October 10, 1961 – Formosa

Grand Hotel, Taipei, Formosa – Clear

     I woke up feeling far better than I had the day before and I was glad.  Flo had given me some liniment to rub on some of my sore areas and I thought it had really helped a lot even though my night’s sleep on my bed was less comfortable than the one I had had in Osaka. 

      I was able to wander around after breakfast to shop and take pictures.  I wanted to take a picture of the hotel we were staying at and when I tried to get it on one slide I couldn’t do it.  Ethel and I walked on the street around the hotel looking for post cards to send home.  It was obvious to us something was going on in the city today.  All of the people were in costumes and walking around excitedly.  There were decorations everywhere.  I found it interesting that I never saw any elderly women carrying or taking care of babies or children.  I only saw little girls about four or five years old with babies on their backs and men minding small children.

      It seemed the Betjack was the primary method of transportation.  It was a three wheeled bicycle with a covered top and it looked like it would be fun to ride in.

      At the end of the morning our group all met in the lobby so we could go to lunch together.  While we ate Curt went over what we were going to be doing the remainder of the day.  Lunch service was hectic and crowded mostly due to the holiday crowds present.  While we ate I noticed there seemed to be many dignitaries from all over the world who were eating or having cocktails with beautiful Chinese ladies. 

      After lunch we toured the town a little despite all the traffic.  Along the way our bus suddenly stopped at an intersection and we discovered it was so we could watch the parade.  Most of us chose to watch from our bus made because it made it easy to see the floats above the heads of the people.  Our guide told us that President Chiang Kai-shek was presiding over the official ceremony.  It seemed to be mostly a military parade along with floats.  One float featured Miss Dolly Ma who was Miss China for 1961.  The procession was a long one with 176 floats so we weren’t able to stay for the whole thing and left after two hours before it was finished. 

Double Ten Anniversary Celebration Parade

Another Picture of Double Ten Anniversary Celebration Parade

      When we arrived back at the hotel and got out of the bus to go inside we noticed there must have been an air show going on overhead from the number of various air craft present. 

      Edith and I went back to our room for a siesta before it was time for dinner since we knew we would be up late for our evening entertainment.  After resting for a bit though I decided to write Bob and his family:

 Oct 10, 1961- Taipei, Formosa

Dear Pat, Bob, Patrick, Penny, Liz Ann, Sammy;

     We came in this hotel about 8pm after the plane ride from Osaka.  The plane was by the Mandarin Civil Aereonautics Transportation flight.  This company was started by General Chenault in 1945.  The stewardess’ were Chinese and very nice.  The food was the best we’ve had.  Filet mignon and the meat rare and thick. 

     This hotel is so big I can’t get it in one slide.  Ethe and I walked all around it this morning.  It is beautiful.  Last night when we arrived Edith had to take a cholera shot as her certificate was not in order.  Mine was okay so I had no trouble. 

     The postage rate here is terrific.  I’m going to have to stop sending out so much mail – I’ll be broke. 

     Today is the celebration of the 50th year of the revolution and the whole town in celebrating.  We just got back from a parade and tonight we are going to attend an elaborate old fashioned Chinese wedding.  This will include the Chinese feast with wine, etc.  I have to dress up for this occasion.  In the dining room today all the dignitaries from all the nations were having cocktails with the beautiful Chinese ladies.  The ambassador from Panama has the room next to us. I guess the US have their representatives here also.  This is a big thing for Formosa. 

     Tomorrow morning we have to leave here at 8:30am, take the plane for Taichung and drive up to Sun Moon Lake to lunch at Evergreen Hotel and check in.  Then a lake tour and visit temples and aborigine village back at hotel for dinner.  Next morning leisure.  1pm drive to Taichung take plane to Taipei.  Then plane for Hong Kong via CAT.  The meals are fabulous and I’m afraid I’m gaining weight but having a wonderful time. 

I love you all.  Love Mother

      Our tour group had been very fortunate indeed that the 10th of October 1961had been set for us to be in Taipei because it mean we could enjoy the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the revolution.  We’d been told the Leonard Hotel Recreation Club nearby was sponsoring a pantomime that had four acts meant to depict the wedding to unite the two powerful houses of Wang and Lee.  The evening entertainment started at 7:30pm so we gathered in the lobby a half hour earlier before walking down the hill to the grounds near the swimming pool area where the festivities were to be held.  Once there we found they had set up about 100 tables between the pool and the theatre where everyone invited were to be seated.  There was a very elaborate stage painted gold and vermillion, beautiful lanterns of silk and carved wood hanging from each corner of the stage and everywhere on the grounds and over the tables.  The scene was quite magnificent.  They had ceremonial candles lighted for the wedding.  The pantomime began by honored wedding guests going up on stage.  First there was the mother and father of the bride, then concubines of the father of the bride and some children.  The procession had a little bit of humor supplied when one of the concubine who was ambitious tried to supersede the wife and mother.

