Hugely exciting…I have the schedule to visit the kids and it will be a busy few weeks. Han-han is in a foster home in Taipei, an hour north of Taoyuan county, while Mei-Yun and Lin are in an orphanage in Taichung, a few hours to the south in bright blue. So we’re on deck to do a video chat and 2 IN PERSON visits with the older two next week and one IN PERSON visit with Han-han. The following week is pretty much every day somewhere, so I hope we can communicate well enough to make it good and happy and productive (READ:…help them want to go home with us in a few short weeks).
A new volunteer from Germany came this week, Lisa, and Alexis from Singapore, came back through to Dada, so we had some company to travel around with on the weekend. We headed to Jiufen, a mountainous former mining town near the northeastern coast.
Once again, the views were spectacular…the ocean in the distance and temples, small and large, nestled on the hillside, winding roads through green tropical plants and trees.
The town itself is quite small and easy to manage; the streets are narrow and sometimes almost feel like a tunnel, filled with people and shops. Our first stop was for noodles and a tofu type dumpling soup at Uncle Fish Ball…really! We meandered along, finding goodies for people at home and here.
All of us had left our guidebooks at home, so it was complete luck that at the third teahouse we came across, we decided to stop in. Great choice! Customers remove their shoes and put on house sandals, wooden tables overlook the mountainside and cool (or warm) drinks and refreshments are served…it was calm and relaxing after jostling elbows with every other tourist in the town.
We tried some local specialties…almost everywhere we’ve been in our travels, there is local fare that is specific and unique to the region. This time, we had a type of ice cream wrap. The base was a tortilla, spread with a chopped carmelized peanut mixture, topped with yam and pineapple ice cream and cilantro! It was surprisingly tasty and I was grateful we had Alexis, a Chinese speaker, making sure we found the goods!