Normbrero

We make holes in teeth!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Taiwan Day 10 - Monkeys & a Squat Toilet

Full picture set of the day here: Flickr set or slideshow.

Calvin tricked Nat into giving up my blog URL, so from now on he's going to be able to read everything I write. Take that into consideration when reading from now on. He says he won't tell the MIL what I say, but we'll see. If she mentions my driving I'll know who the mole is. Here's Calvin thinking about something. Or maybe not thinking at all, I'm not sure.



This morning I wanted to do a little more of a long ride, but I didn't have a full day to just let go because of the family lunch we're going to. I set sail around 7:00 with the idea to roll for about 3.5 hours. Plan was to head south on 7, which I've done before, then head into the hills on the 7 extension which goes up and over towards Taipei. If I do the ride to Taipei, this may be the direction I go. I mapped it out last night and other than a big climb up to about 4000 feet to start, it pretty much flattens out and stays at that elevation until you drop down the other side.

It was dry when I started, so I decided to carry it through and head for the hills, even though the hills were stuck in the clouds:



At the base of the climb, it started to mist. As I slowly went up, the mist turned to drizzle, and from there it became a constant rain. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised given what that pic suggested. But I hoping it would "hold off" and wasn't thrilled about it dumping down on me again. Truth is, the going up isn't so bad. I just chugged my way up, and up, and up, and wished that I could go up until I was done. The road was narrow but there wasn't a car in sight, so the world was my proverbial oyster. I ate it up and kept riding into the clouds.

Maybe halfway up, something on the side of the road was making a major disturbance in the bushes. My first thought was that something that large had to be a sign of the monkeys. I looked, but didn't see anything. I did, however, hear a barking of sorts on both sides of the road. I was pretty sure that's what I was hearing. But without seeing them, I couldn't say. Shortly after I heard the barking again, but again no sight. Then a 3rd time, sounds but no sights. In the meantime, I did catch a small flock of yellow birds and orange birds flying right over my head. The yellow one looked almost like a goldfinch, but with a brownish back and no black on it's wings. Then an orange one flew by, then a whole bunch joined them. I tried to get a pic but they were too small and moving way too fast. They were like little yellow and orange sprites flying through the rain.

I heard the barking again, but this time I looked up and saw a monkey sitting in the tree. I stopped to take a pic and a bunch of them high-tailed it out of there. There's a monkey somewhere in this picture, but not sure where. I believe it's in the general area of the middle, or middle-left. If you can see it I'll buy you a rice ball:



After this I saw them again off to the right, but didn't bother to try to get a pic. They run away as soon as you stop and by the time you get the camera out they're gone. Figure if I saw & heard them 5 times, I'm eventually going to catch them in the middle of the road playing hopscotch or something. Until then, you have to settle for pictures of trees and take my word for it. I really wish I had caught the birds on film, as they were cool as hell to look at.

I eventually ran out of rope at about 2:05 into the ride. I had reached 3300 vertical feet, most of the way up but still 700 feet to go. I'm sure it would have only been another 15 minutes but I was padding just a little bit and even though I have heavy-ass tires on the bike, I need to give myself some cushion in the event I get a flat. So I turned around, ate my second energy bar, drank the rest of my first bottle, took a leak on the side of the road, and started heading back down the mountain.

It was goddamn cold.

Nothing of note happened on the way back, but it wasn't raining down in the flats and I managed to dry off a bit and warm up. Got back to the apartment, showered up, got ready, and we were off to lunch on top of the hill I happened to climb yesterday. As odd as it sounds, this was actually the place I had seen up on the hill last week, which I assumed was a place to stay for the temple visitors. Strange how small the world is ending up in these 10 days. They had a pig on a leash:



They also had a small pond with fish and ducks, and you could buy food to feed them, which we did. Soon enough we were heading upstairs to sit down. We sat with Calvin & Company, plus Nat's 3 cousins. From left to right, girl, boy, girl. Girl on right was in our wedding in the US, way back when. Girl on the left was a high school kid when I first met her, almost 10 years ago. Since then she's learned English really well. Boy in the middle was the one who stopped over for lunch the other day. I think he's a fisherman:



Back down to feed the fish after lunch, and Julia informs me she has to go to the bathroom. However, there's a slight problem, as they have squat toilets here. This is the, "WTF is this?" look:



As you can imagine, this was an adventure.

We then sat down for coffee in another part of the building, which seemed to have the AC on because it was freaking cold. We also took more pics. From left to right, cousin, Nat, Julia, cousin, and cousin. The only new one here is the one on the left, who is the same one I posted a pic of with Nat the other day. She is Nat's oldest uncle's daughter. I hope you're taking notes on this stuff.



After 3 hours and 40 minutes of lunch, none of which was spent drinking beer with Darin as he wasn't there, we went home. Nat and I took a walk out to get some bread and fish food, and went back to the apartment. Shortly after I went to KFC to get dinner for Julia, then took a quick detour to get a scallion pancake because I had seen 4 kids eating them on the way over, and there wasn't a line.

Dinner was crabs that Nat's cousin (boy, from above) brought this morning, as well as rice, some leftovers, veggies, and fish ball soup.

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1 Comments:

  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger terren said…

    That is awesome by the way that you're getting to explore the country on your bike, even if the weather blows. btw, just in case you're worried that nobody cares what you're eating, I love the details. So next time you're eating duck penis, think of me.

     

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