One should take note that if ever a secret spy agent is required, look no further than Taiwan, for they have vast experience in the realm of ear piece communication. They are quick and sleuthy, notifying their fellow staff members of our whereabouts as we move quietly through the halls of any hotel resort. From reception to the elevator and up to the restaurant, or pool, we are pinpointed so that they are adequately prepared for our arrival. Which actually suits just fine, as they can suit up their best English speaking representative. All of them have been quite friendly; a more important quality than language.
Today, we left Hualien and its nifty bike paths and headed south down the 11 highway to Taitung. Initially it was 100% map navigated, though we were able to find a visitor centre enroute where the staff were keen to help us enter our GPS chinese characters or just phone number. We stopped more times than we could count, and made a 3 hour trip take nearly 6. But, on the way we saw some look out points, got ice cream (!!!!), examined some sacred Buddha caves, ate cup a soup at 7-11, and stopped a few more times for view and photos.
We were worried about how the GPS had been directing us through the city, and beyond, to vacant fields with cattle, and no one else to be found, past the shabbyy little outskirts, under an overpass, and down a “country” type road with nothing else in sight. Then we see a sign for a museum and recognize it from the hotel description. We are staying next to the museum! Hooray. The GPS was actually able to find this place by phone number only!
A cute little renovated hotel, ugly from the outside, but quite cute and with boutique character inside. We took out the bikes for our evening ride (giving our bums a break from the awful car seats, by riding on even worse bike seats, go figure)…… going through the pathways around the museum until we ran out of places to go, then took a rural ride through the countryside, found a train stop, a school, and…. a parade of tour buses. “Hello, Goodbye” said all the students as we passed by. So, from there, of course, we followed the tour buses…. to our museum, and off they marched across the road and prepared for a water fountain show with music and water. Though we thought it was strange that a bus would detour this far out of their way for this “huge” production, we stayed to watch, out of curiosity, and were bombarded by the Vietnamese crew wanting pictures and to know where we were from, and to check out our bikes. We might have been more intesting to them than the show, and they definitely were to us as well.
For dinner, we had a reservation at Graves Restaurant inside the hotel, which we thought would be average at best. Glad to be wrong, we were served a delicious 5 course meal with tea for about $15. We also had our first Taiwan beer, which wasn’t much to write home about, though, I am anyway.
Taitung was a bit disappointing, just a big city as far as we could tell. We also checked out the beach for some surf breaks but there were none to be found. We had one stop near Donghe which, from the highway, we could see a break and managed to get down to it, just to find about a half dozen people standing around watching about the same number down in the water, not catching much worth riding. A mushy, small wave with not much force, plus it was too far away from Taitung to come back to. We thought there would be a nice surf shop to be found, and we maybe saw something that could possibly have been something, but really, then, it could not really have been. So, on we went.