Beauty is in the Eye of the Explorer
Trip Start Mar 16, 2004
64Trip End Apr 02, 2005
On the other hand, in very exciting news, I have just had my first visitor from America, the lovely and talented Mr. Bradley J. Walters.
Yes, from November 9 to November 22, I have been eagerly entertaining to the above-mentioned visitor
On Sat. Nov. 13, I took Brad surfing in DaShi. This time, we were taken care of by the owner of the surf shop, a man named Xiao Gu, who fitted us out with wet suits and surf boards. The waves were small at DaShi that day, so Xiao Gu offered to drive us twenty minutes away to another beach that had bigger waves. We figured that there would be an extra charge for this service, but Xiao Gu insisted that there wasn't. Once at the other beach, we asked Xiao Gu when he wanted to come and pick us up, but he indicated that he would stay and wait for us. While Brad and I surfed, Xiao Gu stood on the shore shouting encouragement and giving me pointers...for four hours. At the end of the day, Xiao Gu offered to drive us directly to the train station, instead of back to the surf shop. Brad and I figured that he did this for tips, but he acted insulted when we tried to give him extra money. The only thing Xiao Gu would accept was an invitation to dinner, which we ate at a small restaurant near the train station. All in all, Xiao Gu went way out of his way for us, and would accept nothing in return. It was by far the best customer service I have ever received
The fun continued the second week Brad was here, when I took my first vacation in eight months. It was only five days, including the weekend, but boy did I need it!!! On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Brad and I flew to Hualien, where we took a tour of a Taiwanese marble quarry and then the awe-inspiring Taroko Gorge. Taroko Gorge is an impressive natural wonder along the lines of the Grand Canyon (on a much smaller scale) caused by plate techtonics and water erosion. The steep ravines, cascading rivers, and jutting cliffs make an impressive sight. Unfortunately, since we only had one day there, Brad and I opted for the guided bus tour, rather than setting off on our own on foot. The advantage was that we got to see a lot more of the Gorge than we would have otherwise; the disadvantage was that it was a large group and we didn't really get off the beaten (paved) path.
We didn't hang out in central Taiwan very long, though, and as soon as our bus tour was over, Brad and I boarded another plane that would take us to Kenting on the southern tip of Taiwan, home to the most beautiful beaches that this New Jersey Yankee has ever seen. Kenting is a hopping beach town, and Brad and I spent three and a half days basking in breathtaking scenery and water sports
On the itinerary in Kenting was zipping around the peninsula on motor scooters, snorkeling over a coral reef, scuba diving off a boat at night (Brad only), being gawked at by the Taiwanese, treating ourselves to good food, hanging out with beach bums from all over the world, and surfing, surfing, surfing. We discovered a delightful beach called Nanwan with steady waves and a friendly little surf shop that would rent us equipment for next to nothing, and we spent every afternoon out on the surf. I wouldn't say we relaxed very much; rather it was an adventurous and exhilarating, early to bed, early to rise trip that gave me a reprieve from work that I desperately needed. It was also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with an old friend in a beautiful place.
Yesterday morning, I reluctantly sent Brad back to the United States, sad to relinquish my role as host and tour guide. He was stellar company for the two weeks and he also gave me an excuse to explore a little more of the sub-tropical island I call home. Of course, I haven't seen Josh much in the past two weeks, so naturally I'm excited to get back to Taipei. Enjoy the pictures of Taroko and Kenting. Talk to you next time.