Sunday, August 31, 2008

Around the World in 4:29

So a couple of months ago my brother had sent out a link about this guy who danced all around the world. I had forgotten about it for awhile but then today while I was researching for our weekly theme (Around the World) it came back up. I thought that it was pretty cool and wanted to share it with you, please disregard the title of the movie...
Where is Matt? movie

Chocolate Egg

I guess sometime in the past couple of days Amy has gotten bit by something and it has created a red rash all over her body, so she stopped by earlier in the afternoon to tell us that she would not be able to join us for dinner but she did bring us a gift of a chocolate egg. When Natalie and I were done with dinner tonight we decided to break into it, this is what we found.....The egg cut in half, if you look at the top of the picture you can see the red "pill" that came inside it.

Natalie trying to get open up the pill so that we could find out what was inside.

"What is it? What is it?

The paper supposedly telling me what it was.

And here it is all together, I guess when you open it, it is a paint brush with some paint- we have yet to try it out though.
I know that you might be wondering why I am posting something random like this, but I have to document what it is or else the pictures sitting on my computer will be a complete waste as I am sure that it many weeks/months to come I would not remember what it was. :D

Ocean Park

It is amazing to think that this will be my last post of the month of August, seriously where has the time gone? I have much to cover and so should probably start with yesterday morning.

I had gone to bed a little later than I had planned on as I called mom to talk with her, but it was ok I would much rather lose a little bit of sleep and get to talk to mom. I woke up yesterday morning just fine, feeling well rested and not like I had gone to bed an hour later than I had meant to. We were supposed to be leaving for Ocean Park at 9am (that was when they were supposed to be picking up me up) and it was 7:30, I knew that I had a lot to get done and so decided that there was no time to dilly-dally. I got up and went straight to the shower, got that done quickly, since I have not started tutoring yet I do not have cash on hand and so I had to bike down to the ATM to get some cash. There is an actual ATM at the bank that we can use and not get charged but as I was hoping to stop at the store and get a backpack and it was in the opposite direction I opted to go to 7-Eleven and get money. I had never been to the 7-Eleven over in my direction but was pretty sure that I had seen one up the street from the bakery and that it wasn’t too far, so I set off towards my shopping area. The 7-Eleven was actually up the street the opposite direction from the bakery so I had to do some little maneuvering, when I got to the light it was red so I turned right and then crossed the street and then turned around and just went back up the street to the 7-Eleven, kind of a bit confusing but at least I am beginning to get the idea of how to get around :D. It was kind of funny, when I was almost to the 7-Eleven I heard some chickens, I looked up and all I saw were some dead ones sitting on a table, I was a bit confused for a little bit but then I saw a cage of alive ones. I finally got to the 7-Eleven and went quickly inside to use the ATM, it was really weird though because as I walked in there were two white girls (it sounds so weird to say that), it kind of set me back for a few moments- I am used to being one of the only two white people in my day to day life and it surprises me when I see others, I am pretty sure though that they were tourists as one of them was wearing a Taiwan shirt (like you buy when you visit somewhere) and she was buying things like hot dogs, coffee, and Oreos. I had never been to the big yellow store before and realized that the 7-Eleven was right next door to it, so I decided that since I was down towards that way I would go inside and look around quickly and see if maybe they had backpacks, they had a lot of interesting things to buy but strangely no backpacks (I would have thought that they would considering everything else that they had to buy), since they didn’t have what I was looking for on this particular trip I headed out, hoping that the yellow grocery store would be open by the time that I passed (have you noticed how we identify things by their color here?), but no such luck I guess for some reason they are not open at 8:30am on a Saturday morning (strange ;D).

