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And Slow It Goes

Exploring Taipei with a nine-month old can definitely be categorized as Slow Travel, a concept I blogged about before we left. We are living like locals, camping out at the in-laws, and venturing out around our baby’s two-nap schedule. Which means we can’t really be out for longer than four hour stints, so we are getting to know the neighborhood well and getting lots of down time. When we go further than our feet can carry us, we take a bus or MRT, Taipei’s subway system. Cities like Jakarta and Bangkok prepared me well for this city. By comparison, Taipei is much tamer and easier to navigate, more like New York or Singapore, where there is constant action but the rule of law still counts for something.
We made it to the National Palace Museum which houses a giant collection of Chinese art and artifacts. The highlights for me included a beautiful display of painted scrolls by Chiang Chao-shen, a master calligrapher. Also, the famous hand scroll Up the River During the QingMing Festival, painted by court artisans depicting the daily activities of the Sung Dynasty was captivating in its detail. A collection of curios, intricate boxes meant to hold some of the emperor’s most valued treasures, which were also on display, was impressive. Many pieces were so tiny and elaborate it was difficult to imagine how they were made. My favorite piece was in the Rare Books collection, a gorgeous Tibetan version of the Tripitaka, or Buddhist scripture, hand copied in gold ink. Almost as special was the room designated for nursing mothers that I put to good use. They really look out for mamas and their babies over here.
So far, the only other “must see” from the guidebooks we’ve been to is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, built to honor the “Father of the Nation”, and happened to be there during the changing of the guard, which was cool. Even more entertaining were the many groups of high school kids practicing hip hop dances around the perimeter of the memorial. One of them stopped me to help them finish their English homework, asking me timid questions about my plans while in Taiwan. Teenagers here seem very polite and respectful of elders. They actually got up on the subway to give my mother-in-law and whichever one of us was holding the baby their seat, and I literally saw one helping an old lady across the street. Can you imagine?
Mainly, we have just been behaving as if we live here. We spent a day visiting my husband’s relatives. I mostly sat and smiled as they doted on our son. More than anything else, we have been eating. The food deserves its own post which I will get to soon. In the meantime, we’re enjoying sampling outstanding fare at every meal and getting fatter each day that passes. Ah, sweet vacation. Tomorrow is our seventh anniversary and we are celebrating by going off on our own for a night, a date planned by my man, so I don’t know any details yet except that it will be our first night away from our little guy. Will let you know how it goes.

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2 thoughts on “And Slow It Goes

  1. I have an 11 month old (a year on Saturday!) so I TOTALLY know how that goes. We have a three hour window before she falls apart completely. And then I fall apart.
    But we aren’t trying to explore Taiwan — more like trying to get errands done. So it’s OKAY BY ME to go home.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

    1. Ha! Yep, it gets ugly when you don’t honor their need to sleep. So far no baby (or mama) meltdowns over here. Though I’m on the verge of one since it’s three a.m. on my first night away from him, and instead of a night of blissful sleep, I’m typing one-handed while I pump. Oy. Thanks for stopping by. Just checked out your blog and it seems we have a lot in common. Congrats on surviving the first year!

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