My first ever journey with my dad, coincide with his 85th birthday. Given the fact that we had only lived under the same roof in less than four months in my entire life so far, calling this the trip of the century is pretty appropriate. To reconnect with him and his relatives.
Cathay Pacific took us to Hong Kong first where he could renew his Re-Entry Permit 回港证; we also did a quick trip to Shenzhen. Our second leg was Taipei to tree bury his mom. His birthday was celebrated in Shanghai. I went to Anhui to visited two maternal ancestors. We met up in Shanghai and went to JiNan, visiting his grandpa’s tomb. The last leg was Beijing, included a day excursion to Tianjin. This is the most enriching trip for my genealogy!
I take JetBlue to San Francisco to pick him up.
- Cloth 衣: Hong Kong street
- Food 食: Western table wine is, still expensive. Hosts are still over ordering.
- Shelter 住: Eaton, Taipei City Hotel, Yaocheng Hotel, Anhui Hotel and Yuquan hotel, the worst.
- Transportation 行: Drivers don’t seem to have common courtesy to others and their favored rendezvous spot. In Beijing, there are xianxing 限行 restrictions on cars: on certain day of the week, certain last digit of the license plate can’t drive. According to 911, for example, for the month of March 2016, on Tuesdays, the license plates ending with 4 and 9 can’t drive from 7am-8pm within 5 rings. Even with this restriction, there is always traffic jams.
Some odds and ends; Chinglish in China and color of money. The trip is complete with a Taobao experience – the cups.
- 2.28 Sun, SF: JetBlue, Trader Joe’s, Lake Merritt
- 2.29 Mon, Wellington St, Dimond park & Sausal Creek , CX879
- 3.01 Tue, HK: the bridge, Eaton
- 3.02 Wed, 延期 回港证; stores on Nathan, dine at Chateh; Taichi @ hotel
- 3.03 Thur, Shenzhen, lunch & shop, Jennie
- 3.04 Fri, TPE, a bank ad; Taipei City Hotel, gov 户政事務所, passport, evening mkt, fruits
- 3.05 Sat, temple 湧泉寺, NPM 故宫, Tamsui 淡水, MRT Shuanglian, a light tunnel
- 3.06 Sun, 101, DTF, Zhongshan; temple parade
- 3.07 Mon, tree burial; flight canceled
- 3.08 Tue Shanghai, 85th bday, lunch & dinner
- 3.09, visit a factory
- 3.10, Thur, badminton; lunch & 浦之舟, Peace Hotel
- 3.11, Fri, dinner @ Lujiazui
- 3.12 Sat, my 1st trip to Dongzhi county
- 3.13 Sunday, visit my ancestors
- 3.14 Mon, Hefei, Lujiang, memorial park; Anhui Hotel/dinner
- 3.15 Tue, Jinan, Hefei station; Yuquan hotel 玉泉 & dinner
- 3.16, Wed, visit g grandpa; 南水北调 village, lunch; Uncle’s; David Beckham; JFL 聚福林
- 3.17, Thur, garden 万竹园 and to BJ
- 3.18, Fri, Great Wall; 2 media co; dinner
- 3.19, Sat, East, Xihe 羲和雅苑, Maan coffee
- 3.20, Sun, Bird’s Nest 鸟巢/Water Cube, Dadong w/ Zhangs
- 3.21, Mon, Tianjin
- 3.22, Tue, Fayuan Si 法源寺; Niuji 牛街; Kaorou Wan 烤肉宛
- 3.23, Wed, Juqi 局气, demo derby, suitcase & the last supper in 中关村
- 3.24, Thur, wine, going home
Due to the canceled flight last evening that stretched into mid night in Taipei, we had to get up early for the 5am bus to return to the airport. I didn’t get to wish dad a happy birthday till he’s seated in the plane after the complicated boarding.
The flight attendants, mostly girls were very nice and attentive, aside from being attractive. They wooed and ahhhed over him. Commenting how handsome he’s and how healthy he’s to travel.
The hotel issued a boxed breakfast, and the in flight tray isn’t too bad. I enjoyed the cracker the best.
Meeting his aunt who’s two years his junior (she’s from the youngest concubine) was a blast: they haven’t seen each other for over sixty years. Yes, six decades!
We stopped by a Japanese restaurant for lunch – it’s kind of late and couldn’t finish the food. It’s a rainy day and we were an hour late to arrive at the restaurant for the celebration. My cousins made arrangement and the menu at 名豪鱼翅海鲜.
My grandma passed away in Taipei in 1977 and was buried in a plot in Yangmingshan 阳明山. Over the years, her grave had deteriorated to a point that we needed to do something major. My cousin had collected her and cremated, and temporarily put her ashes at Yongquan Temple 湧泉寺 while we decided what to do. Since most of us aren’t living in Taipei, ultimately, tree burial was chosen.
The following document were needed:
- the proof with the deceased – my dad’s ID card has his parents’ name
- my grandma’s death certificate – from the 地政事務所 Household Registration Office
- the moving out certificate from the temple 湧泉寺
My cousin arranged two people to help us with the burial (with a car), for a fee of NT$10,000 (about US$300). It took about 4 hours:
- picking up grandma’s ashes from the temple
- to a Mortuary Services Office 台北市殡葬管理处 to get a permit
- to funeral home 台北市殡葬管理处第二殡仪馆. The ashes from cremation needs another round of process
- to the tree burial site (Fude 富德灵骨楼), putting grandma to rest
Looking out from the temple, very tranquil.
The funeral service is provided by the government.
The government is encouraging tree/flower/sea burial, to save the planet, and maintains the park nicely. There isn’t a fee to bury at the site, and the family can choose any spot they desire.
I didn’t experience too many canceled flight. The only one I remembered was to Cancun in Spring 1990. The airport was patrolled by soldiers with machine guns and we were escorted to a brand new hotel – they had to hurry up to put pillow case on – for the night.
The weather wasn’t terrible but they decided to cancel, the MU5006 (China Eastern Airlines, 6:40-8:20pm).
- A few postponements
- They made the announcement to cancel
- Issued dinner coupons
- Have passengers to hand in their duty free merchandises – long line
- Group us, go through the immigration, then up to the bus
- Long drive to the hotel, about 30 minutes
- Assign room at the hotel
When I got into the room, which is dark, damp and nasty, it’s 11:30pm. We would be picked up at 5:30 next morning.
The production to cancel a flight is humongous. I don’t know who’s going to pick the tab – if each flight is being insured. Was the weather really that bad to warren such laborious endeavor?
It’s this time, I wondered the hall near the gate at the TPE (Taoyuan International Airport) and saw a nicely made up cosmetic sales girl trying to block a woman who dressed like a peasant to enter the doorless store. The customer moved to her right, the sales girl who’s facing me and the customer, moved to her left and on and on. I was annoyed. I don’t think I’ve seen anything so blatantly rude before.
The food court at TPE has many to offer at reasonable price.
No. 211 號, Jiannan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111 (zh wiki)
The temple is high up on the hill. Making right turn on Dalunweishan Hiking Trail 大崙尾山步道 from the Zhishan Lu. The land mark is the Chelun/Wheel Shrimping Farm 车轮钓虾场 (485 Zhishan Lu 2nd Section).
My grandma’s temporary resting place. We went there on Saturday to sign off but apparently didn’t do it right. So on Monday, when we went to pick up grandma, Dad has to sign another set of papers. But all was quick and easy.
Looking out from the temple. The National Palace Museum is to the northwest: by car is 3 km and by foot is only a kilometer away.
Inside the temple
Where grandma rest briefly