Kenting, Kenting, Kenting!

Tired, sunburned, but overall a good time. I had fun and learned quite a bit of new things about old people. But I guess that’s what happens when you go out with high school friends who hung out with different people; you learn things you never knew. Blackmail material! Heh, just kidding. Although, I do have some fantastic pictures that could potentially be used as blackmail material …. 😛

Anyway, it was a good trip even though things weren’t planned down to the very last minute. Actually, our plans were formulated the day of, or more like the minute before. The general idea was to get to our place of abode, drop stuff off, go to beach, and go from there, and that’s pretty much what happened. There was a lot of indecisiveness – what to do now? I dunno, what do you want to do? I don’t care. Oh, neither do I. 😛 But that didn’t spoil the fun, at least not for me. It’s how I do things. Hah!

Still, reality intruded a couple of times on this vacation. Well, here I’m speaking for my sister and I. On our trip down to Kenting, we were bombarded with phone calls and making quite a few of them ourselves regarding family matters. Then, on the third day, my mom calls me and drops the “we’re getting transferred to D.C.” bomb. UGH. Talk about bummers, but it helped that we were vacationing and having a good time. It puts things outta the mind, except now it’s like whiplash – I’m having constantly to think about it and wonder about the future.

Time to recap our trip ….

Day One

After the sister got out of tutoring, we took the HSR down to Zuoying. My first time on the super fast train! And it was super fast because it took less than 2 hours to reach our destination. The station at Zuoying is actually pretty snazzy looking – reminded us of an airport, and since it was a weekday, there was barely anyone there.

Getting outta the station, we went in search of the bus that would take us to Kenting. Instead, we found a taxi, which we would share with two other strangers that would take us to our hotel and be one hour shorter in travel time (the bus takes three hours because it has to stop at all these other stops and also go to Kaoshiung first). The price wasn’t that much more than the bus, so we figured it’d be worth it. It was. The view, once we got off the high way, was so pretty – you could see the ocean!!! Super exciting. When we got to Kenting, it took a bit longer to find our hotel because it was located in a small alleyway that cars don’t have access to. We ended up just getting off in front of KFC and had Picker come out to find us. She and Dan had arrived two hours before us (since they came from Taichung and left way earlier). Phew! Thankfully they were already there. Otherwise we’d probably be super lost and confused.

The hotel looked pretty ghetto. I use the term “hotel” very loosely. I don’t know what else to call the places we stayed at. Kinda like hostels, I guess. Anyway, the outside looked sketchy, but the room was decently nice. Wooden floors, big beds, TV with cable, our own bathroom … meh, what more could you ask for?

The only two complaints I had of the place – 1. Pillows were too high; 2. Stupid a/c making alternating noises throughout the night that made my sleep not so good. If it was a constant sound, it’d have been ok because you can get used to it, but nope, it alternated between sounds. So just as you get used to one sound, it changes! to another sound! so you have to get used to that sound! and then it changes! …. ok so, I did not get a good night’s rest. I don’t think Dan did either because he went to bed after us, and he woke up way earlier than the rest of us and played on his PSP. We all woke up before the original planned wake up time, though. Aih, stupid air conditioner that we were still grateful to have because it was so freakishly hot outside.

After we got to the hotel, changed into shorts and tanks, we went out in search of a beach. We still had an hour or two left of daylight and just wanted to see a beach. The hotel was located on the edge of the night market area, so when we walked out, we saw people starting to set up their stands. We ended up at Xiao Wan, which was a relatively short walk from the hotel, but it felt like a long walk in the heat. It was a relatively small beach, and the bar located on the edge of it was blasting Backstreet Boys as we walked down. Intereeeeesting.

Then it was dinner time – we walked along the night market road in search of a place to eat. We saw a Taiwanese celebrity dude handing out fliers for a Bao Zi store that’s owned by another Taiwanese celeb. At first I didn’t even notice it was him until Picker was like, isn’t that someone famous? After staring at him a couple more times, we decided it was. 😛 We were even surer when some random chicks asked to take pictures with him.

