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Taiwan – An Entirely Different Brand of China

Mainland China (the PRC – Peoples Republic of China) thinks it has dominion over Taiwan (ROC – Republic of China) and the ROC thinks it has legal control over all of China – but the two seem at least for now, to coexist peacefully.  Totally Chinese but totally not chinese, Taiwan has a unique identity.

We were able to spend a few days in Taipei, again tagging along with Daddy on business.  We stayed at the Hyatt, adjacent to Taipei 101, all 90 something floors of it.  We have, at this point, stayed at dozens of Hyatts (Daddy travels A LOT for work and accrues A LOT of hotel points) – vacations are often planned with the parameter of “where can we get on United and stay at a Hyatt”.  Anyway, I figure I should start, as a piece of my adventure blogging, document the Hyatts we stay at (for free).  So, here goes my first:

Hotel:  Hyatt Regency Taipei

Particulars:  Older hotel, nice enough suite (free upgrade).  Great service.  Decent Pool.

Highlights:  Child fun packs equipped with a new toothbrush, toothpaste and soft squishy teddy [bear]… and child sized white hotel slippers!, ridiculous but adorable.  Breakfast and cocktail hour were bomb – much better than those we often encounter.  Great views (see below).

Now that we’re done with that, onto much more interesting details of our time in Taipei.  We went to a very cool series of old coal mining villages turned touristy due to a train built to carry coal that has been turned into one that moves people.  In the town of Ping Hsi, you can write your loveliest dreams onto a paper lantern, that is then fueled with fire and sent up in the atmosphere to burn and make all your wishes come true.  Though I fundamentally don’t like the idea of sending anything up into the sky for the earth’s sake, let alone a giant fire bearing lantern (further supported by the first lantern we saw released getting caught in phone lines above our heads, sending burning pieces floating to the ground around us), I was convinced that it’d be worth the experience for the *sake* of the kids.  So, up we sent our adorned purple lantern (Safari picked), to burn to ashes and litter the land.

Taipei has incredible night markets, which anyone who has been, will surely tell you about.  My take away from the night market was this photo (which actually was quite common as I found out.  There was a “nursery” in the airport, with a crib and all):

And, finally, I’ll leave you with these:

Yes, his nails really were that dirty and yes, they look like that A LOT.

Sassy, even after I made a waffle offering to her gods.

All in all, Taiwan is a cleaner, less chaotic… I hate to say it, more westernized (for better or for worse), version of China.  Where there seem to be traffic laws that people obey and elevators that *sometimes* run below capacity.  AND, having a stroller gets you VIP access EVERYWHERE.  Which, as we’ve learned on this trip, is the shit when crossing borders and standing in security lines.  They want to get you and your little ratbags through as quickly as possible.

 

Chinese Playground

Many things in China (well, to be fair, I can only speak to southern China) are bigger and plasticy-er than we’re used to in the US.  And there may be no better example than the playground we went to today.

(I think that I’ve just made it my goal to investigate playgrounds, country by country.  Which is highly ironic because truth be told, I DO NOT like playgrounds.  Never have.  Perhaps I have unhealed wounds from the time, in kindergarten, when I was punched dead in the gut while peacefully hanging from a giant ring and came crashing to the ground having had the wind knocked out of me for the first time.  Perhaps it’s the stomach virus or hand, foot, and mouth disease lurking around every corner.  Or maybe it’s the chit chatty mom’s corner.)

At any rate, I’ve sucked up my dislike and do indulge mis hijos as often as I can [muster up the will power].

And behold, Chinese plastic-blow-up playground:

This may very well not represent Chinese playgrounds in the slightest, for which I have no proof at this juncture…more research is required.  HOWEVER, at least here in humid southern China, it seems very fitting that the only thing resembling a playground was found on the basement level of a modern mall.  Next to a Walmart.  Behind a spattering of decaying brick buildings.

 

Current Adventure: China Business Trip

We tagged along with Daddy on a Chinese business trip.  Much of our trip has had the kids in a position not unlike that of zoo animals, where everyone wants to pet, say hi to, take pictures of/with, and hold.  It goes something like this:

and this:

Safari now repeats my comment of “they like to pet [me] and say hi to [me] and take pictures with [me]”.  I’m not sure they’d turn out as very well balanced kids if we raised them in this environment, though I can’t imagine that they’d be quite as captivating as their hair darkened and grew out of their baby chub.  The littlest one, Denali, by the way, is MORE than agreeable to be picked up by a woman, passed around to all of her friends, then pose for said woman’s husband to take eighteen photos of his cute little squishy white cheeks.

We’ve debated charging a fee to photograph our brood, but thus far, they’ve only been paid in chocolate milk and various sketchy hard Chinese candies that may or may not have come out of a wrapper.