I got home and had a little bit of time to grab something to eat and double check that I had everything packed and then when it was about 5 minutes till I got a little worried about being downstairs in time and making them wait, so I grabbed my stuff and book and went downstairs to wait. It was a good thing that I had brought my book downstairs with me or else I might have been a little irritable when they arrived, rather than getting there at 9 like they had told me that they would, they got there at 9:40, Natalie said that, that they had a little difficulty getting going this morning (which was kind of funny as later on when she found out that the place had opened at 8:30 rather than the 9:30 that we had thought she was like oh we could have come earlier, when I mentioned that they hadn’t made it in time for the 9:30 she was like, “yeah but we could have gotten up earlier). Needless I was a little disappointed when they arrived late, if you will remember I am a person that doesn’t like to be late. Sister Chou was the one driving us to Ocean Lake, she said that she has been there several times but she can never remember how to get there, so we kind of drove around for awhile when I noticed some signs and was able to help her find the way, it kind of always makes me laugh how it is not somewhere that I have been before but I can help the person find how to get there. Anyways so pulled up to the building and all climbed out of the car and stepped onto the first one of our many escalators for the day. We had to ride all the way to the 5th floor (all of the other floors were parking garages) and got into a line to buy our ticket, luckily the lines were not very long (though you would have thought that it would be different considering that it was a Saturday, but oh well). (Side note: I have been gone for like the last hour-not that you would know otherwise :D, helping Natalie create her own blog, I hope that she really uses it as I have found a blog to be a very useful thing). We very quickly were at the window, we had read that if we had our student ID’s we could get a discount, yesterday morning I had looked and tried to find mine, but it came to no avail (which reminds me Mom, do you happen to have my ID or know where it is?), but they told the lady that I was a student and she asked how old I was, thankfully it worked and she still gave me the discount. We got our tickets and I realized that the bag I had was a little too bulky to be caring around the park all day so I went and rented a locker for the day and stuffed all of the stuff that I needed with me in my purse, I got it all in my purse except my towel, which Grace was kind enough to carry in her backpack for me (though I didn’t really end up needing it- there wasn’t a place to swim like we had been lead to believe L). It was really cool the tickets that they gave you were like a plastic credit card type of ticket, I didn’t really think that we would get to keep them but Grace thought that we would and so when we put them in a machine to walk through we lost them, so sadly I do not have a picture of them.

Our first job after we got through the gate was to put on sunscreen, we probably looked a little funny to those who were passing us, we had all of our stuff sitting on the wall and each had our own bottle of sunscreen and were rubbing it everywhere. Natalie had bought some sunscreen since coming here and had yet to use it, but when she did she found out that it was full of glitter, so of course after we had each put on our own sunscreen we had to use a little bit of hers so that we could all be glittery like fairies. We took a couple of pictures around the map at the front and then loaded everything back up and headed up the hill. Our first stop was the aquarium place, it was really cool and they had a lot of neat things to look at, but of course after working at the aquarium at home I was more than ready to be done after like 20 minutes. Natalie and Grace again wanted to take a long time to stop and look at things, it also kind of freaked me out when I looked at the brochure and it said that it closed at 5:30 instead of the 8:30 that we had thought, I was a little concerned as it was already noon and we were not done with the aquarium section, they didn’t seem too concerned and continued on at the pace they had been going- I really need to work on my stress level with time, I get very irritated when I feel that time is running down or we are going to be late.

While I was waiting for them at the aquarium I wandered around a bit and found out that a diving show was beginning right then, so I went back and told them where I was going to be and then headed back towards the tank and show area. When I got back the person was still talking but nothing had really happened (but you would have thought that something had happened considering how many people were standing there and how you couldn’t see the window). Soon though a diver came down into the view of the window. In the tank there were sting rays that were probably 4 feet across, they were huge and I would have been concerned if I were the diver with their size. When the diver first came into view all of the sting rays went straight towards him and from my view it looked like they were all biting his arm (which they very well could have been), the diver would just grab them and push them away, I soon learned that the reason they all crowded around him was that he had fish and they wanted it. At one point the diver grabbed one of the sting rays and put him in front of the window with his mouth towards us and he would throw a fish in front of the sting ray so that we could watch him eat the fish, it was rather interesting actually- the sting ray just kept on swimming forward, with his mouth open and the fish just went straight in (well if the fish was alive I doubt that he would have willingly just gone straight in :D). Once the show was over I still had a little while to wait for them (there was one point where I did walk back to see where they were and they were spending time watching a electronic fish swimming on a tv screen, I was like what the heck?), so I just sat and did people watching, there was this one dad who sat down beside me to look at all the pictures he had taken on his camera and his little boy was standing watching the fish swim by in the tank, the little boy was so cute. There was this other family that came up and were looking at the fish too, the little boy didn’t know them but when I looked up he had his arm around this other little boy and was pointing at things in the tank (they were probably both 3)- that is what I love about working with little kids, seeing moments like that.

