Twenty-four hours after being sent back to Seoul, we headed once again to the airport and finally got to Taipei. We were so happy to be greeted by Chi-Hung '09 and Lisa '10 who took us by car into the city. Chi-Hung and Lisa told us a lot about the city while we were traveling to the hotel. When we asked what we should try to do, given our less-than-24-hours, Chi-Hung said, "Taipei 101." I thought she was so clever to suggest that we get in a quick, survey "course" of the city...until I realized she was referring to one of the tallest buildings in the world - Taipei 101 which has 101 floors. We had a good laugh over that!
We loved the Landis Taipei Hotel and the people in it. They could not have been more accommodating, especially given our delay and thwarted reception. The hotel staff quickly put together a much smaller and intimate area where we could greet the few people who were still able to come see us. Lisa's parents had thoughtfully sent us a beautiful basket of Taiwanese fruit some of which Lisa cut up for us to taste as we got settled in our hotel room. It - Asian pear, dragon fruit, assorted melons and so on - was delicious! When we had unpacked a bit and tasted our fruit, the girls took us out again so we could see a bit of the city. It was raining (remember, there was a typhoon hitting the southern part of the island!), and we had just about an hour to zoom around Taipei. We didn't even get out of the car, but we were able to gain an impression of a city we thought we'd love to return to see more of. Here are some "rainy" views:
We got back to the hotel just in time to change for the reception and greet our guests: current students Eudora '11 and her mother, Sara '11 and her dad, Lisa and her parents, and Chi-Hung. We were also wonderfully happy to see two alumnae, Alice and Flora , and Flora 's mother, Bernadette.
It wasn't the size group we had originally anticipated, but we were so grateful to those who were able to attend. We enjoyed everyone there and learned a lot about Taiwan, business in Taiwan, and the life of teenagers there! Thanks, especially, to the two fathers there - Mr. Hsieh and Mr. Cheng; it was Fathers' Day in Taiwan that night!
Lisa, Chi-Hung and Eudora insisted that we join them after the reception for a trip to the Night Market, an invitation we couldn't resist! And I am so glad we went; it was a riot. First, a trip to the incredible food area where one can buy any kind of food you can think of. We tasted some fried chicken and an oyster omelet, both of which were delicious. Of course, the girls bought some requisite Bubble Tea.
From there, we headed to the many rows of shopping booths -again, where you can seemingly find anything you can think of. My favorite part of the evening was when we took pictures of ourselves in a little booth and then decorated our creations in another machine. We did four pictures, but I'll just share my favorite -- Andy almost guffawing while Lisa was teasing her. Take a look:
On top of all this, there were Lisa and Chi-Hung waiting for us again the next morning at 7:30am in the hotel lobby as we were about to depart. They escorted us back to the airport and bid us adieu. There is no question that our brief trip to Taiwan would never had had so much meaning if it weren't for these two. We are forever indebted. Shishi, girls! And a big shishi to everyone who came to our event; we are very appreciative!