Sunday, August 20, 2006

Visiting Richard's Grandparents

Today La La is going to meet her great grandparents for the first time. For Kai Kai this is his second time to be there and for me, I think it's my third or my fourth time to be there. I couldn't forget the first time I went to see them. They live at the center of Taiwan, the biggest rice producer area.

It takes more than 3 hours to drive there in a good traffic. I wrote before in here about my last trip to go there on Chinese New Year, it took us a good 7 hours to go there and another 7 hours or more to came back to Taipei.

One of thing that I like about driving long distance in Taiwan's highway is the rest areas. Taiwan's rest areas are fun, they are huge, almost like a small mall size. It has many different food in their food court. It usually has a grocery store that sells snacks and other things that you usually want to eat while traveling, so no raw meats for sure. I can't even say it's a convenient store since usually they are a lot bigger than the normal convenient store like seven-eleven store.

Then they will have so many toilets. Between 20 - 40 toilet stalls in Woman toilet only. Then there will be many sinks outside to wash your hands. A long time ago when I went to Richard's grandparents' home in 1996, going to use the rest area' toilet means you have to bring your own tissue but now that's not a problem anymore. They even install emergency/call button on every toilet stall. There is a big sign also outside that all of the restroom area are installed with something that can detect spy camera where people can install a tiny camera to video tape you when you use the restroom!

The rest area also has great baby changing room now. It has everything. From the bed to change the diaper all padded up so we don't have to worry about the baby's head might bump on the side. It has hot and cold water dispenser for free so we can mix the formula. Then they equip the sink with a shower head with a hose attach to it in case you need to give your baby a quick wash. It also said that in case you need diaper, formula, or baby food, you can contact them too. How great is that? Even in the States or Canada we don't get this kind of service.

I have live in 2 very advance countries. US and Canada for the past 12 years of my life, but here I kept getting a nice surprise when I go to their restroom. Last time when I wrote a story about going to Elite Bookstore in Taipei, I forgot to write about their restroom's toilet bowl! When I entered the toilet stall, the toilet lid slowly lifted up by itself! I found out that it has a motion detector built in on it! I also found out that there is a control panel install on the wall too. It has option on how much water you need to flush, a little or a lot, then if you want the toilet seat up or down, lid up or down. Jeez.... I felt like a country bumpkin that just arrive in town!

Then when I went to different restroom in another mall, I found out that even the trash can in the toilet room is automatic. The trash can has a lid on it and usually with this type of trash can they usually has something that need to be stepped on with your foot to lift up the lid right? Well there is none on this trash can but then I saw there is a big bilingual sign on it that says that this trash can is automatic trash can. When I wave my trash on top of the trash can it doesn't do anything but when I put my hand below the lid then it opened up on it's own.

The hand dryer machine is also pretty cool. It is big, and it has a water drainage on it so it can catch any water that may drip from your hands and it will leave the floor dry from any drips.

Since my father in law was the one who drove us, we made many stops at several different rest area, so we had several chances to eat and explore that places. Here are some pictures that I took from those places :

Pic: Coffee shop that using local grown coffee

Pic: Many different soap sold in a block that you can cut yourself. They also sell a lot of essential oil and other things related for bathing

Pic: Different flavour of Mochi

Pic: Bakwan, a mixture of meat, bamboo shoot and seasoning with thick skin made from glutinous rice flour with sauce.

Pic: I love the croissants the most, they are so light and the crust is brush with something sweet make it so easy to eat it even without butter.

Back to my story about going to Richard's grandparents' home. So 3 hours later we finally arrived in their home. We did not stayed there long enough in my opinion, since La La needed her nap or at least her rest, so I stayed with her in the guest room while everybody else talked. Soon enough it's time for us to leave, but before we leave, I took some picture of La La with her great grandparents.

The trip back to Taipei is also smooth. The reason why we need to rush back to Taipei is because we need to send Richard youngest brother and his family to the airport. They are leaving to Thailand for a vacation.

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