Daily Archives: February 6, 2013

Can You Say Awk-waaard?

Monday, February 04, 2013 – Day 6

It was yet another hazy and humid hot day in Kaohsiung. So much for winter in Taiwan. It’s weird that I’m the only one who is never wearing a jacket – I’m always sticky due to the humidity, which my hair is loving (really, my hair looks so shiny!). Yet my aunt and grandma always worry that I’m cold. I see all the Taiwanese people here and they are wearing full on winter clothing. I laugh to myself and now I realize how other states in the United States laugh at Southern Californians complaining about cold weather. It really is probably warm when it is winter in Los Angeles. On the other hand, Taiwanese people might be just layering to protect themselves from sun damage, so who is the one laughing now?

Now back to today… Somebody got their exercise on, my dad! I tagged along with my dad to watch him play golf with his friend and to play paparazzi for the day. He played two nine holes and it took about four hours for them to complete it. At least I wasn’t alone being a bystander. My dad’s other friend who drove us there was also tagging along to watch. Well, more like, he had no choice since he was our ride.

golf

Action Photo 1: Dad golfing in Taiwan.

golf taiwan

Action Photo 2: Dad golfing in Taiwan.

golf taiwan

Action Photo 3: Dad golfing in Taiwan.

After my dad and his friend completed their first nine holes, the other bystander friend was like, “OK, done, let’s go eat at this restaurant right here.” He was not shy in showing his displeasure in being there. My dad and his friend are like, “Oh yeah! Go ahead, just eat something and chillax while we go on our second round.” They were happy that this other friend and I were just going to be out of their peripheral since I’m sure we were being a distraction. Not to point fingers but this other man was playing full on Chinese soup operas on his iPad at full volume while out on the golf course. That thing was loud! LOL

dried pond

Dried out pond in golf course with lots of golf balls.

bridge in gold course

Golf course had an Asian theme going on. Looked really pretty.

little turtle in big pond

Little turtle sunbathing.

Here are three action photos in sequence:

golf taiwan

Sequence 1: Dad golfing in Taiwan.

golf taiwan

Sequence 2: Dad golfing in Taiwan.

golf taiwan

Sequence 3: Dad golfing in Taiwan.

So here I am feeling awkward since I am stranded with my dad’s friend. He knows me from when I was five years old or something and he has even met my mom at her prime, during her 20’s. So at least we are not total strangers. But this was not the awkward story of today’s events.

My dad’s friend and me had a light meal – he had noodle soup, I picked at his dumplings and cabbage side dishes. I had green bean desert and an iced milk coffee. While we were both eating, he was watching his Chinese soup opera and I was browsing through a Taiwanese shopping catalog targeted for women. After I was done with this magazine, there was no avoiding talking any longer. We had to chit chat.

As I picked at the food while he was watching a sex scene of his soup opera, a couple of other golfers who were snacking were trying to find the source of this sex noise. My dad’s friend did not give a shit about the sex noise. I was slightly embarrassed but since it was obviously not coming from me, I brushed it off. Although this was awkward, this is still not it.

So we chatted and chatted about whatever. Then he wanted to go for a smoke and he insisted I use his iPad while he went smoking. I kept on insisting I was fine, I don’t want to listen to Chinese songs or browse the interwebz on someone else’s computer. But he wanted to show off his iPad, I’m guessing, because he was doing a demo of how to navigate through this complex piece of equipment called the iPadz. So here I am playing dumb and going along with “Oh, is that how you use it?” While I’m thinking, “Just go smoke your cigarette already, I ain’t touching the iPadz.”

So here is the awkward. As he is going through his demo of how to use the iPadz, he scrolls down through his bookmarks and there it was – in plain CAPITAL letters: “*FREE PORNO*PORNO VIDEO CLIPS*FREE PORNO*” I wanted to burst out laughing right there and then.

