Taiwan, Nov 2004 - Aunt Pao-yu's 80th birthday

(This is a little long!!)

Liu siblings
The Liu siblings lined up - Uncle Bill and Aunt Ting-Yueh, Uncle Allan and Aunt Betty, my mom and dad, Aunt Pao-Yu, my dad's friend, Uncle Leo and Aunt Ruth, Aunt Annie. Can you match the names to faces (which should have some family resemblance?)

Kira and Erik accompanied me to Taiwan For my Aunt Pao-Yu's 80th birthday - a special occasion in Taiwan. The party was held in the luxurious Hotel Taipei and we enjoyed a fine 12-course feast.

Kira and Pao-yu
Erik and Kira at the party
Kira wishes her great-aunt a happy birthday!

Erik and Kira enjoy themselves at the party.

There was a really great Chinese banquet, of course. At least 10 dishes, all quite delicious and special - shark fin soup, mussels, abalone, crispy pork skin, eel, a couple of duck dishes etc. Here is the kid's table (that includes me too) except for my Aunt Annie (left). Also here are cousin Amy Hsing, Erik, cousin Laura Chen, and Kira.


Speaking of food, we tried a lot of different dishes while we were there - most being local Taiwanese dishes. The kid's did a pretty good job trying them. It just goes to show that hunger can drive people to do unusual things!

Now that's one jumbo shrimp chip! And see what can be done with seeds from yellow watermelon (tastes the same).

We also went to a large evening market where you could try things such as quail eggs on a stick (above), candied cherry tomatoes, and used gum (left). What!? That's actually some sugar candy that really looks (to me, at least) like chewed up gum.


We traveled to Kaoshiung for one night and went to dinner after a long bus ride. Right: Cousin Amy, Aunt Annie, Aunt Ting-yueh and Uncle Bill Liu. Below: Mom and Dad plus Aunt Pao-yu and Uncle Leo. Bottom right: Cousin derek Lieu, Kira, cousin Laura Chen, and my cousin Yang (Pao-yu's son).
Of course, all the hubbub and travel can just wipe you out also. The restaurant was nice enough to give Erik a tablecloth to keep warm while snoozing. Jet lag knocked Erik out right before dinner for the first 3 nights!


Curious or worried about your future? You can either visit a temple, such as the popular Hsingtien temple, and have some of your stuff (or yourself, for that matter) blessed by the temple acolytes (?) or you can stop off in the underground tunnels and have your fortune told by palm readers. You can see that this is a competitive business!!


Erik Guards Zeelandia
On the way south, we stopped in a few towns to check out more temples and other historic sites. In Tainan, there was a Dutch outpost known as Fort Zeelandia which was eventually overtaken by a Ming warloard, Koxinga, who had escaped the Qing dynasty on the mainland. Some of the original walls remain, with banyan trees growing into them! Erik mans the cannon to keep the fort safe from other attackers or throngs of tourists.

The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, located in Checheng Village in Pingtung County, has wonderful exhibits and is apparently the largest such musuem in Asia! They have a wonderful set of whale sculptures at the entrance to the Museum and many exhibits that entertained the kids.


We travelled to the southern tip of Taiwan, visiting the Kenting National Park. It is quite beautiful along the rugged coast and fortunately, the weather was nice. Below, Kira smiles at Maopitou (Cat's Nose Cape). The rock here is made up of old coral, so it is sharp and rugged.

Erik enjoys the hotel beach at Kenting after a long day's journey! The water was a comfortable coolness here in the south - not bad for late November.

We also stopped to see the southernmost lighthouse in Taiwan (built in 1888) on Erluanbi (Goose Bell Beak), which is a cape that is often called "Taiwan's tail." There is a nice set of trails that lead down to the shoreline - very picturesque.


On our last day, we visited Xiao Ren Guo, or the Miniature City Park. They have realistic scale models of many places in Taiwan, China, Japan, and Europe. Kira and Erik tower over the replica of the Great Wall and you can see the model of the Forbidden City in Beijing, complete with a miniature army of soldiers in Tiananmen Square!
Xiao Ren Guo sign
Mini Great Wall of China


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