Friday, November 25, 2005

Sun Moon Lake

This blogspot was mostly written by Peter, who came to visit me for a wonderful week. During the week we visited with friends in Taichung, having dinner out somewhere different each night. One night we and Anna Chen met Tim and Jane Allen, she of the paper-making wonders, and their son and his lady friend visiting from the states at a restaurant in Taichung City named Smooth. The chef is from Holland and the food is fai chang hen hao (pronounced /fay/chung/hun/how), which means ever so wonderfully good.

Excuse the flash in the mirror, please!

On Friday, we were in Taipei for a social affair at the AIT, in honor of Nicholas Papp who has become a friend of Pat’s, and to meet up with the Steiner family and their friend Scarlett who is from Taiwan and knows her way around. Saturday morning early we took a cab to the station to meet them, but while we were waiting we noticed from the Pinyin that the station name was slightly different from the one where we wanted to be. Sure enough, it was the wrong one, but the cab driver got it right the second time. So we met up with Lee and Mark and their twins Hannah and Emma, age 11, and Scarlett, and took the bus to Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan. It was about 2 hours on the bus to get there and we arrived before lunchtime.

The Steiners, waiting for the bus

Pat had tried to use the internet to locate a package for the weekend at Sun Moon Lake, but only the top hotels with the highest prices had web sites – in English, that is. Scarlett found some others, good ones, in Chinese, and we had bought one of those. It was a perfect deal! The price was right; the hotel was small and fun; the rooms we had all faced out onto the lake and had great views, a several-hour boat ride on the lake was included, as was dinner and breakfast. What more could anyone want?

A view from our hotel room

We had a great lunch at a small restaurant. The lunch included a soup made of flowers (I swear they were unopened day lilies!), steamed bamboo (not shoots!), and some really delicate good tasting lake fish cooked at the table. Like, they were so fresh we were glad they didn’t splash around in the pan. Afterwards, we did a little souvenir shopping and went for a long walk along the boardwalk that goes around the lake (part way, but far enough).

Emma looks great in her aborigine hat

The view from everywhere was spectacular, islands in the lake, mountains behind on all sides, in rows going into the distance. We saw Chang Kai Shek’s private docks, and the Lalu hotel (one of the more luxurious ones, where CKS used to hang around apparently, and where we probably stayed when we came here in 1964 and ran into him there; though I’m just speculating that it was the same hotel –have to check with Marianne).

We did the boat ride on the lake, got off at the obligatory stops to see the floating island and the shrines, acted like a bunch of tourists (of which there were many, mostly daytrippers I think), watched the Steiner girls having fun, and watched the sun set and turn the lake pink. . . . Afterwards did a bit more relaxing things like visiting and talking and people watching. A bottle of Nouveau Beaujolais at the nearby 7-11 was 300 NT, and Pat and I shared it before dinner. After dinner we walked around the little town and visited and shopped some more for souvenirs. The atmosphere was cool, the streets not crowded, the people friendly, the company fun, the kids well behaved. Just what it takes to make for a perfect time.

Up before dawn, rereading Spirit of St. Louis. Seems the Spirit was built without a magnetic compass installed, just an earth inductor compass, and Lindbergh had to have an MC installed afterwards. Lest one think they forgot to put one in, remember that the ship was built for this one single mission, and at first it was thought that the earth inductor compass would be sufficient. I’m not sure that they even swung the compass, because Lindbergh doesn’t seem to mention any compass deviation in his hourly observations (he does, but it is always “0”), but he sure used the MC in his dead reckoning navigation. He seemed to use it as his primary tool, with the earth inductor as his secondary source of information. Anyway,

I saw the day come, with the light from behind the mountains across the lake to the east, gradually getting not bright, exactly, but less dark.

The wind began to ruffle the surface of the glassy smooth lake. First one, then another person out. A boat began moving across the water in the far distance, then another in the near. People with spinning rods were out fishing on the piers. Put the book down when Lindbergh yelled, “Which way is Ireland?”

In the morning we had breakfast lakeside. Then we checked out of the hotel, and took our bags and all to the bus to go to the Aboriginal village across the lake. This was not at all how I remembered it being. Now, it is a huge amusement park with rides and restaurants and a roller coaster as well as the tribal exhibits, which were all I remember being there. It was still fun, interesting and entertaining, and we watched some dancing and things we would never have seen anywhere else. Bought some weird souvenirs that Pat says I’ll have to hide when the kids come visit.


At 7:36 AM, Blogger Pat Wente said...

Hey, hi! Where are your Steiners from? We have Steiners in our family, central Illinois by way of Switzerland and Alsace.

Anyway, enjoyed reading Peter's blog and the photos are great. When are you coming home?

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Patricia Golemon said...

These Steiners are from Pearland. He teaches in law school and she is an artist. I will ask them if they have relatives in Central Illinois. The world is indeed very small; we met them here in Taiwan!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger K. A. Laity said...

What gorgeous pictures! I am so envious (again). What remarkable adventures you are having -- and great to see Mr. Pete's happy face there with you too. Take good care of yourself!

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Kat said...

Wow, I am so glad to read about your adventures. My limited access to the internet and the vast amount of time I have been spending moving around the Minneapolis metro have been keeping me busy.

I'll be sure to check back periodically and look forward to reading about your next adventure!

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Liz Glassman said...

Hi Pat -
I am still following your amazing adventure. And you wonderful commnentary and photos bring it all to life. Be well - Liz Glassman

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Liz Glassman said...

Pat - After some work, I am on your bolog -- I think. I am still following your fascinating adventure. Your words and photos make it all come alive. Be well and keep having such a time.
Liz Glassman


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