Come on now… If you are going to let someone else use your iPad, at least keep your bookmarks to yourself. And really? You are 58 years old, why still porno? May be I am so naive and think that at that age porno is not that interesting hahahaha But this is my dad’s friend, I hold him to a certain standard of prude-ness. Which he obviously failed with flying colors. Anyway… So he leaves and I absolutely do not want to touch his iPad now. Ugh, the fingers that have touched it with who knows what bodily substances have splattered that touch screen.

I won’t tell my dad of course. That is just embarrassing, more so for my own sake since the word “porno” has never come up in a conversation with my dad.

After that we headed back home and someone else got their exercise on! That’s right, MEEEE! I ran until I was feeling like I was going to barf and did lunges until my legs were screaming vulgarities at me. Oh, happy day. This past week has been rough in the midsection… I feel like I am carrying a three month old baby.

PS: Tomorrow post is going to have HOT SPRINGS. Ahh! So pretty and relaxing…….

PPS: I took great action photos huh? *pat on the back*

Sad Beginning at Guanyin to Happy Ending at Xiziwan

Sunday, February 3, 2013 – Day 5

SAD BEGINNING

Today my dad has fulfilled one of two main reasons for his trip to Taiwan. The first one is in progress – spending time with my grandmother. The second reason was to visit my grandfather’s resting place.

We headed out to visit my grandfather’s resting place in a Buddhist columbarium about an hour away from Kaohsiung City in Guanyin Shan. A columbarium is a building that holds cinerary urns in this these locker slots, called niches. This is a beautiful building lined with rows upon rows of bronze niches. Hundreds of these gold colored niches rest inside an air-conditioned building with full-time staff, meditative melodies playing over the building speakers, lit by bright lighting, and lit incense from visitors throughout. At first I wasn’t sure if taking photos would be appropriate but as soon as we got there my dad suggested I take photos of the outside of the establishment. Everyone seemed happy to be in the picture so I took that as a “OK.”

Buddhist columbarium

Main entrance to Buddhist temple and columbarium.

Entrance to Buddhist Temple

Entrance to the temple next to the columbarium

entrance to temple

Statues in front of the temple next to the colombarium

family

Dad, Uncle, and Grandma

family

Uncle’s Wife, Uncle, Grandma, Dad, Me, and Youngest Aunt

I’ve never been to this type of “cemetery.” I prefer this type of resting place for a loved one, it seems a lot more inviting and comfortable than a cemetery. Outside the columbarium were multiple canopies connected with tables laid out where you could grab offerings for your loved one.

offerings for after life

Canopy and offerings

There was also a huge incense burner at the foot of the stairs to the columbarium’s entrance. Each visitor burns three incense sticks and bows three times before entering the building to pay your respects to your loved one. I would imagine you are also paying your respects to Buddha and anyone whose cinerary remains are stored in the columbarium. Apparently you are supposed to start at the stairs with your right foot first and exit with your left foot last.

Buddhist columbarium

Columbarium where my grandfather is at.

Once inside the columbarium, you suck on a piece of candy. My dad said that the candy is sort of a cleanser – so you are sweet when you are visiting those that have passed on. I also read online that it is to wash away any bitterness. Funny thing is that my piece of candy lasted exactly to the point of me setting my foot on the last step of the building as we were exiting. What a strange coincidence.

After we all had one piece of candy in our mouths, we headed to the third floor. My grandfather’s assigned number at this building is 3AD1333, good numbers according to my dad. An attendant was called and he opened the locker. Inside the locker there was a black urn with my grandfather’s photo leaning in front of it. We all bowed to my grandfather and silently talked to him.

inside columbarium

Inside the columbarium with my dad.

To the left of my grandfather, there is an empty niche with red paper engraved with gold letters with my grandma’s name. That is my grandma’s future resting spot – back with her husband to be reunited.

It is such a sad and complex emotion that starts from the pit of my stomach to my throat to think that my grandma has already prepared for this. It is amazing how it is my first time ever meeting my dad’s side of the family, but I have a special place for them in my heart already, regardless of how little we know each other. Especially my grandmother, because she is the most important to my dad and after sharing a few days with her, I really enjoy her vitality, stubbornness, sense of humor, and her cautious and caring personality. She is a special person indeed.

