Family Visit, Week One

My parents and brother finally made a visit back to Taiwan to come see me. They haven’t been back in nine years, and to them, Taipei has changed so much. We’ve been eating a lot this past week with me taking them out for the good places I know and with our scores of relatives who have been penciled in to their hectic two-week schedule.

We went on the Maokong Gondola, which I thought was going to be one of those short cable car rides to the top of a hill, but it was a rather long (about 20 minutes) ride to the top of Mt. Everest (or at least it felt like it.). If you’re brave enough, you can take the glass-bottom bar. There are four stops along the ride, and it only cost $50NT ($1.50USD) for a one-way ride all the way to the top, and once you make it to the top, you can walk around in Maokong or take it back down and stop in the zoo for a tour.

On Friday night, we decided to take my 20-year-old brother out to the Taiwan Beer Factory, which was hopping by the way, and after a couple of drinks, a bit after 10pm, we hailed a cab to head back home. Just as we’re about to merge on the highway, the entire back side of the cab was smashed in, and my brother and I were thrown against the front seats, hitting our heads with glass shattering all around us. Some car had hit a scooter, dragged it along for a few meters, then slammed into our cab (which also ended up hitting another car due to the force of impact), and continued on to bump into a third car before finally coming to a stop a ways ahead.

The police and ambulances got here pretty quickly. They took us to the hospital and had us checked into the ER, x-rays taken, seen a doctor within 15 minutes. The scooter guy hit his arm and all his skin was rubbed off for being dragged along, but he was okay. The driver of the rampant car was pretty injured.  Our x-rays were fine, just a bump on the head and some scratches from the glass, and soreness is to be expected.  We had to stay at the hospital for a couple more hours for observation and the paperwork to be settled. Luckily the fees weren’t bad; I have health insurance so mine was just $300NT ($10USD), and my brother’s, as a tourist, was about $1100NT ($40USD) for x-rays and doctor’s fees.

My poor brother, he has the worst luck with cabs. The last time he was back, he got clipped by one when walking in an alley, and this time, he gets beaten up in one. It’s also scary that seat belts are not required here in the backseat, just in the front, so a lot of cabs don’t even have them even if you wanted to buckle up.

Then Saturday night, the dinner of my parents and the boyfriend’s parents first meeting took place. It was stressful, but at least we got that first meeting over with, and both sides approve of us and all is good in the world.

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