Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Off to Taiwan! Alishan Mountain and Hotpot in Tainan

I flew to Taiwan this weekend to meet up with my parents and relatives!

My mom and dad are in Asia for a little while, spending time in Japan, Taiwan, and Shanghai, and this was my first trip to go see them.  Michael and I will go again over the Easter holidays, so you may be hearing a lot about Taiwan this coming month.

While it was a short trip, we managed to get a lot done.  I landed on Friday night in Taichung, and was picked up by my dad and uncle at the airport.  On Saturday morning, we departed bright and early for Alishan mountain, in Chiayi, to catch beautiful views all around the park, and also to glimpse some of the remaining cherry blossoms before they all faded.

 It was really beautiful and calming - a nice zen atmosphere for the senses.
 There were ancient trees (or the remnants of them) everywhere:
 There was a lot of green,
 which was made all the prettier punctuated by delicate light pink cherry blossoms:
 There were strands of august pine trees, imported from Japan:
I found one lone hot pink tea blossom, defiantly vibrant and made all the more stunning against the muted backdrop:
 The clouds here were stunning, and reminded me of a roiling cauldron of hot soup as they shifted and floated over the jagged mountains.
We ate some indigenous "mountain food" for lunch.  Most of the dishes were vegetarian, with the exception of a chicken dish, and a few dishes with pork.
From there, we went to Tainan, a big city in the south of Taiwan.  This is where my mom went to college, and she hadn't been back in 43 years!  She had come back for a college reunion a couple of years ago, but she hadn't ventured into the city itself.  She said almost all of it was practically unrecognizable. 

We checked into the Hotel Cozzi, which was super comfortable (that soaking tub was delicious)! 

We then went to hotpot at a local place famous for its satay sauce.  I was incredibly touched because my aunt knows how much I love hotpot, so she prepared by consulting her extensive network of foodies and friends, and figured out the best spot to take me.  She's so thoughtful!
These were just the starter platters.  I wish someone had warned me!  After the first pot was simmering and cooking, we proceeded to order a truckload of food (apparently my aunt over-orders in the best of times, and when she's hungry... watch out)!  I of course wouldn't know anything about that.  I didn't even have the time or the ability to capture all of the plates of food - our bill tallied 32 plates of assorted vegetables, meat, and seafood. The place was clearly very simple and no frills, but I could care less about that at all when I'm eating hotpot!

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