Happy Easter!

The day really isn’t celebrated here in Taiwan, so we haven’t seen any chocolate eggs or bunnies or other decorations around – which is actually kind of nice. I think it helps us focus on the real meaning of the day when all the extra stuff isn’t there (much as I’d enjoy a Cadbury creme egg right now – the one in the picture is making my mouth water!). But our church had a special Easter service this morning with several people giving their testimonies, and at least two people committed their lives to the Lord! Now that’s worth celebrating! 

Then this evening Floyd and I splurged and took a taxi out for Easter dinner at our favorite Thai food restaurant downtown. Not that anything they served would have been seen on the table today in the average American household (unless you normally eat deep-fried sea bass or stir-fried morning glory or satay pork in peanut sauce or mystery-fruit ice cream for Easter dinner), but we enjoyed it very much all the same. Of course, it might have been nice to have a table with a view of something other than the backside of the idol outside the window, but I guess you can’t have everything. 

We’re nearing the end of our week-long break from school, and I don’t think any of the teachers really feel ready to go back to work yet. But the fun part is, the new classrooms that have been under construction all year are finally finished. We all got a couple of extra “moving days” before Easter break started, to transfer everything from our old classrooms in the temporary block to the new ones on the other end of campus. I must say, the new buildings look great, both inside and out! The middle school students all spent a morning helping to carry desks and things as a service activity, and there were a number of parent volunteers as well as a professional moving company to handle the really heavy things, so we had lots of help. I love the way my new classroom looks now!  (The picture above shows an area at the side of the room where I have the students’ “cubbies” set up, and the one below is our classroom library.)  So as much as I’m enjoying my time off, I must admit I’m looking forward to finishing the school year in the new room. 

The other best part of our Easter break was our vacation in Kenting, in southern Taiwan.  Click here to read my blog post about that.

We just got back from a fun little four-day vacation in Kenting (pronounced “kun-ding”) at the southern tip of Taiwan.  We went with some friends from Morrison who were nice enough to let us ride with them in their van (we don’t have a car here in Taiwan). Kenting is one of the most famous tourist spots on the island; sooner or later everybody goes there to spend a few days at the coast.  Although we enjoyed our stay, I must confess I’m not sure why it’s so popular.

A lot of people love the beaches there, and I guess they were okay, but they were too crowded for my tastes (and there was far too much trash on them).  Maybe I’m spoiled after having grown up in Kenya, where the coast at Mombasa is so pretty.  Or after the year I spent in Indonesia, where the remote beaches I visited were literally an unspoiled tropical paradise.  I must admit, however, that these ones are nicer than the beaches in Southern California!

This particular beach was much less crowded than the more popular one above.  This one is on the Pacific coast (to the east), not the Taiwan Strait (to the west).  Unfortunately, it still had a lot of trash (I was careful with the camera angle so as not to show much of that), but I’m told it’s trash washed up by the waves, not dropped by tourists.  That’s better… I guess.  In any case, it had good waves for boogie boarding and coral tidepools where we saw sea stars, urchins, crabs, and seashells.  And both beaches turned out to be perfect for taking naps on the sand in the warm sunshine.

One thing we did enjoy was walking around town.  There’s a touristy area where there are lots of shops and stands selling souvenirs and interesting things to eat.  If you ever go there, though, make sure you notice the mannequins in the clothing stores.  They have a bit more, shall we say, personality than most.  If they came to life and started walking around, it would make for an excellent horror movie.

Floyd and I agree that the best part of our Kenting experience was the aquarium.  If you ever go there, you have to check it out!  Our friends who were with us had elementary-age kids, and they loved it; but really, the two of us enjoyed it just as much as the children.  There’s something there for everyone:

touch tanks…

huge tanks containing coral reefs with all the layers, complete with not only coral but fish and a wide variety of other creatures – it was interesting to see the reefs through the glass at eye level, the way only a scuba diver (or a fish!) normally would…

all sorts of sea creatures, (our favorites were the beluga whales, rays, and angry-looking whale shark), clearly visible from a winding glass tunnel people can walk through under the water of a gigantic tank…

…and of course the submarine simulator arcade games!  

They also had separate areas for habitats like antarctic waters, kelp forests, and the deep sea (you know, with the glow-in-the-dark fish). Part of the aquarium was designed to look like the inside of a shipwreck, which added to the fun.  All in all, we spent quite an enjoyable morning there!

Ever wonder what a dog’s life is like in Taiwan? I’ll give you a hint: scooters and clothes both play a big part!