When we were done with the aquarium we headed outside and went and got in line for the sky ride (which we had tried earlier but changed our minds and went to the aquarium when we found out that the wait was an hour), this time there was actually no line- it was weird we walked upstairs and at first did not see anyone but when Grace tried to cross the line we definitely saw someone as they came to tell her to get back behind the line, but then like not even 5 seconds later he allowed us to cross the line and get in one of the sky rides. It was a beautiful ride and you could see everything around you, even the beautifulness of the ocean (it kind of makes me sad that you cannot swim in the ocean as it is so beautiful it looks like it would feel amazing to go in it). Where we came off was at the very top right beside the castle, we decided that we were hungry and that we should first take care of that. There was one place by the castle and we went to look at it first but when we saw the it was like $180NT for a piece of chicken we changed our minds and walked down the stairs towards the rides and a couple of food places. I don’t remember the name of the place that we decided on but it was rather good, it was kind of funny as Natalie and I both ordered chicken sandwiches but Grace ordered the hamburger (she was also wearing a South Carolina shirt and some shorts with a US flag on it and then later she also wanted pizza- we just thought that it was funny as Grace was getting all of the US stuff). Our food was very yummy and quite filling too- Grace had warned us that the chicken would be a little spicy but I did not find it to be and was quite glad that I had gotten what I had. We had a beautiful view from where we were sitting and so while Natalie and Grace were in the bathroom I took some gorgeous shots, I think that my photography skills are improving with this trip, now if only I had a better camera.

After lunch we decided that it was time to hit the rides. We were all excited, thinking that some of the rides would be fast but not too fast. The first one we went on was called “Crazy Submarine,” we looked around and noticed that really none of the rides had a line and were quite confused but decided that we would try that one first. Since there was no one else on the ride or in line we weren’t sure what kind of ride it would be, rather than sit next to each other we each took our own row. We sat down and prepared ourselves, there was no need- it started out rather slowly…and continued to go rather slowly and yet still continued to go rather slowly. We thought at first that it was just going slow to start with and that it would speed up, nope it didn’t speed up (we think that we could probably walk faster than the ride was going) just for the heck of it we decided to scream as we were going, we got a couple of interesting looks for screaming on that ride but we didn’t care we had to make it some kind of fun. Our next ride was some kind of beach-ball ride, it was kind of funny when we got up to the front the lady asked us all of these questions “do you get dizzy easily, do you have high blood pressure, do you have heart attacks, etc.” we thought that it was all very funny and were like watch it will be just as slow as the other ride, it was actually pretty fast- I had to close my eyes so that I would not get sick. When we had finished the beach ball ride Natalie wanted to go on the roller coaster but Grace and I do not really like fast rides and so we decided that Natalie would go on that ride while Grace and I would go and do the bumper boats. That would have to be one of the craziest, funniest, stupidest experiences I have ever had, for some reason I can drive a car perfectly normal but whenever it comes to things like racing games, bumper boats/cars, and other things like that I am terrible at it (terrible is the nice word I just plain suck at them), I was able to get out of the sitting area (because they pushed me out :D), but the moment that Grace bumped me I went straight back into the parking area, I got stuck there probably 3 times and they pushed me back out again, I was just getting used to it (I think) when my light started blinking and I had to go back and park again. When we were done Natalie wanted to do the bumper boats and so they went back to get into line, I have never really been that big of a ride fan and so decided that I would not do it again (besides I am sure that the guys would be thinking “oh not her again- the girl that can’t drive a stinkin’ bumper boat).

