Sunday, July 31, 2011
How are things back at home? We are just wrapping up our final day of our incredible journey here in Taiwan! It seems like we just arrived, and we can't believe how quickly it has gone by. Today was our day off to explore every last bit of the city. We started off by heading over to to one of the most notable Jade Markets. This gem is something Taiwan is really known for. We were able to look and bargain for jewelry, special stones and a variety of trinkets. Krissy definitely had the best buy with her purchase of antique spectacles. She looked fabulous. Then we traveled to the famous Palace Museum, which is a must see. We took a tour, although I think our favorite part was when we walked through the beautiful park and fed the fish! Man were they going crazy. Fish were cramming together, jumping and splashing at our feet. It was quite a sight to see. Soon after this we were once again scheduled for massages at the Spa. Okay I know what you might be thinking. How absurd right? Luckily this time was different. We weren't in for such strenuous activity. This time around our massages were quite relaxing. We were even able to get some sleep! That's been somewhat of a struggle for us this week since our sleeping habits have been completely flip flopped. For some reason we would get random bursts of energy from about 1 am to 4 am. Although it was actually in the middle of the day back in Utah. It will be interesting to see how well we adjust to the time change when we get back. To end the night we walked around a little and picked up some last minute souvenirs for our families. Authentic Taiwanese and Japanese candy was on the list. By this time however, we were completely worn out. Our bodies ached and we were getting a bit sluggish. We decided to go back to the hotel early and end our last night reminiscing of our good times together. Did I mention we have the most amazing tour guides ever? Howard and Kenny have been incredible. They are so kind and have done so much for each one of us. Tomorrow we will make our way back to the States! We are SO sad to be leaving this amazing city, but we are excited to see all of you! We hope you have had a great time experiencing this all with us. We feel so blessed to have had such and amazing opportunity and we have had SUCH a blast! This experience will always be in our memories, along with the amazing relationships we have made with the lovely Taiwanese people. Thanks to all who have contributed in any way! We have loved every minute of our stay. More pictures and videos to come soon. GO JAZZ!!
We are all about planking in Taiwan!
Howard got back there to help us negotiate prices at the jade market.
The two best tour guides EVER!!!!
Cathay Convention with the girls!
Outside of the place museum!
Giving the girls some advice as they perform for us.
Snake blood, venom, seman, bial, snake skin, and gallbladder.... Followed by snake soup.
The snake..... we were able to take a pic of the snake after the snake blood.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Today was our final day with the dancers participating in the Cathay competition and clinic. To start off we put them through a little workout. Strictly cardio and abs were on the regimen. We definitely wore them out, and the humidity was killing us. One of the girls described it as "exhausting." Before the workout they actually filmed us eating breakfast. The media wanted to know how we ate and kept in good shape. In the afternoon we headed to the dance studio with all of our costumes and accessories. Hair and makeup were the next lesson! We had a lot of fun glaming up the girls. Although they definitely didn't need it because they are all so naturally beautiful. For costuming we showed them different routines with different attire. We also critiqued their group routines and we were really impressed! They were thoroughly entertaining and offered a lot of variety. The media then asked us many questions about our experience and how we felt about everything. We said our goodbyes and it was so hard to leave them!! One girl even started crying :( After a little rest we were out on the town again! This time our mission was to find the famous snakes blood. This is rumored to be the "fountain of youth." Little did we know, it actually contained a whole set of snake contents. Snake skin, venom, and those who shall not be named ha. The deal was you drink the required number of bodily functions and you get a picture with the large boa constrictor out front. Well worth it right? We definitely thought so! Each one tastes quite different, starting out sweet and getting stronger with each sip. Believe it or not, all of us tried it! The picture with the snake, promise of good skin and peer pressure sold us. We still cannot believe we actually went through with it. Ahhh it was so crazy. Then on our way back we found the cutest shoes! Nothing like you'd see in the U.S. All of us bought a pair, besides Jan... she bought two! Ohh yes just another day in beautiful Taiwain!!
Friday, July 29, 2011
WOW! Today has been absolutely amazing! We have honestly felt like celebrities here. Our first stop was at Cathay headquarters. Here we were greeted by the executives, as well as a huge crowd of screaming people (and I mean huge). There were at least fifty cameras all around us. People were cheering and going crazy right as we walked in. After we exchanged gifts and talked about our stay in Taiwan, we were able to perform for them! Boy was that fun. I don't know that we've ever had such a great response. There was so much positive energy surrounding us. We also talked to the media and had a major photo opt. After a nice dip in the pool we headed over to the studio. Yay more dancing! Once again we had such a warm welcome. They even provided lockers for us with our names on them! It was quite a treat. The girls were also incredibly excited to meet us. After we introduced ourselves, we were able to watch each one of them do a little solo. Their style was so fun and spunky. We really enjoyed watching them dance! Then we each shared a bit of our own flavor in our individual solos. We also taught them a couple routines and spoke about performance and choreography. The media was really involved as they interviewed and even danced with us. This was quite amusing. The anchors asked us to teach them a dance, cheer and how to do a "sexy" pose. We definitely had some laughs, especially when they were trying to teach us a difficult phrase in Chinese. Then for dinner we had a whole new cultural experience. We tried just about everything offered to us. Anything from squid, shark fin to oysters! There was even a dish called squid spare rib? Jan and Chenelle made some crazy faces after that one. Most everything just had a really weird texture. It wasn't the taste that caught us off guard. Following our taste test we took pictures and chatted with the girls, who are all so sweet! Since we were so eager (or not so much) to try their traditional food, our tour guides took us to get some "American" food. Let's just say we had a ball and it involved hula hoops.... We even got to see ourselves on TV! The Cathay dance clinic was being broadcast all over the news and we couldn't believe it. What a crazy and uplifting day!! We can't wait to see what is in store for us tomorrow. Hopefully nothing that is too "fishy."
Us enjoying the night market.
Posing by the roof top pool
View of our amazing pool!
Posing on the roof top by the pool!
I believe we are eating oysters here, or is it shark tail, or maybe Lufa???? So many things we tried:)
Posing in front of the restaurant (Authentic Taiwan food)
Warming up the girls participating in the dance convention sponsored by Cathay.
Posing at dinner with the talented dancers from the Cathay Dance Convention.
They even made us our own lockers with our names on them when we arrived... So nice, so much fun!
Teaching the girls at the Cathay Dance Convention.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Ni hao (hello) from Taiwan!
Today was quite an eventful day. It was our free day! We woke up early, worked out, ate and ventured out on the town! First we took a tour of the gorgeous Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Although we decided it was easier to call it the KFC, rather than the CKS. Oh and in case you were wondering, there are 89 steps to the top of this marvelous structure. This number signifies the age of the former President at his death. Surrounding the memorial there are two more buildings known as the National Theater and Concert Hall. Colors and design represent freedom, equality and brotherhood from the flag of the Republic of China. The sight is beyond explicable. Next we stopped by Taipei 101, which is the second tallest building in the world. Here we rode the elevator to the top floor, which only took us a total of 37 seconds. That was definitely a weird feeling. After we ate lunch, we arrived at a spa where we got some serious treatment. Our feet were soaked and each of us had a full body massage. Well if you can even call it a massage..... I think we were actually more sore after we left. There was some serious acrobatic yoga going on in there. It was even somewhat torturous. We couldn't believe the poses they were putting/forcing us in. Then following a much needed nap, we were able to experience the excitement of the Night Market! We had a fun time admiring and purchasing cute things for quite a bargain. Everywhere we went people wanted to say hello. They would stare, wave and smile at us until we offered a response. Now that we are back at the hotel we are all so tired and our feet ache! Tomorrow we will be up early and working with the girls. We can't wait ;)
P.S. our favorite new word is xie xie or "shay shay," which means thank you in Chinese.
Walking up to the memorial
Standing in front of CKS
Girls on the 89 steps leading up to the memorial
Amazing view of Taipei from the 101 (second tallest building in the world)
Picture of us entering the night market. A place where you can buy from different individual venues. There is a lot of food, and different clothes you can buy.
Heart of Taipei city CKS
We love the trees here they are so different & cute :)
Slippers on ready for what we thought was going to be a nice relaxing massage. :)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Hey Jazz Fanzz!!
In case you hadn't heard.... The dancers are in Taiwan!! Yes that's right, we just arrived in the capital city of Taipei. Nicole, Chenelle, Krissy, Tasha, Chelsea, Me (Sydney) and our lovely coach Jan are all here to work hard and have a good time. Our flight getting here was about fifteen hours long and we have lost a whole days worth. Most of us slept the entire time and some (me!) fell asleep five minutes after we took off. We were served a variety of foods, however a couple of us do not even remember this part of the trip (Chenelle and Chelsea for instance). Let's just say we were all pretty out of it. Surprisingly, the trip seemed to go by really quick! As we stepped off the plane, immediately we were greeted with welcome arms. All of the Taiwanese people are SO incredibly kind and generous. Soon enough we met up with two men waving signs and smiling at us. Their names are Howard and Kenny and they will be our trusty tour guides! Howard said we looked pretty tired. As they led us out, there were cameras everywhere! People all around were wanting to take pictures and film us. I guess we looked a little out of place ha. No matter where we go we are treated so well and will the utmost respect. We have been offered gifts galore. All of us are very excited to be here representing the NBA! We can't wait to work with the girls who have worked so hard to get here as well. Many auditioned from all around and only eighteen were selected for the clinic. Our job is to teach and critique these girls in dance and performance techniques. We will also perform for them and give them a little taste from Utah! Krissy and I will keep you updated as we travel on this little journey of ours :) Pictures and videos will be soon to follow. Talk to you soon! GO JAZZ!!