Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 10, 11, & 12- The beach and Taoyuan

Saturday we went to Yilan (this is pronounced ee-lawn) to go to the beach with Lloyd and his girlfriend. It was super fun. We left his house around 9:30 then picked up his girlfriend and drove to the coast. We got to drive through the longest tunnel in Taiwan. It was really long I doubt anyone could hold their breath while going through it because it took us like 20 minutes to drive through. When we got to the beach it was cloudy but really hot and kind of stuffy feeling because of the humidity. We walked over to a surf shop place and Lloyd rented surfboards and told us that we were going to have a surfing lesson. I was pretty excited because I had never been surfing and I thought it would be fun to try it out. We put on the yellow shirt things they gave us and walked back out to the beach where we picked up our surfboards and got the first part of our lesson while still on the sand. This guy showed us how we were supposed to get on the surfboards and how to get up on them. Jon translated the lesson for me because of course it was in Chinese. Luckily he was showing us while he was talking so I was able to catch most of it without needing it translated. The surfboards they had us use were huge because i guess that makes it easier for beginners.
After our dry lesson on the sand we went out to meet our instructor in the water. He showed us a few things and then just had us go at it. I was surprised because it wasn't really that hard for me to stand up on the surf board. True we weren't tackling any monster waves or doing anything crazy like that, but i was able to get it pretty quick. The beach was actually pretty crowded so we tried to go where there weren't really any people. I found out that there weren't really any people over where we were because the water got pretty choppy because waves came in from two different angles. This probably made it harder on us as we were trying to learn, but I only ran in to one person with my surfboard and it would have been more had we tried somewhere else. Sadly my ability and desire to surf came at a price. As you can see from the picture my board was really big and so getting it out into the water and hefting that thing around was pretty difficult. I have a pretty good bruise on my hip from trying to hold it. One time after riding a wave in I jumped off the surfboard and landed kind of weird on the sand and sprained my ankle. It didn't hurt too bad at the time so i just kept on surfing. Among my other wounds from surfing was a pretty bad rashy thing on my legs. I think it was from the sand and laying on the board and the water some how. Now it looks a bit better- it is more like a bunch of red dots scattered across my thighs and it only hurts if I touch it.

I think the worst battle wound, besides my ankle, was my knee. I can't remember exactly how it happened but somehow a wave caught my surfboard and the fin on the bottom of the board whacked me super hard in the knee. I have a pretty good bruise from that too. After surfing until we were really hungry we went in and had some lunch. Jon and I shared a box lunch thing with rice, meats, veggies, an egg, and some tofu. I didn't really eat any of the meats because I didn't want to, but I ate enough rice and stuff to be satisfied. After eating lunch we went back out to the water again to surf some more. This time I had Jon bring the camera so we could try to get some pictures. We switched off who was surfing and who was taking pictures so we wouldn't get the camera wet. Jon, Lloyd, and his girlfriend all had a pretty hard time getting up on their surfboards, but I did manage to get this awesome picture of Jon where it looks like he was an awesome surfer.

Sadly, when we went back out to the water after eating lunch I was pretty tired so I had a harder time getting on my feet and getting the board out where i wanted it. Jon did get a few good pictures.
Even though I was tired we did manage to get one video of me riding on a baby wave. Surfing was way fun and I think I would like to try it again sometime.
After we were done at the beach we dropped off our surfboards and got back in the car. We headed into town and got some ice cream. Jon and I both got pineapple because the other flavors were weird things like purple rice, taro, and red bean (taro and red bean can be good, but I just wan't in the mood). After ice cream we got some scone-type things. I really liked these. I can't remember what they were called but it was a fried round flatish scone like thing with an egg and green onion omelet thing on it. I don't know if it was because I was really hungry from the beach or what but it was FANTASTIC!

After eating Lloyd took us to a spa where you put your legs in a pool and fish come and nibble at you. The camera died at the beach and we didn't have any spare batteries so we didn't get any pictures of this. At first when I put my feet in and the fish came it tickled like crazy. I got more used to it after a while. The fish in the pool just looked like goldfish, so i don't know if only special fish will nibble your dead skin off or if any goldfish would. The fish liked nibbling at my ankles because there was some nice dead skin there for them to feast on. Once the fish were done nibbling we left the spa and drove back to the Taipei area.

We dropped off Lloyd's girlfriend and then met his mom and aunt for dinner. We went to a steak place and it was pretty good. The steak wasn't anything amazing, but there were a few appetizer type things that they gave us before the steak which were very tasty. One was a soup thing where on the bowl there is a bread/pastry dome covering the soup and you smash that down into the soup and eat it in the soup. This was delicious. The soup reminded me of a thin corn chowder. Another one of the appetizer things that was really good was this little bowl of casserole stuff. On the bottom there were some penne-type noodles and it was cheesy and had little shrimp in it. Yum. Honestly this was probably the best meal I have had in Taiwan. I was glad that I ordered a sirloin steak because on the menu it didn't say how many ounces the steaks were or anything and I figured sirloins are usually smaller and have less fat than other steaks. My steak still seemed pretty big, but with my appetite from a day at the beach I was able to conquer my steak and all the previous courses. Jon and everyone else got these massive steaks that I would not have been able to finish half of. The way they cook their steaks must be different than we cook them because they have less flavor and a different texture. Even though the steaks weren't the best I've ever had I really enjoyed that meal.

