Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 3: Sandras House in TaiNan

lf to rt: son Bruce, daughter Sophia, Sandra, niece, sister

I awake to the bustle of their family. 8 people, 6 being female, can create quite a commotion. At 11AM, Ija offers to take me to her favorite place, the ChiaYi park. We ride off on her scooter and we spend a good time at the park. It is a historical park with buildings, artwork and statues scattered throughout. Many people populate the park as the day was sunny and warm. By the time we get back to eat lunch, it's already 2PM. I ice my achilles and take a rest. I pack and get ready to go. I say my goodbyes and thank you's to her entire family. I am very grateful to have been a guest of such a wholesome family. Ija offers to take me to the #1. It's 4:30PM as we head out the door.
From ChiaYi to TaiNan I knew it would be a quick sprint. The actual destination was XueJia in Tainan County, a little ways from TaiNan city. I'm not sure what I averaged, but it felt like 27-28km/hr. That road, fairly straighforward, though I had to whip out the map once or twice, passed some beautiful towns and fields. The south of Taiwan is full of crops of various weight. Rice is a major product, but I saw field after field of onion, corn, fruit trees, garlic, sunflowers, and smaller interspersed fields filled with vegetables of all kinds. I arrived at about 7PM, approximately 2hrs later. I call Sandra and she says to meet at the large temple in town, and gives me directions. She comes a few minutes later on a motorcycle, brother at the helm. I am guided just down the street to their house.
When I arrived, and similarly with Ija's house, her family had already eaten. And again I was graciously welcomed by a large family. They were now about their post meal celebrations of Mahjhong and Wii. They set me up on the 2nd floor, I showered, washed my clothes and went downstairs. Sandra helped me get settled and I ate. She accompanied my as I ate, the victuals being quite similar in type and deliciousness as the previous night. I ate methodically and slowly. After finishing, I joined the rest of the party partaking of the evenings pasttimes. I am not too familiar with Mahjhong and know people who know people who get upset with incompetent players so I was a spectator. I did have my hand at a little Wii action, and did okay in bowling.
Sandra, the eldest, has two sisters and two brothers. Also present were her husband and two children, mother, father, and niece. 12 people all together, including myself.
I spent some time talking to her lively husband, who seemed to love to talk. His energy is childlike in its capacity and lightheartedness. He is from GaoXiung, and, with the aide of a map, elaborated on places I should see.
He mentioned that Sandra's father is a master sculptor, or was, and some of his works were in temples around Taiwan. He also said the he once asked her father to teach him and he declined, saying he didn't think he would be serious about it.
I told Sandra about this and she laughed. She also mentioned that her father owned a very valuable teapot. It was worth a lot of money because it was the product of a teapot master. I later learned that it was given to him by a friend and someone had offered $200,000NT (about US $6000) for it! I was amazed that a teapot could call such a price tag.

valuable teapot

I had the opportunity to see it and from my untrained eye, looked just like the teapots you can by from the $10NT store.
I retired at about 12:30, planning on leaving early the next afternoon, and expecting to meet up with friends in GaoXiung.

lf to rt: Bruce, Sophia, niece

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