Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ten+ Since Taiwan

It's been over ten years since I've visited Taiwan, where all but one relative (who's on the other side of the country) lives.  I had just graduated from High School, the last time I came.  Since I was in Japan and so close, it would've been a pity not to make a stop by, especially as relatives are getting older.  I had considered it on previous trips to Japan, even considering making a quick weekend trip of it... it would've been worth it to me, just to see them for a few hours.

I arrived late Friday, past midnight, and I took the taxi to my mom's parents' house.  My mom happened to be visiting, too.  I ended up sleeping in the next morning.  My first activity was to visit the open-air market with my mom.  We passed by the  house where she grew up, and the alley in which she played when she was a kid. 

My 2 cousins (who were small last time I was here) visited, with the older one's girlfriend, and their cat.

And we went geocaching that night!  To get my first in Taiwan. My cousin actually found it.

The next day, we went to the Grand Hotel in Taipei, for a set menu lunch.

And a chef came to cut up a sweet tofu "flower" dessert.

Afterwards, we got a private tour of the Head-of-State Banquet Room and the Emergency Escape Tunnel for VIPs.

From the outside of the hotel, you could get a good view of the city, including Taipei 101, which used to be the World's Tallest Building.

Then, we went to Taipei 101.  We didn't go to the top, but we browsed the shopping mall on the lower levels, and also looked at sculptures around the area, including a promo for the new Angry Birds movie.

Then, we went to a popular street to get some Taiwan specialty foods.  Mango snow dessert, and Beef Noodle Soup.


Monday, May 16:
After work, I went to the elementary school where my mom went, and where my cousins also went, for a track session.  It was an itty bitty 200m track, so the turns were tight and frequent.  It was good to get in a bit, though, and I certainly worked myself hard.  2.9 in 24:30 (estimated distance.... I hope it's really more), 8:27 average.  I tried to stick to the outer lane as much as possible, to maximize the distance and to make the turns less tight.  

The workout: 4 lap warmup (2:25, 2:23 per 2 loops).  Then, sprint 1 lap, jog 1 lap.  Splits per 2 laps: 2:14, 2:03, 2:05, 2:08, 2:10, 2:12, 2:14, 2:14, 2:17.  Could've gone on, but had to use the restroom, so called it a day.

Tuesday, wished I could've run again, but I went to visit my dad's mom, after work.

She's fun/funny... it's fun to imaging what it would be like, if you were the same age as your mom or grandma, and what it would be like if you were friends instead of directly related.  

Got a geocache while there, too, at a Go-playing pavillion in a park - a pretty Taiwan-specific geocaching experience!

I went out to dinner with my uncle and his family, too, at a famous Michelin-starred chain restaurant for traditional foods.  

Friday night, went to the night market with my mom.  Night markets have street food, vendors selling clothes and other random things, and kids' games.

(stinky tofu... mmm)

Saturday, May 21:
Got in my second run in Taiwan.  Intervals, this time in a parking lot that was closer to home, but also slightly larger than the elementary school's 200m track.... it was maybe 300m per loop (I used 212 as the estimated distance of the other track).  3.2 in 25:57, 8:07 average.  4 lap warmup in 6:20.  Then, 4-lap splits (1 lap sprint, 1 lap jog, repeat) of 4:58, 4:56, 4:54, 4:47.  Wasn't very long of a workout, but every little bit helps.  I went clockwise, instead of counter-clockwise, to try to balance out the strain placed on my right side during the previous track session.

Sunday, I went to the trampoline park with my cousin and his GF.

(He's pretty awesome)

I ended up staying a week longer than originally planned, which was great, because I got to spend more time with my relatives.

Tuesday, May 24:
Did another run at the elementary school.  It felt good, more controlled than the first time.  I made it 4 212m laps farther than last time, too.  3.2 in 27:44, 8:40 average.  First 4 laps in 5:22 as a warmup.  Then, 10x 1 lap on, 1 lap off, with 4-lap splits of 4:27, 4:26, 4:29, 4:25, 4:34.  I really needed this run, to de-stress from the workday.

Wednesday, May 25:
50 min strength session at my grandma's.  

The night before I left Taiwan, I watched some old home videos from about 24 years ago, with my grandpa.

 (My sister was so cute)

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