Pronounced "gow-shung". It is the second most populated city in Taiwan . We dock at 9 a.m. and I'm going on a "highlights of K." at 9:30. It's Shakespeare's birthday today. (I'm finding him very handy in Trivial Pursuit.)
Yesterday we arrived in Taiwan and went on an excursion to Taipei (population about the same as Toronto), driving in from the harbour at Keelung. First stop was the National Museum. I guess it was pretty good, and thorough. They limit admission to 3000 people at a time and I think all 3000 were in there with us. We were corralled ad given headphones and the battery operated control thing so we could hear the guide --arguing with our ship duenna. Four of us couldn't manage the huge long staircase so we took an elevator and missed the first gallery entirely. We squeezed through a nice gallery of jade carvings, which I loved, including a white and green piece of jade that had been sculpted into what its shape suggested: a Chinese cabbage. It seemed to be a signature piece, as we discovered when we gave up trying to hear or to walk through the crowds and went to the museum gift shop instead. I know I have scoffed at people who are addicted to shopping but the gift shops of museums and galleries are lovely (including the one at the AGO), and this one was no exception. We found postcards and tschotschkes of the most famous pieces in the museum, including that jade cabbage. I bought stuff.
Next we went to a Palace, exterior only but with nice gardens. Two of us slow ones sat in a lovely patio outside some little kiosks and the cruise duenna brought coffee. It was good coffee, better than that on the ship, actually. We sat in the warm spring breeze and watched the world go by, including a little flock of adorable four or five-year olds.
Next came the highlight of the morning: a visit to the Martyr's Shrine and the Changing of the Guard. These rituals are the same the world over, I think, when stalwart young men (and these ones were taller than the average men in this country) do their best to resemble robots, and then exchange a couple in their group for two they leave behind to stand at attention like wax mannequins, for people to stand in awe and take pictures. I took a picture and I'll try to send it along.
Of course, my foot was tired but it doesn't interfere with my memory function. I have become accustomed, over the years of travel, to picking and choosing what I do and to making allowances for my shortcomings: shorter on energy and stamina as the years roll by but still long on curiosity and willingness. I just have to balance them out.
After today we'll have a couple of Sea Days before we arrive in Manila, so I'll have time to recover and think. And also to try to master the art of sending a picture or two. I hope so.