Thursday, November 15, 2007

On The Road - Part 1: Taipei

Here I am, writing while on tour for a few days with Jeff McBride's show in Taiwan. I have many more pictures, but this is a good smattering along with what I did and saw.

After a loooong 14-hour flight from LA, we arrived to great excitement and large welcome by our hosts here and brought to our hotel in downtown Taipei.

And fast asleep I was........zzzzzzz.

Day one in Taiwan and we have a free day in Taipei. We met with Georgia Lee, a local artist and magician that Jeff has a connection with. She took us first to the National Palace Museum. Basically, when the communists took over China, the chinese government fled to Taiwan and took with them all the most precious treasures. The artifacts were hidden in the mountain and are now on display at the museum. From what I understand, this collection is so large and comprehensive that it would take them 40 years to display it all if they switched out the displays every day. It is very reminiscent to the MET. It takes days to see it all. We had an extremely entertaining guide who told us all about the jade, bronzes, and carvings we saw. Jordan and I also wandered around a little bit more after the tour. Unfortunately you can't take photos inside, however the outdoors are beautiful as well, as you can see.

We learned how to identify the images of animals. There are two large eyes, a line in the middle for a nose. Anything at the line above are horns, eyebrows, tails or ears and anything at the line below are mouths and "craws" (claws). This particular face was on the bell outside. Bells were one of the first instruments in China.

So, after we finished at the museum, with a light dim sum lunch, Jordan and I headed to the "Riverfront". This place was like a cross between the Jersey Shore boardwalks and Chinatown. What a strange combination of amusemnts, tourist shops, foods, and fishermen. Once thing we noticed was the mixtures and kinds of smells in Taiwan as you pass different food stalls. There is a strange curiosity about the smells, not always enticing, but they make you wonder. You can't see it in the photo, but the mountain across the river here is called QuanYin Mountain, named after the goddess of compassion.
Along the way, there were a few beautiful temples with gold and colorful carvings, incense burning and this one had some explanation about it in English!

We also came across a little puppet show, as shown on this video.

Back to the hotel for a quick rest. Jordan and I had a Cantonese style Chinese dinner in the hotel with some dumplings, beef with rice noodles, spring rolls and sweet corn egg-drop soup. They had some of the traditional dishes such abalone dishes, shark fin dishes and even birds nest soup, but we were not feeling quite that adventurous! Either way, it was quite yummy! We especially liked the dumplings that have chicken soup right inside the dumpling - mmmmmm! I found it interesting to have the egg drop soup, it is very different from how we have it in the US and very delicious!

Finally, to finish off our evening, we decided to head to one of the night markets. Multiple people suggested Shihlin night market over the market at Longshun Temple, so off we went. This was like a jam packed GIANT flee market with food vendors and clothing, shoes, jewelry, belts, bags, etc. We each picked up a few gifts for some of you and ourselves and enjoyed walking through and taking in the sight. The smells and foods here were certainly.....interesting.

So here I am exhausted and filled with my first taste of Taiwanese culture and city-life. I would imagine that I might like the country better. Taipei feels like a big city. Its busy, dirty and traffic-y like one. Tomorrow is a big day, up early and on the bus to head to our first show location. Who knows what will await us there between the new place and tech-ing in the show. I had better get some rest!


Mom said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your tour and comments. Keep sending more.

karen said...

Looks like you're having fun! Also? Great shirt in the pic of you by the river.

Anonymous said...

YAY! Awesome pics Missy! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures. Love you!!


Anonymous said...

The museum sounds wonderful... thanks for keeping us connected in your adventures! More please!

Much Love,

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures! Keep us updated, and enjoy the rest of your trip!