Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taiwan # 2

This is the National Palace Museum.
When the communists chased Chiang out of the country, Chiang and friends took many of the national art treasures from the mainland.  Many of these are housed in this museum.  Apparently much of it is now in London and somewhere else I'm not sure where.  It was a good thing they took it out however as Mao didn't want a link to the past and destroyed most of what was left behind.  In this museum you weren't allowed to take pictures, but there were sections of tools and carvings, such as the bronze section, the jade section, the ivory section.  There were many beautiful pieces of art, that must have taken years to create.
National Chiang kai-Shek Memorial Hall.  Chiang Kai-Shek was born in 1887 and died in1975.  He was married at age 15 in an arranged marriage and they had one son who later succeeded him as president of the Republic of China.  After his divorce from his first wife, he had two  waitress-concubines!!  In 1922 he met Soong May-ling, whose sister was married to Dr. Sun Yat- Sen who was the leader and founder of the Kuomintang, and they married in 19279(apparently there are some good books about the '3' Soong sisters, all of whom were married to influential Chinese leaders.  They were apparently very amazing women, far ahead of their time. Mayling died in the U.S. in 2003 at the age of 105).  In 1928 he became the President of the Republic of China.  The main goal of his life was the unification of China against the warlords, and communism.  His reign was filled with wars from all sides, and in his diary he said he was defeated  mostly from the "rot within" as there was much corruption and graft.  In 1949 the communist party became the most powerful and the Chiang's Republic of China was moved to Taiwan where he continued  his attempt to return to the mainland of China.  After his death, his son took over the government in Taiwan.  Taiwan is still the Republic of China.

                                                               Door to the memorial hall.
Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling. They looked in their pictures like a very elegant couple.  We saw a beautiful hotel in Taipei that she had built for visiting dignitaries who came to visit.

                              Looking down from the steps at the top of the memorial hall
                        Our crew, Gr. 7 & 8's.   They were a great bunch of kids, and gave us no problems.

Taipei 101.  This is the tallest building in Taipei and was the tallest building in the world until the one in Dubai was built.  It is 508 meters high, and is quit a landmark for the city.  On the 91'st floor there is a outdoor observatory!! This is a signature building for the people of Taiwan. The same fault line that runs by Japan, runs by Taiwan, and earthquakes are very common.  They claim this building is built to withstand earthquakes.  I also saw some signs indicating they have nuclear power stations along the north east coast of the island.  Hmm!

Looking way down!

              It took about 45 s to go from the 5th floor to the 85 floor, and it was very very smooth.
This ball is called a wind and earthquake damper and weights 660 metric tons. There are actually pictures and an explanation of this damper in the Alberta Pearson Physics textbook. It was designed by a company in Guelph Ontario and computers cause it to move against the swaying motion of the building helping to stop the swaying.

 This is Camp Taiwan , up in the mountains on the north coast of the island, about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Taipei. Walking up the hill out of the camp site.  The road was too narrow for the bus, so we took what we could carry and walked out!
The kids were expected to help with the serving of the meals. The meals were very good, and good mix of western and oriental.
Tie dying t-shirts was one of the camp activities
The tents we stayed in. It was sort of roughing it but not really, my kind of camping Gary! The kids had to write daily journals, and a number of them told how well they slept in the fresh air, with the sound of a nearby stream putting them to sleep. Pretty different than the sounds of Hong Kong.
The camp is on a terraced hill side. It was probably an old farm site. Occupational health and safety would have nightmares if they saw the condition of the rock stairs.

 In the cities most people ride scooters, with whole families all riding at once!! I saw one that had mom, grandma and two kids on one bike, and these are not big powerful bikes.
Another fish dinner with the head still attached.  Not my favorite!!

This jello thingy is made from coffee, and had condensed milk in the center
The chicken was served whole and we were given gloves so you could break off what part you wanted.  The kids weren't too impressed with that idea, so sent it back and asked that it be cut up. (the head came back though)
Pineapple fields and cabbages grown on a farm below the amusement park we visited.
This resort lake is in the center of the island and is called Sun Moon lake. It was a favorite spot for Chiang and his wife to visit and they went there often.
The darker hotel on the left is the one where Chiang used to stay. The one on the right has an arm on the top you can see that is covered with gold (Apparently to the tune of $10 million.)
These were native singers singing on the way up to the temple shown below.  This was on the shore of the lake opposite the hotels.

We then drove high into the mountains where there was a beautiful farm (horses, sheep, etc.) It was very peaceful and reminded one of farms at home. (It even had black flies buzzing around)
This is a river at the southern city of Kaohsiung City, where we spent out last night.
Taiwan is famous for a pineapple filled small cake.  The kids all were buying boxes of this treat to take home. Very interesting country with lots of history, and lots to see and do.

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