Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park

We went on an early morning hike, but not by choice. The kids wake up at the crack of dawn and the old Chinese men who closed the bar slamming rice wine and wailing karaoke were still sleeping off their buzzes.

Evie is training for the Navy SEALs camoflauge divison. She's hidden beneath a stalk of grass that's perched in the cracks between her teeth. Can you see her? She's right in the center.

Evie is pretending that she can't reach Joel. Every step closer to her she would stretch out her hands even more and say she couldn't reach him, until he was basically standing on her feet.

It's dark because it's a foggy morning, but it's also just too damn early.

We hiked on a little private looking road across the street from our hotel. It was a beautiful morning as the sun came up through the heavy fog.

There was the reason for the road: cabbage.

Taiwan is full of surprises. Another beautiful scene in an unexpected location.

Arriving back to our hotel, and the tour bus is already loading up the geezers.

The view from the hotel observation deck. We didn't even know that big river was there.

Breakfast is served - it was quite the traditional spread of fish scales, bamboo in sesame oil, peanuts, a brown, burnt-tasting tofu paste, gooey rice soup, some sort of fried egg and toast with orange marmalade - thank God for toast, it's what we ate for breakfast.

We all got a kick out of Evie. She looked at what was on the table and then made herself a little peanut and marmalade sandwich.

We are stoked she just went for it...she is a pretty good eater with a wide palate.

Here's the published info: President Chiang Kai-Shek led the Republic of China and the Kuomintang (KMT). Once controlling all of China, he lost Mainland China to the Chinese Communists following the temporary cessation of the Chinese Civil War. He retreated to Taiwan with the ROC government and vowed to one day re-take the Mainland. The statue has become common place, because people were eager to set up statues of President Chiang Kai-shek to honor his achievements in the economy and military as well as his staunch anti-Communist stance.

Here's the background: So, the Taiwanese are widely divided, Chinese loyalists versus Taiwan loyalists. CKS was Chinese, and his party was the KMT. They are still strong, in power now actually, but in most recent history, the DPP has been winning elections. The last DPP goverment ordered a round up of all the CKS statues from the Taiwan elementary schools and buried them in a mountain cave. They planted some in the CKS park, located at one of CKS' old houses (they also changed the international airport from CKS to Taipei Taoyuan). Now that the DPP ex president is in jail on racketering, money laundering and corruption charges, CKS and the KMT are back in style. More below.

In February 2007, the Republic of China government, under the Taiwan independence-minded DPP Chen Shui-bian administration, decided to remove these statues from military premises. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party stated that they represented Chiang Kai-shek's authoritarian rule and were not in-line with a representative democracy. Opposition party Kuomintang (KMT), on the other hand, opposed the removal of the statues, claiming that the DPP was attempting to cut off Taiwan's Chinese heritage, and distort history. On 3-10-2007, the KMT expelled Defense Minister Lee Jye from the party for removing the statues as ordered by the government. The party cited that Lee's actions damaged the party's image. Lee has said that he regretted the party's decision for expulsion, but that he had no plans to join the DPP.

Statues are found almost everywhere in Taiwan, from parks to schools to military bases, and are usually made of an bronze alloy, although it varies from location to location. They find their resting place here at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park once they are removed from their existing location. Dylan said he thought there were at least 800 statues currently in the park.

It really was no miracle. What happened was just this (feel free to sing along). The wind began to switch - the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch...Just then the Witch - to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.

CKS had a sweet tasher.

Kate is taking good care of Evie

Evie wondering why the fish are always ensnared in garbage in the lakes.

No garbage here, just nuclear green water.

Getting mobbed by some mainlanders. The Chinese women are really loud.

Ethan going for a ride.

And Evie getting her due attention.

We stopped for a nice beef noodle lunch and some freshly made dumplings.

Dylan's favorite cake shop is Jun Mei Bakery - it was a must stop on our way home. All the kids are pulling off the double victory eye cover, so Joel does his best imitation of a 14 year old Chinese boy.

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