Writing and Procrastination

Writing can be an extremely slow process – especially when trying to write for a large project that requires a high level of research and formality.  Currently I am working on my PhD thesis and I am struggling.  Breaking the thesis down to bite sized chunks is really important but doing that and keeping the chunk within the framework of the big picture often brings out the worst acts of procrastination.  I seem to spend so much time thinking about what I want to write and planning when I am going to write that I forget, become distracted or run out of time to actually take up the task of writing.

Earlier this semester, having decided to end avoiding the inevitable, I reached out to the university’s research department and signed up to a couple of seminars.  As an external student, I felt that surrounding myself with other academically minded people would help to inspire me with purpose to take up writing – and it did, in a small way until I realised that the washing needed to be done, the boys picked up from school and I had to have coffee with my girlfriend.

I then followed up with some of the advice that was offered during the seminar:  the Pomodoro Technique and reading about writing a thesis starting out at The Thesis Whisperer‘s blog.  I bought myself an egg-timer to start implementing some discipline.  I confess I have not gotten too far, but I will, once I get started on my writing again!  Today, however, was my day to start writing a blog.  Another step along the procrastination journey?  Maybe, but it also means that I am writing.

This week gone, I started to say no to coffee – both in the literal sense and in the cultural sense.  I have started to say to myself, ‘no you are not texting your friends to tell them you are in town, nor are you popping in to the coffee shop to do some reading while you deep down hope a friend or two might interrupt you’.  I have a perfect home that is conducive to reading, writing and contemplation.  My discipline is starting with the concept of getting up every morning at 6.30am so that I am ready to start writing by 9.00am.  I still have days when I have to take my sons to school and spend the day in town, but I am beginning to avoid the coffee shops and am choosing to maximise an opportunity to read and write in a space a friend has offered for me to use.

Writing a thesis is a discipline and it requires the student to make that personal, academic journey with the utmost persistence and determination.  It can also be a lonely journey where I can pretend I am working, but then the only person I am truly deceiving is myself.  The honest truth is that I have spent hours avoiding writing because it means a commitment to my ideas; it means I might actually achieve my dream; it means turning my back on seeing myself as a failure and valuing the journey of achievement.  Yes, the PhD is more than an academic journey.  It is a spiritual and emotional journey that is taking me to a space where I must believe in my worth in order to achieve.  Knowing something and believing something can be two very different things, but having faith in my capacity to achieve requires inordinate strength, courage and persistence.

Around the 20 March 2014, I have to have completed a revision of a paper that has been accepted for publication later this year and I have to complete a near final draft of my methods chapter, so that when I go to Canberra, my supervisor and I can work together on the next step towards putting my thesis together.  Just thinking about it, raises my anxiety levels.  Can I really do that?  It’s too much, I can’t!  Then I tell myself, ‘I’ll just check Facebook…’.

Until next week…Happy reading!

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2 Worlds Festival, Geelong 2018

The morning started late for me but with a visit to a new coffee shop called Lavish. The coffee was fabulous – ended up having 2 and trying Richard’s Bullet Proof coffee. I love catching up with Rachael and Richard.

When we got home we took Maverick for his walk around the block before having lunch and getting ready to head off to tge music festival.

We arrived at the 2 Worlds Festival just before 3pm. Even with the showers of rain, the place was humming.

Rachael and I went off to check everything out; starting with the outdoor main stage. What a fabulous venue for a stage – a very minor music bowl thing happening with the hill catering as tiered seating for the audience! William Crichton and his band were performing and they were fabulous and facing the rain with great courage! Clearly not the audience you would not get on a sunny day but so glad we stopped by. They played for the few braving the rain as though we were a throng of thousands.

Next we visited the Provenance winery for a glass of wine of course and we caught the very tail end of Monique Clare. Wow! Did we miss a performance there! She plays the cello and sings. Incredible!

Finding a spare table we sat down to wait for the next act which turned out to be Phil and Trudy Edgeley. Again – like wow! Trudy’s voice was amazing and the music they made together was amazing. I particularly like the song ‘I am here’ and apparently it has been recorded on YouTube.

