Spring break has officially begun! We are on our way to Bangkok this evening and then to Laos tomorrow morning. Why Laos? Lots of reasons, but primarily that my cousin and her boyfriend (I want to just be able to reference them as "my cousins", but that makes it seem like they are family members to each other doesn't it?) are living there (see how lao, brown cow). We are also catching some other family members on the tail end of their visit to Laos. We're very excited! Get ready for stories and pictures when we get back!
While the Taipei 101 building is no longer the tallest building in the world, it does have a few other world records under it's belt. First, what's the use of a tall building if you can't get to the top? Taipei 101 wants you to be able to get to the top floors in seconds, 37 to be exact. Getting from the 5th floor to the 89th in 37 seconds makes it currently the fastest elevator in the world. Jeremiah and I rode it to the top; it was pretty impressive. You can feel the pressure in your ears as you go up. But there's more that just a great view to look at when you get to the top. On display is the big golden sphere pictured above. As a way to counter the swaying caused by high winds and earthquakes, the Taipei 101 people built the largest damper sphere in the world. It counters the swaying of the building to prevent structural damage.
However, the best part about this building is the name that's been given the damper: Damper Baby. That's got to deserve a world record for something.
Saturday we went to Taipei with a friend to celebrate the end of Chinese New Year - the Lantern Festival. We visited the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall first because we had read online that the lantern festival was being held there. Turns out it wasn't. Since it was still light out, we walked around the memorial hall, saw some beautiful hand-painted lanterns and as it started to get darker we made our way to the real location - the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
As soon as we stepped out of the MRT train we knew we were in the right place. There were tons of people and signs directing us to the right place. Just a short walk and we were there. I hadn't known what to expect, but I was thinking this festival would be along the same lines of the lanterns we had seen at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial - traditional round paper lanterns. But what we saw here was totally different. There were rows lined with huge lanterns made into scenes of animals (tigers especially for the year of the tiger), people, nature, etc. It was really very impressive.
In addition to the lanterns, there was an area for people to write notes (wishes for the new year maybe?) and attach them to a big display or to some traditional looking red lanterns.
It was a fun celebration; I'm getting used to this whole celebrating two sets of holidays thing!
I guess news of this morning's earthquakes has reached the states. All is ok here. We felt the first one; I was on the third floor and definitely felt the building moving. The rest have been much smaller and haven't been felt, by me at least, in Taichung.