After dinner we stopped at the house for Lloyd's mom and aunt to grab their swimming stuff because we were going to go to some hot pools and they wanted to come with us (we were still in our swimming stuff from going to the beach earlier). We drove up into the mountains and stopped at a few places but their hot pools were under construction luckily we found a place that had some open that we could go to. We told Lloyd that we wanted to go to the ones where you wear swim suits, so he made sure we didn't end up at the naked ones. At first when he was talking about them I thought that these were natural hot springs but after going to them I don't really think they were. There were a bunch of pools of various temperatures with bubbly seats and high pressure shower things. It was pretty fun and relaxing, but I realized that the hot water was not doing good things for my sprained ankle so I put my leg in the really cold pool at the end to try to get the swelling to go down. One of the cool parts of these pools was that we got to wear swim caps. The picture is kind of dark but it is us wearing our swim caps by one of the pools.
After the hot pools we drove back home. When we got here we took showers and I packed while Jon and Lloyd figured out the details of our trip to Taoyuan for the next day.

Sunday morning we got up and headed to the train station with our backpacks. We got on the MRT (this is what they call the Taipei subway trains MRT=monorail train) and went to Taipei main station and got on regular train to Taoyuan. When we got to Taoyuan we worried and waited for one of Jon's friends to pick us up. She had said the previous sunday she would be at the train station at 8:30 because our train would get in about then and church starts at 9:00. We got off our train around 8:20ish and waited and wandered around the front of the train station. At 8:50 when we still hadn't seen her or been able to get a hold of her on her cell phone we thought that we might have to take a taxi. We decided to give her until 9 when church was supposed to start and if she wasn't there then we would take a taxi. She called us at 8:59 to tell us she was coming. We made it to church in time for the sacrament hymn. A lot of people in this ward knew Jon and were so happy to see him. We had tons of people coming and talking to us after sacrament meeting and after church. It was kind of cool that a lot of people remembered him and really liked him. During relief society I was able to sit by a sister missionary from Washington and she was able to translate the lesson for me. I have been really fortunate that both sundays here there have been people that were able to translate for me. After church we went to our hotel which conveniently allowed you to check in as early as noon, so that worked out perfect. We were both tired from being up late and getting up early so after eating the bagels we brought for lunch I propped my foot up on some pillows and we took a 6 hour nap. We woke up at about 6:30 and made the bowls of noodles we had brought for dinner. The noodles were good but they were a little spicy for my liking. We watched Ice Age showered and went back to bed. Sunday was very much a day of rest. We woke up this morning and got ready for the day. This was our hotel room.
It had two little beds in it that I kept forgetting weren't soft until I went to sit on them. I am getting used to sleeping on not so comfortable surfaces, but I'm excited to sleep in my own bed again.
The no shower curtain thing is still kind of weird to me. I guess they don't really care if the whole bathroom is wet all the time. The hotel wasn't bad for only being about $40 and there were some pretty great complimentary items. In the bathroom there were razors, shower caps, and toothbrushes with little tubes of "whiteman" toothpaste. On the table between the beds there was a little cup with q-tips, teeth flossing things, and condoms (very classy- I guess that is what you would expect from a hotel that not only rents rooms for the night but rents them in three hour increments). After packing up our stuff, and some free goodies, we went down to see what the "breakfast" included. After looking over the strange meats and veggies we decided to go for the toast option. We toasted bread in a little toaster oven and then I put some peanut butter and strawberry jam on mine. It was tasty. We walked around Taoyuan and Jon pointed out some places where different things happened or where he used to eat this or that etc. We did a little shopping and some of the stores that were open and because it was swelteringly hot Jon got a bingsha and I got a lemonade thing with chunks of aloe in it. All the walking around wasn't doing good things for my wounded ankle (I had hoped that it would be completely healed after staying off of it all sunday afternoon), so we decided we would head back to Lloyd's so we could just relax. Had we not come back so early we could have had dinner with a member in Taoyuan that offered to feed us, but I don't know what we would have done all day waiting around in the heat. We took the trains back to Lloyd's and now it is Monday afternoon and I'm laying on the floor with the fans on. Tonight Lloyd is going to have someone come and thread the hair off our faces. It'll be interesting to see how that goes. Tomorrow is our last day in Taiwan and then we fly home. Jon just told me he wants to eat Cafe Rio when he gets home. We have had fun, but I think we are both about ready to come home.

No comments:

Post a Comment