There was one other ride that Natalie really wanted to do, the water boat thingy, but you go up high and then go straight down and so Grace and I both again decided that, that would not be a ride for us. We told Natalie that we would be in the haunted house and she could come join us when she was done (we found out that the haunted house was just stairs down to what they called Main Street), we were about part way down the stairs when we realized that we had a really good view of part of the ride and that if we sat there and waited for Natalie we could get a good picture of her on the ride, we had been waiting for about 10 minutes when it came time that we were supposed to call her if she had not met up with us. Grace called her and discovered that she was still in line so we told her that we were going to go down to Main Street and that she should call us when she was on the ride. We got down there and Grace decided that she wanted some ice cream (she also thought about getting a hot dog—remember her wanting all American stuff?), but she decided that she would first the ice cream and then decided if she wanted the hot dog (she asked me which one she should get and I told her both, she asked me why would you do that and I was like because it’s fun :D). We decided to walk and look what the other places had to offer before we actually had made our purchase, while we were in one food place Natalie called to say that she was getting on the ride, I didn’t really feel like running back up the stairs and so Grace took my camera to run up the stairs and take a picture of Natalie when she went by- it was kind of nice to sit down in an air conditioned restaurant. When Grace got back she helped me to make my order, I got slushy kind of thing with a cup (the kinds of cups that we never bought when we were younger as they cost too much- but cool cups are all over here and I just had to have one, you will see her later but her name is Zoe!), I can’t remember what the flavor was but know that it is something that I have had before and Grace didn’t know the English name for the fruit. While we were working on our desserts Natalie came and joined us, she also ordered some ice cream. We decided that since we had about an hour before the show was supposed to start we would go through some of the gift shops and see if there was anything that we would be interested in getting.

We pretty much only got through one shop before it was time, I found several things that I really liked but didn’t feel up to spending the money on them, hopefully I will not regret it and find things later that I liked even more and that were cheaper. We started going down the stairs to the sky ride thing again but noticed that the line was a 15 minute wait (they have this nice little sign thing where they put the estimated time of waiting), and we decided that though we had that much time before the show was to start it would be better to just walk up to it, I do believe that we probably went up close to 400 steps to get up there (needless to say I was a bit tired by the time we got to the top). We sat down and had about a 10 minute resting time before the show was supposed to start. I was a little disappointed that they asked us not to take any pictures, but don’t worry I found a way to take care of it later.

The show was pretty random, it involved some fire, fireworks, acrobats, trampolines, dancers, song, and many other things that I am forgetting. The brochure describes it as this:

Survoler Le Ocean: Good as Shows in Las Vegas and Broadway, New York. Media Nationwide All Give Praise. Performance beyond Expectation. The most worthwhile show you have to see this year.

New Show of 5Th Anniversary (Survoler Le Ocean)

Venue: Crystal Castle

With cost of 30 million on luxury stage and visuals. Performers selected from Beijing, Mongolia, Ukraine, Istanbul in Turkey, and other countries, the scale was unprecedented in Taiwan’s theme parks. The show uses black light illusion and connects each sections’ dance, trapeze acts, martial arts, puppet show, stage effects, and stunts, all making you stunned and amazed. *Not available on Wednesdays

(ok so I didn’t have to add all of that but it kind of made me laugh the translation into English on their brochure and all of the information they put on it)

The trapeze parts were amazing, though have the time I was clenching my hands afraid that someone would fall and hurt themselves. I am always intrigued by these particular kinds of shows but they scare me half to death at the same time. The show was very funny and amazing, besides that I don’t really know how to describe it as it was so random.

When we were done with the Survoler Le Ocean show we went downstairs to the crystal gift shop to look around for a little bit as we wanted to see what they had and we also wanted to ride the sky ride but knew that it would most likely have a very long line right after the show. Inside the gift shop they had this really cool paper version of the castle that I took several pictures of (they are in the picture post), but the part that I thought was the coolest was that they had this package of postcards that you could buy, and they were so kind to have them out on display for me.. I took pictures of them so that I would at least have something to represent the show. When we were done with the gift shop we headed out and only had to wait for a little bit to get on the sky ride, on the way down this guy was kind enough to take a picture of us so that we could finally have a picture with all three of us in it.

