June 26 – July 02, 2013 – A Trip to Taiwan for Paternal Grandfather’s Funeral

           I went on a sudden short trip to Taiwan spanning part of last week and this week. My paternal grandfather passed away on June 15, 2013. He was a colonel at the age of 95. He has been bedridden for the past few years, and died naturally of old age. I have not seen my grandfather for over ten years since 2002, when I was last in Taiwan. I was not particularly close to my paternal grandfather, but since I am the eldest grandson with the family name, I had an obligation to attend the funeral and pay my respects.
           Thus I flew to Taiwan on June 26th, arriving early morning on the 27th. I stayed over at one of my uncle’s place at Puxin (埔心). 27th, 28th, and 29th, went by in a blur. Although I am religiously agnostic, I had to respect the culture and traditions of my Buddhist family elders. I prayed with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Burnt paper money. Wore appropriate clothing. Took part in all the customs of a Buddhist funeral, which ended with a final ceremony and cremation on the 29th.
           The 30th, July 1st and 2nd were no less busy. I stayed over at one of my aunts place, and she took me to see as many of the landmarks of Taipei as we could. I saw Taipei 101 for the first time. Visited Chiang Kai-shek memorial hall. The enormous Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). The popular shopping area of Ximen (西門). The pedestrian suspension bridge of Xindian (新店). Went atop Mount Wuzhi. Ate a ton of Taiwan signature small eats, including my favorites such as stinky tofu and oyster omelette.
           As a side note, during my stay Taiwan experienced the hottest June in a hundred years. The average temperature being around 33 degrees C, with lows hovering around 27-28C, and highs 35-37C. It is so hot and humid that even if you were butt naked under shade you’d sweat non-stop. Air conditioning and/or fans were essential to survival.
           Alas this wasn’t exactly a vacation, it was a funeral trip. The mood was heavy and gloomy. I would love to revisit Taiwan under more auspicious times and longer durations. In due time I will.

Published in: on July 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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