This morning I missed breakfast in my hotel and decided to check out and get going. Of course the challenge then was to find somewhere I could enjoy some breakfast. As I walk to Hualien station I past this honey shop – where they had a coffee machine! When I asked if they had food the lady said cake – honey cake. And so here I am with my breaky – coffee and cake! And yes – it’s delicious.
As I sit here though, I look around me and I know that I have loved being here in Hualien. It’s such a beautiful place and while a massive city for me, it actually has a country town feel about it. I an going to cherish my memories of this place and the warm, kind and considerate people I met and who helped to make my stay so wonderful. I ran into the man who helped me get a scooter again and it was he who recognised me. We greeted each other and said our farewells.
The train trip to Kaohsiung has been good – just over 5hrs. Again, the scenery is beautiful and as you can imagine the landscape changes as you go.
As we came closer to Taitung there are these rocky patches where the different streams run along. I imagine in the rainy season it would all seem to be one river.
The train became more crowded after Taitung City but from here we were looking directly at the Pacific Ocean. Just beautiful.
Shortly after that I lost my window seat but that wasn’t too bad as we began to cross the mountains going from the east to the west. Most of this leg we traveled through tunnels. Very dark but amazing to think of the ingenuity and labour that went into making that happen.
Finally through to the other side and once more the ocean! I believe this one is called the Southern China Ocean.
Heading into Kaohsiung it became obvious that this was no rural city. There was like an orange haze that I might have mistaken for a sandstorm except that we were in a major city in Taiwan. While it was disconcerting to see the smog it kind of helped to make sense as to why some people where face masks.
Gene met me at the Kaohsiung Station and we just picked up from where we left off in Thailand. We grabbed a taxi and returned to her place. Wow! How beautiful.
Gene describes this area as a little piece of western society and I can see what she means. Already there is a sense of familiarity in my surroundings that I didn’t experience in Hualien. I could already see cafes where I would feel comfortable sitting down and relaxing over a cup of coffee.
After Gene showed me through her apartment and we had some time catching up, we decided to go out for dinner to her favourite American food restaurant – that was not MacDonald’s. We had a fabulous night eating fries, salad and pizza – just any old pizza! We ate a Chicago-style pizza and yes it looked like a pizza pie. It was extremely delicious too.
Next, Gene and I were off to get a massage. The place we went too could have been easily missed. We climbed a set of stairs and found ourselves in a beautiful environment of bonsais, stones and water fountains. Inside bamboo was used as room dividers and the walls were windows.
We chose a foot massage and I opted for a foot manicure too. Oh! What heaven! My feet have never felt so loved!
After a short scooter ride around the place it was home time and bed.