Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kenny and Annemarie Come to Taiwan: Episode III - Aloha!

B is starting to get a little smug about how many more posts he’s done than me in recent months, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands for the second half of our Penghu trip! 

The day after we nearly drowned while driving to the aquarium, we woke up early (Island style... 9 o’clock?) and headed downstairs for our complimentary breakfast which came in the form of adorable individually wrapped fried egg sandwiches... still warm! We had a nice selection of little spicy sauces and relishes, as well as a milk tea and what I’m pretty sure was cold winter melon tea as well (a very sweet black tea drink). 

That morning, we checked out Shānshuǐ beach which made for some beautiful swimming conditions. I of course got a little too toasty in the sun, but Annemarie - wonderful creature that she is - was packing some pretty excellent SPF sans whiteners, so that was lovely. We drank tiny Asahis, ate some salty snacks, swam and swam and swam (much to the amusement/chagrin of some Taiwanese beachgoers who dipped in their toes and decided that was quite enough water sport for one day). 

After that, we checked out some cool temples, ate some delicious burning-hot pizza in a park, and crossed Penghu’s “Great Bridge” which was certainly the longest bridge I’ve ever traversed by car or scooter. The scooter factor actually was slightly terrifying due to the high winds that I was sure were whipping my hair into a lather all up in Annemarie’s face. I really need to learn how to French braid. On the way back to the B&B, we stopped at Penghu’s Great Banyan Tree for some photos and general resting in the shade. The skies had been alternating between overcast and blisteringly hot all day, with no signs of stopping, so any temporary shelter was much appreciated. Once we’d all had our fill of showers and naps, we headed back out into the night - this time, with a dinner recommendation from the B&B staff to avoid any unsatisfying/unplanned dinner mishaps. We ended up having a tasty dinner at a Cuban-themed restaurant called Havana. Annemarie courageously tried squid ink spaghetti (which was deemed quite spicy), and B had pizza for the second time that day. Whatever, that’s Island Style! 

The morning of our last full day on Penghu was an interesting and beautiful one. We went looking for beaches. We found one that was absolutely covered in garbage and natural refuse that had washed up from the ocean. Tons of cuttlefish bones, dead pufferfish, trash, big seashells, and so many other delights! The hoarder that I am, I had brought along a little Tupperware container to Penghu specifically for collecting shells (to trump B’s usual question as I hand him fistfuls of rocks and shells - “Where are you planning on putting all of this?”) We both agreed I’d found some keepers that morning! 

We found a decidedly less hazardous place to swim - the quiet and pristine Dream Beach. It was gorgeous, though down a terrifyingly steep slope. We had to hop and skip over a rocky intertidal area to get to the nice sand, but it was absolutely worth it. I would highly recommend this peaceful place to any Penghu vacationers! After that, we headed out (in blistering, cloudless conditions) to the Whale Cave where we had the opportunity to sample a Penghu specialty - cactus ice cream! The cactus product we were offered was bright red shaved ice (which reminded me a little of the smoky plum juice we’ve had a few times in Taiwan) on top of a cantaloupe-flavoured gelato-esque substance. Delish, and extremely refreshing. After our brief rest, we walked up a gentle slope to some rocky paths and the Whale Cave! There seemed to be quite a long path for walking along the cliffs, but we stopped for photo ops at the cave and then headed back on the road! 

We kept driving to the very far end of the island chain to see the historic lighthouse, which is about a four hour round-trip scooter ride from the airport. It was surrounded by what seemed to be an active military outpost, which was more than a little intimidating to walk past (for me). Guys with guns make me nervous! Later that night, after another carby dinner, we went to the Rainbow Bridge for a second time to see it all lit up in front of a black sky and ocean. Very cool! 

The next morning we flew back to Taichung and sadly said goodbye to our Island Style getaway and prepared for the last two nights of Kenny and Annemarie’s visit!

Shānshuǐ Beach
Temple at Shānshuǐ Beach
Penghu Great Banyan Tree
Great Banyan Tree Shrine
Brett and Amanda at Havana
Havana, our favorite Penghu restaurant
Squid Ink Spaghetti
Garbage Beach. It is hard to see the garbage from this photo as it was washed up quite high on the beach.
At Whale Cave
Cactus Ice Cream - Amanda said, "Look at it like you're excited to eat it." Good job Kenny.
Whale Cave in the background
Going for a little gander
Dream Beach
Amanda and Annemarie at Dream Beach
Group Shot - The Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge

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