We set off on a fairly simple journey to a lonely Taiwanese island for a visa run. Imagine for a second, the picture above was taken from those cute circle windows you find on luxury cruise lines. Then, come back to reality for a minute while I explain what happened.
We were supposed to get to the city and catch the ferry over to this island on the first day. Except that when we went to show our passports to check into the hotel, I realized that I had only brought all of the new passports. The problem with this little scenario is that for 3 of our kids, their Chinese visas were in their OLD passports. So not even 2 hours after getting off the train, I was getting back on one. I spent two hours on the train, one hour taking the taxi back and forth from my house and running like I was being chased by an axe murderer. I hopped back on the two hour train and made it back in time for dinner. I had sweat through my shirt like a middle age bowler.
The next day, we boarded the ferry early and made our way to Taiwan. For three straight years, I had perpetual nightmares of my children drowning. Horrible, horrible scenes that I won't go into for fear I will plant these thoughts into your head. But just know that these dreams instilled much fear in me when I thought of bringing my children on this ferry. I brought a floatie with us. Yes, I did.
My family made fun of me. I just made sure to locate the safety devices and told myself in my head they would all thank me if this thing capsized. I used my insanity to remind everyone of the Titanic and man's assumption that we think we all have control over things, when really we don't. They still mocked me and my issues, but I felt better about the whole thing.
We made our way to the top and I told them all if they got too close to the edge, they would fall and be eaten by sharks.
On the ferry, we ran into this sign.
After the ferry, we headed to the water park where we managed to buy tickets, go to eat lunch and then lose the tickets on our way back to the park. Lovely. We re-bought tickets and headed inside to meet our friends. After dinner, it was late and time to catch our train, so we headed back to the train station. It's now 9 pm and we're all exhausted. We sit down and the guy next to us leans over to look at our tickets and tell us that our train has been canceled.
Of course it has.
This entire trip was one of missteps. So, we and the rest of China headed out to find taxis. A cultural tid bit: Chinese don't do lines...ever. You have to throw elbows and push grandmas around to get on a bus. It's just the way of things. It didn't matter that we were dragging 5 kids around at 10:30, nobody would let us in a taxi. We walked for about an hour on the side of the highway and still nothing.
Finally, a random guy in a van stopped to pick us up. We took him up on his offer and got to our hotel (hoping they had a room) around 11 pm.
The next morning, we had breakfast and a few gallons of coffee, then we waited on our train (which incidentally was also late). We made it back home yesterday afternoon and crashed into bed last night.
It was a crazy trip, but we're home now. We got to the point where we just laughed and tried to enjoy whatever it was the Lord wanted to throw at us next.