Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ben's son's B-Day; Chinese NewYear

After the first piles of ashes had been cleaned up, the procession came around the block again, so more strings of firecrackers were set out in the middle of the street and they repeated setting them off, ahead of the "god of the land" float, with the drummers still beating their drums and the horn blowers blowing as loud as they could. The firecrackers were set off to scare the evil spirits away this year. During and after the time the float passed by, they set off the fireworks. They were beautiful! We stayed and watched this procession go by twice and then we left. It was supposed to continue on for about four hours! We have never seen so many firecrackers and fireworks! They would make a big pile of firecrackers in one spot and when they set it off, it looked as if the hydrogen bomb had just been dropped, with mushroom-shaped, red-fringed smoke as high as the apartment buildings on both sides of the street! I can't believe that the apartment and store windows did not shatter. All in all, it was a most interesting evening, thanks to our dear friends, the Lins, the Tans and Arnie and Jen!

Sweeping up the ashes of the thousands of strings of firecrackers that were laid in the middle of the street here in Neihu. They had to douse the fires with water and then raked the ashes into cardboard boxes! It got so smoky!!

It is hard to tell, but this chicken was roasted with its head on! This is a table filled with "delights" for the business owner's ancestors. What the ancestor's don't eat-the Chinese will take inside and "finish" eating!

Arnie and Bro Lin in foreground, Sister Seow, Sister Tan, President and Sister Walker and I and Arnie's son, Samuel. If you are wondering what the little dots are, they are cinders! Hot cinders everywhere! We wore masks when the smoke got really bad, but there was nothing to keep our eyes from burning!

The fires that burned in the middle of the street after they had set off thousands of firecrackers at one time. It was unbearable to not cover your ears, and you had to watch that you were not too close -- the policemen left it up to you, how close you wanted to be. We thought we were back far enough on the sidewalk, but found out we were still too close when we got "cindered"

Some of the crowd that followed the procession around the blocks, taking pictures of all that was going on!

This was the beginning of the Chinese New Year parade of welcoming the god of the land into Taiwan. Five or six men dressed in full Chinese costume were walking alongside and blowing horns that sounded like bag-pipes playing only one, sustained note, and banging drums. The small, ornate, temple is in the background.

This was a car all decorated up to advertise that the panda bears were coming from China to the Taipei Zoo! We need to go and see them! Everything around here has panda bears on it!

Arnie, the Temple engineer, invited us and the Seows to a special Chinese New Year dinner. I have never seen so much food! Arnie's mother and wife must have cooked ALL day to get things ready! Arnie and his wife, Jen, have been so good to us and helped us so much! Just TRY to pay him when you go to dinner with him!

Tony, our Temple assistant engineer, invited us for a special lunch, two times during the Chinese New Year celebration. His wife is the best cook! We had beef noodle soup, a specialty of Taipei. The man on the left is someone he freindshipped into the church when he was his Bishop! They have four daughters and one son. The oldest daughter had not returned from work yet, and his son was still at school! School here comprises many hours a day, even for the smaller ones!

Our Ward clerk gave the son he had not seen for 20 years, a birthday party at Bishop Chiles' home. He cooked the main part of the meal - Chinese roll-ups with peanut powder, and the rest of us brought the other part! What a reunion he and his son had. His son is living with his mother and going to University of Minneapolis, studying bio-chemistry and physics! He is one very smart kid. His taxi driver father is very proud of him! He had not met his half-sister before, either, so it was quite a reunion!