Sunday, February 10, 2008

Seen Nian Quai Lu

Happy Chinese New Year.....that was the phrase we used the entire week. We are back from a very enjoyable vacation down to the south of the island. Our last day of work was last Tuesday and we left early Wednesday morning to go to a place called Kaohsiung... which is the second largest city in Taiwan. WE were meeting another couple there (Mike and Miranda) She is from Toronto and he is from Milwauke. WE spent the day there going to the harbor and went to a military fort and saw a great view of the city from there. That night we had some more people join us for a birthday bash party..... It seems that about 4 of us had a birthday all around the same time. Also the day after Chinese New Year is considered all dogs birthdays which I thought was awesome. So every dog we saw we said happy birthday to. WE noticed that some of the strays had red collars on with a red envelope was so sweet that they celebrated Chinese New Year also...People are supposed to feed the dogs on their birthday.. I think we should start celebrating that everywhere. Almost everything was closed on Tuesday night because of the holiday so we stocked up on wine and beer and had a nice apartment party. We stayed up a little late playing poker and dealing with fireworks all night long... After waking up the next day we all got on a bus and headed down even further south. The weather got progressively better as the bus ride went on. We finally arrived in Kenting where the sun was shining and the beach was much better than I expected. Jay and I and the couple had to walk about 45 minutes past where the bus dropped us off to find out campsite. IT was perfect ...right across from a nice little harbor away from the hustle and bustle of the town... where we made friends with some locals who went fishing every morning and where we picked out most of our dinner for the next two nights, some very nice fish and fried oysters to die for. It seemed as if we had the place to ourselves... but if you walked about 20 minutes one way there was a crowd of people. The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast right on the water and headed for the beach. Some of the coastline was very rocky and beautiful, because this is a volcanic island... then there was also perfect sand where we spent most of the day laying out and swimming for short periods of time because the surf was very rough. WE were planning on surfing but the waves crashed a little close to the beach so we will come another time when the season is right. The water was so beautiful and blue. For lunches we just walked to the food stands that lined the street and had some of the cheapest and best food.....corn on the cob, wild boar (which i have never had but some of the best meat that I have ever had), dumplings, squid on a stick, snails, soft shell crab, donuts, and fresh juice was amazing. It was great to relax and enjoy the beach and sun... and we finally met some really cool people that we would like to to hang out with more often.
There was a very interesting culture at the beach...much different than any other beach you would go to back home. The city would be packed and then you would go to the beach and it would be empty, that is because people here don't particularly like water and they won't go in at all because they believe in the spirits or monsters in the sea that will take them out and drown them... aka the undertow that is very strong. They hate the sun and carry umbrellas around with them constantly so of course they don't lay out. Then there is the issue of bikinis... oh wow the bathing suits that we saw looked our of a 40's catalog... long sleeves and shorts.... I was definatley a minority and got a lot of stares. But of well I got a great tan. Another intersting thing was since they were so scared of the water you were not aloud to go out without some sort of floating device otherwise the lifeguards would yell at you. Back home it is swim at your own risk but here it is not allowed. Also when we walked the streets tons of people would stop and say hello, take our picture...some even seem to risk their lives driving on a scooter to say "hello how are you" while they were driving. We had an amazing time and will definately be back because there is much more to explore around there.


Karen Keever said...

I really like the dog birthday idea, Also the water was very blue. Maybe with your new muscles Allie, you can pick up Jay in the next blog. Allie's Mom

Paul said...

The dog birthday idea is great! Your trip to the south sounds like fun. Bike racing is happening this weekend. Always fun. Lets hope I don't wreck:)
Love and Hugs!

Julie said...

OOOOOH - the south beach looked like a great getaway, better than snake alley. The clouds were beautiful. OK - West is next with Karen! Stay safe, Love, MOM

hbrodell said...

After another 8 inches of snow, total 70.4 inches, the white sand beaches look great. Vacation over, back to teaching. Keep safe and keep the blog going.
LOve Aunt Holly