Wednesday, May 6, 2009

跟我自己 or With Me Alone

In Which There Are Changes And Journeys

I purchased new glasses a few weeks ago.  You can see the new glasses over there on the right.  They're photo-greys, which is convenient, and also represent the first time I've substantially changed the style of my eyewear in about ten years.

Anyway, while I was at the ocudoc's (I really want to make a joke about Doc Oc, here), I naturally got my prescription checked and readjusted.  They did this with the most fascinating tool I've seen in a while.  Glasses.  But not just any glasses.  Spectacularly Victorian spectacles.  Naturally, I had to try them on, and I convinced Sarah to do so as well.  The results were, perhaps, predictable.

Katy's father and step-mother are here, and we went on a few tours in the early part of the week.  I think they plan to do more, but I'm occupied with work and can't join them.  The first few were lovely, though, and I was glad to be able to go.  We first went to a little temple in a name-of-which-I've-forgotten place.  It was charming, in a gaudy sort of way, although I have still not gotten used to seeing the swastikas everywhere.  Then we made a trip to Yeliu, which was lovely.  Very weird, but lovely.  There were rock formations of sandstone that looked like morel mushrooms, and little round holes in the rock shore that made for very nice rock pools.  We didn't stay nearly long enough, but it was drizzling and we had a tourist shop to get to, so we left.  I got a lot of pictures out of it, though, and Katy and I think we'd like to go back some time.  The famous bit of rock there is called The Queen's Head, and Danny, our guide, told us that it will be gone within twenty years.  Poor girl's head will snap right off when her neck gets too thin.  He also told a story about a noble (but poor, naturally) fisherman who saw some kids swimming in the ocean thereabouts and a storm came up and the kids started drowning, so the fisherman jumped in to save them.  He managed to save one before drowning himself, so the government at the time, wishing to present itself well, paid for the fisherman's five children to attend school.  This is a very Chinese story.

We went on another tour that same day to a little rest-stop-ish place where we looked at the waves and admired the strange stone jacks that were apparently keeping typhoons at bay, but it was a bit of a let-down after the bizarre formations of Yeliu.  Then we went to Jiufen (9 shares), an old gold mining town that's since turned into an artists' village.

The next day we took a trip to Yilan and saw some really fascinating cultural stuff, the best of which was a trio of musicians (later with a singer) playing music which I will try to upload here.

This one contains the trio of musicians: one was playing a hammer dulcimer, one a mandolin of some kind, and one that looked like an autoharp, but a very large one that was tuned by moving around little pyramids under the strings.

Let me know if you'd like to see the other one - I know these get pretty hard for people to load if they've a lot of video or images.

Anyway, the Williams family took off on Monday morning, and we are back to normal before the next visitor shows up.


pickett said...

those are SPECtacular :D

Dan Wohl said...