Sunday, October 23, 2011

MOFA's Centennial Double Ten Celebration

October 10th, or Double Ten Day, is celebrated here in Taiwan every year as the National Day. It commemorates the uprising that led to the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912. In other words, it's kind of like the Taiwanese version of the 4th of July. This year, 10-10 was especially exciting because the ROC is celebrating its 100th anniversary!

Commemorative arch set up for the occasion on a street shut down for the occasion 
Every year, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds a swanky Double Ten gala for all the diplomats and other important people in Taiwan. This year, all the Fulbrighters were invited. It was very exciting getting to go to a bona fide red carpet affair. We may be just lowly elementary school English teachers but lot of dignitaries and diplomats also attended. The president of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, even made an appearance.
My lovely roomie and I on the red carpet
"I'm President Ma and I approve these dumplings." I didn't actually get to meet
him but I did get a chance to stand a few feet away and take his picture!
There were lots of interesting people from all over the world, more delicious food than I could possibly eat, and there was a fantastic traditional dance/drum performance in the middle of the little lake on the property. To be honest, I didn't really make a lot of fancy new political connections. The most famous person I actually talked to was Miss Taiwan (who, I found out after attempting to speak with her in Chinese, is actually from California). I mostly ate a lot of free food and enjoyed the spectacle. All in all, it was a pretty awesome party.

This one's for you, Dad.
Making custard cakes
Yum! We approve.

Giant flowering Taiwan! Let's hear it for agriculture, everyone.
They even hired some artists to make little clay figurines for guests. Apparently making clay miniatures on a stick is a type of traditional handicraft here in Taiwan. Back in the day, they used to be made of edible materials but now they're just for show (and therefore full of toxic chemicals that make the clay easier to mold). Either way, my parrot was way too cute to eat. 
The artist and my fun new souvenir. Getting him home in one piece
was a definite challenge but he's very happy at home on my desk now.

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