The past five days have been amazing and I’ve felt cared for. I feel like my dad’s side of the family has received me with open arms. But I can’t help but wonder if I would have been treated the same if my dad wasn’t here – obviously it would be different. But what I mean is, would they still show acceptance towards me? Or would I be completely ignored and treated like a total stranger?

Anyway, enough about my never-ending self doubt. The day took a 180 degree turn after visiting my grandfather.

HAPPY ENDING

First, we stopped by this ghetto street restaurant to eat and they had bombdiggity steamed chicken, buttery rice noodles, and cabbage and spinach sauteed with TONS of garlic. It was so good. The restaurant provides these plastic gloves so that you don’t get your hands dirty and all the plates are covered in plastic bags for food to be placed on top. Very ingenious. The chicken is cooked in this huge metal vase, at least three fit high. Made me appreciate the food even more because it really is that fresh.

street restaurant chicken

Street restaurant – bomb chicken!

plastic gloves for eating chicken

Dad eating chicken with plastic gloves.

plastic gloves for eating chicken

Aunt and Grandma eating chicken.

Then after resting back at home, my grandma, youngest aunt, her husband, and Manny headed to Xiziwan Seaside Park! After finally finding a parking spot, we got this rental bike that fit all of us and was powered by a small engine. It was so much fun! We went around and around and made stops here and there. Fun place to visit with many photo ops.

bike rental

Bike rental in Xiziwan.

self taken

I’m a pro! I can fit other people in the picture with good aim! With Grandma and Aunt.

Here is a video clip of the beginning of our little self-guided tour in the bike and a video of Manny riding on the narrow foot of the bike. Poor Manny, he was so uncomfortable lol

Bike Ride in Xiziwan Seaside Park

Manny, the Grumpy Tibetan Terrier, Riding the Bike

At Xiziwan, we had a Taiwanese version of the hot dog – sticky rice as bun and a Taiwanese sausage instead of a hot dog topped with sauteed ginger and garlic instead of ketchup and mustard. Then, as soon as my dad saw the squid vendor, he pretty much ran to get us all roasted squid with spices. Not my favorite but my dad loves it. Then we made a few other stops here and there and it was just such a wholesome and relaxing outing.

taiwanese hot dog

Taiwanese hot dog! Rice, sausage, ginger, garlic.

taiwanese hot dog

Cheers with Taiwanese hot dogs.

biking in zixiwan

With our squid on a stick in Xiziwan.

red lanterns xiziwan

Red lanterns in Xiziwan.

300 year old temple Xiziwan

300 year old temple in Xiziwan.

300 year old temple Xiziwan

Mopeds are always around…

boats in xiziwan

Small harbor in Xiziwan with fishing boats.

boats in xiziwan

Small port in Xiziwan.

Xiziwan Bay

Xiziwan Bay

boat xiziwan

Boat arriving in Xiziwan.

 

xiziwan beach

My aunt is really cute. She does this cutesy poses in pictures and I happily partake.

Beach at Xiziwan Seaside Park.

Daddy enjoying sunset at the beach in Xiziwan.

xiziwan harbor

Good night Xiziwan.

It is nice to see my dad spend time with my aunts, uncle, and grandma. It’s nice to see him happy and relaxed, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him like this. I asked him if he would ever retire in Taiwan and without hesitating, he said no. He is too used to El Salvador and he likes it over there. That, and he has my two little brothers and his wife of course. But I thought if he had once considered it, then he would have reacted with a little hesitation. Now I know that it is not something he has even considered.

PS: I am behind a day – busy day yesterday. Will post about Hot Springs in Zheibi tomorrow!!

PPS: The sweetest cousin I’ve met, Pon Pon (don’t know how to spell his name) came by to say hello at night. He’s super tall and I’m so short lol so he bent his knees for the picture. Say hello!

cousin

Me and my sweet cousin, Pon Pon.