11/5 Closing in on that Asian Rush(-hour)
The motel in Sandimen acted as the perfect launch pad on Tuesday morning, the 5th. We gathered early for a photo op
and then on to a 7-11 for coffee.
Afterwards we set off briskly for Tainan, over sixty miles north. Along the way lay some interesting stops.
A mid-morning flat tire caused some delay. The temperature had soared to well into the 90s so we stopped to wait for stragglers at a famous ice cream store nearby. It was owned by a family from the Hakka tribe, a Taiwanese aboriginal tribe with original roots in China. The owners were the third generation of the family that had started the store; the site, house and grounds were beautiful, and the town, also Hakka, was clean and tidy.
We pressed on to see some examples of Hakka homes.
We had hoped to reach Tainan, our destination for the day, by 4:00, but the approach was via a busy main road, and by now we were in the thick of rush hour traffic. We stopped to view a noble temple, then made our way into Tainan proper.
Along the roadside we came upon a truck with a stage outfitted onto its side, blaring loud music and what sounded like speeches. We thought that perhaps it was something political, but when we stopped to investigate it turned out to be a puppet show, with a fight going on between warrior gods. There was thrashing about, lots of waving of swords, and heavy-handed declamations. On a nearby table was a great feast laid out, paid for, we learned, by the patron of the puppet show.
Perhaps, then, it was about politics.
In any case, we traveled on for miles into Tainan — the original capital of Taiwan — negotiating frantic rush hour traffic as the light faded and the streets filled, finally reaching our resting spot in the center of the city. It was a fine, fancy hotel that buffered us from the teeming street life, and we settled in. We recovered in time to head back out into the busy streets and find a delightful place that offered hot pot cooking at its best, with Taiwan beer offering true hydration. A record was set.
We finally returned to our rooms and sank into deeply-hydrated slumber for tomorrow’s business.