Thursday, April 25, 2019

Easter Weekend in Taichung - Day 1

Not much happened in the week before Easter.  I was just churning through various deliverables at work, trying to get things cleared off my plate before the long weekend, and otherwise really looking forward to our trip to Taiwan.

I am very happy to report that, aside from one minor work-related thing on Friday, I  had a blissfully uninterrupted long weekend full of fun activities and events, along with time to relax, and it was so rejuvenating and wonderful.

We were set to leave bright and early on Friday morning and arrived at the airport without a hitch.  While checking in, though, an elderly woman was verbally harassing Michael and shouting random things at us, which was very disturbing.  These incidents so rarely happen in Hong Kong that we were much more shocked than we would have been virtually anywhere else in the world.  We weren't sure what it was all about, but thankfully she scuttled off before anything bad could happen.  Then when we got to the Mandarin Airlines check-in counter, the agent refused to check us in because our names on the tickets did not contain our middle names or middle initials.  I was really surprised because this has never been an issue before.  The agent said that it was out of his control and the only solution was to go and pay a change ticket fee.  Well, that got us all indignant and also worried that we would miss our flight.  We were sent to the manager who offered us no solutions and said this was to combat the increasing incidents of fake passports(!)  It was all a very confusing process. Finally, we were called back to the counter and miraculously the problem resolved itself; and we were checked in and ushered to the security check without further ado.  This leaves me with no choice but to think that that is just a scam to get more money out of passengers!  And also confirms that we will not be flying with China Airlines again!

We landed in Taichung just before noon, picked up our brand new rental car (it had 80 miles on it) and headed to our hotel, the La Vida, the same hotel we stayed the last time we were here.  Lola was so tired that she fell asleep in the car.  We knew better than to try to pull her out of the car seat this time; instead, we took our time getting to the hotel, and let her continue to sleep in the car.  I picked up some fresh watermelon juice and fresh orange juice (it was such, such good fresh squeezed orange juice) and then got some spicy beef noodles at a local stand (for me and Jovie) and some spicy chicken and cheese shaobing (fluffy savory layered cakes that are likely cooked with more lard than we should ever find out) for Michael.

We scarfed down our lunches while waiting for Lola to wake up, and Michael and I also squeezed in some work.  Lola slept really well and in a rare stroke of luck timed it perfectly so that she was refreshed and raring to go when we finally checked into our hotel room and then headed to Island Aurora, the same indoor playroom that we went to last time.

The playroom occupied two huge airy floors and has a ball pit and four slides, as well as a play kitchen and food shopping area, a games and puzzles area, and a big sandpit.  They offer a lovely individual hotpot set menu that I was excited to eat again.  I picked a pumpkin beef hotpot this time.
Lola got a kids' menu that she was pretty much too excited to eat.  She clearly wanted to play...

She also got to meet her baby cousin, Bo Bo, for the first time.  He is 4.5 months now.  Here she is taking a look at pictures on my cousin's phone.  This time around, Lola learned to call them "jiu jiu" and "jiu ma," which are the Chinese terms for an uncle or aunt on your mom's side.
The place is super cute.  We wish there were more places like this available in Hong Kong!  One of the key differences is just how uncrowded the place feels.  Even with a lot of people in the space, there still feels like a lot of room and different stations for kids to play.

They have a very cute dinosaur theme as well.

Lola had a great time.  She went down the slides by herself a bunch of times (although these slides are long and fast) and I think, even though she was a bit scared, she steeled herself a few times in anticipation and was so excited when she made it.  In one particularly memorable moment, she went down a slide by herself and "stuck" the landing (not falling back) and was so excited that she made it, and so thrilled by the speed that she picked up, that she stood up, threw her arms out and her head back, and shrieked in celebration.  It was like she had won Olympic gold.  To me, in that moment, she might as well have!

We tried to get her to play in the sand pit, but Lola's hatred of sand continues unabated.
She bought a lot of things, though, and cooked a lot.  And yes, she is holding her dad's Visa there...
We couldn't believe it when Lola went all the way to the edge of the room to drag a chair all the way to the window.  We were just curious as to what she intended - and it turned out, she wanted to pull up a chair to enjoy the street scene outside!  Look at her kicking back and relaxing here.  Is this baby hilarious or what?

I can't say that Lola played directly with her cousin and friend much, although they did play side by side, which is already pretty great. 

We all really enjoyed it - what a great first day in Taichung!  We had to take Lola kicking and screaming home.  We adults were also so tired from a long day of travel and slides that we retired gratefully to our hotel rooms and crashed.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know where you can also spend a weekend? In Playa Mujeres, a place away from the noise and crowds in Cancun where you have the best 5 star hotels