After the performance Rach and I went off to explore other venues. We couldn’t get into the Great Hall at all an then we tried The Doors Cafe and same. So I went into the gallery which was actually an art gallery. I particularly loved the art work of Sharryn Jenkinson.

In the gallery this guy was putting together a few people to sing together and invited anyone who wanted to join in. I nearly did but didn’t. What a shame! The man turned out to be Darren Percival. Missed opportunity but I did manage to get to his show but not before I saw and heard the amazing Tom Cook.

But again I am ahead of myself!

As I continued to roam and check out the rest of what the festival was offering I came across the mechandise stand where I puchased cds from Monique Clare and Phil and Trudy Edgeley. Next thing I know I run into Monique Clare and so I ask for her autograph. At the same time Rachael came up and we ended up chatting. She was lovely to talk to – and as a bonus she is playing later with The Maes.

Next thing I come across a guy in diggerido tent. Apparently they were demonstrating how to make diggeridos but we ended up chatting and sharing stories.

Then as I walked away and started thinking about food, I came across Trudy and Phil Edgeley waiting for their pizza. So you guessed it – I asked them for their autograph. Then we ended up chatting for about 10 minutes or so. What a lovely couple!

By this stage I was eating my own pizza and yes it was delicious. Then I ran into Rachael and Richard. Rach was off to do her volunteering stint and Rich came into the winery with me where we managed to sit down with a lovely pinot and listen to the tail end of Alister Turrill. He was good too.

In deciding on what to do next it meant there were other performances I missed out on but then I would not have seen and experienced what I did see. According to Rachael and Richard Yirrammil followed by Baker Boy were amazing on the big outdoor stage.

I, however, stayed to watch Tom Cook perform and thoroughly enjoyed watching him and his drummer perform.

What intrigued me most about his music was the historical context from which he wrote and the way particular themes were threaded through his lyrics. Later, after purchasing his cd, our paths crossed and yes – another autograph. The delight on his face when he realised that I had purchased his music was lovely. He genuinely appreciated that l had enjoyed his music so much.

Next I was off to see Darren Percival in the great hall. Omgosh what a performance and what a brilliant musician and vocalist this man is! I did love his performances on The Voice all those years ago but what and how he performed was incredible.

The performance was just himself, his voice, a loop machine and two microphone. With that he created music acapella-style. I most liken what he did to a Pentatonix performance but solo. On top of that he had all of us singing as well and at the end he gave these two young brothers their moment of fame that would have delighted any parent.

Of course, Janet played the groupy afterwards and managed to get a selfie.

After that, I popped out to the main stage where Tim Hughes was starting his performance. Gosh he made me laugh with his comments. He was following Baker Boy and according to Tim, he was not just the best in Australia but in the entire universe! After the first song he likened his set as having to listen to Uncle Tim after lunch on Christmas day. I thought he was just being funny but according to Rachael and Richard Baker Boy had the crowd in the palm of his hands and I suspect he may have been a hard act to follow.

I only stayed for a couple of songs before returning to a warmer environment in the winery for a coffee and as luck would have it to hear Chris Tamwoy play and sing. This young man from the Torres Strait Islands was an incredible story teller in both English, his own language and through his instrumentals and he brought you with him into his life’s journey.

He sang a song about his Pop called Dear Pop. As he sang, the tears rolled down my cheeks; he was singing about my Pop. You see, I had a Pop too and I loved him very much. My Pop brought much light and love into my life and I hope that he would be proud of me today and how I have lived my life, like Chris and his Pop. I suspect I was lucky enough to have my Pop around for longer than Chris. My Pop taught me many life lessons even when there were times in my young adult years where I was impatient with him because I wanted to be somewhere ‘more exciting’. My Pop was always there for me and I love and miss him dearly. My boys may not remember Pop, but at least I have some keepsake memories of their meeting. Again I was fortunate enough to speak with Chris briefly after his performance and thank him for his performance and especially his song, Dear Pop – and yes I bought his cd and received his autograph. Dear Pop, I think is going to be on his debut album due out in 2019.

