11/3-11/4 Northwards Ho!
The rain continued to attack us through the day on Saturday the 2nd on into the night. Heavy, unrelenting Tropical rain, no mistake about it. We began to fear that our riding days were numbered. Our trip might die along with Kroosa the Typhoon, which the media promised was petering out. Riding was impossible, so we did what we could on Saturday to mitigate the weather. First we went out to eat, and then, following tradition, went out to eat. For dinner we ended up at a restaurant a couple towns away, and then we repaired to a tiny place off the main busy street, one that specialized in real shaved ice: a six-inch cube spun at incredible speed while a blade below directed ice shavings into a bowl. Your choice of toppings, including beans:
Back outside we stumbled into some kind of a loud folk-arts festival/contest that dominated the town square and we enjoyed that, counting our blessings that it wasn’t karaoke.
Then it was back to Kenting to see what Sunday morning would bring. The town is actually quite a small place, a double-lane highway along the beach, lined with lots of businesses catering to the beach crowd — bars, t-shirt shops, souvenir places, cafes and guest houses. Lots of crowds, but move along folks, nothing to see here.
But Sunday morning, the 3rd, actually brought a reprieve from weather gods — and the promise of a break from storms for several days. Immediately a plan was hatched to go for a short scenic ride out and up over the blade of land that constitutes the southernmost tip of Taiwan. On this ride we got to see the Pacific Ocean, the Straights of Taiwan, and the South China Sea.
We stopped for a moment to admire a piece of rock that the locals have named after a U.S. president. Look and see if you could guess which one:
Yes, you are right: it’s Nixon’s head!
After a tough climb inland we returned and congratulated ourselves at Howards Beach Resort, eating Buddha fruit and beer on the deck.
A group favorite before dinner.
The following day, Monday the 4th, we bid farewell to Kenting, pedaling North now under mixed clouds and high cross winds.
Here we enjoyed the strange nuts that Stephen and David had bought from a roadside stand along the way. We called them “mustache nuts” because of their shape; their taste and texture are kind of a cross between chestnuts and water chestnuts. The rest of the meal was a set menu, superb and strange.
Afterwards, we pressed on to Sandimen, washed the grit off our bikes and went out to dinner at an aboriginal site belonging to the Paiwan tribe up in the hills, sitting on a promontory at about 1500 feet and looking West at the most fantastic views out to the ocean. We sat at tables outside under cloudy skies with the moon glowing through, gazing off as the evening cooled and our dinners arrived.
Everyone remarked on the sign with directions to the washrooms at the bottom of the stairs.
And so it was that the day ended. We were on the downhill run of the ride, and sightseeing was taking over the biking exercises.