Sunday, May 15, 2016

taiwan, pt ii





from miaoli, my family drove south to visit relatives and tour a few cities along the way. i wasn't fully aware of the magnitude of our road trip until we started, but we hit every corner in the tiny country:

taipei --> miaoli --> lukang --> sandimen --> tainan --> pingtung --> hualien --> su-ao --> taipei

something that i told myself repeatedly before going on this trip was that i was just going to go with the flow. as a self-proclaimed type-a planner, i am usually the one to help put together an itinerary, choose the hostel, research restaurants, figure out how to get from a to b. i knew that this trip would be a good time to really soak in the taiwan of the older generation and see it through their eyes. also, i know i'll be back to show my siblings and husband and family one day, and know that i'll be that much richer having this context and appreciation.

from the pictures above: 

lukang: a short stop, as we were just stopping for a lunch spot on our way to tainan - but i'm so glad that we did! the little town felt busier than miaoli, yet much smaller than a tainan or taipei, and with a different vibe than pingtung. we gathered in the back of a hole-in-the-wall noodle shop and and watched locals light incense at a beautiful, ornate temple in the center of town.

sandimen: the mountainous, rural township in pingtung couty, sandimen is home to various aboriginal taiwanese tribes that are rich in art and culture. we stopped here for a performance at the taiwan indigenous peoples culture park, where we were introduced to the customs and clothing of each tribe through song and dance. 

tainan: the oldest city in taiwan and the former capital during the qing dynasty, tainan was a bustling and pretty city. we stopped for a night at an amazing hotel (one of my favorite things about asia = the ridiculous exchange rate that allows for us to "splurge" on accommodation) and visited a relative that is a few times removed from my generation. although i had heard and read that tainanese food is renowned all throughout taiwan, i followed my exclusively mandarin-speaking relatives to a japanese restaurant for dinner, and received gasps of horror when i recounted this to a second cousin when we met up again in taipei ("why would you eat japanese food... in tainan?!"). in terms of sight-seeing, we stopped at the beautiful chihkan towers in the center of town. i'll definitely be back to this city. 

pingtung: we stopped here only for a few hours, but as my mom and grandparents caught up with our relatives in mandarin, my dad and i walked through the narrow, winding streets and watched the farmers tend to their rice fields. 

"for my part, i travel not to go anywhere, but to go. i travel for travel's sake. the great affair is to move." 
- robert louis stevenson

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