Finally our day was rounded out with the performance of The Maes in the great hall. Here we also were able to see Monique Clare perform with the two sisters.

The cello and the way Monique played was an amazing accompaniment to the strings that the sisters played that included a banjo, guitar, violin and another more traditional instrument that was the size of a ukulele. The three women sounded beatiful and their harmonies were fabulous. On top of that, often in the background you could here the sounds coming from the main stage area. How they sang their acapella song with that so loud in the background was mind blowing.

You know, I have never actually been to a music festival like this before and I loved it. I am so grateful Rachael suggested and asked me to come along. Now I just want to know where the next one is!

Day 12 – Last day in Kaohsiung

Started my day with a coffee and vegetable omlette in pocket bread at Louisa Coffee shop. A lovely and relaxing way to start the busy day I have ahead of me!

While I was having coffee l managed to get in touch with the people I met last week, Prudence and Toms. We made arrangements to meet at 12 noon for lunch. In the meantime I went back to the apartment and called for a taxi do take me to Xin Zuoying (HSR) station. Turns out I can get a high speed rail train directly to Taoyuan Airport, so instead of leaving at 12pm, I don’t need to leave until 3pm. With the train due to arrive at 4.30pm, I have half an hour before I am due to check in – which is at 5pm for an 8pm flight.

After that I went to do some shoe shopping but ended up at the same shopping. l took a look but I have found the while most things may be slightly cheaper them in Australia, it’s minimal and so not really worth buying as something special to buy overseas. Even the mobiles and activity trackers did not seem to be particularly cheap.

With time getting away I headed off down the escalators. As I rode down each level a woman was heading down also but on a different escalator. We crossed at about the midpoint and typically ignored each other. On the second level the same thing happened and we nodded and smiled in acknowledgement – but on the third time we gave each other a big smile and said “Ni Hao”. The amazing thing was that for a fourth time we crossed over again and we both laughed out loud. We both started to speak and I said ‘have a nice day’ to which she switched language and said the same thing to me in English. After that I continued down but the lady went her own way. It made me think though, that lady was able to repeat what I said; I could not make out any of the sounds much less try to repeat a greeting like that. The Chinese language is so foreign to all my senses – spoken and written. Yet in Australia we have the nerve to ask newcomers to our land and for that matter our Indigenous peoples to speak and read only English. How hard must it be for them; all their senses are assaulted with the sounds and the alphabet script of English while adjusting to the cultural upheaval of coming to an understanding of Anglo-Australian culture. Here in Taiwan people continually make allowances for my ineptitude with the Chinese language. Even the French guy I met spoke to me in English. There is so much more I could muse on here especially in light of recent senate voting in Australia but this is a travel blog. I do think that recognising a place of privilege is something we all need to do. It’s not about trying to be ‘other’ but insuring that we recognise the bias privilege brings when thinking about and acting on concepts of inclusion, equality, merit, power and justice…

Now back to the day!

Lunch with Prudence and Toms was wonderful. I really enjoyed meeting them last week and today was mo different. They took me on a journey through foods they enjoy. The restaurant was named 地糖仔. It’s a Cantonese dim sum restaurant.

And the food was absolutely delicious.

Well if I am honest, the main course was but I think next time I will forego the desserts. But I did try them. I had four of the deep fried gluttonous rice balls and I ate a whole egg custard bun.

We talked about Kenting as they had also been there recently with friends from Hong Kong and we talked about some of the travel they hoped to do in Taiwan. Turns out they haven’t been to Hualien or Taitung. Prudence has also traveled quite a bit when she was single – including Australia and New Zealand.

I have been very blest by the people I have met throughout this trip.

After lunch I decided to get some shoe shopping in but this time in the local streets. Turns out most shopping areas sell the same kind of thing like one street might do jade, another might do clothes. This one did shoes and I was not disappointed. After visiting every shop along the street, I made my choices but ran out of time to get back to the first shop. But I did manage to grab a snack to tide me over until tea time.

