Day III: Journey to the South
Following breakfast with the groom’s parents, we took the High Speed Rail (HSR) to Kaohsiung and enjoyed the offerings of the snack trolley (pictured) before meeting our hotel’s bus, which would take us to Kending.
Kending is at the Southern tip of the island, and is generally known as the sunniest part of Taiwan. It is known for being an excellent place to scuba dive and snorkel.
Unfortunately for more than just us, super-typhoon Morakot had just torn through Taiwan the day before we arrived, and the worst hit town in the country was a mere 15km from Kending.
Our ride from Kaoshiung gave us a bit of exposure to some of the damage, including this ship, which had been pushed ashore.
We arrived around four in Kending to find the beach very closed, a tree being removed from the pool, and not much to do. We wandered around the town a bit, which was reminiscent of any American beach town, in that there were lots of places selling swim stuff, a few stalls on the street, and a few restaurants selling either Thai food or pizza. There were also a number of the ubiquitous 7-11’s and a McDonalds.
That evening, we decided to check out the hotel’s dinner offerings, as we had been offered free dinner during our visit. The American Dinner in Kending required its own entry.
We woke, hopeful that the pool would be open, but there was no such luck.
Given that I dragged us to Kenting for a bit of froofy beach holiday and so I could see fish, I decided I could still fulfill the latter.
Off we went to the Aquarium (aka: The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium), which was every bit as spectacular as the website promised. I could have spent hours in there, really. The hotel suggested two hours, but I think three would be a better estimate.
Among the many cool things in the Aquarium, we saw lots of fish, a whale shark, three tunnels and I had lots of fun with my camera.
We headed back to our hotel, made a 7-11 run, and did something I’d normally never ever do… we ordered room service cheeseburgers!
Day IV: Acceptance
We confirmed that the pool remained closed (or, according to the sign, “close”, but the beach was opened, despite not being really fit for swimming.
We had discussed leaving early, and just forfeiting the day’s costs in Kenting, but a passionate lecture from Darren led to a change of heart. To quote, “We’re English, we are stoic in the face of misery….” this led into references including the sinking of the Titanic, and overly steeped tea, and Agincourt. I really couldn’t argue with this, so I pulled up my kneesocks, as one does in the face of holiday adversity, and with upper lip stiffened, enjoyed the day.
We read books, took naps, and were 100% lazy. I did try to go for a run, but I learned that recreation center does not always mean gym through a bit of charades ,and proceeded to work on my notes for the first half of the trip, instead.
Launching into some of what was, at the time of it’s writing, a bit of musing about the present…
I sit here from a fluffy resort, where we have been formally advised to please conserve water, because the water supply to the area has been cut off. The hotel should be fine, as it has its own water supply, but it makes one really realize how much the hospitality industry protects its guests from whatever is going on outside of the pristine sanctuary one has booked into.
The news tells of mudslides and chaos, so much so, that my mother has finally seen this on the news in the US, 5 days after Molokai tore through this country. 80 people were found alive in a mudslide not far from here this morning. Yet, still, each person I meet is kind, patient with my efforts to speak Chinese, and endlessly accommodating.
All this reflective thinking was disrupted by cheerleaders, which were unleashed on the lobby at four, when the bus of new guests from Kaoshiung is scheduled to arrive.
We missed this show on our arrival, fortunately.
Later on in the evening, we headed out to wander around Kending for the last time, but much to our surprise, the streets were much more lively than they had been earlier in the week.
Naturally, we decided to stay for a few, given the good company.
Our barman had built this bar from a truck and opened up stop about four years ago. The “Bar” sign was a relatively recent addition, which he had made himself.
The bar boasted a reasonable selection fo beer and mixed drinks, music, a running refridgerator, and for patrons who preferred to not sit at the bar, a variety of lawn chairs.
Our barman has a website, if you’re interested. There’s a bit in English.
We called at a night, happy that we had found something in Kending that we really enjoyed.
Our first gloriously sunny day was the day we were scheduled to leave Kending.
We headed for the HSR, wishing we had a bit more time to spend in the sun, but excited to return to Taipei and meet up with friends.