My year ended with some cheer with dinner dates with some friends. On December 28th, my 妹妹 (little sister), Masako, visited from Tokyo. She was visiting with a friend and squeezed some time in for me. We had some traditional Taiwanese dishes at a restaurant near Dongmen station. She shared with me the delightful news that she is moving to Taipei in February and I shared with her the horrible news that I am moving back to Beijing for work in August. I was happy and disappointed at the same time. Here are some pictures:
Since the Church and Temple are near to Dongmen, we walked over and looked at it. It is quite beautiful in the afternoon and at dusk.
On December 30th, two friends from church, Jean-Francois and Vivian Morin, treated me to dinner. I enjoyed it immensely, although they had to put up with my poor social graces. I am trying to work on them, and did warn the Morins that I am practicing. I thank them for their tolerance with someone who is a bit of a bore.
Kith, Kin, Strangers and everyone else. Merry Christmas. As I do every year when the holidays come around, I ask that you put aside the conspicuous consumption of consumerism and remember the reason for the season.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!
On December 2, my friends from church, Rachel and Cassie, invited me on an outing. I tend to spend way too much time by myself so I decided to go. We were going up a mountain to a visiting area known for its local food stalls and great views.
One thing they said was that we would ride in a gondola. For some reason, I was thinking Venetian boat, rather than the one that takes you up in the air. I was extremely worried about it, because I am deathly afraid of heights. It actually turned out to be okay. Here is us on the gondola:
We also walked around and saw the mountain. Here is the a couple of shots of it and some local sausages I discovered. Taiwan has great sausages.
In the middle of November, I had to leave Taiwan for a short period. This is my fault, as I should have had one from the beginning. So, every 90 days, as a US citizen, I am allowed to stay without a visa. Since my 90 days were coming up, I decided to take a quick trip to the Philippines. I have a good friend from Taiwan, 黃婞瑜, who works there and generously allowed me the use of her place. It was really hot, so I didn’t go out and do much. The traffic was also horrible.
On the third day, we went to the old part of Manila. I wanted to see the Museum of Anthropology. We also visited the Planetarium and Ft. Santiago, which is the oldest part of the city. Here on Facebook are some pictures.
My thanks go to my friend, Caroline, who was more gracious and considerate than I deserve. One of my regrets is that I was not there long enough to see more. I really would liked to have seen Corregidor as well as other places in the country. I need to go there for over a week to experience more.