Hailing a taxi, I returned once again to Maggie’s Wax and Spa. This time I was getting a two hour facial and yes it was fabulous. My face feels absolutely wonderful and so soft. I loved going to Maggie’s place. Maggie, herself was just lovely and the tea you drank at the beginning and end somehow completed the package and it was so much more affordable than in Australia.

Finally I returned to the apartment where Gene had prepared tea for our last night together. Oh my gosh what a meal! It was beautiful – lettuce tacos, freshly cut fruit and a dish with tomatoes, cheese and balsamic vinegar. All accompanied with a glass of wine.

I will miss Gene when I return. She has been a wonderful host and looked after me with so much care. We had so much fun and riding on the back of her scooter was just the coolest thing – given how used to the roads she is. Gene is also a dedicated and highly professional teacher and her students are lucky to have her as their teacher.

It is now 2pm on the day I am due to leave. I am so ready to go home but I have loved Taiwan. I hope to return in the next year or so.

With 10 mins to spare I made the HSR train; met a beautiful Taiwanese couple from Houston, Texas and spotted a curious label in the elevator!

Farewell Taiwan. It has been a wonderful holiday!

Day 11 – walking to Kenting; returning to Kaohsiung

After returning to my room last night I turned on the TV. Big mistake!!! Ended up watching the end of a Mission Impossible and the full length of The Kingsman – which I thoroughly enjoyed. Needless to stay I was awake until about 3am. Hmmm so when I did get to sleep I slept through till about 8.30am and turned the TV on again and started watching The Princess Diaries. As I did I packed up and by 10am I checked out.

Staying at the Yo Yo Hotel was wonderful. It was very comfortable, I loved the artwork on the walls and the staff were so friendly, helpful and warm.

I decided that today I would go walking to find a place to get coffee as I had missed brunch from next door.

Walking as I did, I was once again amazed by the beauty of this place. I know I seem to love everything about this place but it really is breathtaking.

I made a realisation last night that the wind turbines were located near to a nuclear power plant. It’s funny how you can see but not always recognise.

From my room I hadn’t realised what the weather was like. It was perfect beach weather – bright sunshine and no wind. I did contemplate going back to have a swim but I couldn’t be bothered cleaning up afterwards so I continued walking. The sun was hot but I kept wondering what was around the corner.

As I walked I noticed some interesting looking trees and combination of trees.

The view of the ocean and how the shoreline was used was intriguing.

I was particularly taken in by the mountain of rock that protruded up towards the sky. As I walked I kept trying to get a better picture.

I did wonder when I would stop walking but decided I would keep going and when I reached the end I would call a taxi. Each corner beckoning me to keep going. I even contemplated going up the hill to the Kenting Visitors Centre, as that would be an easy place to get a taxi – but what was around that corner…

At one point I saw a very tall tower that was painted purple with gold writing. It said “chateau”. I thought to myself that it was a funny thing to write on what looked like a water tower. As I walked, however, the next set of buildings was called Chateau and it was a beach resort. It’s funny how concepts in different countries can vary so much.

Mind you it’s a bit like going into a souvenir shop only to find that everything says either Aloha or Hawaii. Turns out the owner is from Hawaii and it is a shop that only sells things from Hawaii! Just not what I expected to find on Taiwan.

As I walked into Kenting I was looking for somewhere to get a coffee when once again I was distracted by checking out the ocean…

..only to spot another interesting looking road to the right where yes I discovered the Hawaiian shop but also found a series of places to stay. Some of them appeared quite elegant and classy looking. However my favourite, from the outside, was this one that had decorated it’s building and features with these beautifully colored tiles.

Then I spotted what looked like a building from the Greek Mediterranean.

Finally I spotted a taxi and for NT$200 he took me back to Bossa Nova where Gene and I enjoyed our final lunch. I ate the shrimp wantons and peach cheesecake while Gene enjoyed the swordfish. A couple of other interesting things I spotted was the calamari and the dragonfruit smoothie. What a great color!