      Philippine Ambassador Marciso Ramos, US Ambassador Everett Drumright and a few other dignitaries were introduced on stage as guests. The procession started over the Camel Back Bridge (built for this occasion over the swimming pool) and then wound its way to the House of Wang.  It was a scene of dazzling splendor.    Lanterns, tongs, dowry boxes, banners of honor and standards of rank went before the beautiful lighted bridal chair carried by eight men, the professional bridesmaids and male servants brought up the rear.  When the bride arrived she was greeted by fire crackers going off and music.  The bride groom shot an arrow off to chase away the evil spirits.  The bride was dressed in a gorgeous costume which included head gear studded with pearls and precious stones and she wore a priceless jade belt. 

      After the pantomimed wedding ceremony they held a wedding feast for everyone seated at tables directly in front of the stage.  Twelve courses were served and all of them were delicious and had to be eaten with chopsticks.  While we ate dancers, jugglers and acrobats came out on stage to entertain us.  The meal took three hours to serve and during that time the bride, groom and attendants came to each table to be introduced and be toasted with rice wine.  After the meal and entertainment there was a fireworks display with beautiful rockets to entertain everyone. 

      After all the entertainment we were taken by bus around town again to see the celebration lights at the Chiang Kai Chek Government building and the Dragon Hotel.

President Chiang Kai Chek Building

Dragon Hotel, Taipei, Formosa

Another Picture of Dragon Hotel

      When we returned to our hotel I decided to write Ramona a letter so I could mail it in the morning.  I wanted to let her know about what I had seen because each experience was more than I could have hoped for: 

 Oct 10, 1961- Taipei, Formosa

Dear Ramona, Ray, Janice, David, Mike, Binky;

     We came in this hotel about 8pm last night after the plane ride from Osaka.  This hotel is so big I can’t get it on one slide.  I just walked all around it with Ethel and we took pictures. 

     Yesterday we took the Mandarin CAT (Civil Auenautias Transportation) flight.  General Chenault started this company in 1945 and its still running.  The stewardess’ were Chinese and very nice.  We had the best dinner so far on the plane – broiled filet of mignon, etc which was rare and thick.  This is the last rare meat we will be able to use as we will have to get well done on account of health reasons.  When we arrived at Formosa Edith had to get another cholera shot, she forgot to take her certificate to the LA health dept for a seal.  I am going to stop sending out cards.  The postage is costing too much.  I spent 40 cents this morning for post cards.

     We were lucky here.  Today is the celebration of the 50 anniversary of the revolution.  I am enclosing the paper.  We saw the air show from the hotel this morning and I will write later about the rest – the parade, wedding and wedding feast.  This wedding is not a real one. 

     As Edith is covering the trip in the paper I will not try to write about it to you.  Every time I do she asks for it to send to Ham Riggs.  Tell me how they sound, will you?  Also try and get a few papers and send a copy of each to Bob and Pat.  I’d like to have copies to send to Pat and Vee and also Ada.  Is this asking too much?  I can’t spend too much time writing or I would miss out on the goings on. 

     While we were at lunch we could see all the dignitaries were having cocktails and aperitifs in the dining room.  The ambassadors from Panama and from America and England and other nations were all represented.  Some beautiful Chinese ladies were present for the celebration today.

     Later after lunch we went to see the parade, big crowds, came back to the hotel and took a nap, then dressed up and went to Chinese wedding dinner.  The grounds were beautiful all lit up with Chinese lanterns, the beautiful stage with bright red and gold.  I am sending the menu and story home by another mail.  After a 3 hour dinner and oh yes 12 courses later we went on a tour through the town and saw all the lights.  The Government Building was a mass of colored lights and patterns, very elaborate.

     We have to be ready to leave by 8:30am so to bed.  Love Mother

      I was proud of myself that I had finished the letter and gotten it ready to mail before we left Taipei.  After sealing up the letter I quickly got my bags packed and ready to put last minute things in before leaving in the morning.  I felt like I was getting better and better at packing.  I had been learning all sorts of tricks to finding space.  It was a good thing too because with the shopping I was doing I needed it.

      My bags ready, I took a quick bath after Edith had finished hers and went to bed.


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