For Christmas Eve, Connie and I went to see the movie The Family Stone, with Sarah-Jessica Parker (of Sex and the City fame) because we thought a light romantic comedy would be a good Christmas Eve choice. As it turned out, it was a Christmas movie and more of a drama than a comedy, but better than I expected, and perfect Christmas Eve material as it made you think about the importance of family during the holidays. We followed it up with a light dinner and a walk around the area, a nice quiet romantic Christmas Eve.
I should probably note here that Christmas Eve in Asia is effectively the 3rd Valentines day of the year (the previous two being Valentines Day proper, and a similar Chinese holiday in August) and so it’s a night for couples to go out and spend some time together rekindling their romance. There isn’t that idea of family here at Christmas, that’s saved for Chinese New Year at the end of next month.
So, for Christmas Day Brunch I went out with Connie, her mother (pictured here), her Brother Li-Wei and her brother’s girlfriend Yu-Mei for a nice Chinese buffet. They weren’t serving turkey and mashed potatoes, but they did serve some great desserts, so I was quite happy and full afterwards. Boxing Day is also Connie’s brother’s birthday (poor guy), so this was really more of a birthday brunch, but it also served as Christmas brunch as well. Afterwards Li-Wei and Yu-Mei parted ways with us, and Conne, her mother and I went off to see the historic Long Shan temple, Taiwan’s oldest temple.
Here’s Li-Wei, looking stylish with his new haircut and ready to turn 31 and start a new stage of his life. I wish him luck in the new year, he’s got a big year ahead of him with his research project.
This lovely lady is Yu-Mei, Li-Wei’s charming girlfriend and a local dentist. (My dentist here in Taipei, in fact!) A bubbling, smiling and happy person.
We finished the day by visiting the Long Shan (Dragon Mountain) temple, and the accompanying night markets which surround it. The temple itself (pictured behind me in this fuzzy picture) is a wonder to see. It’s huge inside, with magnificent statues, altars, beautifully sculpted carvings everywhere and etched stone walls depicting various Taoist scenes. It’s a Taoist temple, not a Buddhist one, meaning it’s more oriented towards what one could call local gods.
The Night Markets around this temple were filled with people and sellers selling all manner of things. Apparently they’re famous for a local drink made with pigs blood, and I saw many restaurants selling special medicinal foods made with live snakes, sea creatures, and even softshelled turtles.
A disturbing and fascinating way to spend Christmas Day Eve.
After this, we went to IKEA shopping for new sofa for Connie’s brother and had dinner at a Japanese restaurant before hugging and parting ways on the bus.
All around, a good day!