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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday odds & ends

The plan today was to drive down to T'ainan 台南, where there is a decent beach, and let Amber try out her new pail and shovel, but the rain that fell intermittently all day forced a postponement. It's still warm (and humid), so I'm hoping we can try again next weekend.

One good thing about the wet weather is the cleaner air that results. I went up onto the roof of our apartment building to take these pictures and video of the surrounding factories, mountains and rice fields:


It can't be made out in the above video, but the high-speed train 台灣高鐵 tracks can be seen in the distance. The government was recently forced to take over the management of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation in order to prevent it from going under. Similar measures are being considered for Kaohsiung's 高雄 subway system 高雄捷運. Combined with the closure of the Maok'ung gondola 貓空纜車 and the operational difficulties of T'aipei's recently opened Neihu MRT line 文湖線, it hasn't been a good 12 months for Taiwan's big-ticket transportation projects. If only that money had been spent on delivering clean drinking water from the taps, and toilet systems that can handle waste paper...

We did end up driving down south today, only not as far as T'ainan. Instead, we paid a visit to my wife's hometown of Hsiluo 西螺, in Yunlin County 雲林縣, in order to collect a cat. The feline in question, Momo, used to belong to Pamela's niece (and Amber's cousin) Dolphin (you know you've been in Taiwan too long when someone chooses "Dolphin" as an English name, and you accept it without making any wisecracks). It seems Dolphin has a dermatological problem that can be aggravated by sleeping with a cat, so we offered to take Momo off her hands. Before picking up Momo, we stopped to have a look at Hsiluo's claim to Formosan fame, the Japanese-started and American money-finished (but Kuomintang 中國國民黨-claimed) Hsiluo Bridge 西螺大橋:

Next to the entrance to the bridge was a small park that had an artificial water channel popular with the local kids. It may have been disappointing not to have gone to the beach, but at least Amber had a chance to splash around and get thoroughly soaked:

After locating some dry clothes for Amber, courtesy of one of my sisters-in-law, we collected Momo and returned home. I would've taken a photo of the new addition to the household, except that he's been hiding ever since we got back. Our other cat, Happy, isn't living up to his name, and is currently cowering (or sulking?) under our bed. I guess it's going to take a while for the two to get used to each other's presence. If you're curious as to what Momo looks like, follow this link to my daughter's blog, where there are several pictures she took of him a few months ago.

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