Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ok back to the Magic Bus Trip!

Our final destination on our road trip was the small seaside town of Hualien, located in northeastern Taiwan.
We made a few stops along the way though. Our first stop was the town of Ilan, where we stayed in a beautiful, yet simple Japanese style hotel at the National Center for Traditional Arts.

Along the way to Ilan we had lunch in a small town (I don’t remember the name). We ate some really great seafood. Once we entered the restaurant we were immediately taken by a group occupying 2 tables.

Some of you out there may remember the 80s group Men Without Hats and their infectious , new wave hit, “Safety Dance.”
Sadly, they disbanded due to an identity crisis of sorts…and it’s a little known fact that they actually did “find themselves,” after many years…in Taiwan of all places. They now call themselves, Men With Hats:

We tried to figure out what group they really belonged to...even with our friends speaking Mandarin, well, all we got was: "it's a club." I like my theory better. "S-A-F-E-T-Y Safety dance! " doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo...

We reached our hotel around dusk. The National Center for Traditional Arts is located along the Tungshan River. It looked like a college campus – and in fact they do have visiting scholars, so artists and students can study there. But not only is it an educational facility, it is also a place where tourists can take in traditional theater (pictures to follow), music, handicrafts, dance, toys and games and acrobatic performances. We visited a museum which featured puppets, pottery and other handicrafts. There was a row of shops filled with beautiful sculptures, traditional musical instruments, jewelry (I got lots of silver earrings and a beautiful silver and glass choker all at very reasonable prices) and other handicrafts. The best part was taking part in DIY crafts. Sujoy crafted a leather keychain and Anjoli and I made necklaces out of clay that you stamp and then bake. Sujoy also made an owl clock out of tile – it came out great. Anjoli made a very intricate mirror – she “painted” the mirror with a mixture of glue and colored crushed glass. It was taking forever – until our friend, Thomas had the ingenuity to think of making a tube out of a plastic bag which we squeezed onto the mirror as if frosting a cake. He saved the day! Thomas the Train is a man of many talents! (Anjoli is posting the DIY craft pictures on her blog, and I will post the link here as soon as they're up, in case you're interested).

Here are some pictures we took at the Center, with a few taken the night we arrived:

Alice in Wonderland:

This puppet costs $5000 USD. I kid you not.

We were able to catch a short opera performance. In this scene, two friends are saying a VERY LONG goodbye. They will not see eachother for a long time. I thought they were supposed to be men dressed as women - however they are actually men...dressed as men!

Chris and Anjoli pose with the performers

View from our hotel

YUM! If you are wondering what we had for breakfast, so was I...


SuperAmanda said...

You look beautiful too.

Suesjoy said...

Why thank you, amanda!
It has been a great ride.

lryicsgrl said...

Pics are great. But, YIKES, that breakfast!!
Safety Dance, indeed!!!!

I'm tired, beat, whooped, but wanted to say hi, and let you know I am reading your amazing journey!!


Suesjoy said...

Thanks for stopping by Susie!
Yeah scary breakfast. They serve rice porridge and dried up (furry) sweetened pork. The bun was good though! I actually like the rice porridge (with butter of course- well anything is good with butter!).

Anne-Marie said...

Okay, the breakfast looks scary and mysterious, which is never a good combination, but everything else looks wonderful.

Thanks for sharing the pics- they're beautiful.


Koos F said...

Most inspiring journey, Sue.
Thanks to Google Earth I can follow you virtually from the air. They call the place Hua-lien and it is in a high resolution area on their map, so I can even see the ships in the harbour and the buildings along the Tungshan river.
Please keep posting, you have an eager audience this side of the world!

It seems the Orange football team plays tonight. In spite of the rain a hoard of beer drinking fans on the quayside, having great fun (=making lots of noise).

Oh by the way, when are you going to New-York for the concert? Promise to keep us posted!

Do you like Tommy? I have posted a special version you might find interesting - if you have broadband.
I you don't have that, you might like the image of a Magic Bus in Manchester.

Suesjoy said...

Hello Anne-Marie-
I'm used to scary food by now. It's all good...ok maybe not ALL good...I was really upset when I unknowingly ate squid lips ...I don't know why, though. I didn't even know squid had lips.
Thanks for visiting. I need to find out about YOUR trip!

