Monday, September 01, 2008

Taian Part 3

We got up in plenty of time for the breakfast- which was breakfast sandwiches and tea.  But the breakfast sandwiches consisted of white bread, fried egg, dried pork (which is every bit as vile as it sounds), lots of mayo and some green vegetables.  So not really something I was gonna eat.  (As the only things on that list that I do eat are bread and veggies.)  But Jasmine loved it.

I'd been thinking about staying over another night, but I knew hiking wouldn't be good as most of the trails were closed for the landslide, and getting food in me would've been tough, as no one in the whole town spoke English and I didn't like the breakfast.  So we hit the hot springs one more time and hit the road.

By then I was famous as the girl who rode her bike from Fong Yuan.  The lady at the hot springs offered to lend us her binoculars if we wanted to go bird-watching- so sweet!  Then a worker at the hotel wanted to give me advice about how to go home- he said I could go to this town called Sanyi (famous for wood-carving) and it would hardly be any further.  The way he knew involved a lot of turns but he had a map and we saw another road that cut across called 132.  I figured that would be easier.

I stopped at the 7-11 I'd missed on the way out and fueled up with some chocolate milk and a snickers bar- don't know if that counts for nutrition?  It didn't rain and it was actually a comfortable temperature.  The riding wasn't too bad- lots of flat, a few hills I climbed without too much trouble.  My gears were making the crazy we-need-lube noise, but I was stuck- no bike shops, and even before my trip, I would go into a bike shop to buy some lube and they would squirt my bike up for free and not sell me any.  Oh well.

I turned onto the road 130- extremely easy to find- and immediately started climing uphill.  And climbing.  Well, up ahead is a curve.  And it obscures another hill.  So I climb some more.  And some more.  I never would have taken that road if I'd known that I would climb straight up for over 8 km- and I learned the hard way that when you go slower than 8 kph, it takes you over and hour to go 8 km. 

Beautiful views though.  I stopped and had the best peaches I'd ever had- apparently that road is known as the peach road- and then an expensive cup of iced coffee at the "Mile High Cafe" (maybe a literal mile?  Maybe not.)  I was drawn in by the English sign saying, Welcome!  Enjoy a break!  But no English inside. I could have used some food but I can still only read the basic characters- pig, chicken, cow, meat, rice, noodle.  Which you'd think would be enough, but does that mean pig intestines or cow feet?  No way to know.  So iced coffee it was.

I would've taken pictures of it all but with the humidity and haze they come out not well.  So quiet out there too.  I think I rode into the clouds!  Or at least into some higher fog.

The ride down was awesome!  Part of the way was just a slight downhill so I could peddle- I always go faster on those than on straight downhills because I'm such a wimp.  Before my highest speed was 46 kph but there I hit 49!  I hunkered down and pedaled like crazy but couldn't break 50. 

Then, I was in Sanyi.  Lonely Planet warned that it was as ugly as any other small town in Taiwan.  I bought some noodles from a stand, then hit a wood-carving museum.  But I realized quickly that I'm not really interested in wood carving, nor do I particularly want to buy any carved wood.  Lonely planet talked about a pretty trail near town but there were mean dogs at the start of what I thought was the road going to the trail, and I gave up pretty easily on that.  (Actually,  I was pretty tired.)

On the way out of town I found a bike shop- he lubed me up and sold me a can of lube!  Yay!  The bike sounded so much better.  From there it was an easy trek through another ugly town, and then home!  And a nap.  Even though it was hard I'm glad I went home that way.

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