This is “Happy New Near in Mandarin”. This ritual takes a few days and taught me core values of Taiwanese families: being surrounded by your loved ones, wealth, health and a journey to accomplish these wishes.
Morning in Taipei, evening in Taoyuan
I was invited by Hsiao-Ching to join her family in Taoyuan, a city west of Taipei. Before that, we took the scooter to Taipei’s financial district, which is probably the most western and modern part of the country. By the way, not bringing a folding bike in my suitcase ended up being an excellent solution so far, as the city isn’t really bike friendly but scooter friendly. Even though I’m not sensitive about the air’s quality, it’s not the case of many people wearing surgeons masks. At the bottom of Taipei 101, the 3rd tallest building in the world, we stopped in a food truck court, which strangely reminded me of the Bay Area (Jack London Square in Oakland for instance). Taiwanese IPA craft beer & pork buns were a contrast with the street breakfast we had in the morning.
This was also a last minute shopping occasion for people wanted to dress up for New Year’s Eve. It didn’t really feel like traditional Asia, but I’m glad I can now compare the modern & the traditional.
There was plenty of food and welcoming warmth in this appartment in Taoyuan. (Caucasian) foreigners are not common in this house. Next to this succulent meal, I was initiated to calligraphy and Chinese chess. I received delicious tea & a bottle of liquor from Kinmen, an even smaller Taiwanese island at the borders of China. I also received a red envelope, as it is a tradition to give money away. ” Gung Shi Fa Tsai” : I wish you wealth.
Once again, Xin Nian Kuai Le ! Tomorrow’s update will be exciting.