Oh you made my day!! I have been feeling like crap all day, don't know why. It's funny that you sent me this tonight - I saw West Side Story w/my daughter today (awesome production, btw) and I kept thinking of how Leonard Bernstein called Pete a genius after Tommy came out.
Takes one to know one, right?
Thanks for the correct spelling of Hualien! I love Google earth - I will check that out.
I'm glad you're enjoying my travelogue. I get discouraged because my friends back home (except for my bestest friend Mary oh and Laura - can't forget you!) don't seem very interested.
My blog buds do seem to enjoy it though.
I shouldn't be so vain or in need of approval.
Silly Sue.
Thanks a million Koos!
Go Orange!!

Marietta said...

Hi Sue,
I'm so glad for you to visit all those magical places! And jealous

I'm back in London, happy for my time in Greece, happy to be back too.

Hope all is well,

blue said...

Hi Sue!

Thanks for sharing your AMAZING JOURNEY.I am very very interested in the breakfast pic.
Coffee, congee(粥),bread, bacon..and what are orange ones??

The Who US Tour date will be announced very near future!
Can't wait!!Hope we can meet there.

Tomoko xx

P.S. I sent e-mail to your My Space mail box.

Suesjoy said...

Hey Marietta!
I'm glad you had a great trip.
I'll visit your blog soon!
Thanks for saying hello.

Blue- Hi there! Yes very good, it's congee and I like how you wrote the script for me!
The furry orange stuff is shredded, dried, sweetened pork. They serve pork at every meal...don't know WHY! It's a little redundant w/bacon too...
I can't wait until we find out about the Who tour!
You'll come to the US? Cool!
You can stay w/us if you want (or at least visit).
You and Marietta both...

VallyP said...

Hi Sue
What a lovely account of your trip..hmmm.. who was it who writes well??! You have written an evocative description of your journey here, and as for the photos, they are gorgeous! Somehow they glow with the purity, simplicity and also the complexity of these oriental rituals and customs. Really special Sue. Thanks so much
PS Yes, I think I could pass on a breakfast like that, but your photo of it makes it look beautiful!

Koos F said...

A question out of my terrible ignorance: do you get to hear enough music of your choice in Taiwan?
I agree with your remark in a comment you make on one of my posts: so much little time to hear it ALL!

Oh and my compliments too for your photography and writing.

lryicsgrl said...

Susie d,
i am slow on getting back to the message center at myspace...but i, unlike you, did not kick you to the curb ha ha....cuppa and conversation tomorrow......good night or morning?


Lipstick Addiction said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lipstick Addiction said...

HAHAHA Love the Breakfast shot. Question is DID you eat any of it? Fantasic blog and Oh how I just LOVE the lanterns. Fab!!! You know I have had the opportunity to see those puppets live in action! My Grandmother had a friend who's daughter worked them in a show and when I visited her in San Diego when she lived there we went and saw a show. It was so amazing and hard to not mistake the pupets for live actors they were so lifelike and beautiful. The way they moved I think they have had similar shows on PBS a while back that I caught a glimpse of. LUCK YOU to see it up close, I have not seen the actual puppets that close up.

Well glas to hear about this journey...where to next? I second Amanda...BEAUTIFUL shot of you! WOWSA!


Suesjoy said...

Oh Val thank you SO much for your kind words. I am very insecure about my writing. I have a love/hate relationship with writing! I wish I were more disciplined about it.
I'm glad you enjoy the photos too!

Hi Koos- Well, thanks to the internet, I have no problem hearing the music I want...thanks to Rhapsody, MySpace, IAC, etc. The second day we were here, my husband ran out and bought an excellent sound system (and it was really inexpensive too). Good question though - I couldn't have survived this move without my laptop!
There is one station here that plays western music - I hear it in cabs and at 7-11! (We don't own a radio).

Hey Stick!
Oh I'd love to see a puppet show of those puppets. I added pictures of the puppet show we did see to my Mother's Day blog, btw.
Well, if you're have no choice but to eat what is available (to a point).
I try to avoid bacon, but I think I ate it that day as I didn't enjoy the furry dried pork!
The bun and congee was fine...
Thanks for the compliment on my photo.
It was the only good hair day I've had here. I think I went to the salon that day!