Sunday, February 22, 2009

Taichung Metropolitan Park (台中都會公園)

What a great weekend.

Last week Nick was researching things to do in the city on our days off, so on Friday morning after breakfast, we headed out to Metropolitan Park (台中都會公園).

This is a pretty big park on the north-west of the city, up on Dadu Mountain (大肚山). Because it is up on the mountain, it’s pretty windy up there, but it was a great day and we really enjoyed it.

One thing that was a bit....mmmmmm interesting was the wide array of phallic symbols scattered about the park. For example, the first things that you see when you enter the park is this statue:

When I first saw it, i thought.... noooo that's not a huge phallus! But yes... yes it is. It is one of the most phallic things I have ever seen. Here are some more angles... just in case this one pictures wasn't enough:

and finally... one more (sorry mom and ginger... we just had to do it)

Here is the official description of this sculpture from the park's website: Upon entering the Taichung Metropolitan Park, one sees a sculpture that looks shockingly like an unexploded missile that might have been left over from the Second World War. It is actually a sundial, representing the theme of the park, sprouting upward like a seed to meet the sun and serving as the marker of the park's center.

.... lets be serious people, it doesn't shockingly look like a missile... it shockingly looks like a penis! And it didn't end there. There was this lovely little water installation next to a lake...
lets take a closer look:
Ok, enough about with the penis pictures... anyway, my favorite part of the park was the “tranquility stream” which was just a little pond of water the fed a stream. There were lots of fish and turtles in it, and the turtles were super cute. They were playing "king-of-the-hill" on a rock and it was really fun to watch.

After we strolled in the park for a while, Nick taught me to drive the scooter and I spent about an hour driving around and practicing turning. I think I'm good enough now to pass my driver's test, although I probably won't be driving on the road for quite a while. Check me out:

A woman we work with called us on Friday and let us know that our work visa's came through so hopefully we'll get our ARC card this week. If we do, we can go to get our driver's licenses and then we'll be officially legal to drive scooters here. The ARC (alien resident card) will also make us eligible to have health insurance and own our own scooters, so this is pretty exciting!

Friday night, Nick and I took Angel and Eric out to dinner to thank them for how much they'
ve helped us over the last month. We went to a nice German restaurant and had some good beer and food and listened to a cover band that was playing at the restaurant. All of the songs they played were in English, like “Sweet Caroline” and Beatles songs, it was fun. I love hanging out with Eric because he likes to talk about the cultural differences between Taiwan and the US and it always makes for some fun and interesting conversations.

After dinner, I had my first KTV experience! KTV stands for Karaoke Television and is basically the Taiwan version of Karaoke. Just like in Japan, but very unlike the US, in Taiwan when you go to Karaoke, you get a private room for just your group of friends.

The room has its own bathroom and you can buy some beer and even food (the brought out some fruite for us) and its basically set up like a living room with some couches and a big screen in the front of the room where the music videos and the words to the songs are displayed. It was good times. Eric is a fantastic dancer, so whenever someone sang an up-beat song, he would twirl Angel and I around the room.

Nick even sang!

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