuk back to the ferry and across to the airport. We arrived back at the Copacabana around 1PM, checked in and then strolled
We were joined by our school friends for supper and then a Love River Cruise.
to the nearby Mall of Asia where we wandered, stopped to watch some skaters practicing their figure skating on the full size rink inside the mall, and even enjoyed a Cinnabon! We caught a jeepney (an extended jeep used as local buses in Manila, one of the must things to do while in Manila) back to the hotel for the evening.
Tuesday morning, we all headed for the airport once again, and there, we bid Marie and Bernie a fond farewell. They were on their way to Bangkok and another 6 weeks of touring around South East Asia. Linda and Maurice headed back to Taiwan, flying into Taipei and the HSR. The HSR takes 1 hour and 38 minutes to reach Kaohsiung, and it is an incredibly smooth and quiet ride. The train actually is held in place magnetically, and rides on a cushion of air. The train reaches speeds of 300KPH.
Once back in Kaohsiung, we were quickly back into the routine, up early, school, weekdays passing quickly, and then the weekend getaways. One weekend, we rode the scooters to Meinong, and enjoyed the fields of flowers, the sights and sounds of that very unique town about
Love River Cruise
We took an hour long ride on the river, enjoying the sights and sounds.
an hour away. Another weekend, we only made it as far as Quishan, where we hit the old street on a Sunday. What a happening place, crowds everywhere, shopping, strolling on the streets, snacking, tasting and sipping at street cafes. Here we encountered the most unique desert we have ever tasted, spring roll ice cream! WOW! Another Saturday, Lena invited us out to the Pingtung area where she lives with her parents. They farm there, so we visited some waterfalls in that area then went for dinner to a uniquely Taiwanese restaurant. They serve the same 7 dishes to everyone, so there are no menus and they just bring enough food for either 2-3-4-5-6 people, depending how many are in your party. Her uncle next door owns a small temple, and that evening, there was a grand celebration involving the transfer from grandfather who had passed away a year before, to a new 'shaman or physic'? We are not sure exactly the role, all the nuances that were going on were lost in translation. It was a spectacular event, with lots of firecrackers, fireworks, drums, music, smoke and noise. Quite a treat to be involved in such a local tradition.
Lights on the river bank
They even have a Venice type boat that gives tourists rides along the river.
It was close to midnight before we found our way back to Kaohsiung by train.
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