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Taiwan Teddy Tourism

April 26, 2014

Obviously Nichole and I love international travel. This is our latest international adventure.

Nichole had been very young the first time she visited Taiwan and I had never traveled anywhere in Asia, so we planned a trip, packed our bags, and prepared for a new experience. My wife’s uncle, Todd, studied Chinese in college and ended up completing a year abroad in Taiwan where he fell in love with his wife, Jackie. They have two awesome boys, Austin and Colin. We couldn’t have asked for better hosts and tour guides throughout our trip!

The flight to China I think is the longest that I have ever flown. We took the cost saving route and had an extra long layover (8 hours) in Houston. Nichole slept a lot (read: the entire flight) and I watched all the movies from the past year that I hadn’t seen. We finally landed in Beijing around 3am to find a completely vacant airport. We slept some and waited for our final flight to Taipei where we were greeted by an incredible welcome committee!

IMG_3569We made it and immediately had some real bubble tea!

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Taiwan Teddy Tourism

There is a national tourism campaign that utilizes large (tagged and numbered) teddy bears so that you can find them all and collect pictures/ check-in with all the bears. Throughout our trip the joke became our suggested tagline for Taiwan’s tourism office.

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The 12 hour time difference made the first few nights a struggle. There were a few times where we would all be talking in the car on the way back to our hotel and Nichole and I would just end up passed out in the backseat.

We were awake enough to get introspective at the Confucius Temple in Tainan.

IMG_3514Nichole attempted to seek out Starbucks coffee wherever she could, but we definitely had a significant shift in our caffeine intake switching from coffee to tea. One of Jackie’s older sisters is a tea master and had a traditional tea ceremony at her home for us with an introduction to various tea flavors.

IMG_3573We visited Austin and Colin’s school. Colin and I had a good old fashioned foot race on the cinder track. Photo finish and all!

IMG_0440Note the Starbucks in Nichole’s hand.

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Beautiful Island

Taiwan’s earliest Western name, given by sailors in the 17th century, was Ilha Formosa, or “beautiful island” in Portuguese. As we traveled down Taiwan’s Western coast away from its major city centers we began to see why Taiwan had been given the name.

At Sun and Moon Lake we rode the sky gondola with beautiful scenic mountain views and rode bikes around part of the lake.

IMG_3493More starbucks!

DSCF6534Jackie’s other sister invited us to dinner where she cooked many traditional Taiwanese dishes, including fresh caught (still jumping) shrimp. It was a big hot pot style family meal where you dip in your food to cook and spoon it out once it is ready. Everything was so delicious!

IMG_3583Our final destination down Taiwan’s Western coast was Kenting (Ken-ding) where we took in the lush greenery and beaches. We attempted to become surfers, but at best can say that we “tried” to surf with great coaching from Todd.

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DSCF6625We rode the high speed rail from Kenting back to Taipei. The high speed rail reaches speeds up to 180 mph, so the trip was only around 2 hours covering almost 200 miles. We ran with Austin to see the view from the top of the Taipet 101 tower, which was the tallest in the world in 2004 and is known for its postmodern architecture.

IMG_3647Our last day was spent touring Taiwan’s national landmarks, notably the Chaing Kei-shek Memorial (similar to the Lincoln Memorial in DC) for the changing of the guard. IMG_3674Starbucks again. . .    DSCF6667Oh yeah, and I ate a fish eye at our last dinner for good luck.

IMG_3708This was an extremely abbreviated summary of the amazing week that we had in Taiwan. We couldn’t have had such a great experience without the help of Todd, Jackie, Austin, and Colin and all the extended family across Taiwan.

DSCF6536Thank you!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2015 11:24 AM

    Reblogged this on Alex B. Hill.

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