About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Catching up in Kenting

My dear friend Monica and I reconnected after 11 years (good friends can do that sort of thing). We worked together at Kid Castle in Chu Wei, Tamsui once upon a time. Thanks to Facebook she found me and when she saw I was in Tainan, contacted me—she too had moved south to Tainan County, living near the Science Park. We met at the Julius Mannich Merchant House, turned restaurant, for a dunkel and some sausage, catching up, her husband Roger watching the kids (my daughter and her son) while we chatted, then went out for dinner later. We made vows to go camping together in the near future.

After a few weeks we made plans. On Friday straight after work, Z and I took a local train 2 stops north (cheapest train I ever took, 15NT a ticket) and they picked us up. We went shopping at Carrefore for the BBQ and I spent a 1000NT on wine and meats, shrimps. That Friday we had a late dinner and she and I caught up over a bottle of burgundy and cheese.

 The next morning we made our way down south towards Kending, stopping at the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA) on our way. It was my 3rd time there, by 2ndtime this year, but that’s ok, Z still loved it and I got to spend time with Monica and her family. We spent the day there and then made our way to Kenting around dusk, found the farm (Kenting Tuscany resort) and started to set up camp. Well Roger set up the tents while Monica and I watched one of the workers on the farm help us get our BBQ charcoals going. Im a bit of a camp fire expert myself, but charcoals are out of my experience, Ive been a vegetarian most of my life and only recently started eating meat again. So we had another late dinner, again too much wine and I consumed too much tasty meat.

Z and I slept like rocks. They on the other hand had a terrible night, their son waking up every hour and they didn’t get to sleep til 530am. They had to put him in the car and run it, took him to 7-11 and were afraid his crying was gonna wake up all the campers (I didn’t hear him). I woke up around 6 to the sound of rain on my tent and tied my umbrella to our top opening coz the water was splashing a bit on us.

We were all moving slow and hurting that morning (except the kids) so we first went to a find a breakfast shop and then recovered most of the day in the Sichong River Hot Spring Area located at Checheng Township, Pingtong Hot springs. We went to the original Japanese Hot Springs, a hotel, with several outdoor pools, rooftop patio, Japanese style gardens, etc. They were filming a travel show with I guess famous Taiwanese travelers (Monica and everyone knew them) and people were snapping pics with their cellphones. Around 2:30 we left the pools, washed and dressed and walked around admiring some of the hotel. I saw the famous little private bath where the Japanese emperor spent his honeymoon. That hot springs was built by the Japanese Army in 1895. The private rooms were gorgeous and cost 800 NT an hour. The public pools we went to cost for me I think it was 250NT and Z’s was slightly cheaper. The water was odorless, clear, sodium carbonated.

 Emperor Hirohito honeymooned here while he was crowned prince

We dined a 5 minute walk from the Hotel. Around the corner was the infamous Big Mountain Goat restaurant serving all things goat, the specialty being goat hotpot with Chinese medicinal herbs. They had some eclectic collections of nic-naks I appreciated. The kitchen was outside across a lane in the back next to a rocky enclosure with chickens, an angry hissing goose and some turkeys all free ranging together in soon to be succulent harmony. The goats must be kept some other place. We had a few dishes along with our goat hotpot. I asked what Chinese medicinal herbs they used and I guess it’s a secret concoction.

Goat w/Chinese medicine Hot Pot specialty
Afterwards, Roger drove us back to the main highway and dropped us off at the local bus stop, making sure I got the right tickets and right bus (Ive taken the slow Pingtong bus from Kenting and that was nightmare). We parted and they intended to drive to Taitong and then on to Green Island (but a typhoon kept them in Kenting). Z and I waited 15 minutes for the 88 bus at 4:10. It took 2 hours to Kaohsiung train station (she slept most of the time) and then we took the hour train back to Tainan , reaching home at around 9pm.
Sleeping on the bus to Kaohsiung






Playing w/Penguins

Z on the farm

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