2006/04/01 18:02 Magnitude: 6.4 No.: 024 (0401180264024)

This one was centered in Taidong on the southeast coast, so it didn’t register in Taipei, but we weren’t in Taipei today, we were in Tainan, maybe 60 miles away from the earthquake epicenter. This morning we got up early to get on the bus to go to Tainan for the Tomb Sweeping Day, the Chinese tradition where once a year you go to visit your ancestors and clean up their grave if needed.

The bus ride is about 5 hours, so we got in well past noon. A family friend picked us up in her van to take care of us for the day. The first thing we did was go get lunch at a small cafe called “Merry Christmas” we often go to here. I had pork curry rice and a bowl of strawberry ice. After this we headed first to my father-in-law’s grave. Keep in mind that I’ve been here maybe five or six times and Maggie grew up here half her life, but somehow I know how to get to her father’s grave and she doesn’t.

This is the first time we’ve taken Emily along to the actual cemeteries and temples. Previously when she came with us she stayed in the hotel with the nanny. So this was her first experience with issues related to death. So we had to answer awkward questions like why grandfather wasn’t going to wake up again.

Then we headed out to visit my grandmother-in-law and great-grandfather-in-law. They don’t have graves as they were cremated. Many people here are cremated now and they are stored in temples were there are rows and rows of what look like fancy gym lockers where the urns holding their remains are stored. Emily had a lot of fun here because they had a pond with lots of koi in it out front.

That taken care of, we went to the family friend’s younger brother’s clothing shop that he runs with his wife. Shortly after we got there, just past 6pm the ground started moving back and forth and the clothes racks were swaying. It was a pretty strong shaker where we were, but not enough to cause damage. It was a level 3 intensity according to the CWB in Tainan. (Intensity scale is different from Richter and is to measure relative shaking strength in an area away from the epicenter.)

After that we went to check in at our hotel. This one seems pretty nice with free Internet computers in the lobby of each floor and ethernet ports in the room. I didn’t bring my computer so I’m using one of the public ones.

After that we went out to try some local foods for dinner. One of my favorites is fried fish soup. It’s actually from Tainan but I like the one in Gaoxiong better. Tomorrow we are planning to go to Gaoxiong in the afternoon before heading to Taipei. Ilona is feeling uneasy about the earthquake so she and Bonita are planning to go back to Taipei instead, but the rest of us are probably still going to Gaoxiong.

We’re back in the hotel now for a break but are planning to go back out to a Japanese sidewalk restaurant later on.

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