Weekend Parties, Part I

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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.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

Olivia joined us today, and she was a lot of fun to have around.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

I did find the architecture quite interesting.  If this is your thing, then the Nan Garden won’t disappoint.

Nan Garden

The inside of a room where some rich dude who I don’t know, lived.  And couldn’t care less about it.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Enough with the photos of some rich person’s means of life.

Nan Garden

We’re back outside and on our way to what I think is the nicest area of the compound.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

This is my favorite courtyard.  I would have sat here for awhile, if there were any chairs.

Nan Garden

A fan, or book shaped window.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

We walked up these stairs to the top section.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Cute!

The view from up here was great.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Up here was a room you could look into but not walk into.  Yawn….

Nan Garden

Behind this room was a cute little pond.

Nan Garden

Upon closer inspection, I found that a spider had spun a large web across the open space.

Nan Garden

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.

Nan Garden

Nan Garden

Time for a little tea break.

Nan Garden

Olivia has on this cute shirt that is a girl’s checklist of important items.

Nan Garden

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.

Roof Party

Here we are getting ready to party.  That’s Ashish in the foreground.

Roof Party

Olivia looks at the camera while her father Andres contemplates our 3rd bottle of liquor for the evening.

Roof Party

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.

Roof Party

Hui-chen (left) and Karen were handling the grill duties.

Roof Party

This was the first course.

Roof Party

We don’t usually grill pork ribs, so this was a great change to our usual grilled fare.

Roof Party

The weather was cool, with a nice light breeze.  Perfect!

Roof Party

Preparations for the second course: Karen’s salt pork.

Roof Party

Roof Party

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!

Roof Party

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.

Roof Party

Here, she is adding Korean kim chee.

Roof Party

Next, cucumber slices.

Roof Party

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.

Roof Party

Andres calls this a “Taiwanese Burrito” and it’s so good.

Roof Party

I think Olivia is ready for the next course: Grilled hamburgers!

Roof Party

HC using plastic wrap to form the burgers.

Roof Party

This is a shot of the wonderful salt pork alongside some burgers.  It was all really great!

Roof Party

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.

Roof Party

Adding the final touches….

Roof Party

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!

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12 comments

  1. Pingback: MJ Klein
    1. cfimages » Craig, if you go there specifically to take photographs, the Nan Garden won’t disappoint you. i didn’t mean to sound as if i hate the place because i do not. it just wasn’t what i expected, that’s all. the architecture is quite nice and i’d love to see your interpretation through photographs. let us know if you’re planning to go.

      Hui-chen has some additional information and corrections she would like me to add to the article, which i will do shortly. thanks Craig.

  2. mj, thanks for having us. it was great times as usual. karen is already talking about wanting to go back soon!

    craig, if you do plan to go, make sure you call and register your name and make reservations ahead of time. you can’t just arrive and walk in. we saw at least a couple cars get turned right back around at the gate as they were denied entrance because they didn’t register ahead of time.

    1. andres » we’re here in Hukou, so anytime you want to taste some Thai food (or rum) you know where to find us!

      good information about the reservations. i forgot to mention that.

  3. MJ, the Nan Garden looks interesting to me too. I love these kind of peaceful,green and no-activity places where I can just sit, take a picture or two and just contemplate. Sounds kinda old fashioned 😛 Sigh I should stop reading Thoreau I guess.
    Thanks Andres for the useful information about booking in advance.

    MJ, the evening was the most relaxed time I have had in recent times. It was almost kinda a healing for me after working my ass out last couple of weeks. Needless to say the food was incredible. Thanks to you and Andres for a great meal. Especially the hamburgers. Those were out of this world man. Looking forward for more hang outs on your rooftops.

    Ashishs last blog post..Mr and Mrs Ashlin

  4. What a great Great post MJ. The One does look very beautiful and if you were just looking for a place to relax and take pictures then it looks spot on. Some of the work in the buildings looked beautiful and only something some very wealthy person could afford to have done. It was a shame it was so boring for you and a lack of information.

    The party afterwards, well that looked like a great time. I like the look of the salted pork wrapped in lettuce, we do something similar here as well. The pork ribs well I would have loved to gnaw on a few of those.

    The burgers, I am sure was the hamburger mix you shared with us a long while back and they looked good. Asish’s burger at the end looked a real mouth watering ripper. I might make a few burgers this weekend.

    Great stuff MJ and thanks for sharing

    Bruntys last blog post..Bamboo plants in Thailand.

    1. Brunty » the Nan Garden is great for photographs. the architecture is quite interesting and it’s kept up well.

      the party was fun, hehe. Andres and i were already in the bag by the time Ashish arrived! the burger mix was very similar to what we showed on the blog before, yes. so i think you can imagine how they tasted 🙂 you should make some yourself this weekend.

      oh yes, the ribs were great but they gave my new braces a hard time! thanks Brunty.

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