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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jeff and Barbara Do Taiwan, Part IV

The plan had been to take my honored guests to see Taiwan's most prized scenic attraction, Taroko Gorge 太魯閣. However, thanks to Typhoon Megi and the effect it had on the Suhua Highway, the four of us (me, 波ちゃん, Jeff and Barbara - my wife had to work) instead fell back to Plan B - two nights in K'enting (Kontei) National Park 墾丁国家公園, at the southern tip of the island. The disappointment of not being able to drive to the east coast, plus the disappointing rainy weather that precluded any attempts at swimming and/or snorkeling while in K'enting, were greatly eased by our lodgings at the Fullon Resort:


[caption id="attachment_186" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The view toward Sail Rock from our hotel room"]View from our room at the Fullon Resort Kenting[/caption]


Fullon Resort Kenting

It was a long, leisurely drive from T'aichung (Taichū) 台中 to K'enting (Kontei) 墾丁, and our first night (Thursday) was spent strolling along the main strip:

On the street, KentingKenting night scene

K'enting is a very foreigner-friendly zone, with a lot of posted information and signs in both English and Japanese. Much of it was legible, though I did come across a couple of interesting things, like the Korean snack stand with a Rising Sun emblem (I'd like to see how well THAT would go down in Seoul!), and the sideways-written の. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the stall selling おべん:

Food stand, Kenting

[caption id="attachment_195" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="の way!"]Misspelled sign, Kenting[/caption]


The next morning, Jeff and Barbara were hoping to do some snorkeling at Sail Rock, while 波ちゃん was eager to go swimming, either at the ocean or in the hotel pool. However, Friday was windy and frequently drizzly, so plans had to be adjusted. We began by strolling along the beach not far from the resort...:

Beach, Kenting

[caption id="attachment_198" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Fullon Resort K'enting"]Fullon Resort Kenting[/caption]


...before making the short drive to Sail Rock. The tide was out, and some crabs and fish were visible in the tidal pools:

Crab at Sail Rock, Kenting

[caption id="attachment_201" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Sail Rock in the driving rain"]Sail Rock, Kenting[/caption]


Next stop was Eluanpi (Garambi) 鵝鑾鼻, where we had lunch, then visited the lighthouse and strolled the grounds:

Cape Eluanbi

Eluanbi Light

You know you're in the tropics when you can buy a coconut, and have the seller cut off the top, punch a hole in it, and insert two straws for you and your loved one to share in the milk inside:

Jeff and coconut, Cape Eluanbi

From Eluanpi, it was up the coast road to the coral formations of Chialeshui (Karakusui) 佳楽水:




Continuing our driving tour, from Chialeshui we drove inland to Hengch'un (Kōshun) 恒春, stopping to see the old East Gate 東門 and the gas fire at Ch'uhuo (Shukka) 出火奇観. At the latter,Jeff and Barbara could see first-hand the great respect Taiwanese have for posted regulations, especially those warning people against trespassing and vending:

East Gate, Hengchun

Chuhuo natural gas fires

We ended our mini-road trip back at the hotel. After freshening up, we took the shuttle bus back into Kenting, where we all enjoyed a truly Taiwanese evening by dining on Mexican food, and drinking Belgian beers afterward. Globalization in action!

On Saturday we checked out of the Fallon, and visited Taiwan's premier aquarium, the National Museum of  Marine Biology 国立海洋生物博物館. It was well worth the time and money spent there. The displays are well-organized, and the collections of sharks and rays (and a whale shark) were fascinating, especially to 波ちゃん. My favorite part was the exhibit on prehistoric oceans, in 3-D no less - dinosaurs so realistic you could reach out and touch them:

National Museum of Marine Biology, KentingNational Museum of Marine Biology, KentingNational Museum of Marine Biology, KentingNational Museum of Marine Biology, KentingNational Museum of Marine Biology, Kenting

It was another long, leisurely drive from the aquarium back to T'aichung. Everyone had a great time this past couple of days. Tomorrow it's off to Changhua (Shōka) 彰化 and Lukang (Rokkō) 鹿港. Stay tuned...

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