Guests: Berggren Family

What’s better than a 6 pack?

A seven pack! That’s what our household became for one week in March.

You see, last year Pickles’s dad and mom came to visit – after a pit stop in Bali so they could build that base tan. They must have liked Taiwan so much they dragged the rest of the immediate family over: Pickles’s brother (Steve), his wife (Jessette) and their daughter (Lily) who is now holding the record for our youngest guest.

Fav bubble tea? Passionfruit jasmine in green tea with pearls.

Since jet lag is a bear from the USA we eased in to the cultural immersion with a bubble tea from Chun Shui Tang Teahouse* and a foot massage! It’s the only way. *It’s said that this place is one of the two origins of bubble tea. The other teahouse is also in Taiwan which leads me ask, when is Bubble Tea Wars coming to Netflix?

No age limits here!

Because traveling with a bunch of adults is stressful. #kidsneedmassagetoo
Jessette sinks in and embraces the Taiwan love
Complimentary bloomers (perfect for those spontaneously moments when you’re in your skinny jeans).

Bug ‘n out!

One way to reconnect with fam is to get tatted. It’s true. A family that tats together, stays together. We learned this in Portland. I think it’s written in the city’s constitution.

Superstar, Lily!

A film crew approached us (yes, the exotic 7-pack of Americans) and asked Lily if she would like to be in a commercial, driving some hot wheels. Heck, ya! We have no idea when or where this will be aired so if you see it, let us know. Lily wants her royalties.

Exploration of our ‘hood

By foot, bike and a few pit stops to climb trees we logged some serious sneaker miles. We visited the National Museum of Natural Science (cool animatronic dinosaurs), the National Museum of Fine Arts (phenomenal A-Sun Wu Retrospective), honed Lily’s photography eye with her snazzy new pink Polaroid, crafted a custom music box at the National Theater’s Wooderful Life DIY shop and even had time to pose for a caricature along the parkway.

The prolific A-Sun Wu – beautiful work. Check him out!

We also spent lots of time eating out and teaching Mimi (grandma) how to use chopsticks. After Lily mastered it she graciously offered up her trainers.

If we weren’t eating it, we were wearing it. Everyone looks adorable in a wearable cream puff, right? Oh, Taiwan. You’re so cute.

Young at heart

Big City Escape

After all the city stuff we jetted south to Kenting for a 3 day, 2 night trip. We had never been to Kenting so we were excited to explore new turf with the family. Kenting sits at the most southernmost point of the island, a four drive from Taichung. Its beaches and waters are popular with snorkelers and divers. We rented a house for two nights in Hengchun’s Old Town. Old Town was built in 1873 during the late Qing Dynasty and is surrounded by a massive brick wall of which only half is still remaining. This home sits adjacent to the north gate.

Our rental. Tall and skinny is the style here.
Taiwan hospitality at it’s best. The owner who resides next door came in every morning to make us breakfast.

Kenting National Park

We were bestowed beautiful weather albeit a little muggy for the Corn Huskers at times. We had a nice long walk in the park, saw a Taiwanese macaque monkey (the only native primates living in Taiwan), strolled through the massive Fairy Caves, observed locals worshiping at Gaoshanyan Fude Temple (which has interesting coral limestone nooks and crannies) and on the way back to the van we found ourselves walking straight through a honeybee swarm! This is an cool phenomenon to witness (my third now). Swarming bees have no interest in humans. They are in fast pursuit of finding a new home a.s.a.p. They have outgrown their existing hive so about 60% of them vacate in search of a new home. As quickly as we knew what was happening, they were off towards the forest, likely in search of hollow tree to make as their new hive. I sure do miss beekeeping.

Cool kids looking for monkeys
Fairy Cave, coral limestone (hundreds of thousands of years ago, this area consisted of many undersea coral reefs)

Gaoshanyan Fude Temple, wishes hung on a large rock

Opps, I did it again!
Opps within an oops! The original printing read “Opps”, which has since been correctly by a sticker. Pickles was not hurt during this reenactment.
Hello from the southern tip of the island

Technically there’s a little more land there, but this is close enough.
The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium . It’s impressive and worth a visit (mid week is quiet too).
The largest underwater tunnel in Asia!

Our turn to play in the water

We don’t have any pics, but we snorkeled at Little Bali Rock! The water and marine life was astounding! It compliments the aquarium trip quite nicely. And only one person got their phone wet and lost their wedding band. If you see a sea snake out there sporting a platinum band with small four diamonds, please call us.

Corndogs, Connect 4 & Crazy Karts

After sightseeing and eating at the night market we were tuckered, but found a few rounds of Connect 4 in us. This is a favorite child hood (and adult) game so it was fun to share with Lily. We also had some hilarious rounds of CatchPhrase.

Hengchun Night Market
Mimi is stumped by Lily’s strategy

Crazy Karts

This is a popular pastime down in the southern part of the island so we fired ’em up! And they’re really called “crazy karts”… perhaps Go Kart’s quirky, wily cousin?

Who’s driving? The elbows or the knees?
Mimi was a terror out there!
Lily smoked ’em!

 A toast to health

The last night in Kenting, we enjoyed a delicious meal at Bossa Nova and very large cocktails to soothe the loss of Steve’s phone and ring. It helped a little. We toasted to our health and said phooey to the material stuff. We didn’t lose the real good stuff.

Thanks to Grandpa and Mimi for rallying the troops and coming back to see us.  There’s not much that compares to Taiwan in the USA so we love being able to share what we know of this island. Ok, we know about only 50% of what’s going on over here. We live in a state of being lost in translation, but it’s fun and we’ve accepted it. Thanks for playing with us in our home away from home! It was a blast.

What’s next? Hint: four out of five family members flew back to Nebraska and one stayed on for another adventure… stay tuned for that in the next post.

Thanks for following P&P. We love you. We miss you.


Pickles & Passionfruit

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One thought on “Guests: Berggren Family

  1. Ahhhhh…. when you visit me in July please bring “the guy next door” at the BnB in Keating!!! He looks like a great cook and a fun guy!
    Tell him I offer Quik-Route Expedited Special USA citizenship with Passport and 10 Grand in cash. Same for Venson. Let me know, I’ll have to talk to the bank and sell a couple of cats.

    Sorry to hear about Steve’s ring and cellphone. However glad to know your Apple and your Orange Blossiom setting are safe and sound.
    Looks like all had a terrific time and I liked seeing Steve, Jessette Lily and Ma & Pa Berggren. Remember— book that guy into first class and tell him he’ll have his own bathroom and unlimited charge card at Williams Sonoma, Prada, the Apple no tax super store and ….well…Patagonia. If he holds out for a Breitling— go for it.

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