May 6, 2006 - Saturday
Kaohsiung, TW to Kenting, TW

[Typing edit 12-May 10:33 am: The past day and today - waiting for the train (3+ hours each day) has/will give me good time to catch up on the trip reports. I'm sitting here at the Alishan train station - the train crew thinks I'm a bit crazy as it was about 10 am when I arrived for the 1:18 pm train. The steam loco (listed on the 05/12 entry) is sitting about 80 feet away warming up. Steam spouting from a few spots. A nice sound sitting here amongst the mountain trees.]

I took a short side trip in Kaohsiung when I left the hotel - I headed west on this busy road to film some of the traffic. From that I headed south - wanting to get out of the city and into the scenic hills. I made a leisurely stop at a convenience store for some breakfast - yogert, orange juice, and a cookie (moon pie type). From there it was trek, trek, trek. The population didn't really end - it just got lighter between cities - until I was down near the park. I passed sections of big petrochemical and big power lines. Nearing the park I was able to see some of the mountains - they looked great.

Somewhere on the southern section of the trek I passed by a couple guys pushing a scooter. Deciding I might be able to help so I pulled over, rode against traffic on the edge of the road (such a handy thing), and came back up to them. I motioned to the fuel and they motioned back that fuel was not the problem - it was larger. I motioned for me to push them. I'd ride on their right side, put my foot on their foot pad and push them along with my foot. They both had a "lightbulb going lit moment" and they were very willing to give it a go. Getting moving is the difficult part as I couldn't accelerate too fast (my leg wouldn't hold up under their load) but a long time at a slow speed would keep us bikes wobbling. Eventually I found out that the rear foot area on their bike worked best - with me putting my left hand on their rear hand hold (holding them in as my foot pushed them away). We went several kilometers like this with a couple times in downhill sections I would release and let them coast along - joining back in before the speeds dropped to wobble speed.

Coming into the next town they kept a look out for a place to stop and eventually motioned - enough - and I released and kept moving (should'a gotten a photo).

Finding the hostel in Kenting was easy - the town is smallish and I simply matched the road curves on the map to the actual curves and took "the next right". After I checked in I still had ample time for a ride so I made a nice loop at the southern tip of mainland Taiwan. Scenic stuff with mountains and the ocean.

On the return portion of the loop I stopped for some water and a snack at a convenience store (7-Eleven or one of the competition). Outside I met two missionary guys - Elder Hansen and Elder Robertson. One was from Utah and the other Idaho (if I'm not mistaken). We enjoyed chatting for a bit and then I headed back to the hostel to clean up.

With me looking a bit more presentable I went for a stroll up and down the main drag. This place is a tourist trap and reminds me of Gatlingurg, TN. While the normal "stores" line the main drag when evening comes street vendors line up in front of the stores and the crowd gets big. The end of town had something like five go-kart tracks - all lined up next to each other - pick your track layout and ride. There is a video and a few photos of the crazyness.

Back from that I was sitting about at the hostel "picknic" table and started chatting with Troy? who was from Austrailia. He was a wealth of knowledge and with his interest in international politics I learned a few things. An enjoyable cap to the day.

Union Hotel, Kaohsiung Taiwan.
Since this is my first hotel stay this arrangement was new to me - the bedside control panel. When I opened the door I turned on the first lightswitch - but could not find switches for the other lights - until I saw this. You have the Air Conditioning control on the far left, room lights to the right of that, then I think it was TV controls and music controls. The music and TV controls in all of the places so far have been in-operable but the air-con and room lights work. If the room has a tv it will be modern and will have a wireless remote control.

Out in the hallway - a common water fountain - cold and hot water.

More accessible circuit breakers - different

Just out from the hotel - pointed west and sitting at a light


Kaohsiung Traffic
MPG, 10.9 MG, 2 min 36 sec

Coat on backwards - open in the back to keep cool but covering the front to keep the clothes clean

Breakfast - OJ, yogrt, cookie

Waiting at the light - kicking back

Gett'n ready to go - holding on (mom must be a speed demon)

Yep - heading down the road just like this. The dog looked a bit nervous though. Small dogs might be in a basket in the front with large (or small) dogs standing in the step-through area - tail out one side - head out the other.

Scooters have their "lane" at the right of the road.

Sometimes the lane is physically separated (though I did see an occasional car or small truck riding in it).

Monkeys in the Bucket - way up there. Click for a larger size

Southern edge of Kaohsiung

So the pack is sitting at the light. Me in the front left and that lady in the front right and this police man walks over (the gun looked real). He was eyeing me as he walked up and then turned to this lady and started to point at her headlight. I thought this odd as headlights are OFF during the daytime so hers would normally be off. Anyway it seemed he wanted her to turn it on and when she tried, and it didn't, he pulled her aside. Just past the intersection I noticed the "county line" signs - I wonder if there was some connection with the police being there.

It's been a while since I've seen a Dodge Omni - and a VERY long time (if ever) since I've seen one this nice.

Follow the signs....

Ahhh, mountains.

I keep seeing these ponds and the aerators (one in the top left is running). I first thought they might be some sort of sewage plant but with them being so frequent I think they must be ponds for fish.

This group of scooters passed me by - flying down the road. I joined in for a short bit. With the smooth road the Majesty hits a vibration free sweet spot about 80 to 90 kph.

I stopped down in this small town to drink some water and eat a snack. Good spot to stop.

Looking to the left

Info map. It seems there is a nuke plant down here and I've just entered the warning / danger zone (top left along the coast - the yellow tag). The siren sounds are defined so I would know what to do - flee or take cover.

Looking over a cemetary

After the fourth tour bus passed me by I was able to get a photo of the remaining train

Tourist beach - nuke plane with wind generators in the background.

I think this is _the beach_ that the Lonely Planet book talks about. There was one beach that the government gave/deeded/whatever to a private resort. You now have to pay to visit the beach. It was essentially vacant.

Taking a walk on the main drag in Kenting - electric bikes for sale or rent

I'd really like to know what the middle sign says. I have passed by many of them - but each time I see other bikes on the road. No bikes in the left / fast lane? Bikes keep to the right? [Edit: Felipe says it means motorbikes are not allowed in the "regular" lanes and must stay in the motorbike lane at the right side of the road]

Up in the mountains looking east over the Pacific. "Just a few" kilometers / miles to the western edge of the U.S. This is what "the other side" can look like.

Info maps
I came down the coast on the far left, rounded down the small penninsula and up and east to the "main road" and southeast to Kenting. After Kenting I continued southeast and did a counter-clockwise loop back to Kenting.

Info sign
click for a larger size

In this photo you will see the small road to the right.....

so I took it

It dead ended at this old house

Info sign
click for a larger size

This cyclist and I kept skipping by each other - we were both stopping for photos.

Elders Von Hansen (left) and Kyle Robertson
Doing missionary work

Note to Home
MPG, 3.3 MB, 32 sec

I wonder how many of the bladed generators (left) would be needed to equal the output of one of the domes on the right...

[aftermarket muffler] Guaranteed to make your scoot look fast

Main drag - Kenting, Taiwan

How's this for a wiring mess - you got your telco and power all wrapped in a mash.

This dog was quite content laying in front of the 7-Eleven doors.

Kenting traffic on a nice Saturday night
MPG, 14.4 MB, 3 min 27 sec

An FJ 1200 ABS

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