Sunday, 18 March 2012

Soap and Frogs

I woke up today to the sound of the wind whistling around the apartment and a view of a grey sky overhead. No matter. I have my memories of yesterday to sustain me. Yesterday summer breathed through Taipei and drew pleasure-seekers from their homes and out into such beautiful surroundings as the Zun Leisure Park.

Conrad and I were lucky enough to be included in the invitation to members of the Multicultural Parents Association of his school to go on a trip to this place and of course I jumped at the chance. The Zun Leisure Park is a nature centre where children can learn about the natural world, do craft activities, or simply play in the large grounds consisting of lawns, lakes, a waterfall and lots of interesting trails.

For me, the best part of the day was wandering these beautiful grounds.

There was an orchid area where the plants were growing in their natural habitat, in the clefts between the branches and trunks of trees. Unfortunately most of the orchids weren't flowering at the time. The irises were, though:

And some plants were fruiting!

In the morning there was a talk on herbs where we got to taste and sniff various pleasant and not so pleasant herbs, and the children made soap. Here's a breakdown of the steps and the finished product we took home. The herb is lemongrass and Conrad made the soap a hasty gift for me when he found out it was Mother's Day in the UK.

In the afternoon the children had a talk on frogs and toads in Taiwan, with an opportunity to get up close to one or two.

Then they were free to play (the children, not the frogs) and have a generally very good time, which of course they did.

We took along a packed lunch. There are lots of picnic tables onsite, but we could have eaten at the restaurant there. I've been checking the bus timetables and routes to the park, which is on the other side of Taipei to us, because we'll definitely be going back soon.

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