Day three is wrapping up and so far no major problems. Jet lag is almost all gone and the squat toilet has been conquered! I’ve just had a great shower with awesome water pressure (way better than my house) and I smell like Osmanthus blossoms thanks to the gift of body lotion we were given at the Flying Cow Ranch. So it is probably the perfect time to summarize the day.
Claire and I stayed with the same host family–Nan Shan–and we woke up at 7 to get ready so our host parents could go to work. There are many people in the house, so it feels very homelike. We had toast with jam, boiled eggs, and fruit for breakfast with steamed buns, so I think the family has gone out of their way to find us American food. We gave our host gifts (actually the night before) and received a set of chopsticks in return. Then it was a scramble to get on the road.
We were dropped off at McDonalds, which is actually very similar to our McDonalds except the english muffins are softer and the menu is a little different. We met up with all of our friends to start our tour. We went to a beautiful museum and saw a huge room full of calligraphy, which was unfortunately wasted on me since I don’t read Chinese. But I am told it was by their most famous artist. We also saw amazing paintings and art installations of all kinds. I bought a few postcards at the gift shop and then we had to hurry to get to our next tour.
We travelled to Luking University, which is actually a Catholic university that used to be for girls only. Now it is a sprawling modern campus and the library has just been updated. It is over 8 floors and has a new writing center that really brought back my college memories. We saw a robotic hand programmed by local students and used a prism to make a quick hologram out of our phones–very cool!
Next we grabbed a quick lunch (less than 10 courses) and headed to a local factory to see a presentation on geosynthetic materials that are manufactured locally and shipped out all over the world. These materials are incorporated into the sides of roads, bridges, mountains, rivers, beaches, etc. They can be used to prevent landslides and stop erosion. It is extremely useful and interesting. As we were touring the facility, one of our new rotary friends, Max, told me the whole area where we were used to be a beach when he was young. He used to catch crabs with his siblings and now it is all roads and buildings–that is how quickly Taiwan is developing!
After our tour, it was back to our lunch restaurant for dinner and karaoke. As usual, I ate too much, but this time the songs were much better and I think we did pretty well learning the dances. Then we hooked up Lisa’s phone and taught everybody the macarena! I think there are videos of it somewhere…the internet never forgets!
And now it is definitely bed time. We have a presentation tomorrow and plenty of other plans to squeeze in. Until tomorrow!