We also found out that Clare’s 11yo son came 3rd in his surfing competition. What an amazing achievement when competing against an older competition.

One thing I have to comment on is garbage pick-up. When I was in Hualien I could here this strange music and it turned out it came from the garbage collection truck. It turns out that there is no ‘garbo’ running around emptying peoples bins. Rather, the music lets everyone know the garbage truck is coming and they race out to throw their garbage in the back.

The drive back to Kaohsiung was easy with very little traffic congestion. We decided, however to go to the massage place for a body massage and yes, it was wonderful. As luck would have it, I ended up with the same guy who gave me the foot massage the previous Sunday when I arrived in Kaohsiung.

After that we had dinner at Cafe 303 – actually it was almost a repeat of last Sunday!

After dinner it was home to unpack and for Gene to get organised for school.

Day 10 – relaxing Nanwan Road, Hengchun

This morning was another slow start to the day. But that might have been somewhat self-induced! Needless to say I was up and ready to go by 9am in search for breakfast and coffee.

Yet again breakfast was another adventure in and of itself. Next door to Yoyo Hotel is the Dar Ban and they serve brunch.

For NT$150 (AUD$6.82) I savoured a yummy breakfast of fresh bread, blueberry jam and butter, juice, coffee and a plate of egg, salmon, ham, salad and orange. It was all delicious – and yes I did remove the dried fruit. I’m not that adventurous!!!

Just as I was finishing my main course, the waiter came over and asked if I would like dessert. Yes here they offer dessert. I thought he told me it was cherry tea and I shrugged and said that I have never eaten it before so yes I will try it. After he had brought it over he suggested that I try it with some milk.

Turns out it was ‘jelly’ tea and the milk was an improvement. I took one bite and yes it tasted like tea jelly. Unreal what they do with tea here! I have learnt that I need to have more than one taste of something especially when I find the texture confronting so I ate about a third. It’s actually okay but just not my cup-of-tea!

It is beautiful sitting here overlooking the trees that hide the beach. The sun is shining and the wind is quite gusty. I can probably get an electric scooter but I might also go for a walk…

…so I went for a swim.

The beach here is beautiful but rather treacherous. The shoreline is not a gradual gradient down but dips into a deep shoreline trough. This means that within a few metres you go from being knee deep to shoulder deep within a couple of steps. On top of that, the sand and stones that you are walking on remain soft and your feet sink as you walk in or out; you cannot get a grip. The tide seemed to be coming in and the waves when they broke were pounding on your legs as you walked over the softest part of the sand into the water. Needless to say I was the epitome of elegance today as the waves washed the ground from under me and I landed on my butt! The funny thing was, though, it was like landing on a ball of cotton wool – so soft!!! With as much dignity as possible I clamoured further into the ocean and enjoyed floating and paddling in the water.

With the break so close to the shore, the waves came in large swells which made it next to impossible to stand in the water. It was only in the trough of the wave that it was possible to touch the ground but when I did it was smooth sand like back home.

Gene joined me for a swim this morning and we had a lovely time paddling, floating and chatting. The water is beautifully refreshing and almost warm. Mind you today the wind was blowing so ferociously that if you got too close to the beach you would be splashed by the spray of the breaking wave and lashed by the whipping sand. So we stayed out a bit in the deeper water.

Time to go in and I knew I would need all my strength – and I was right. As I tried to find my feet and stand tall a wave crashed over my legs with one whack I was down. Knowing I needed to be patient, I took a deep breath and braced myself for the following wave. Survived. So I made an attempt to get up again and ‘dump’ I was now an Olympic gymnast doing my floor routine!!! Hahaha. The beauty was I didn’t panic – although by this stage Gene was charging towards me to help. With steady nerves, I picked myself up and made it. Heaven knows what the scene looked like but I survived!

Walking back to my hotel, I took some time to soak in what I was seeing.

