Edit Blog Post
Published: December 29th 2009
Here's Han Han with her finished gingerbread house. She wouldn't let us eat the house.
Sorry for the long absence of posts. I've been in the Christmas spirit and too busy to write. Jet lag slowed me down as well. I'm back now and have a backlog of stories, ideas and topics to share. I'll try and break them up into multiple posts so that you can digest them more easily.
Back in Navarre
I managed to skip over a nice dinner party that I had with my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jim. They came over to watch the Florida Gators get beat by Auburn on my new HDTV! (We got a 26" model that fits nicely in the TV compartment in the living room or in the bedroom.) We had a great time and Grace cooked up a nice bowl of clams as an appetizer and then a delicious filet of red snapper with some bacon wrapped around it - see the pix.
We took some pix of the Christmas tree that Aunt Kathy gave us. I decorated it with $5 worth of ornaments. After dinner we went to the Christmas celebration in downtown Navarre. We visited Bill - the guitarist from the last post - who was doing
Bang a Gong
We had Kathy and Jim over for dinner and a good time. We watched the Florida - Auburn game that Ian and Mashay drove to. Florida lost and missed their chance for the national championship.
the sound setup for the show. They were giving away a load of bicycles for the children and the kids were all worked up about winning a bike or some other nice give away. You'd think the Beatles were there in concert because the kids were going crazy while we watched backstage.
Christmas Pageant in Taiwan
Now I'd like to skip forward to Taiwan.
We came back early so that Grace could help her niece, Lily, who is 9 months and 8 days pregnant. Lily's got a huge belly and Grace helped her make it even bigger with some local and western delicacies. You can see her belly in one of the videos. After a train ride to her home, we went out to a nice lunch in a restaurant overlooking the river. The restaurant made their own bread and it was good, but I got really bad gas with some huge burps as well. I bought a couple of nice loafs before we went back to their home for a jet lag nap.
After the nap, Grace and I were sitting around the table with our great niece, Han Han, and someone passed
Grace cooked us a bowl of clams. She made a really nice sauce for them.
a little gas - finding the culprit has been a real challenge and the matter is still being looked into. Right away, Han Han queitly said, "Shei Shei, Fong Pee". That's "Thank you for farting!" Well we thought that was pretty funny and when it happened again, we got the same instant response and lots of laughter.
Grace told her niece about it and her niece told us that we had mis-interpreted the little 3-year olds comment. Han Han actually said, "Shi Shwei Fong Pee!" This has the totally different meaning of "Who farted?"
Since she is just parroting things she's already heard, it seems like the whole world has the same problem of identifying the source of bad gas.
From there, we went to my great niece's Christmas Pageant which doesn't have anything to do with Christ's birth and seems more like Halloween. Han Han is in pre-kindergarten right now and she leaves for school at 7:30am and comes back at 5pm. Her school has about 5 classes of 15 students each. Han Han is in the first class of 3-year olds and can say her ABC's already and is rather good at puzzles as well.
These clams weren't very attractive to look at. They had a valve that stuck out like a black phallus.
I was surprised how the school had each of the kids recite a poem in front of the whole auditorium with a loud micropohone. They started with the older children and they spoke (often very loudly) without a hitch besides some costume malfunctions. Several sponge-Bob Square Pants costumes caused difficulty speaking into the microphone because the big yellow box got in the way as they had to dance while they gave their recitation. These older kids had probably done this for several years by now because it went so smoothly. Each kid struck a pose for a picture after their speech and then stood around until all 15 kids had said their lines.
Besides a couple of frozen young boys, everyone did well until a chubby girl went on right before Han Han. This girl had just moved to the area and was still probably uncomfortable in her new environment. She got the unlucky number 13 and it was all downhill after that. When she went up to the microphone, she had the deer in the headlights look and started crying. The teacher tried to lead her through the speech but the poor kid couldn't be coaxed to
Grace cooked this fish dinner with fried potato cubes and green beans. The thick smoked bacon made the snapper all the better.
speak and stood their sobbing and speechless. She finally started to speak and muddled her way through the 2 minute poem. After she spoke, she took her place and cried for several minutes while Han Han did her speech and danced really well.
In the video called Han Han's dance, you can see unlucky 13 crying her head off and not dancing. The poor kid had a rough Christmas.
Van Gogh in Taipei
Grace and I went to Taipei and visited a Van Gogh exhibit. The exhibit had 75 drawings and 12+ paintings from my favorite artist. The paintings were insured for $275,000,000 in case some Pink Panther sleuth stole the invaluable pieces. It was a nice exhibit with many of his early drawings in the gloomy black tones that were a trademark of his early works in Holland. These works were from a private collection that has been touring the world. After the early grim drawings from the cloudy north, Van Gogh went south into the French countryside were he broke out of his depression (at least for a while) and did his fabulous colorful oil paintings that he's known for.
Copping a feel
Kathy wanted to make sure Grace was real so she gave he a nice feeling up.
had one of his earliest self-portraits from Paris that I looked at for a long time. His art transcends time like no other artist. I felt like I was looking right at him and felt like talking to my old friend Vincent. I'd first became acquanted with him back in Amsterdam when I was going to college there. I'm on a quest to see more of his work to this day.
After the museum. we went up the mountains south of Taipei where there are some great coffe shops and tea shops. I know some of you would enjoy the Cat's Got Nothing to Do Coffee Shop shown in the last picture. I'll talk more about Taiwan in the next posting.
Tot: 3.096s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 6; qc: 43; dbt: 0.0255s; 3; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb