Not really, anyway. I’m leaving in just a couple of minutes for Kentucky, but I’ll be updating with my Taiwan adventures soon.
Camp finished for me today. It’s actually been extended another day because of the typhoon, but since I had plans/money put down for reservations, I am not attending tomorrow. I’ll be in Hualien from Saturday until Monday when I leave for Taipei. I’ll stay in Taipei until Friday, August 8, and then head back for the dorms until Tuesday, August 12, when I return to Kentucky. Hopefully I’ll be able to explore Kaohsiung a bit before I leave. I’m not going to have my laptop with me, so I won’t be updating from the road, but I will update when I return. I hope that everyone has a great week, and I will write soon. 🙂
The first week of camp was fantastic. Our next group of campers arrives tomorrow morning, but this week should be a lot easier because we are now just repeating what we did last week. Hopefully this means that I will be able to catch up on posts this week. I hate being two weeks behind. I’m afraid I’m going to forget something….
So, Sunday came and we got off to a late start because Miki had to go help out at the restaurant. She came to pick us up around two o’clock and we headed back to Ali Seafood for one last meal there.
The shrimp are huge and very delicious.
This onion dish is sprinkled with spices and dried fish and is really yummy.
I’m not sure what kind of fish this is, but it was very, very tasty. The tomato sauce covering the fish was seasoned just right.
I had a hard time taking pictures here, because I was more interested in eating. This was the aftermath. We ate a lot of food.
Friday night I’d tried tiger shark. It was tasty!
An interior view of the restaurant. There is more seating upstairs.
An exterior view of Ali Seafood. I cannot say enough about the food here. If you are in the area, go and eat there. You won’t be sorry.
After gorging ourselves at the restaurant, Miki drove us down to Eluanbi to see the lighthouse there. Eluanbi is at the southernmost tip of Taiwan. On the way up to buy tickets for the lighthouse, there are a lot of vendors set up selling their wares…
There were hermit crabs in a bucket…
really cool bird wind chimes (the bird bobs up and down)…
and t-shirts with marijuana leaves. I found these amusing because on the visa application for Taiwan it states that drug trafficking is punishable by death. Yikes. I don’t think that I’d be advertising any kind of drug, thank you very much. 🙂
The visitor sign, just in case you don’t know where you are.
The grounds of the park were absolutely gorgeous.
After about a five minute walk, the lighthouse made an appearance.
I found it kind of surprising that there were vendors in the park as well. These hat wearing puffer fish were quite adorable!
The sky in the Kenting area seems to be constantly in flux. In one direction the skies will be threatening storms…
but all you have to do is turn around and you will be confronted with nothing but blue skies, puffy clouds, and the only armed lighthouse in the world. Apparently it used to be raided a lot by aboriginal tribes.
And here I am
broiling to death basking in the sun and enjoying the views. Here is where my camera’s battery died. After we left the lighthouse, we headed to the beach. I poked my feet in the water, but I didn’t have my bathing suit with me, so I didn’t get to swim. I did spend a lovely couple of hours digging trenches with my feet and creating nice pools of water to soak them in. The beach was incredibly crowded, but we were still able to get an umbrella and chairs near the water. Besides swimming, there were people jet-skiing, trying to surf, and just generally having a good time. I don’t know that I’ll have a chance to visit Kenting before I leave (in just about a month, now), but I would like to if I can. The area is beautiful, there is plenty to do and see, and the beaches are fantastic.
Up next: I head back to Tainan where I visit the Museum of Taiwanese Literature and the Confucius Temple….
Camp starts tomorrow morning which means that updates might be a little more sporadic. Hang in there and keep checking. I’ll do my best to post regularly. There will be one more post upcoming on my Kenting trip, then a post about the Museum of Taiwanese Literature, the Confucius Temple, and a bunny on a leash in Tainan, and more on their way. 🙂
So, after we dropped Miki’s grandmother off, Miki drove us to Kaoshanyan Temple near (and/or on Guanshan).
The view from the temple was spectacular. You could really see a lot of the Kenting area from there. For reference, we started our day in Elunabi (the far right of the 2nd sign), went to the beach near Kenting (closer to the middle of the 2nd sign), and would end our day in Hengchun (far left on the 1st sign).
You could even see the nuclear power plant from there. (Look to the left of the three windmills. The nuclear power plant covered a bit in haze, but it is there.)
The temple was beautiful on the outside….
and apparently built around sea caves on the inside. So cool!
As we were wandering around a tour bus full of people came up towards the temple. According to Miki, they were from a similar temple in Taipei.
When they reached the temple grounds, they proceeded to set up some fireworks. Everyone started to hold their ears. I couldn’t quite do that since I wanted to film it…
which I did (though I did get a little shaky, okay, a lot shaky, when they first went off). They lasted quite a while, were quite loud, and put out a tremendous amount of smoke. I was amazed that I was able to film as long as I did, considering my hatred of firecrackers/fireworks.
This was the scene shortly after the noise died down.
After leaving the temple, Miki drove us down to Hengchun. I think I’ve mentioned that the garbage trucks here sound like ice cream trucks back home. It’s an oddly disappointing and slightly surreal feeling to watch people throw garbage into what sounds like it should be dispensing ice cream to children. I took a couple of pictures while Dwayne and Kristen were getting some fried chicken and french fries. They really didn’t eat a lot at the food stand we went to earlier.
Once they had their chicken, Miki took us up the block to get dessert for the two of us.
I decided on this giant mango ice for 80 NT$ / $2.67 US. It was delicious. They actually took a giant block of ice, shaved it, put the cut up mangoes on it, and added some kind of yummy sauce(s). I wound up sharing with everyone, because it was way too much to eat.
Miki got this…. I think it is called do-fu, which is confusing, because I’m not entirely sure that it is made of tofu. It is, however, made of yum. Maybe someone reading this can let me know what it is…. If not, I’ll ask Miki to let me know the next time I see her.
Once our bellies were full, Miki took us to check out one of the four gates that used to be connected by walls and at one time surrounded the town of Hengchun.
All four gates are still up (and some are still used to this day, as you can see in this picture).
However, for the most part, the walls are gone. This section has a fairly extensive wall still attached to the gate. The smaller holes in the brick are where soldiers would put their guns to shoot at enemy combatants.
Finally, there was this really cool M41 tank. I haven’t had time to research why it was there. I’m assuming it is from WWII, but I will try and find out if anyone if interested. That pretty much ended our day. We went back to Miki’s house to rest. Miki went into her family’s restaurant to help out since it was super crowded when we passed by on the way to her place. Around 9:30, we drove back to Hengchun with Miki and her aunt and got some yummy noodles. I ate livers and intestines and found both surprisingly good. After dinner, we headed back to Miki’s house to go to shower, hang out, and sleep.
Up next: Kenting, Part 3
It’s been a busy, tiring week, getting ready for the summer camp. The first week’s campers will arrive on campus on Monday. Yikes. Wish me luck!
So, last Friday, Miki (one of the students here who I met in Kentucky – she spent last semester at our school) came to pick us up and we took the train down to the main Kaohsiung station and picked up the bus to Kenting just across the street.
Apparently there is a Fisherman’s Wharf in Kaohsiung! 🙂
The buses are really quite nice and very comfortable. The seats were gigantic and the air conditioning was perfect.
That evening we ate at Miki’s family’s restaurant, Ali Seafood. It was amazing – best food I’ve had in Taiwan, by far. Pictures will follow in a future post about this trip. After dinner, we drove into Kenting and walked around the night market and shops lining the street. The place was hopping and we had a great evening checking everything out. Miki gave up her bed for the weekend and Kristen and I shared a bed with an actual mattress. I hadn’t slept so good in over a month. It was delightful.
The next morning we slept in, had breakfast/brunch, and finally got started on our day. Miki first drove us to Maobitou in Kenting National Park. According to the sign, “Maobitou is a cape on the western side of Taiwan’s southern tip that separates Eluanbi and the Taiwan strait. The topography of the area is made up of coral rocks that have rolled down from the coastal cliffs. In addition, erosion from the winds and waves has created cliffs, ditches and caverns, making this cape an outstanding geography and topography classroom.”
The coastline was simply stunning. These pictures were taken within minutes of each other. The weather was changing very quickly.
The rock on the right hand side of the photo is called Maoyan or Cat Rock, because it is said to resemble a cat. I
Since the climate in Taiwan is similar to that of Miami, where I grew up, it’s not surprising that I should run across some things that are familiar. Saw grass is one of those things. Miki didn’t know what it was called in Mandarin or Taiwanese.
I particularly liked this plant. 🙂
The first warning sign was at Maobitou. The second one was at the first beach we went to that weekend.
The beach was fabulous and the sand was warm, but the water was very rough and they had it cordoned off. Anyone who went past the barrier got whistled at to step away from the water.
After we went to the beach, Miki took us to meet her Grandmother and Grandfather (her father’s parents). They live about a block from here this area. There were quite a few kids diving and jumping off the pier (?) and enjoying the warm (and relatively calm, safe water).
I finally got Miki to sit for a picture. 🙂
This is Miki and her grandmother. She was totally adorable.
We hung out at the water for a bit and then we headed over to a local food stand. There were a number of people eating there, which boded well. For the most part the food was good. I finally tried pig’s blood congealed with rice and put on a stick. It wasn’t horrible, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again. It wasn’t a favorite of mine, mostly a textural thing, I think. 🙂
So, I lied. I was planning on posting about my trip to the Dream Mall in Kaohsiung, my trip to the doctor, and a few other miscellaneous things, but then I realized that I had planned on doing a dorm life post and never did. So, I only lied to correct a lie… or something. Anyway, I took pictures of the floor I’m living on and my dorm room today. Enjoy.
The picture is a little dark, but this is the main lobby area of our floor. People don’t use it too often, other than as a waiting for other people kind of place. The furniture pictured here must have been purchased in bulk, because the same furniture is scattered throughout the college, pretty much in every common area. It’s not terribly comfortable, but then it isn’t terribly uncomfortable, either. So, there you have it.
Also in the lobby, opposite the sitting area, is this bulletin board, full of what I’m sure is VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION.
There is a television in the lobby – only a couple of students actually sit there and watch it though. Most of the time it is turned off. There is also a Christmas tree. I suppose that now is as good a time as any to say that I have not a clue in the world why, but there are Christmas decorations up everywhere in the dorms. It’s strange, especially given that only approximately 4% of the 23 million people that live in Taiwan are actually Christian. Come to think of it, that might explain why they are still up. Maybe they don’t know Christmas only happens once a year. 🙂
Our elevators. They are lovely and efficient and are only operational when it is raining. However, I maybe might have acquired the power to turn them on at any time. Maybe. Shhhhh. It’s a secret. Please note that there are Christmas decorations stenciled on the door of the elevator on the left.
There are a couple of phones in the lobby for those who are gifted with calling cards. You can’t receive calls, but you can dial out. I was saddened to see that in Taiwan, just as in the United States, there is a need for domestic violence services. I imagine that the Coast Guard number is there in case of typhoon, but I could be wrong.
If you are coming off of the elevators and turn left, we are the first door on the left. Come on in!
If you look to your right just as you walk in the door, you will be confronted with our bathroom. I find the lack of a door on the outside a little frustrating, given its proximity to the front door, but at least there are doors on the shower and the toilet areas.
The shower room. The water pressure is good, there are shelves for your shower necessities, and a towel rack that I don’t use. (I hang my towel over one of the bunk beds so that it will dry better and stay dry should my roommate decide to shower.) As long as you remember to get in the shower between 5 and 10:30 pm, you are pretty much guaranteed hot water. Around 10:30 the hot water starts its journey to becoming lukewarm, and by 11:15 it pretty much turns ice cold. No thanks.
The always scintillating toilet shot – the toilet was manufactured by a company called Shangri-La.
Finally, we have the sink. For the curious, my stuff is on the right.
This is kind of a shared desk. I was doing laundry today, so my laundry basket is out – it’s usually housed in one of my closets. The desktops don’t work too well, so we’ve relegated them to this desk, along with bottled water, sweet tea in juice boxes, the couple of snacks that were purchased as a welcome gift for us that we’ve not devoured yet, and the bottle of detergent that was also given to us upon our arrival.
The big, gaping hole is where my laundry basket usually resides. All my toiletries, medicines, and assorted other necessities live on the top shelf, my shoes on the bottom, and my shorts and t-shirts are in the middle. Fascinating, I know.
Since we are sharing a room meant for four students and we are only two people, we each get two closets! YAY! All my work clothes are in this one, along with assorted other clothing bits, and some state of Kentucky giveaways for the summer camp kids.
My desk! I usually sit with my back against the wall and my feet up on the chair closest to the closets. It’s quite comfortable. 🙂
We actually have two air conditioners in our room. This is the super special one that works all day long. We don’t bother with the other one. We usually keep the temperature between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius (77 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit), which is surprisingly comfortable. Well, surprisingly for me, anyway.
And here is my
crib bed. I don’t sleep in the loft beds, mostly because coming down in the middle of the night to use the bathroom would suck. So I sleep on the crib. For someone who likes to sleep stretched out with at least one limb hanging off the bed, it’s not the most comfortable, but I’m adapting. The bed isn’t made because of the aforementioned laundry doing, but I usually sleep with my head towards the phone and stick one leg out of the opening. It suffices. Barely.
What I find most challenging, though, are the mattresses. There isn’t a lot of stuffing and they are backed with hard, tatami-like mats. Frankly, it’s just not enough and my hips really resent the bedding. I’m sleeping better, but I still wake up just about every time I turn over. I wish I could sleep on something other than my side, but that just isn’t going to happen. I originally only had one “mattress,” but I got another one after the first couple of days. It really hasn’t helped much, though. 😐
Well, that’s the tour. Please close and lock the door on your way out!
Next up: Medicine, malls, and miscellany…. (Really.)
I just wanted to give people an idea what kinds of things are available at the Family Mart (convenience store) downstairs from our dorm. Some things are familiar and some things just aren’t…. Enjoy!
Feel the need to get rid of some wrinkles? Is aging getting you down? Try some Perfect Collagen Drink! Yeah, I don’t know. For some reason it sounds like you’d be swallowing the stuff they put in breast implants. Okay, maybe not, but still…
I have no idea what these are – something somewhat like the Perfect Collagen Drink above, probably, since they were merchandised right next to it. I like the bottles though 🙂
Doritos are now available for the Hip-Hop set! 🙂
There are a lot of varieties of potato chips that have some sort of seafood. Witness the following:
Everyone says good, good to eat, so why does she look so sad? 😦
I’m afraid that Lonely God isn’t fairing any better. Maybe the two of them should hook up!
Another Hello Kitty sighting! This time the beloved kitty is in ramen. I’m not sure I’d want to eat her, though 😦
Below is the lemonade I was going on about in my first real post – Sweet Honey Lemon is delicious! I want to try the cute orange drink as well. (I took a picture of these in the 7-Eleven in Kaohsiung – they don’t carry these drinks here at our Family Mart. Boo.)
Everyone loves chocolate milk!
Good morning, it’s time for some cerul! I’m not sure that is an entire serving size, but I like the combo milk/cereal container – pretty cool!
You can get an amazing variety of “milks” and juices here. Check out the Papaya or Watermelon Milk…
the always wonderful asparagus juice…
and I have no idea what this one is. I haven’t tried any of the more exotic (to me) juices, but I will. 🙂
And finally, the cookie selection at the Family Mart is quite good. I tried the Koala cookies in class one day (a student shared) and they were good, and of course, I love me some Pocky. 🙂
Next up: School life/Dorm life…