The last three days of the trip were spent in Kenting, about 90kms south of Gaoxiong. After sight seeing for the first few days of the trip, the last few days in Kenting were spent relaxing. Some highlights from Kenting:
– Renting a motorbike for the day. Technically, it’s illegal to drive a motorbike without a license in Taiwan. Fortunately however, our hostel owner helped us rent out motorbikes from a friend of hers. Even though we only had the motorbikes for a day, I’m glad I had the opportunity to drive one. Riding the bike in the open was thrilling! I felt totally alive, even though I was only going max 40km/h. More importantly, I’m glad we didn’t get pulled over by the police. Apparently, if caught without a license, drivers are fined the equivalent of US$300!
– Swimming at Baishawan (White Sand Bay). This was my first time swimming in the ocean on this side of the Pacific! The tide was a bit strong, so I didn’t dare go out too far. But the water felt fantastic!
– The hostel owners. Unlike the hostel in Gaoxiong, the “hostel” we stayed at in Kenting was actually referred to us by friends of friends. After leaving the amazing hostel in Gaoxiong, we were all a bit worried (re: safety and cleanliness) of the place in Kenting. To our surprise, the place was actually pretty great. More importantly though, the owners were able to hook us up with great deals: renting motorbikes for a day sans license, renting a private driver for 8hrs, and getting us a fair price for our taxi ride back to Gaoxiong.
While in Kenting, I couldn’t help but draw similarities between the lifestyle here with the lifestyle back in Hawaii (specifically Naalehu, on the Big Island). The whole portion of Taiwan south of Gaoxiong was primarily rural. Though very scenic, there wasn’t much to do on a daily basis as a local. In the morning I could hear chickens crowing. Rice paddy fields dotted the landscape. Life here seemed to move slowly. Far different from the Taiwan that I’ve learned about while living in Taipei.