Jennifer, my new friend, picked me up at our apartment on Monday at 10 am and we went to a few interesting places in Hsinchu and she helped me find a couple of businesses that I had been looking for. We had a terrific time together. Originally, she was going to take me to some traditional Taiwanese markets to grocery shop, but nothing was open on a Monday morning, so we did a bit of site seeing. This first area was on our way to the glass museum, where there were these old Japanese-style buildings in some shaded gardens. It was unclear to me what the current purpose and use of these buildings might be, but I think Jennifer mentioned that they have crafts in them on the weekends, or flowers or something.
Gorgeous lotus flowers.
Apparently these buildings have been around for about 300 years, which could be more easily detected from this side view, on the lower left side.
To no surprise, the Hsinchu City Glass Museum was also closed since it was Monday, as was the zoo, which was right next to it. I loved the mosaic tiles on the building.
Kelly and I have driven down this street from the opposite direction of this shot, looking ahead toward a certain castle-looking structure, and many times we have wondered what it was. I finally found out that it is somehow connected to, or a part of the glass museum. Another mystery was solved!
Just between the roads where we've driven along previously, while gazing across to the mystery castle is this canal, which reminds me of a mote to protect it.
We were rather curious as we would be driving past the colorful castle in the thick of traffic, never quite sure what the structure actually was until now. Was it part of one of the many festivals that have all seemed new to us? Was it temporary or permanent? We have seen it in the daytime as it is pictured here, and even more noticeably, at night, while it was brightly lit and enticing.
I am anxious to come visit the glass museum another time (when it's actually open) and go on a tour, and can watch the art of glass blowing in the process.
We strolled along the surrounding areas and Jennifer pointed out to me that many of the local elderly people enjoy gathering here to relax and meet each other for tea and leisure time in the park. Karaoke is very popular here. Take a look at this one lady in the pink pants holding a microphone, belting out a tune for her own entertainment, as it would seem that her friends were somewhat oblivious to her singing.
The atmosphere was wonderful here--not a care in the world for any of these Taiwanese citizens on this warm autumn morning in Hsinchu City. I made sure to double check with Jennifer, asking if she thought it would be fine for a casual observer like me to snap a few pictures. She didn't think any of them would mind.
You can easily guess the mode of transportation that got them here, by looking at the lineup of scooters or motorcyles.
This particular pair of gentlemen (below) seemed to epitomize the essence of the day, so in a bold move, I snapped a picture clearly aimed right toward them, and at that very moment, the white-haired one on the left gestured for us to come join them. He pointed to the spare plastic chair and insulated chrome container of hot tea on the table to welcome the two of us. His kindness and spontaneus invitation absolutely charmed me, and I greatly appreciated his geniune hospitality, even though I could not express myself adequately in Chinese to him, as I graciously declined their offer. With a little body language and a simple "xie xie ni," I made my point, then Jennifer also thanked him more in depth, then we continued on our walk.
Here (below) is a temple of Confucious, one the wisest men, ever, Jennifer expressed.
We stopped and got some cold drinks at 7-11, and Jennifer told me where she lives, in this tall building here, with her two sons and husband. They bought this apartment (condo) about the same time we bought our home in Texas, in 2000. It was helpful to have a guided tour by my newest friend, who is the wife of Kelly's boss, Cliff. (Actually, Cliff is Kelly's boss' boss.) Today was the first time we had met and we really hit it off nicely together and enjoyed each other's company. I should have gotten a picture with the two of us, but did not. She's very petite and is about the same height as my daughter, so I tower over her and feel gigantic next to her.
Our next stop was my favorite, 18 Peak Mt. Park, which is a hilly hiking trail, where you can go on various paths of different distances. The sun was bright and the temperature was a bit too hot, but to come across this unexpected hidden spot, which was so pleasant and beautiful, the heat didn't even matter, and I will undoubtedly plan to go there again soon.
This little blue-tailed, striped lizard dashed by and I quickly grabbed my camera. His tail is awesome!
Click on the photo if you'd like to see the image a bit larger.
This gazebo was the turning point where we headed back down toward the parking lot.
The steps to the bottom.
Hsinchu City through the trees.
We stopped for lunch and Jennifer ordered noodles with pork and I ordered curry beef with rice. I loved what I got--it was delicious--check out the egg dome that encased all the rice.
Here is Jennifer's lunch, a noodle bowl.
In addition to the places listed, Jennifer took me to two different stores where I could buy a bunch of balloons for Christopher for school, some student council event that he has, and she helped me find an orthodontist where we can hopefully get treatments for Christopher's braces. It was a very productive day, as well as a lot of fun!
We drove past this temple on the way back to drop me off at our apartment building.
Jennifer brought me these two books that are going to be very helpful. One is a map book for this area, and the other is a tourist's guide book about Hsinchu, The Garden City, where we both live. "Blessings come in many ways & the nicest come as friends." I feel blessed to have made another new Taiwanese friend.