December 13, 2006

Episode III: Exploring the country


During five days off, including the Moon Festival and the 10th of October, I had my first chance to visit some other cities of Taiwan. Direction: north from Kaohsiung.

Before the trip started, few of my friends and me enjoyed great barbecue on Friday. We ate like we are usually able to eat during the whole week. Nobody left the party hungry or thirsty. Once again, Taiwanese hospitality made us fell like home. According to the duty, all of us tasted fantastic flavor of the moon-cake.

We have witnessed beautiful firework display that I can only compare to what people in Poland do on the 31st of December, on the New Years Eve.
On Saturday our exciting trip began. At the beginning it was only my friend and me, but after all it turned to be a group of four. Let me explain.

We took the train from Kaohsiung to Chaiyi, where my friend’s friend lives with his family. City seems to be much smaller than Kaohsiung. Not that crowded and polluted. We spent our lovely evening in fine sea-food restaurant, drinking French red wine. Yes, we liked it a lot.
Sunday morning, now three of us, depart to Taichung to meet another friend. We were invited to lunch with her parents. It was an indescribable feast. We have been celebrating with a bottle of whisky, so my friends, You can imagine what’s happened after few “gambey!”

To clear our minds we went for a bicycle ride outside of Taichung, to visit the Shu-Kang dam and bridges destroyed by earthquake in September 1999. We were expecting peaceful and quiet place, but we found traffic, characteristic for Kaohsiung’s Mingzhu road.

It’s really difficult to find a place in Taiwan with no people in it. I’m not even sure about Yu-Shan, the highest mountain of the island.

Returning to the trip, in the evening we went to traditional, modest and pleasurable barbecue at our friend’s grandma’s house. We discovered how hard it is to eat the crab fast. We have filled our stomachs, only after focusing more on bamboo.

The atmosphere was inexpressibly kind and enjoyable. We were treated like family members, no different to the others.
The last part of our beautiful trip was city of Tainan. Confucius Temple welcomed us warm. I was delighted with its relaxed aura and mysterious scent. No doubt, it is a perfect place for meditations and reflections.

No visitor to Taiwan is allowed to leave before trying so-called stinky tofu. It has got a strong flavor which I found really toothsome. Maybe it’s not the easiest thing to eat, but definitely worth of giving a try.

On the double ten, the 95th anniversary of establishing of Republic of China, our gang went to join celebrating crowd, gathered at the Kaohsiung’s Love River. The music was very loud and ideal to dance to. DJs were doing everything, to move the people, to make them party, by squeezing decibels from the speakers. I was astonished, a few thousand people was staring at the small group of dancers on stage. Doing nothing, not even moving their legs. It looked like they are not happy enough to dance. Fortunately it didn’t bother our celebration of Taiwan’s birthday.

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