We make holes in teeth!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day 3: Good Vacation Bad Vacation

The day begins at 1:30 am when Julia decides that 5.5 hours of sleep is enough. She manages to occupy herself for a while but by 3:00 she and I are awake and the rest of the house is asleep. Armed with a loaf of bread,cheese, water, a banana, a yogurt drink, some blocks and the TV I manage to keep her occupied until 5:00 when Nat wakes up to lend a hand.Unfortunately, at the site of mom Julia goes wild and just starts making an insane amount of noise.

Waiting for the island to wake up on the first full morning always sucks. I want to get my breakfast on but nobody else seems to care that we're awake and in need of salty, greasy breakfast food. So we wait. When the time does finally come we get coffee, soymilk, some meat buns, and a Shanghai bing(pancake) with egg in it. Pancake here means doughy fried thing, much different than what we in the states call a pancake.

By 8:00 the house is still asleep and Nat puts Julia asleep for her nap. I guess this can be considered a nap though her schedule is up in the air still. We wanted to wait for cousin Lydia to wake up to help keep Julia awake but the timing was wrong. Jet lag still in full effect.

So how to play the rest of the morning, and the day for that matter? Julia is hopefully out for 3-5 hours and we'll let her go longer this time which means we have some totally dead down time until lunch. But we're hoping this sets her up better to sleep through tonight. At this point I'm not100% but I could be out and about doing the vacation thing.

Looking at the next few days we have an array of opinions of what we should do. Calvin and Grace want X, Nat's parents are here Wednesday morning and they want Y, and Nat and I want Z but we don't know what Z is yet. Even though this is par for the course you never get used to it. And to be honest we don't even know what we want, what we can get away with, or what even works with the various sleep schedules and transportation options. We do, however, continue to eat while we think and wait.

Julia eventually wakes up at 10:15, much earlier than we thought she would.So we decide to go a little old school and make it up on the fly. the last2 trips were a lot of us just going and figuring things out as we went. So we went to Calvin's office which is the 6th floor of the building and told them we were going to burn some time. Calvin and Grace ditched work to take us out. Food shopping.

So it's not such an exciting vacation foray after all. So sue me. At least we get to pile in the car and go buy cheese products for Julia. We're tooling around and I see Taipei 101 which is currently the world's tallest building (but not for long apparently). I'm all like, "Hey cool check it out it's Taipei 101. Today would be about as good a day as you can expect in this city to get a view." You see, I saw a shadow today which is pretty remarkable in this country of overcast weather. So while it is still hazy,it's as good as you can get. I'm sure there are clearer days but they don't come often.

So, I got to actually see Taipei 101 which was cool. I snapped a few pictures off in the hazy distance and that was that. Well we kept getting closer so I kept taking more pictures. Eventually we were right next to it and I'm taking absolutely vertical shots. They seemed to come out really cool but it's hard to say until we download them. Cool, I got to see it from close up which was even cooler than just seeing it from afar.

Then Calvin pulls into the parking lot which, like many other parking lots in Taipei is below ground. The sign says, "Taipei 101 parking," and I'm like, "I didn't know we were going here."
Calvin says, "There's a supermarket in the basement. And a food court."

Cooler, we actually get to go into the basement and get some food there. We sit down for lunch, a mediocre bowl of noodles and soup plus a really good oyster pancake, where pancake in this instance is actually an omelet with all kinds of gooey stuff. It was good.

Then I asked Calvin if he wanted to go up. "Not really," he says. A few minutes later and I ask Nat, "Not really, it's up to you."

I'm like, well I can't go to the world's tallest building and not buy the ticket. Aside from the fact I'm on vacation and it's only $10, what are my readers going to think if I bail? I decide to go up solo while the 3 of them wait behind with Julia. I had to make sure the elevator wasn't glass and exposed to the outside because I am deathly afraid of heights.

The ride up was 37 seconds. The thing flew and covered almost 2/3 the distance in 15 seconds. Then it slowed down dramatically and inched its way to the end. When I got out of the elevator I found that every white person in Taipei was there on the observation deck with me, while presumably all their friends were in the basement waiting for them to finish.

It was cool but as expected very hazy out. I was nervous at first to get too close but I did inch close to the glass and take some pictures from all sides as well as some looking straight down. Hopefully they come out. The neat thing was the super-weighted ball that helps prevent sway from the wind and earthquakes. That was a behemoth of a weight which must have been a hell of a task getting up there. Now I have to learn more about the construction of it.

Then I took another 37 seconds to descend and that was that. We eventually made our way to the market which was basically a high-end US-like market with the prices to match. The reason we went here at all was to buy cheese to prevent our daughter from starving while we're here. Everything we bought was imported from the US.

When we got back to the apartment the 3 of us went to the local market and bought some fruit. We couldn't imagine paying the $9 per Japanese apple at the first place. So we went a bit more native with the fruit trip. Even though it's cool to do some of the tourist things I really dig the whole"going native" vibe and eating and shopping in the little shit holes.That's what I really enjoy about taking vacations here. It's the antithesis of the beach resort, food festival that a lot of Americans like. I really dig the whole idea of just living life as another person while we're on the island. We do eat well. But meals are $2-3 between us so it's not like we break the bank to eat.

Nap #2 started at 3:30 which was a bit problematic and turned our day a bit upside down, because it turned out nap #2 was not a nap at all but her going to bed for the night. We tried to wake her up twice and both times she handled it extremely poorly, to put it mildly. So we put her back to bed and at 7:00 decided to eat dinner then call it a night ourselves in anticipation of being up really, really early for day 4. Things could be going the wrong way at this point and I am forced to question the wisdom of this trip at all right now. I'm sure she'll be fine in the long run but where do you draw the line? At what point do you say that it's just not worth it so you can eat a bunch and parade her around? Today my fears for the worse have been realized. I didn't think the first 2 days would be this bad for her.

I'm sure it all works out in the end, but right now I'm not looking atthat. I'm concerned about my little girl.

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