Train set

Kept N out of playschool today for another excursion. Not fair to her in a way, but this may be laying down experiences and memories worth more than just another great day with Ms H and the gang.

VVIP’s last full day on the island: Maokong tea village in the Muzha hills. About an hour from Shilin to Muzha by metro. Two changes, three lines. At mid-morning it’s a first class experience all the way. On the elevated light-rail Muzha line, you sit in the very front of a driverless train. If you happen to be three-and-a-half or one-going-on-two and egged on by foolish-old-dad you may well make a big deal out of the appearance of piloting the thing: wrenching your imaginary steering wheel to get it round corners and beeping wildly on your imaginary horn at every oncoming train.

The weather was fine. Hot but endurable. The air a little smoggy, obscuring distant views.

A minibus ride up to Maokong itself, and a leisurelyish hour or so brewing and drinking Tie Guanyin on a terrace by a fishpond and overlooking tea plantation terraces in the natural basin below. That’s only a qualified “leisurely” because all it takes is a moment’s inattention for one or the other of them to escape the invisible safety perimeter and take up some perilous perch on a rickety bamboo fence overlooking an ugly drop, or similar.

On the light-rail ride back to the city centre, VVIP remarked she felt like a tiny figure in a train set. The thing mysteriously accelerates and brakes, speeds through canopy tunnels and creeps around 90-degree corners, pulls tidily up to deserted platforms and then pulls away again, and follows an almost artificially winding course through the steep and heavily wooded foothills of South Taipei.

Nana in her nighty this evening, the kids came to her bedside to say their goodnights and share a hug and kiss.


G’morning Didi.

No! shrieks Jiejie. Say: G’morning

Young Fellow

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