Sunday, April 12, 2009

host family day!

There's nothing quite like host family day... a chance to catch up on sleep, do laundry, and of course, be up for whatever adventure your host family has in store!

I am very lucky to be hosted with an UWP alumna named Paige here in Taipei. She is Canadian and has been living here for about three years. We had a really lovely day exploring the northern tip of the island.

We drove north out of Taipei and around the most northern point, stopping at a surfing beach, and at a beautiful lookout where we sat outside at a cafe, reading books and listening to the waves. There was a lone fisherman on the rocks below us, and it was a peaceful and gorgeous, if hazy, morning.

We stopped by a bizarre temple up in the mountains where there is a 12-story monument of a dog. Apparently a merchant ship sank offshore and the 18 sailors drowned. The dog attempted to rescue them, and when he was unsuccessful, he sat on the shore and waited for his owner for the rest of his life. The temple is dedicated to the sailors and of course, the dog.

We visited Ju Ming sculpture park and museum, which houses the art of Taiwan's most famous contemporary artist, Ju Ming. His chunky people sculptures were my favorite. The grounds were gorgeous and we enjoyed being outside.

We also stopped by Yehliu Geopark which is a skinny peninsula that has striking rock formations that have been shaped by the ocean crashing over the most northern part of the island.

We drove over the mountain back to Taipei, where we could see fields of calla lilies in full bloom. There were roadside stands and tons of people, as the Festival of the Calla Lily is the full month of April.

We stopped at one of Paige's favorite restaurants, which is named Stone House but everyone just calls it "Jesse's", and ate in the garden. We had kung pao chicken, fried tofu, a shrimp & pineapple dish, and steamed sweet potato leaves. Guava, pineapple, and wax apples for dessert.

It was a full day, but in a relaxing way, which is lucky, as there's another busy week ahead!

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