absentfather

Letters for my kids to read in the future, from around the world now

Jet lag and other stories

CKS Memorial Hall, Taipei - 360 degrees

Sunday 15th January 2012

Dear George

Jet lag is killing me today. It’s 11:30 in the morning and I’ve been wide awake since 4AM. It’s a strange thing, because you think that your body has adjusted to the new time zone, you have slept a whole night and woken up at a normal time and then the next night, kapow! Your eyes snap open not long after you have fallen asleep and you are instantly as awake as if it were midday (which your body obviously thinks it is). So then I know that my day is going to be exhausting, but there is no point being annoyed about it, so I just get up and do something. Often reading, sometimes work, but this morning I went through all the videos we have of you so far and labelled them all so that I know what’s on them and can edit them into something watchable another night. Amazing looking back over them to see how amazed we were (and are) by you. Your first smiles, your first laugh, your first crawl – we are chuckling away in the background with pride.

After I’d had breakfast I left the hotel already dressed for work and armed with a camera. I caught the MTR to Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall, which is essentially a big shrine to one of Taiwan’s past leaders and gives a very biased history of how amazing he was, which probably won’t remain that way long as everyone now sees him as a pretty horrible dictator. Nevertheless there is a huge courtyard flanked either side by large traditional chinese style buildings that house a concert hall and a museum, at one end is an ornate gateway and the other is the big guy’s memorial with a whopping Lincoln-esque statue of him seated. There are two sentries either side who remain unmoving despite a hundred flashes going off in their faces and children jumping up and down in front of them, but they look pretty annoyed in the face. It was all fairly uninspiring, mostly because it was built in the 80s and is a poor imposter of a monument stealing ideas from some of the worlds truly original memorials. There were lots of noisy Chinese tour parties and a tacky gift shop underneath so I ducked away into the surrounding park. It was a good move as there were traditional Chinese bands playing wailing music and old folk doing tai-chi under the trees with birds singing overhead. It was lovely. I listened and watched as old conductors tapped out the beat and it drizzled gently onto the courtyards.

Shiny helmetWailing music in the park at CKS Memorial Hall

Music in the park at CKS Memorial Hall

I tried to shop for a camcorder (to take more video of you, but in high definition) but the shops were closed or didn’t sell them, so I have come to the exhibition hall early all stocked up with coffee and food. Hope it is not a wash out like yesterday. It was the general election so everybody left Taipei to vote in their home towns. The existing president Ma won and will continue to engage with China more in the future. Not much in it though 51% to 49% of the vote. Politics lesson over, work time for me.

Much love

Dad

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