This was the big 10-10 weekend in Taiwan, so we decided to go to the island of Kingman with Jeremy’s coworkers on a tour. We left Hsinchu Wed. night and got to the Smith’s house at 10 pm. Jillian, Mattie and Dakota were all up waiting for us. We had fun romping around their apartment for a little bit until we all fell asleep around 11:30 or so. The next morning (after a breakfast of pancakes and eggs), we went to the Taipei airport to catch an 11:30ish flight.

We got into Kingman and had a nice lunch, after lunch we went to: knife factory (where they make knives out of shell casings), peanut candy factory, birds and their underwater friends, beach where we looked across the water to China. That night, we had dinner at the hotel where we were hosted by Jim’s wife’s mother and father. It was Jim’s mother in law’s birthday. She turned 30 again. This was the big drinking night of the expedition. They have this very famous liquor called GaoLiang. Jeremy and Jonathan were “toasted” numerous times, (Jonathan especially well “toasted” with many three-cup toasts.) It was pretty funny. The kids were bored. And Jonathan and Jeremy regretted it the next morning when we had to climb a mountain.

Next morning, we climbed a mountain. The guys were a bit hungover, the kids were unimpressed and uninspired, we trudged up most of the way. After lunch, we went to a war memorial and played on a big playscape that happened to be there. The playscape was impressive, three stories tall, a bit rickety in places, but the kids had a great time and were not seriously injured. Then the Smiths went back to the hotel for a nap, and we went on… Saw a fake lighthouse, a huge tunnel carved in granite for boats to dock in safe from enemy fire, and a noodle shop. For dinner, we had an all beef extravaganza. All parts of the cow were represented.

On Sat, we took a boat to Small Kingman, we saw another boat tunnel and more shops selling peanut candy. Small Kingman is a 10 minute boat ride from big Kingman. First we went to a beach and peered out onto a small island where they kept all their lepers (there are none there now…) We saw a lot of China today. We were within 2 kilometer of the mainland. Then back to Kingman for lunch. We also saw a beautiful old village built by a family with a lot of money they made in Japan. Then we came home :).! Had pizza at the Smiths, let Vincie crawl around for a while and then drove back to Hsinchu!

Our impression of the island is one of concrete bunkers, camoflage, howizters, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, military men and peanut candy and drinking. There were also a lot of cows. Also, the air was so deliciously clean, it was nice to breath easy for a while. It was fun, but a lot of it was lost in translation.

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