Photos by MJ Klein & Hui-chen This article is geotagged and available for viewing on our map.
This article contains food photographs!
You know us. We love to party. This weekend was no exception. The weather is turning cooler and the few degrees difference makes it all the more comfortable walking around in the daylight. Blogger Andres and his lovely wife Karen and cute baby Olivia joined us for some fun in Part I.
We’ve seen signs for the Nan Garden many times around the area and we’ve always wanted to check it out. So, today was the day.
I have no idea why, but they call this place “The One” in English. This name has nothing to do with the Chinese name of “south garden” but I didn’t name it.
I tried to get the skinny on the place but the details are sketchy. Apparently it belonged to one of the dead dictators and was bought by a newspaper owner as a resort for himself and his employees. It seems very elaborate for such a use, but I’ve seen similar places in Taiwan, so it doesn’t surprise me.
Please, no matter how cynical or sarcastic I get, please read to the end. I promise it will be worth it.
Hui-chen gets her bearings before we begin walking through the place. Your entrance fee comes with a map of the compound, with numbered buildings.
Olivia joined us today, and she was a lot of fun to have around.
I’m not going to have a lot of commentary for you because not only did I not find very much out about the place, but like many such places in Taiwan, there isn’t a single thing to do except walk around and look. There are plenty of places to sit and have something to drink but how many drinks can one have and just sit? This is a major issue with Taiwan’s tourist places. They are heavy on the scenery and relaxation, and light on the activities.
Anyway, just enjoy the photos and comfort yourself in the knowledge that you don’t have to spend money to walk around this place like we did. Supposedly there is a hotel here, but I didn’t see it. And, the restaurant isn’t open yet. So the Nan Garden isn’t even as far above Totally Boring as most other places are.
This is the inside of an entrance to a room that featured Chinese writing on scrolls of paper (nothing ancient or historical looking). There was a guy outside who had used a long handled brush and water to write stuff on the walkway leading up to this room. Of course, as soon as he saw me, he mustered up a really bad “welcome” and gave me the open hand leading into this room (totally ignoring my wife and friends, naturally). We went inside and saw what appeared to be an office. In an adjoining room there were lots of books, like a small library. Since there was no one there who was associated with this room (except the greeter who was outside) we couldn’t find anything out about this room. We still don’t know what this stuff is. So, the guy outside beckoned me to go inside a room where there was nothing to do except look at someone else’s collection of stuff. At least this carving was quite beautiful to look at, and I’m glad I got a shot of it.
The window on the left is supposed to look like peaches. The center window represents a flower vase. The right window – I have no idea.
I took this shot because it shows that the brick work is less than perfect. I think imperfections add character to things that are handmade.
This shot was taken outside the gift shop. I gotta tell you, when I came up to this building and found a guy inside giving me the “welcome” treatment again, just to find a frigging gift shop, well I got very pissed off. All that walking around just to end up at a dumb gift shop? I didn’t even want to go in. This place is one big gift shop and a total waste of time. If you want to take some nice photos, maybe it would be worth your while. Keep looking and you be the judge. I’m not trying to be mean – the place is lovely. It’s just boring.
I did find the architecture quite interesting. If this is your thing, then the Nan Garden won’t disappoint.
The inside of a room where some rich dude who I don’t know, lived. And couldn’t care less about it.
This table has photographs of dignitaries and celebrities who have apparently dined here. If you click on the photo and view the large size you can clearly see Mikhail Gorbachev in the center.
Enough with the photos of some rich person’s means of life.
We’re back outside and on our way to what I think is the nicest area of the compound.
This is my favorite courtyard. I would have sat here for awhile, if there were any chairs.
A fan, or book shaped window.
We walked up these stairs to the top section.
The view from up here was great.
Up here was a room you could look into but not walk into. Yawn….
Behind this room was a cute little pond.
Upon closer inspection, I found that a spider had spun a large web across the open space.
I found a better vantage point where you could see the spider against the white wall. This was by far, the most interesting thing of the day.
Time for a little tea break.
Olivia has on this cute shirt that is a girl’s checklist of important items.
This is the sign at the front entrance.
OK, so we went back home. Andres and I, after having the crap bored out of us decided to do some drinking while the women relaxed at our home. We went to 2 places.
This is a shot I took of Andres with my mobile phone. He’s holding a new bottle of Sang Som Thai Rum (small size). We’re at the all new Shao-hui’s (blog report coming soon) after already killing a bottle at A-dong’s place down the street. On the table are bottles of CC Lemon and a new drink that we had to try with rum: melon soda. I have to say the melon soda was a huge hit! We killed the second bottle with the melon soda.
After several hours of drinking and my feeble attempts at singing in Thai, blogger Asish arrived. We went back to my home and then up on the roof for a cookout.
Here we are getting ready to party. That’s Ashish in the foreground.
Olivia looks at the camera while her father Andres contemplates our 3rd bottle of liquor for the evening.
Olivia sure is cute. She’s a great kid and she only cries when something really is wrong. As soon as whatever is bothering her is fixed, she’s right back to being happy and smiling.
Hui-chen (left) and Karen were handling the grill duties.
This was the first course.
We don’t usually grill pork ribs, so this was a great change to our usual grilled fare.
The weather was cool, with a nice light breeze. Perfect!
Preparations for the second course: Karen’s salt pork.
Ashish and Taiwan Beer, his choice of beverage for the evening. We did get him to try the rum and CC Lemon. He liked it!
Here, Hui-chen is demonstrating how to eat Karen’s grilled salt pork. You begin with a piece of lettuce and a piece of grilled pork.
Here, she is adding Korean kim chee.
Next, cucumber slices.
Now you fold it up if you want to. Some people also put a slice of tomato on too, but it’s up to you.
Andres calls this a “Taiwanese Burrito” and it’s so good.
I think Olivia is ready for the next course: Grilled hamburgers!
HC using plastic wrap to form the burgers.
This is a shot of the wonderful salt pork alongside some burgers. It was all really great!
It started to sprinkle, so we took the grill and the party down to the 4th floor balcony which is partially covered. Hui-chen prepares a burger for one of our guests.
Adding the final touches….
Here you go, Asish, a genuine Taiwanese-American hamburger!
We went inside and even though it didn’t rain, that was the end of the roof for the night.
We had a great time with our good friends!
Please join us for Part II of our Weekend Parties. Thanks for reading!