How some people see Taiwan...
What I usually see...
Another day, another milestone, and my little girl *sniff* isn't so little anymore. This afternoon the training wheels came off of Amber's bicycle, and after a bit of practice working on things like balancing and pedaling, she succeeded in riding the bike all by herself!
The first thing we did this afternoon was to stop off at a bike shop to have the training wheels removed and a kickstand put on.
At my wife's suggestion, we went to what was once the Taichung County (Táizhōng xiàn) 台中縣 government seat, but in the wake of the merger between the city of Taichung (Táizhōng shì) 台中市 and the surrounding county, is now the "Second Office of the Taichung City Council" 臺中市議會第二辦公大樓. I have no idea what that actually means in practice, but the plaza in front of the building served our purposes. Post-merger tax dollars at work!
Later, we found an even better spot to work on Amber's cycling skills in the form of a more spacious and smoother plaza in front of a temple. 大明宫 (Dàmínggōng) is my mother-in-law's choice for local house of worship:
In case there wasn't enough evidence already that I've been here too long, on Thursday night in Taichung and yesterday afternoon and evening in Fēngyuán 豐原, there were colorful, noisy celebrations in honor of the goddess Matsu's (Māzǔ) 媽祖 birthday, complete with firecrackers, drummers, dancers and scantily-clad women...and I couldn't be bothered to take out the camera I had with me and take a few pictures and/or videos. Not to be outdone by the Taoists, a Buddhist group of some sort was also holding an event in Fengyuan this afternoon, with multi-striped flags lining the downtown streets...and I still wasn't interested. But Daming Temple was different - my wife informed me that one of the gods enshrined there had played a part in my being offered a job in the United States, so the least I could do was to go inside after Amber was done riding around, and offer my humble thanks...and to take a couple of photos:
And now that my daughter can stay upright on a bicycle, it looks like Hello Kitty ハローキティ will have to join the list of items that will need to be shipped to Washington, D.C. next month.