After showering I went down to Bossa Nova to meet Gene for lunch. Today I wanted chicken and chips and it lived up to expectations! I sat there enjoying a coffee or two and blogging.

Feeling tired I wandered back to my room and promptly fell asleep. Next thing I know it is 5.37pm and the sun is setting. Quickly I race down to the beach to take some photos of the sunset before I meet Gene for dinner at – you know where – Bossa Nova!

It has been such a relaxing time here. I could imagine a week or two of this although as you can imagine there is part of me itching to get back using my brain more productively. The rest though has done me the world of good!

Tonight we sat outside to eat. The weather is exquisite – warm with a lovely summery breeze – even if it is autumn here and heading towards winter. Tonight I ordered the swordfish. It was cooked perfectly and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gene ate the beef rendang.

Dessert time and I ordered the chocolate and caramel delight. Gene ordered the chocolate slice with caramelised nuts. Turns out mine was more like what I recognise as caramel slice and Gene’s was more like a chocolate mousse. I tasted both and they were delicious. The caramel in my dessert was a chewy caramel that contrasted fabulously with the fudgey, ganache-like chocolate.

Again we shared more stories about our lives. Clare and her son both made it into the finals of the surfing competition they entered today so all are looking forward to another day of surfing tomorrow.

Day 9 – A bus ride to Hengchun

Well the plans of mice and men can change in an instant. One minute my plans are sorted and my task this morning is to take a taxi to Kaohsiung Zili Bus Station but the man in the lobby says that while I can do that it is better to catch a bus at Kaohsiung Station. As he is trying to be very helpful I agree to take his advice. There’s an element to traveling where I just have to go with the flow. In some ways I don’t seem to get so anxious here or when on holidays because there is no rush and I don’t have to do anything. That said, there is still an element of planning that I do and when it gets ‘adjusted’ like this feelings of anxiety do bubble up. However the man in the lobby told me the taxi driver would show me exactly where to go and he did. Now I am sitting at Kaohsiung Bus Station waiting to catch the 9188.

Now I am on the correct bus, excitement about another new adventure about to begin. However it seemed that I was on a stopping at all stations bus rather than an express so I sat back and just went with the flow. Again leaving Kaohsiung I was once again blown away by the beauty of the mountains that for the centre of Taiwan. The other side of the road for a good part of the way was ocean; incredibly beautiful.

Along the way I messaged my kids and received a reply. It was great to hear from them. The different chat formats are a great way of staying in touch with family and friends. It’s also great to hear that some are following this blog too. While I write mainly to capture my memories of what I was doing and my impressions of the different encounters I experience it is also great to know that I don’t have to repeat it all over and over when I get home; I can give the short version!

I wasn’t sure where to get off but managed to find the exact spot with the help of Google Maps. I do wonder how people managed in the past but technology has been so helpful especially for this journey where I have no idea of where I am going nor any common language.

First step when I arrived was to drop off my suitcase and then go and have lunch at Bossa Nova. Wow! What a fabulous place to eat and spend time in. I also felt very safe because this is Gene’s favourite place here and the only place she eats at when she is here. The staff were wonderful and friendly and the main waitress seems to speak perfect English.

Gene is friends with the owners after many years of visiting and so when I asked the main waitress if she was Clare she said no but was delighted to hear that I was Gene’s friend and that Gene would be here tonight.

The cafe claims to be a menu of world foods and it certainly is. I enjoyed a beautiful chilli con carne and coffee for lunch followed by a most delicious peach cheesecake.

Next to find a scooter. Turns out I can hire an electric one but it only goes for about 50kms. I’ll think about that tomorrow. I also checked out the beach. Oh how beautiful!

After walking for a bit I returned to the Bossa Nova to try an iced tea. Not my favourite drink but it did kind of grow on me.

After blogging and filling in some time there I was able to check-in to Yoyo Hotel. It really is beautiful insde and the staff are just lovely. One of the guys offered to try to find a petrol scooter for me – but as I found out later, he too had no luck.

