|Overview of Taipei from the gondola at the zoo|
On a happier note, we visited two museums in Taipei, full of ancient Chinese artworks (porcelain, jade, etc.) and artifacts from Taiwan's indigenous peoples. I remember learning several years ago when I was in New Zealand that Taiwanese natives were Polynesian, belonging to the same ethnic group as the native residents of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and New Zealand. It's actually fascinating if you map out the colonization patterns and cultural differences among islands in the Pacific. Of course islands closer to land (like Taiwan) were colonized first, while those further away (like Hawaii) were settled later. You can see the evolution of Polynesian culture by comparing the island groups, for example in the dancing. Taiwanese indigenous dances involve large groups, separated and dressed differently by age, all holding hands and spinning in large circles. In contrast, the dances in other Polynesian cultures are more solitary, with dancers standing alone. The Taiwanese don't have a version of the Haka, at least as far as I could tell, so the traditional war dance likely developed later in other parts of Polynesia. However, the indigenous peoples of Taiwan had some of the same cultural elements found across the Pacific - flower headbands, tattooing, and basekt weaving, to name a few.
|A natural sulfur hot spring in Taipei.|
I'm glad to see another part of Asia and spend time with a great friend!