Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Alishan

Over Chinese New Year, we decided to make a little trip down to Mt. Alishan and enjoy for the first time the new high-speed train that runs down the west side of Taiwan. Peter's mom was visiting and came along.

Here we are on the train:

Judy, Ada, me, Sadie, Jonas

And voila, a several-hour car trip turned into a one-hour train trip. We decided to stay the night at the foot of the mountain, in Chiayi. Oops, I screwed up the hotel reservations and got us 2 rooms at a remote love motel instead of a normal hotel in town. Fortunately, they didn't give us the hourly rate. Here we are, happy love motel occupants (the garage doors are for privacy, you just drive straight into your room and close the door, basically, and nobody can see what mistress you are with today. Your room number flashes as you drive up to it):

Happy Love Motel occupants.

This proved to me what a good sport my mother-in-law is. The next morning, we took the train up the mountain. This train is one of only three steep-grade alpine trains in the world. It goes very slowly and takes over 3 hours. At the top, when it gets very steep, the train has to keep stopping and changing tracks as it switchbacks up the mountain.

The back of the alpine train upward to Alishan.

The kids did very well on the long train ride, although none of us properly anticipated the quick change in temperature.

Things to do on the alpine train, part 1. Listen to audiobooks with Yaya:

Things to do on the alpine train 1

Things to do on the alpine train, part 2. Read your Highlights magazine:

Things to do on the alpine train 2

Things to do on the alpine train, part 3. Play with the baby:

Things to do on the alpine train 3

Things to do on the alpine train, part 4. Meditate:

Things to do on the alpine train 4

Things to do on the alpine train, parts 5 and 6. Draw. Look out the window:

Things to do on the alpine train 5,6

What you see at little stops on the mountain:

At a little stop on Alishan.

Other tourists (everybody pick up your chopsticks on the count of three...):

Bento lunches

At the top, we stayed in a nice, normal hotel and went for a little hike into the sacred tree forest, where there are several trees over 1,000 years old. We saw one that was 2,000 years old. They are spectacular and do, indeed, feel very sacred. We didn't take our camera in, so we will just have to remember it as it was - misty, fresh, green and wise.

Here are some kid photos for the grandparents:

Sadie in the best baby invention ever, the Bumbo chair. It's dipped down in the middle, so she's kind of stuck in there.

Sadie, 4 months

Sadie absolutely adores Jonas. He can make her smile in the most dire of circumstances.

Sadie, 4 months, Jonas, 6

Ada and Sadie. This gives the impression that all we ever do is put Sadie in the Bumbo chair.

Sadie, 4 months, and Ada, 3

More photos at my Flickr page, just click on any of these photos to get there.

2 comments:

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Philippe Ory said...

We're moving to Taipai in August and it's interesting to read about other expat experiences Thank you for sharing... If we meet there by accident, I'll already know your names... How clever! :)