So Jenny and Jerome were nice enough to show me the ropes. Apparently, there are two options when it comes to hot springs in Taiwan. There are the public springs, where men and women frolic together in their bathing suits, and the private springs, where men and women frolic separately in their birthday suits. For my first time, Jenny and Jerome chose the public springs.
Much like German spas, the Taiwanese hot springs feature many pools of varying temperatures
. The waters range from scalding hot to freezing cold, and the fun lies in jumping frequently from one to the other. The more you shock your system, the better your hot springs experience will be, I'm told. The difference, though, between German spas and Taiwanese hot springs is that Taiwanese hot springs are naturally hot. The water is heated by geo-thermal action under the Earth's crust and just shows up hot. Probably the coolest part about the Beitou hot springs is a separate lake a few yards away in which the water is so hot, and so rich with sulphur, that nothing can survive in it. While, you can't swim in this part, you can go and admire the eerie steam that rises from the water. It's quite an impressive attraction, and I think you'll see from the pictures why it has earned itself the nickname "Hell Valley."
Happy Easter everyone! I celebrated today by going to the Beitou Hot Springs, just north of Taipei, with my friend Jenny and her boyfriend Jerome. Jenny and Jerome are both Americans who have Taiwanese mothers, and who have both recently moved back to Taiwan to get in touch with that side of their heritage. Jenny works with me at Berlitz, and it also happens that she knows a thing or two about hot springs.