Mom Meets the Monkeys

I'm pretty sure 99% of my mom's motives in coming to Taiwan were to go to my monkey friends in Kaohsiung {if you're wondering about the other 1%... 0.5% was to taste Taiwanese food and the other 0.5% was guilt that she should probably come see me!} And, because that's what she wanted, I had to make sure her dreams would come true lol...and what better time to do that than Mother's Day weekend! {talk about a Mother's Day she hopefully never forgets!}

My mom headed to school with me Friday morning to meet my kiddos at FuLong and after lunch with them we headed to the High Speed Rail station (thanks so much to a gracious co-worker for a ride!) and headed down south to Kaohsiung. We arrived to Kaohsiung around 3:30 Friday afternoon and I had the perfect spot in mind to start our weekend. Lotus Pond is about the epitome of everything you could want in a "classic Asian" experience! Pagodas - check! Temple - check! Lotus flowers & dragons - check & double check! Perfect picture opportunities, Chinese gods, and fancy rooftops - check, check, & check! Lotus Pond has it all; and I knew my mom would love it!

We spent a good chuck of time exploring the temples and pagodas before we decided we had better head towards our hostel and check in before the hostel owner got grumpy with us! After checking into our hostel. Once we were all checked in we relaxed for a an hour or so {ok I'll be honest...we enjoyed the AC! It was 90 degrees outside with a heat index over 100 and 85% as heck!} Once we were mobile again we headed back out towards the Liuhe Night Market not too far from our hostel where we sampled teas & feasted on Taiwanese pork sandwiches, fruit milk, crunchy pork buns, and of course...dumplings! When we didn't think our feet could possibly take us any further we dragged ourselves back to our hostel and collapsed with visions of monkeys dancing in our heads! ;)

Saturday morning, of course things won't always go right!, started off with a little public transportation hic-up that we quickly straightened out. So, after an early rise & a hearty 7-eleven breakfast {no judging, I wasn't feeling like navigating Chinese breakfast menus at 8am!} we found ourselves at the base of Shoushan Mountain 壽山 at a large temple overlooking Kaohsiung City. Naturally, after exploring the temple and its twin pagodas for a bit we began our climb....and continued for the next 3 hours!

My mom was lucky! The first time I went I was alone and had to walk a good 45 minutes before my first monkey sighting. The second time when Josh and Tina went along we walked we walked maybe only 20 to 30 minutes before seeing our first little monkey family. My mom, on the other hand, walked less than 10 minutes before a mom and her baby are plopped in the middle of our path. Stopping to check them out several more came down to see who the 2 funky white people were and my mom's camera was working on overdrive! I was pretty sure she was going to call it quits after seeing her first several monkeys, but she kept right on trekking! :P

I got a little mixed up on the trail, but it proved so worth while as we had a great time hiking, we didn't get into any of the steep areas or off the dirt or wood-paved paths, and we were still able to see several medium sized groups of monkeys at different spots as the day wore on! {ok...I just looked it up out of curiosity...apparently it's not a GROUP of monkeys...but a troop of monkeys!..thanks Oxford dictionary for your help!!} 3 hours, lots of sweat, and super empty stomachs later we found ourselves at the base of the mountain where we quickly ate and then headed to our hostel for nice cold showers and afternoon naps!

Once nap time had officially ended we headed to the Pier 2 art center {a reclaimed railroad yard turned into an artist outdoor paradise!} to check it out followed by an amazing Thai dinner filled with more curry than our hearts could handle. And of course, what trip to Kaohsiung wouldn't be complete without a nighttime stroll past the Love River that runs through the city center?! A wonderful night indeed!

Sunday morning we got our tired tushies up for breakfast and then walked to the Holy Rosary Cathedral in town {fun fact its the largest and old in Taiwan and in the top 3 in Asia...not so fun's actually not that big haha} where we had English mass with people from all corners of the world....LOVE IT!

After mass we walked to the Kaohsiung 85 Sky Tower and holey moley guys...the views were great SPECTACULAR! You could see the city, the ocean, the harbor...they were amazing and we were so glad that we went! {and this was a first for me #winning!} Once we were able to close our jaws from awe we hopped on a pair of rented bikes, biked our booties all over Kaohsiung including stops at the sea-side university, Pier 2 art center, and a steamed bun shop before realizing that it was 6pm and we still had a 2 hour trip home! Goodbye Kaohsiung and Happy Mother's Day to my mommy!