Saturday, January 16, 2016

Made In Taiwan...


It's a cup...made in Taiwan.
I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.

So, this was a five-day, four-night, round island excursion that I realise was mostly fun for Oakie & I. 
Hearing about someone else's "awesome trip" is only cool if there are funny stories & awesome pictures. 

With that in mind:
 Our 5-Day Trip In 50 Pictures or Fewer & As Many Funny Stories As I Remember

This was a bus tour that started in the northern most part of Taiwan (the capitol Taipei), took us down around the east side to the southernmost part and then back up the western side seeing historically important, geographically relevant highlights along the way. It was presented in Mandarin & English and was a mix of tourism & vacation. A total blast.

WARNING: I love hotels and these were ├╝ber nice so I'll have pictures of those. 
I apologise if that isn't your cup of local Taiwanese tea. 

Day 1:  
Welcome to Taiwan, where the planes fly with the butterflies.

We were picked up from our hotel in the capitol of Taiwan, Taipei, after breakfast (where we found the vases from IKEA that we used in as our wedding table-centerpieces).

Pretty short day. 
Saw a buddhist temple:

Found a worker's hat.
Put it on.

And traveled to Sun Moon Lake--a treasure of Taiwan that was one of the highlights of the whole trip.
Hotel was amazing.
Hot springs in your room.
Paper cranes on your bed.

View from our hotel, the Fleur de Chine:

 But in an effort to be transparent, 
if you looked the OTHER way, 
it was totally parking lot all the way...

And then they leave outfits in your room & Oakie convinces you that EVERYONE at the hotel is wearing theirs to dinner downstairs because HE SAW THEM and you ride the elevator down and the doors open to the dining room & everyone looks 
& no one. 
no. one. 
is wearing their hotel outfit and you just let the doors close and ride back up...
and take this picture.

Day 2:
Sunrise walk down to Sun Moon Lake where you couldn't see the sunrise because of the mountains & clouds, but it was beautiful anyway.

Then we made another stop at a buddhist temple with the "big buddha" and it was gorgeous.

And then on to Kaohsiung where we saw Love River & one of the famous Night Markets of Taiwan!

Normal Picture

 Oakie's Normal Picture because he keeps snapping pictures just HOPING to catch me losing my mind in stop motion...

 I stood on a chair in the middle of the road to take this. #noshame
 I felt like we were on the Food Network...this won't be the last time you hear that.

View from our hotel, the Grand Hi-Lai:

Day 3:
It actually got HOT on this portion of the trip where, 
in 1 day, 
we saw 3 different oceanic bodies of water:
The Taiwan Strait (between Taiwan & China)
& Bashi Channel (between Taiwan & the Philippines) 
& the Pacific Ocean between Taiwan and the YOU(S-A).

But FIRST, we stopped at a fruit stand in the south of Taiwan famous for their mangos.
This was the part where Oakie said, "We just got tourist trapped."
Because we bought this:
I felt like we were on the Food Network.
Aw, thanks, guys! I do. I really do.
P.S. Everyone in Taiwan puts cereal on their ice cream...& you know what?
I think they got it right.

Those oceans tho...

Oakie WILL GET in an ocean. 
Every. Time.

Next up, we visited an Wester Style lighthouse at the tip of the goose-beak peninsula in the southernmost part of Taiwan.

And there were SO MANY stray dogs there...

But when you saw their view, you understood the draw...

But they were totally illegal immigrants...I mean there was a SIGN.
I guess they didn't understand the language...too far?
(also, Mary Lou, this kinda looks like maybe just Marty isn't allowed.......)

And then the windy Pacific...seriously, these pictures DO NOT SHOW how windy it was...

I call this next collection: Mirror, Mirror (a.k.a. Earth & Sky; a.k.a. The Ups & Downs of Life)

View from our hotel, Hotel Royal Chihpen Spa:

Day 4:
This was a day of rocky coastlines & running so hard our sides hurt, just for the sake of seeing the beautiful (&, you know, making it back to the bus on time).

I call this picture A Preview of Cardio.
We ran those bad boys.
8 arches of stairs to get to the Imoto (Fairy) Islands.
If you're looking at this & thinking, "It doesn't look that bad, Caroline."

View of where we came from:

Oakie climbing. #classicOakie

I think this is perfect:

And then we went to a Buddhist temple in a cave & I took one of my favourite pictures:

Did y'all see the sunshine from America?
I mean, it was on the other side of the ocean, sooooooo....

So instead, here's an awesome panorama:
& a picture of the aboriginal dance performance we got to see:

Day 5:
On our final day, we visited Taroko Gorge on the western side of Taiwan, where they mine marble, jade, star sapphire and lots of other semi-precious stones. 
We took a tour of the quarry and I learned that you can tell real jade from fake jade by holding it up to a light. Real jade is transparent. 
I'm now receiving all personal jade for appraisal/verification.

This place was GORGE-ous...

And we had to wear helmets, so WE were GORGE-ous.

 That is marble in the rough y'all...

And then this little girl posed...
So WE posed...

At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, I HAVE to tell you the story of this little girl.
She was on our tour.
She is from China.
She is 4 and her name is Joseline (pronounced like Josephine).
She couldn't speak English, but she was, like, minorly, obsessed with me.
She called me "pretty lady" in Mandarin and watched me/followed me for the first 2 days. By the 2nd day, her mom said she had asked if it was alright if she took a picture with me.

By Day 3, she had asked her mother if she could hug me:

By Days 4 & 5, we were BFFs. 
She always kept an eye out for me and we communicated on the bus with hand signals:

Sweet Joseline.
I will never forget her.

And with that, our tour ended.
A drive along the Pacific all the way back to Taipei.

An amazing trip through which I witnessed the glory of God in the rock faces of the cliffs and the friendly faces of the people we met on that bus. 
Jesus said we should be as the little children.
Maybe today, you unabashedly show someone how much you admire them.
(Maybe hold off on the random hugging unless everyone involved is okay with it...)
If we could all notice, recognise & appreciate the gifts around us for what they are, maybe we could all get a little bit closer to that child in us that Jesus doesn't want us to forget.
Thank you, Joseline, for that lesson.
& thank you, Jesus, for Joseline.

P.S. I 100% lied about the 50 photos or less, but now that I came clean, it's all good, right?


  1. So my question is: what was that chair even doing in the middle of the road though???

    1. Haha excellent question!
      The road was blocked off for the night market and there were several makeshift eating areas around so I just grabbed one and stood on it!

  2. Really enjoyed your tour. Look forward to next one. Where did the chair come from?