Tuesday, January 31, 2017

beitou and gondola

There's a part of Taipei called Beitou that is famous for their hot springs!  Japan took over taiwan for a period of time and a lot of the bath culture was picked up while they were there.  The japanese love public hot baths.  Luckily beitou had a few where we could wear bathing suits ;) kent loves the naked japanese onsens- but I don't like hot water or being naked- so it's not my favorite thing!

The entire section of the city is full of natural hot springs and museums and bath houses.  This is one of the largest springs- but it is too hot to bath in.

Millennium public hot springs are where we went for an early afternoon soak.  They have 3-4 sessions per day where they allow a certain number of guests.  Admission is less than a dollar- and you can try out all the baths you want.   Pictures were not allowed- but I snuck a couple as they let us in. The front round baths are freezing cold and the three baths in the back range from rather toasty (bottom bath) to scorching hot (highest).  I really hate hot water- so mostly dipped my feet in with mack and metta.  Kent said the top bath was insane.  We went up just to dip a finger in and the taiwanese locals nearly lost their minds that our kids were even close to the water!!
there were SO many mosquitoes swarming the paths near the springs!!  once we got inside it wasn't bad- but the  walkways were ridiculous. Taiwan is a lot more tropical than I had expected.

Here is a  very obscured and illegal view of the baths before they let the previous group out!   kent is convinced that one of these days were are going to get kicked out of somewhere for me not following rules.  So far- so good- I say!! plus- everywhere besides Japan I feel like rules are made to be broken!  the chinese and taiwanese might as well not even have rules due to the fact that they are so weakly enforced.

As I was getting ready to blog- I realized I took very few pictures of our gondola trip up the mountains of taipei.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning.  We took the cable car over  a range of hills/mountains and then to the top of one large mountain.  The views were awesome.
We were exploring the top of the mountain for awhile when there started to be some lightning in the distance.  We then realized they were shutting down the gondola since it can't run in severe weather!  Luckily there are lots of busses that run down the mountain and they are easy to use IF you read chinese or know the timetables!!  We decided to start heading downward and walked down a winding road when we stumbled upon a beautiful temple.  Just as were exiting the temple- a bus came to a stop outside.  We decided to jump on since it was headed down and that's the way we needed to go. International travel tends to be full of a lot of guesswork and luck (bad and good!)!!  Within a couple of minutes- torrential rains began to pour.  we are SO lucky we got on the bus!!  The rain was insane.

With another stroke of pure luck- it let us out near a complex of museums and parks.  We hunkered down at the children's science museum and enjoyed an hour or two exploring giant intestines and piles of poo!
once the rain let up- we walked across the street to the 'taiwan children's amusement park'.  Rides were 50 cents and piece and the kids LOVED it. Plus the place was almost completely empty!!
taiwan was a lot cheaper than we realized!! we spent an hour or two riding rides and then made our way over the National Museum.
This museum is Taipei's crown jewel. It was SORELY disappointing.  Oh my goodness.  There were busloads and BUSLOADS full of chinese tourists here.  there was so little room- we could barely stand or see the displays.  The chinese would walk and stand directly in front of you while we were looking at exhibits. All I wanted to see was the jadeite cabbage and it was GONE!!! travelling somewhere else for six months!! ugh. AT LEAST we got to see the meat rock.  the kids thought it was really funny.  I agreed.  It really does look like fatty meat.  Pictures of it were STRICTLY prohibited.  this is one place the rules were VERY strictly enforced.  
Mack threw one of his most hideous and loud tantrums of all time at this museum while we were in the pope exhibit.  The exhibit itself was VERY fascinating and the Chinese weren't at all interested so it was calm and quiet.  They had all sorts of robes and cloaks and scepters and crowns from previous popes on display.  There were also several religious artifacts.  It was REALLY cool.  Mack was NOT impressed and lost his mind after a long day.    There are signs EVERYwhere in the museum reminding people to whisper.  Kent took mack out into a hallway to try and calm him down and a taiwanese guard followed him out- grabbed a sign that said "whisper please"- and repeatedly put it in kent's face.  I was laughing SO HARD.  seriously?!  all of these chinese tourists are running around screaming and you're going to try and quiet a 1.5 year old monster?!  

we didn't stay long- but found a children's wing as we were about to leave.  The kids ended up playing there for almost an hour!  it was certainly the best part of the museum!!

travelling with children is exhausting.

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