We started out the day by driving west of Taipei city into the mountains surrounding the city. We're staying in the suburbs already, so it becomes rural pretty quickly. After winding through the mountains, we came to the temple that is the resting place of Ama's ashes, and where my grandpa's ashes will be placed. After offering some fruit and flowers to the shrine of the god looking over the temple, we visited the large vault-like room where their urns will be kept next to one another.
The temple is in a beautiful location looking out over green mountains. As Dad said, Ago and Ama always loved the mountains.
After getting back to Uncle's, we spent most of the day inside, eating and playing with Yi Chin, my cousin's 2 year-old daughter. She calls me "Uncle," but is reluctant to play with me (she's rather shy). Noticing that Dad and I were talking in English, she said (in Chinese) that we're talking in "great uncle's language."
It's 95+ degrees outside and humid during the day, so we waited until after dinner to go out and check out the city. We decided to go to the Ximen District, where Megan and I plan to go see a movie tomorrow. As I've posted before, this is the part of town where the kids hang out. There are arcades, shoe stores, clothing stores, karaoke, food, tatoo parlors, and a slew of other things for young people to consume.
I'm not sure whether these kids are weird, or just a whole lot cooler than me. They have hair styles that put American rockers to shame and clothes that make Brooklyn hipsters look like wusses. I've always contended that real Williamsburg hipsters spend at least 2 hours before going out to make themselves look ugly ... Taiwanese kids must sit at home all day thinking about how to pull off their latest fashion suicide. Or maybe I'm losing something in translation...
There were plenty of interesting things to see in Ximen, including this guy, who has drained a squirrel's will to live in order to train it to stand on this girl's hands. This girl was so shy she wouldn't uncover her hair from her face while her friend took a snap with her cell phone.
As always, English is always a humorous endeavor in Asian countries. Here we have two fine examples: (1) "Psycho Nerds," which pretty much sums up the style of kids running around Ximen District, and (2) IM ICEMAN, which I am going to assume refers to the character played by Val Kilmer in the 1986 classic Top Gun. What do these signs have to do with anything? Not sure.
I was quite tired by the time we got done with Ximen; I was also disappointed - Megan and I were planning on seeing Dark Knight on Wednesday, but it doesn't come out til Thursday. I fell asleep in the cab home, but stayed up to show Albert (my cousin) and his wife my new iPhone. It hasn't come out in Taiwan yet, but they are eagerly waiting.
We ate peanuts and mango (the sweetest I've ever had) and killed off some more Johnny Walker before heading to bed. I might finally be on an appropriate sleep schedule now.