Once in my room I unpacked and put my togs on. I realised that as much as I would love to explore this area it’s a perfect place to veg-out and just read a book, swim in the ocean and wander.

Just been for a swim in the ocean. Haven’t quite worked out if it’s the Pacific or South China Sea or close to where they meet. The water is beautiful and clear, although the sand is made up of washed stones; so nothing sharp but one minute they’re all small and gritty and the next there’s a smooth stone under your foot. A tad nerve wracking for someone who is wary of sea life nibbling toes!!! All that said, this place is like a piece of heaven. Here I am floating in the sea that is lined by golden sand with a backdrop of mountains. Yes there are some buildings and people in between and that’s life. Can’t wait to go swimming tomorrow.

Once I knew that Gene was close to arriving I returned to the Bossa Nova and managed to get the window table I’d had at lunchtime. While I was waiting I decided to start with a Bossa Nova cocktail that consisted of vodka, peach brandy and cranberry.

It was delicious and when Gene arrived we went again and this time added some corn chips and salsa.

Apparently Clare cooks steak beautifully so I went with Gene’s suggestion of steak and it was beautiful. At the same time we opted for a red to go with our meal. Marco, Clare’s husband was the wine connoisseur and we were delighted with his selection of a Spanish red.

To finish the bottle we ordered a cheese platter which was soon followed by coffee and liqueurs!

Clare joined us as often as she could. She was participating in a surfing competition tomorrow! How inspiring! Anyway throughout the night we shared stories, laughed and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We were actually the last to leave!!!

As I went to bed I thought about the wonderful night I had! So much delicious food and wine followed by coffee and liqueurs, great conversations, moments to treasure and stories that brought laughter. I am very blest.

Day 8 – A bits and pieces kind of day in Kaohsiung

Slow start today. Nearly half 11 and I have only gotten as far as Caffaina Gallery for breaky – and of course some cake! The coffee and mushroom quiche was actually yummy while the chocolate and lemon cake was a mouthful of exquisite delight.

After that I set off walking to find the Kaohsiung Zili Bus Station to try to locate a ticket for my trip to Kenting. As I walked I past a building that I had seen from a distance and that reminded me of Sleeping Beauty’s tower and I wasn’t disappointed – even if it wasn’t what I thought it might have been. The place was called Vigor Kobo Pineapple Palace and it was the place to buy their famous pineapple pie.

There I had the chance to try the different cakes and their famous original pineapple pie. I tasted the mung bean cake, the traditional pineapple pie and the original. It was all delicious. The saleswoman then went on to tell me that I could do a tour of the factory for free, have a cooking class where I would be taught how to make the pineapple pie for NT $200 (AUD $9) or on the top floor eat at the restaurant. If I had more time I would have stayed. The cooking class sounded like fun too.

Still I kept walking until I found the bus station. There I was told I could not purchase a ticket until the day I was travelling. He then went on to point at something and give me some instructions in Chinese. It must have been my blank look that gave it away when suddenly he asked, ‘Do you speak Chinese?’ – to which I answered no. So with that he took me across the road and showed me exactly where I needed to go.

With my travel to Hengchun, Kenting sorted, I wandered back to where I saw a series of stalls set up. They were selling jade and other precious and semi-precious stones. Many stall holders were working on pieces so I suspect most of it was hand made and carved. It was some of the most beautiful jade I have seen. I also spotted this cute dog and came across a beautiful shop filled with gems and water fountains.

After that, I walked until I could hail a taxi. I was heading back to Maggie’s to get some waxing done. When I arrived Maggie sat me down to a cup of tea and we chatted for a time. Then off to get my legs, underarm and brows done. It really is a beautiful environment to receive a treatment and Maggie is just beautiful.

After that I started walking towards the school where Gene teaches – Kaohsiung American School. I love walking in Kaohsiung. There is so much to see along the way.

Unfortunately every time I walk I rarely have time to wander in and out of the shops and this time was no different. I was hungry for lunch but my phone battery was running low and I only had an hour to get to the school.

