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Published: April 5th 2006
One of Rob's Classes
Here are some of the cutest, smartest, funniest kids we have met! From Selena who did the street dancing exhibition, to Doris who had a big bump on her head from falling out of bed the night before, these kids were soooo fun!
Wow!!!! I think we are a tad behind on the blogs, but the trip continues to be great with wonderful surprises around the corners.
We arrived in Kaoshiung, Taiwan where Rob (my brother) and Rita (my sister-in-law) live. The trip was awesome! We were able to see the school (see below), eat great food, climb monkey mountain (one of rob's favorites), and really explore the mountains and cities/ villages of taiwan. It was also a special trip for everyone, as rob, rita, surya and I were able to spend great quality time together- a commodity with us living in boston and them in taiwan.
Over a year ago Rob and Rita opened a buxiban school- an after-school school that many taiwainese children goto daily to learn different subjects. "Robert's American School" is an english buxiban (pronouned booshy- bahn) and they have over 110 students (and growing). My brother has been teaching ESL for a long time (over 10 years), so it was fun and awesome to see what they have created and built together. The school is beautiful, the kids are cute and funny (surya and i had so much fun with them), and the kids speak english so well.
Here is Selena showing us her moves from her "street dancing" classes. WE also have a photo of Surya attempting her same moves, which got a roar out of the kids and will be saved for later blackmail...
I will let the photos tell the story more than i will write, so you can see for yourselves. Surya and I also had fun teaching a class together on the human body, how to eat healthy, and stay health (no smoking, no KFC, no McDonalds). The kids knew so much already, so it was fun helping them build their vocabularies. It reminded me of the "green team" days for those stanford folks out there...
We spent about 4 days in kaoshiung, visiting the school, eating with rita's family, drinking tea (yummy iced tea!), meeting their friends and eating, eating, eating. Noodles a plenty from the "cold noodle lady" (sorry mom and dad!) and the "warm noodle lady". The cold noodles remain my favorite and surya was a fast convert.
When Friday hit, we headed up north to a couple of amazing spots that R&R picked out. I can not remeber all of the names of the towns, but the 1st stop was Sun Moon Lake, where we ate over looking the lake. That night we stayed in a hill town, know for its hot springs and spas. We spent the following better 1/2 of the day running
Who is the REAL monkey?
Here is Rob with his "teaching aids"--his monkeys! In the left corner of the picture is Kelli, Rob and Rita's neice.
from hot tub to hot tub, being sure to lather our faces and bodies with the "healing muds". Yes, for those disbelievers, ever surya did a mud mask (actually a green bean mask) au naturale!
After the spa, we headed to Yushan (Jade Mountain) a mountain peak which is one of the tallest in Taiwan. The ride was scarey, with literally about 3 meters of visibility from the cloud cover, and a road wide enough for 1 car. Surprisingly, we survived and were able to hike to the mountain peak (still little visibilty) and triumphanty descend to eat at a roadside stop- corn, tea, speacial soup and sausage on a stick (not me). That night we stayed in another hill town and enjoyed listening to an impromptu concert of am indigiounous taiwanese man singing to a crowd of other Taiwanese tourists. At times he sounded like one of the long lost brothers of one of the 3 tenors. Good Fun. After starbuck (yes) that night, we awoke to the clouds lifting from the valley below. You could even watch it from the hotel's shower, which had a wall of glass opened to the valley below.
The next day
Born in the year of the pig
Melissa, paying tribute to pigs, her guiding chinese astrological sign.
we headed to taipei, which is a terrrific asian city- lots of energy, very nicely manicured, and beautiful. We checked out the tallest building (IN THE WORLD)-called fondly "the 101" for its 101 floors- which rises tall and stands 1671 feet (yes!) above taipei's largest mall (filled with stuff i could never afford from mostly european companies). The 101 is built to withstand winds up to 100mph and hopefully would survive an earthquake, as it is built only 650 feet from a major fault line. While that sounds like planning against the odd to me, the building is beautiful and shaped like bamboo.
In Taipei, we all (yes, even surya) got reflexology foot massages, ate some famous dumplings and enjoyed the city. The best day was our trip to the village 40 minutes north west of taipei, Jio Fan, which is a beautiful hill station, where we spent hours sipping tea, chatting and taking in the ocean views. The tea house, converted from an orginal Taiwanese home, was an architectural beauty with nice surrounding artwork and koi ponds inside! As the town is built on the mountain edge, we climbed numerous stairs in impending rain between the narrow streets
lining the mountain. We also enjoyed exploring the alley-way markets, filled with (yes) food stalls, "markets" with medicinal ingredients, souvenier shops, magic stores (ask surya about his new trick), and numerous other shops.
We had such a terrific time, it was sad to leave. R&R dropped us off at the airport and waited until it was time to check in. Then we boarded the plane to Hong Kong.
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