Monday, August 09, 2010

Penghu Day 2

OK, Penghu was beautiful. By far the nicest beaches in Taiwan.

On Day 2 we had some breakfast, and did a little bit of shopping, and then split up- 2 went for a glass-bottom boat tour, and Jessica and I went to a beach to hang out and later have surfing hong kong penghu KHS 090lessons. She wanted to surf and we randomly saw a Chinese flyer (that did say “Surf Club” or something in English) and we read enough to see that they offered surfing lessons, and had a name and cell phone number of a foreigner. We called him in the morning and he told us to come to Shan Shui beach, and the waves would be best around the high tide at 3 pm.

We got a taxi to take us to the “Fenggui blowholes” (cool rock formations) then drop us at the beach. hong kong penghu KHS 087 We wound up getting the same taxi driver from the day before (I didn’t recognize him because I was in the back) and he was like, “Yesterday, there were 4 foreign English teachers who went snorkeling. Do you know them?” Uh, we are them! It was a pretty funny taxi ride. At one point he said he was over 60, and I said he only looked to be in his 40s. He was all happy so I asked (jokingly) if he could give us a cheaper fare. “If you tell me I look like I’m in my 20s, it’s free!” he said.

hong kong penghu KHS 095The foreigner told us that beach umbrellas and pizza were available at the Penghu Surf Club, but it was so hot and the sun was so strong that we didn’t want to walk around looking for it. We found a place that had umbrellas to rent and basic Taiwanese food and they were the least friendly people I’ve ever dealt with. :) No matter, we got an umbrella and a quick lunch and headed to the beach. It was around noon and the umbrella was awesome. There was hardly anyone on the beach at this point. We went in the water for a while, and relaxed for a while. The beach was great, with no rocks or coral, and the water was very clear. Pretty enough that some people came to take wedding photos! In Taiwan they take photos in their wedding clothes early and then give out pictures at the actual event. Still, I can’t imagine getting sand on such a pretty wedding gown!

After a while the crowds started to pick up but the waves didn’t. Behind the beach over a flood wall there were some vendors setting up so I would occasionally go to get more cold water and then I got a snack that I thought was some mysterious sea creature. hong kong penghu KHS 096 It turned out to be a kind of fried sweet-potato pancake. Well my poor Chinese skills got me delicious food for once. But as soon as I got back under the unbrella this dumb dog came up to us, thinking it would get my food. I had to eat my snack away from our blanket and encouraged the dog to go away in both English and Chinese, much to the amusement of the other beach-goers. I had to go throw my wrapper and drink away so she wouldn’t lay by our towels and stink it up.

In the meantime, as the sun made its way across the sky, our umbrella began to cast more and more shade. A family with 2 little boys kind of camped out at the edge of our shade, which was no problem at first because they were cute. Later though it got awkward. Many little kids just wear their underwear at the beach but in this case their underwear quickly go wet so the parents took it off, leaving us with 2 half-naked boys playing in the sand 3 feet from us. And it was the wrong half that was naked.

When they left, the other 2 made it back from the glass boat and onto the beach. Even before they came, these 2 Taiwanese guys, in jeans and t-shirts, started standing at the edge of our shade, staring at us, and discussing us in Chinese. My efforts to get them to go away went from glaring at them, to asking them to leave, to having a rather poetic Chinese exchange in which I extolled the virtues of looking at the sea, the mountains and the many Taiwanese people instead of at foreigners, and finally to moving our umbrella so that it was between us and them, at which point they just moved so they could keep looking at us. Happily the sun was going down and it was soon time to leave anyways.

After a quick shower at the hotel we walked over to a restaurant we’d seen last night- “Havana Bar & Grill” with 6 choices of thin-crust pizza and lots of choices of coctails, with a bilingual menu and English-speaking manager. Quite delightful.

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