Sunday, October 16, 2011

Visit from the Bojes (Pt. 2)


Continuing from the previous post... 

The following morning we had a relaxed start to the day, caught up on news of Mom & Dad’s travels through mainland China and Tibet, and looked at the many (>1,000!!!!) pictures that they had taken.  :) 

It just so happened that my parents were visiting us on the weekend that encompassed Monday October 10th or what is locally referred to as the 10/10 (or “Double Ten”) national holiday. The Double Ten holiday “celebrates the start of the Wuchang Uprising of October 10, 1911, which led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in China and establishment of the Republic of China on January 1, 1912”. This year, the Double Ten celebration was a particularly big deal because, as you will note from the date above, it was the centennial anniversary. 

As such, Amanda and I were advised by our Taiwanese colleagues that it would be very difficult to just walk into a restaurant over that weekend and it would be best to make reservations in advance, which Amanda’s colleagues kindly helped us do for Saturday lunch and dinner. 

For lunch we went to Cha for Tea. Another of Taiwan’s “Tea Shop Restaurant” chains. I use the word chain without intending any malicious undertones. Amanda and I were first taken to Cha for Tea by Milton and Jenny in Kaohsiung and this was actually only our second time to visit the chain. The food, just as on our first visit, was fantastic. We enjoyed hot Taiwanese oolong tea, kumquat drinking vinegar, mushroom soup and wonton soup, tempura tea leaves, osmanthus steamed fish and tofu, ginseng chicken, shrimp sui mai, steamed leek and pork dumplings, pickled cabbage, fried pork roll, “purple” five-grain rice, and postprandial sweet cold tea drinks. 

After lunch, we waddled our way to the jade market and took a look around. Mom had learned a trick in China that you can test to see if jade is genuine by rubbing two pieces together. If they are fake then they will emit an odor and become discolored. Without putting this theory to the test, everything at the jade market in Taichung seemed quite legitimate, albeit quite expensive. Perhaps the prices we were quoted were slightly inflated (a starting point for negotiation), but in any case, we didn’t choose to buy anything and instead, after a brief wander, we headed home to rest and seek some shelter from what was a very hot and smoggy day. 

We didn’t take too much time at home before we headed back out again, this time in the direction of my branch. On the way there we stopped at Koi Tea Shop and picked up some iced peach green tea for Mom & Amanda. 

After the anti-climax of reaching my branch - the metal shutters were drawn over the door that leads up a flight of stairs to the second floor where the classrooms are located - we headed across the street for a gander through a large park where preparations were being made for Taiwan’s centennial celebration. On the other side of the park, we explored the Huiwen Flower Market where Mom and Dad bought us an orchid as a house gift. At this point we had spent a considerable amount of time outside and we decided to head back home to seek shelter from the heat and to relax and refresh before heading out for dinner. 

For dinner we went to Hong Kong Manual Style Dessert. The restaurant name does leave you guessing, but it is essentially nothing more than a Dim Sum restaurant. Read nothing into my use of “nothing more” as a descriptive, because it is concurrently nothing less than the best dim sum that I have ever had and no doubt a single tear will roll down my cheek the day I have to say goodbye! 

Our plans for Monday were for us to head to Sun Moon Lake - by bus - which required an early start, and so, after dinner we headed home where we relaxed over a beer or two but ultimately had an early night. 

Amanda will write about the last two days of Mom & Dad’s visit in her next blog post.

Mom & Dad at Cha for Tea
Our Cha for Tea Lunch
An assortment of teapots at the jade market
Jade bracelets at the jade market

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