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Published: January 9th 2010
New Born Rocky
This guy came out looking like Rocky after getting hit by Apollo Creed. He was already opening his eyes and mouth and seemed happy to be out.
The New Baby
The impetus to go to Taiwan over Christmas was that Grace's niece Lily is having her second baby. This pregnancy was more difficult because now Lily has the responsibility of watching over 3-year-old Han Han, working and taking care of the house. Her husband is working the graveyard shift and attending night school, so he was gone most of the time and catches some sleep during the day.
Grace came in and cooked some great meals for Lily and got her off her feet for a few days. this enabled the baby to gain some weight that the doctor's said she needed. Lily wasn't Grace's only commitement though. Grace also offered to help her brother Jean Fu while he had a minor surgery to remove a plate from his leg. He'd been in a motorcycle accident and had a plate installed that needed to come out. They cut a foot long gash in his leg and let him stay in the hospital for 2 nights - the total cost was about $2,000USD. The anasthesiologist cost about $200 for the three hour surgery. I think you'd pay more in America just for the anasthesia.
On Christmas Day, we drove back to Hsinchu and took this photo with Grace, her mom, Lily and Han Han. Han Han did her Christmas performance for us so that she could get a Christmas gift.
After Jean Fu was back at his mother's home, we got the call that Lily was in labor and took the train up to the delivery hospital in Chung Li. We showed up at the hospital and I felt like we were checking into a luxury hotel. Taiwan has had national health insurance for about 20 years and this was my first experience of a hospital like this. Each floor featured several feminine sculptures and the waiting room had HBO in HDTV. Check out decor in the pictures.
We weren't there to watch a movie though, so we went into the delivery room to see Lily. She was behind a curtain and when I saw her nostrils flaring and her clenched teeth, I immediately went back to watch my movie on the couch. Lily had been in the hospital for 14 hours already and the doctors said she needed to push harder.
Grace stayed in the delivery waiting room with Lily and her husband Ameen. Ameen was pacing and his usually laid back exterior was rather shaken. He paced back and forth and his eyes were wide open. He couldn't really do much though
Father and Baby
Here's Lily's husband Ameen with teh 15 minute-old baby. He is really laid back, but hew was pacing and his eyes were wide open in the delivery room.
and had been up all night too. When Lily finally went into the delivery room, Ameen and Grace had to come and watch TV with me. In about 15 minutes, they came in and said it was a bouncing baby boy. The doctor said the umbilical cord had wrapped around the crown of his head twice - is that a sign that he will someday be the king?
It was December 30th, so I suggested that they name the boy Conrad after my friend Dan Conrad who was born on the same day. They haven't named the baby yet. They sent the time of birth to someone who calculates a list of names for him and they'll select the name shortly. Maybe Dan will be his English name.
The nurse brought out the bouncing baby boy who looked like he'd been pushed through a sausage press. I felt bad for the little guy and snapped a couple shot while he opened his eyes and smiled at Grace. Minutes later, he was very active in the plastic box and it looks like he will be a bear fighter - see the video where he is probably opening his arms
Grace relaxes while Lily is screaming in the background. The waiting room esconses you in velvety couches, lovely orchids and a beautiful window-in-the-wall.
for the first time.
Ahe's Seashell Cafe
After the birth, we went back to Hsinchu - Grace's home town - to enjoy New Years Eve.
I spent Christmas Day and New Year's Eve at my friend Ahe's cafe. Ahe is an old friend and owned the Nepal Bar where Grace and I met. He used to date my American friend Holli and we've celebrated Thanksgivings together when I've visited in the past. I hadn't been to his new place though so it was good to see how he had done it up. The interior is a leftist collage that featured Che Guevara, Cuba and the Dali Lama. I didn't even know who Che was - even though I was wearing my LiberaCHE T-shirt that has Che wearing bling rings like Liberache. Ahe handed me the Che handbook and I found out how he was one of Castro's crew that overthrew Cuba. The CIA ended up killing him in Bolivia when he tried to overthrow their government too.
Ahe is an extremely friendly guy and has the place so all of his friends can hang out. He's not in it for the money and
Baby in a box
Here's a shot of the nursery with Grace's new nephew in the box behind the other 3.
says he's often the only one there during the week. He reads books, surfs the Internet (on one of the fastest connections I've seen), smokes - which is illegal in bars in Taiwan now, and sleeps. He says customers often come in and wake him up. He even fell asleep on me one night so I just left some money for my Lassi on the table and left.
While it's slow and chillaxing on the weekdays, on weekends and holidays, the place is hopping. I spent Christmas day and New Years Eve there and all sorts of locals and English teachers kept stopping by. He'll loan people his motorcycle to go get food or cigarettes and he's usually up for a shot as you can see in the pic. He bought the bar a round of tequilla shots shortly after midnight. If I'm ever in Taiwan, hanging out with Ahe is a must-do.
Taipei Mountain Tea
I told you I'd tell you about the tea shops above Taipei - the capital and financial center of Taiwan. Taipei is in a mountain basin and we went into the mountains on the south side with tea
Statues in the Hospital
The hospital had feminine statues on each floor with many having curvy busts and nice asses.
shops and gardens. Grace and I took a bus up from Cheng Chi University and walked from the tea museum through some gardens. We'd visited the area via the Mao-Kong tram before, but the tram was closed to redo a couple of the towers that weren't installed correctly. Without the tram to whisk people up the mountain, we had most of the place to ourselves. Taipei has installed some really nice stone paths between the shops and we strolled along them contemplating life and leadership.
We were at about 1,000' above sea level and could look out over the hills to Taipei 101 and look eye-to-eye with the world's tallest building at the time. We could see the smog and pollution hovering up to the waist of Taipei 101. The building towers over the city and is the most interesting building I've ever been to. Check out the fireworks:
I tried to post some of this back in Taiwan but had some technical difficulties that cost me a few hours of time. Next time, I'll talk about some of Grace's friends that we went camping with and some everyday things about Taiwan.
Grace's Niece Lily (who is having the baby) lives above her in-laws religious shop. They sell all types of religious paraphenalia but mainly incense and ghost money. Businesses routinely burn ghost money outside of their shops in small metal cannisters to bring them good fortune and air pollution.
Happy New Year,
PS. - Note that there are two pages of pictures again.
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