Contents for Taiwan/Hong Kong
- Taiwan/Hong Kong – Pt.1
- Taiwan/Hong Kong – Pt. 2
The next morning we had not heard the alarm, and my mother was almost late for the conference. This time, we did not go with her, nor did she go to breakfast, so we had a lazy morning. But we didn't laze around that long, we had a big day planned. We left by Taxi to get to a scooter rental. When we arrived, I was shocked to find that it looked more like a rundown garage. We arrived and starting talking in English, asking if we could rent, and the two guys who were there just nodded, and suddenly started shouting. We turned around and for the first time saw a third guy that was hidden behind a few scooters, taking a nap. He jumped awake, and when he saw us, went to their main 'desk'. According to their ad Dad had found online, they were supposed to speak English, but obviously not when the guy understood we wanted the scooter for one month rather than one day. But eventually we got everything done, and he showed us a bike to take, but it looked too small for two, and the next one seemed alright, although some of the foam was missing from the back seat and it looked very much used. But, hey, it worked and we didn't have problems, so...
We started our trip by simply driving straight, but eventually Dad pulled over to find the road to take us up into the mountains. I saw as the houses got more and more sparse, and soon enough we were on a traffic-less country road. We saw a big nice temple on the side of the road, and so stopped for a quick break. The scooter had become a bit uncomfortable after a while, and it felt good to stretch out the legs. We sat on bench nearby and just relaxed. While we relaxed, we noticed a dog just walking in the middle of the road, then curiously making its way towards us, coming within three meters, and settling down in the dust under the shade of a bush. It was in some way quite enthralling.
We got back on the road, and climbed higher and higher in the mountains. We stopped again at a viewpoint to take pictures and after just thirty seconds off of the scooter, the leather seats were already too hot to touch, it was that hot. It was very impressive (but also painful to get back on…).
The rain forests gave way to banana plantations, and to my father's despair, they were all way too green. We saw a few more dogs in the middle of the road, and a particular one was actually napping right on the center line. We arrived at a place called the Sun Moon Lake, and without knowing it we had arrived at a very popular tourist place, a must-see for Taiwan. We passed though the town, but didn't stay long, it was hard to maneuver around the big tourist buses in the narrow streets. We continued on and stopped at the Sun Moon Lake visitor center, which offered an overhead view of the lake. There was also a newlywed photography shoot going on. It somehow reminded me of the annoying pompous photographers that had no regard for others at the Sydney Opera House viewpoint wedding photoshoot.
The sky had gotten covered up, and so the heats weren't warmed up when we left, and in fact, I even feared it might rain. Luckily, my previous adventure in the Galapagos had thought me to always have a rain jacket, especially if going into forest environments. Dad had followed my advice and example. At this point, we were doing a big loop back towards Taichung, but on an expressway, and we stopped just before to put on our jackets when we felt a few drops. As soon as the jackets were donned, the droplets ceased. It was hot with the jackets. Very hot. And it was an expressway, so nowhere to stop just yet.
We did stop eventually, when we had reached a little town, and while taking a GPS/jacket break, we saw this guy on his scooter, happily riding along, an ice cream in his hand. He held the handlebar with one hand and licked his ice cream from time to time. Five minutes later we stopped at a 7/11 and got ice creams. We ate them before going back on the road, however. My pudding flavoured ice cream was very pudding-y. We headed back to the rental place, and when we arrived, we gave back our helmets, the keys and received our deposit back. No one checked the bike's condition, or even the tank for that matter. We got a taxi from there to take us back to the hotel, and since my mother had another conference included organised dinner, we went back to our cup(bowl, rather) noodles and tv movie.