We had a hour or so before the dolphin show was set to begin and so we decided that we would finish up with the gift shops and then get something to eat before the show started. I did end up getting something from one of the shops, it is a cute little money pouch- I have decided that, that is something that I like to get from places that I go as I have one from Peru also, it will be kind of nice so that now I have something to hold my American change and something to hold my Taiwanese change (I had quite a bit of change in my wallet when I got here and it is not good to have that much in my wallet so now I can transfer it into something better). Also while we had been looking through the different stores and we passed a photograph place where they would take your picture and then print it on different things, we decided to wander in and see what they had. I was kind of interested in getting one as a cool thing to remember the day with, so while we were asking questions about the prices and how long things take to print the guy told us that we could get two pictures free or something like that, so we decided that sure why not we would get it. Well we figured out afterward that if we bought one we could get one free, Grace decided that she didn’t want one, we both kind of felt bad about her not getting one because it cost money so Natalie and I both split the price of buying two and then gave the other one to Grace as an early birthday present (her birthday is this week sometime and she is supposed to be having a party Friday night or Saturday morning) When we had about a half an hour before the show was supposed to start we went back up to Main Street and got Grace the pizza that she had been wanting for most of the day.

We grabbed our pizza and went to find a seat, already there were many people that were sitting. About 10 minutes before the show started the big tv screen up front came on and it showed a camera that was going around the seating and stopping at random people, it was also very cute as once in awhile they would put a heart on the screen around people or squares and my thought was, what if they were wrong and they were not romantically involved—which reminds me of this one time at work these two people came through the line and I thought that they must be married (they were of course married, but not to each other) and I said something, can’t quite remember what but they were like nope we aren’t married to each other, just friends, don’t think that either of our spouses would particularly like to get divorced or something like that, they could have been a lot ruder about it but it just made me think about how often do we make mistakes like that and say things without thinking about it also reminded me of Two Weeks Notice where the guy congratulates some girl on being pregnant and she was like what baby? I guess it just makes me consider how I should think about things before I say them.

The show was pretty cool, it is times like those that I wish that I had a better camera, that worked faster and took much better pictures- I didn’t really get good pictures from the show, I never knew where the dolphins were going to come up, when they were going to come up and my camera had a slow reaction time. The dolphins were very impressive and very well trained, the time went very quickly and before I knew it the show was over (I was glad that we had gotten to see the shows that we had but was kind of sad that we had missed the sea lion show as they were supposed to have a volleyball competition). When the show was over I realized how very tired I actually was and was hoping that we would head home soon. We realized that we had not yet ridden the Ferris wheel and so decided that we would do that and then go and pick up our picture keychain things. The Ferris wheel was the largest that I have ever seen, it was also kind of funny as it never stopped, you just got in as it moved and then sadly you only got to ride around once and then had to get off. It was also going very slowly, there were times when we questioned if we were still moving, but yep we still were. I have always thought that I liked Ferris wheels but not when they are that large and that high, I am scared of heights and so when we got to the very top and then there was some creaking noises I was a bit scared and uncomfortable- I was more than ready to get off at the bottom.

When we were done with the Ferris wheel we tried calling Grace’s mom and dad but they did not answer their phones ( I guess that they were at the church watching Legacy) so we decided to wander around for a little bit longer, my feet were very tired by this time and I just felt like sitting down. Grace and Natalie decided that they wanted to ride the sky ride one more time, so I sat at the bottom and took some random pictures while I waited for them. It was kind of funny, as I sat there waiting I watched people come down the escalators, most of them workers who were done for the night and were heading out (it was about 3 minutes till 8 when they got on the sky ride- we found out that it did not close at 5:30 but at 8), I probably looked a little funny just sitting there when it was supposed to be closing. When they got back they told me that they had been the last ones going up and the last ones coming down and that when they got to the bottom they turned it off. We decided that our most action filled ride of the day had been the escalator and the sky ride- they probably went the fastest besides the beach ball ride.