As I get close to the lotus pond I realise that there is a bridge I have to walk over to get to the other side. Not only that though, the bridge winds all over the place. The view is fabulous and eventually I am on the other side.

Originally the plan was to spend time wandering around Lotus Pond and see the tiger and dragon that represent spring and autumn but somehow time had flown. I did manage to walk through a small section of the parkland – what a fabulous walk that would have been!

Then I came across a beautiful monument where my phone finally died.

Nevertheless with 15 minutes to spare I raced over to the nearby train station only to find that HSR tickets to Taipei can’t be bought there so I still have a job to do on Monday!

Finally I found Gene and off we went to check out the school. It’s beautiful! The classroom Gene teaches year six maths and science from is huge and an inviting environment to learn in. The student are so lucky. Apparently about 800 students attend this school from elementary (primary) school right through to the end of high school. The facilities are the best I have ever seen. It was also great to see the kids practising their soccer skills.

Tour done, it was time for a waffle kind of dessert treat that Gene insisted that I try. You can imagine her dragging me kicking and screaming…not! As we arrived to Gene’s horror the shop was no longer there. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘I know where another one is!’ But to her (and my) dismay it too was no longer there either.

In our way back to the apartment we saw a footpath vendor making something so we stopped and ordered what she was making. I will try to get some more so I can take a photo but these pancake-like things were in the shape of Hello Kitty, Snoopy, Pikatchu and another Pokemon that I can’t remember the name of. We ate them back at the apartment and they were delicious – especially dipped in yoghurt!

In the meantime time I wanted to try one of the shops near Gene’s place. So off I went to get my food. This place was like a smorgasbord of local food where you paid by the weight! I wish my camera had been charged – but I filled two boxes with meat, veggies and fried rice and it came to about NT $120 (about AUD $5.50). Like wow! No wonder people line up for it. And there’s a similar one for vegetarians across the road.

Needless to say I enjoyed a magnificent feast. After which I packed my bags for Hengchun, wrote some of my blog and went to bed.

Day 7 – Cijin Island and Taiwan’s National Public Holiday Ten Ten

After a sleepy start Gene and I were off again on her scooter. It’s wonderful feeling the wind on my face as we ride along.

The roads were looking familiar and I realised that we were traveling along roads we had formerly traveled on during the night. Kaohsiung is a beautiful city made up of buildings and skyscrapers with moments of green theough to large parklands with lakes.

After riding onto the ferry, I went upstairs. I was expecting to be on the ferry for awhile but it barely took 10mins. Still I managed to get some interesting shots of Monkey Mountain and the harbour.

Once off the ferry there were people everywhere. Still we managed to get across to the beach side of the island where there was a bit more space to move around.

The beach here is a black sand beach and it is patrolled with lifesavers. First, however, lunch.

Lunch turned out to be an adventure in itself. We went to a seafood place where we selected the fish. What a selection it was.

Inside I nearly died. How was I going to eat this? Much less know what to pick. So I left it mainly up to Gene. She selected asparagus, clams, squid, scallops, fried rice and I selected grilled fish.

It was all absolutely delicious and yes I did try everything at least three times. The asparagus dish was amazing, as were the scallops and the fish.

I did enjoy the big round pieces of the squid but I left the bits that looked like a mini octopus for Gene.

After lunch we wandered past a temple and the what turned out to be a Presbyterian church. But not before we checked out ET!

There really is a juxtaposition between money spent in the name of religion and the homes the locals live in.

We then wandered down to a quiet part of the beach and went for a swim. The water was beautiful and warmish. None of that freezing cold Bass Strait!

W

While swimming we started to talk abou when I might get to Kenting and when I thought I might visit Tainan. By the end of the swim we were heading to Kenting for the weekend!

Wet and pleased with our plans we went home – again via the ferry. Once back at the apartment we set our plans into motion.

We spent the rest of the evening catching up. Gene produced a lovely spread of nibbles and she showed me her photos and videos of her recent trip with her students to Borneo. What an amazing journey and adventure they had!