We make holes in teeth!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Taiwan Day 32 - Along the River

This morning is frigid cold in the apartment. I wake up at 6:00 to 61 degrees, 80% humidity. This is in the house, not outside. Outside is 50 or 55 or something. But in the house it's freezing, and no matter what I do I can't get warm. Nat had warned me that this humidity makes the chill seem to cut through you, and I'm now understanding what she means. This is starting to take a mental toll. Tropical island my ass. When Calvin woke up he told me I should turn the heater on in the office. I love heat right now.

I hem and haw around the house, thinking that if it's this cold inside, then riding a bike outside is going to be brutal. But as soon as I get dressed in my bike clothes, I warm up. On the road I feel fine, not cold at all. I just go, no real plan on the ride other than to check out the river bike paths again. I reverse what I did coming up, and before long I'm on the path looking out across the river at this:

The first 45 minutes of the ride is a repeat of what I did the other day, then I go to explore more paths south of where I crossed over. The bike path seems to be everywhere at times, going both right, left and straight. And sometimes looping back on itself and suddenly reversing itself to do a 180 from the direction you were just going.

I make my way south, and the path ranges from boardwalks to cobblestones to wide smooth paths. But the route I take is a rapid fire stream of road and parking lot crossings, with these metal tongs placed close together to keep the scooters out. So you get up to speed, slow down, speed up, and on and on. Eventually the path narrows a bit and it seems less populated, and I start to approach the mountains south of the city, heading towards YingGe, a place we'll likely visit in a few days to buy some ceramics of some sort.

Look! Another bridge!

I like that they add flair to the city in random spots like that. The bikeway is well done, but I have to be honest, it's kinda mind-numbing at the same time. Turn, turn, split in 3, boardwalk, random split, road crossing, stairs, and on and on and on. I stuck it out for 2 hours when it was time to turn around and head home. On the way down I saw this, which I certainly don't see everyday:

RC Aiplanes

On the way back one of the guys had something like an air force jet, which sounded real as anything. It screamed through the air and sure seemed to be jet powered, not propeller. It landed just as I was coming through, and it sat on the "runway" and sounded exactly like a jet, just a fraction of the size. I also saw some RC cars and took video, but frankly it's boring.

On the way back I hopped off the path to try and pick up 106 to take a different way home and never saw a sign for 106. So I just on the road and was more than happy to wing it among the cars, trucks, and scooters. The bikeway gets to be too much if you're going more than 12 mph. I imagine I'll use it again, but I need to find the better parts and avoid the stairs and crap like that.

Eventually I had to admit that I was possibly getting myself into trouble, as I was somehow at the verge of an on-ramp which I think led to a highway. So I looked at the GPS and jumped back on the bikeway to get my bearings. Shortly after I found 108, which went up the hill more directly than the big loop around the north.

The start was jam packed with traffic, but after that it went up the hill a bit less steeply than the other road. Traffic was still a little raw on top (lousy road, little to no shoulders, a lot of trucks) but it did get me where I needed to go.

It didn't rain all day, though the whole ride was done under gray skies. I feel like this was a dreadfully boring adventure.

After I got home I ate a bunch then did some work and made some coffee. Nobody was here so it was relatively quiet, though all I felt like doing was laying down and taking a nap. I had been out almost 3.5 hours and I was tired. Maybe around 4:30 they came back, and the calming reassurance of noise returned.

Dinner was at a place that Calvin and I stopped in to get some chicken for dinner the other night, a solid Taiwanese sit-down restaurant. Before dinner, Julia was happy enough. This is blurry but she has such a nice smile, so I kept it:

But it didn't last, as she didn't like the food and was complaining about...well, just about everything. Once she started playing games on Nat's phone she forgot all about it though. Dinner was noodles, chicken, cabbage, tofu with 1000 year egg, a sweetbread thing, eggplant and intestine, and finally soup. You can check the pic pink at the bottom for a description of all the foods. But the tofu thing was my favorite:

This was on display. I didn't eat it though. It looks, well a bit raw:

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



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