When we finally started heading towards the exit it was about 10 minutes after the hour, we have realized that we have quite a power to always have people shutting stuff off as we are walking away, we also decided that people probably don’t like us very much as we go very slow and get sidetracked easily. When we were about 20 feet from the exit we stopped and looked at something (we decided that people were watching us on the security cameras yelling go, move and that they talk on their radios warning people about us, to turn the escalators off the moment we step off them so that we cannot come back up and take more time). When we finally got to the bottom of the escalators there was a line of taxis more than willing to give us a ride, we realized that it would not be very safe to stand there waiting for Grace’s parents and so right then a bus to the hotel pulled up, it was free and would take us to a public place so we decided to get on and go to the hotel and wait for Grace’s parents. The road to the hotel is probably one of the steepest that I have ever taken before, it was almost going straight up and it probably took 5 minutes just to get to the top. When we walked into the lobby I felt like I should not be standing there, the place was super fancy and very clean and white. I took many, many pictures. I wonder what kind of experience it would be to stay there.

It is already 9:30 Sunday night and I have yet to do my evaluations for the past week nor my lesson plan and I am already on the 8th page, I think that I will wait till tomorrow night to finish with Saturday night and Sunday. So for now I send you all my love and this is ~Betherd~ signing off!

This Just In...Pictures

Many, many pictures tonight- I could have added even more but am being kind and not putting all that I took just yesterdayMy cool change purse that I bought, I think that it is made out of coconut shells or something like that.

My super cute water bottle that I bought, remember that her name is Zoe.

When we got to the park we realized that I did not have a hat and that it might be a good thing to have, so I went into one of the stores and bought this- I think that it is super cute, it was something that is a tourist thing but it will be something that I will re-use again I am sure.

This is just one shot of the lobby of the hotel, gorgeous don't you think?

Another shot of the lobby, I love the random guy sleeping on the chair.

So in fancy hotels you can't just have a fire extinguisher box, oh no you must have it in a fancy pretty box.

One of the random palm trees in the lobby.

The roof of the lobby/hotel isn't it gorgeous?

One of the sidings in the hotel, I liked that it was flowers.
Just a pretty arrangement that they had.

The entrance into the hotel lobby--that red chair thing was so comfy, you just sunk into it.

Another view of the sofas in the lobby.

Some of the workers that were leaving the park as I was waiting for Natalie and Grace.

Natalie and Grace in the lobby of the hotel standing in front of the fountain.
There were paintings all the way around the lobby ceiling.

Right below the Ferris wheel

It kind of made me laugh that they called it the love wheel instead of the Ferris wheel.

Grace and I on the Ferris wheel (it was a weird box thing that you sat inside)

Natalie and I on the Ferris wheel (it kind of freaked me out, I had to switch sides in order to take this picture)

Natalie and I in front of all the Ocean Park characters at the entrance/exit

Grace and I in front of some pretty man-made waterfalls in the park.

One of my many blurry dolphin photos.

Another attempt.

The very end when the dolphins and their trainers were bowing before their exit.

A distant view of the Ferris wheel.

The next several pictures are of the postcards of the show.

This one kind of made me laugh- this is how they had the shoes on display in one of the stores.

Natalie, Grace and I on the sky ride (you can see the castle in the background)

See those animals in the center? I thought that, that they were like our animal ride things that we have at home, but nope when you put money in them they actually move and walk across the lobby area.

Natalie riding backwards on the water ride thing.

The different views of the paper castle

This is the view that I had outside of my window on the Crazy Submarine

The beach ball ride.

Natalie and Grace on the sailboat Ferris wheel ride

Natalie and Grace on the bumper boats

One part of the castle.

Natalie and Grace eating up their lunch.

The bag that my lunch came in, now isn't he just the cutest?

One of the many shots that I took of the ocean during the day.

I think that, that is probably one of my favorites.

The merry go round, sadly we did not ride it.

Me pointing to where we are.

Natalie and Grace looking at the fish.

This is what lobsters see if you were ever interested. I wish that I had the power of a lobster to make one thing become many :D

The exit from the aquarium, it looks like you are going up to the black hole of the unknown.

Another view that I had from the sky ride.