Finally ended up, sweaty, at a pizza/pasta restaurant. The food was decent – yummy sour cream chicken pasta. 🙂

Prior to coming on this trip, we’d decided that we’d get around Kenting via bicycles. That was before we arrived and saw how far each place was from each other (we were staying at three different locations – night market area, Fan Chaun Shi, and Nan Wan). Picker decided to sacrifice herself for the greater good and rented a motorcycle along with Dan, so we could travel via motorcycle. Thankfully we did. I cannot imagine us having to carry our backpacks in the hot, hot mid-day sun, biking to each location. The reason we say Picker sacrificed herself is because she doesn’t really know how to ride a (motor)bike. Nor did she have her driver’s license with her, so we had to find a place who’d be willing to rent us two bikes on one license (Dan’s).

Because of Picker’s inexperience with the bike, she (carrying my sister) sped along at a constant 30 km/hr, and it required three (some times four) people to park the bike, u-turn the bike, and basically move the bike when the motor wasn’t running (which was often). Thankfully Dan was there to help out with sticky situations (like crossing the bike to the other side of the busy street or parking the bike in squishy places). It was a sight to see, too bad I didn’t get to take pictures as I was often times busy helping with the bike.

After getting the bikes, we went in search of a restaurant/bar/pub to get some cocktails. Another general theme of the vacation – cocktails! There were quite a few places with cocktails, but somehow we ended up at a restaurant/bar with scantily clad girls and a guy pole dancing and lap dancing. Mmmmyah, awkward!!! There were even kids in there – not too sure what the parents were thinking when they brought them in for dinner.

When we walked in, it was this guy in tight, tight underwear doing some very, um, sexual moves on a girl seated in a chair in front of him. Then he was pole dancing, and yah, I had my back towards him, so I don’t really know what else he did. Picker recognized the dancer as someone she’d seen/met the last time she was in Kenting. Hah … interesting. Then after the guy, there were a couple of bikini-clad girls trying to give guys lap dances for tips. One approached Dan, but Dan was too cool for her. But there was this chick shaking her butt right next to my face as she was dancing for this other guy who was seated at the table next to us. Yah, awkward. And even more awkward was when these obasan and ojisan showed up and the ojisans started pole dancing! And one of the bikini-clad girls went up to dance with him. Aaaaaand the guy started taking his shirt off. Aaaaand, the guy’s wife was there cheering him on …. =.= Not my cup of tea. It was just too awkward that we got our drinks, drank, left. Don’t think I want to go there ever again.

Post-awkward-drinking experience, we went to 7-11 and got ourselves a deck of cards and some smirnoff and went back to the hotel. Played some Chinese poker with Picker struggling along (“Nobody else got a three of clubs?!” – Picker). It was so funny! (Sorry Picker). But we were all tired, so basically we were in bed by 12 (at least the girls were). Another overarching theme of the trip – back to the hotel and in bed relatively early-ish (nobody stayed up past 3 am).

(spot the smirnoff!)

Day Two

We woke up at 9:30ish due to the frustrating sound of the air conditioning and checked out. We went in search of breakfast and a 7-11 because my sister needed to do some insurance stuff for my cousin, so she needed a fax machine. Found breakfast next to 7-11, got the insurance stuff done, and planned what to do for the next coupla hours.

After breakfast we headed to our next location and hotel at Fan Chuan Shi (I’m still so grateful for the bikes). Dropped off our stuff at the hotel, which, by the way, was decent except for the fact that there was a naked girl painted on the wall in our room who resembled the daughter of the owner. Mmmmyah, it was kind of scary waking up in the middle of the night and seeing her.

Went to the beach, which was right across from our hotel (sweet!!!!). Except it was 12 pm. And it was blue skies, bright sun, no clouds. That was kind of dumb. We got an umbrella and chilled under it for a bit, but then some people (ahem) got bored, so we went to the water’s edge. While Picker and Cathy were in the water, Picker thought she kicked a limb because it felt like a body part. That freaked them out enough to get outta the water and stay out. Hah. I think we ended up deciding that it was a buoy … =.= Picker has an overactive imagination. We then tanned for a bit on the beach. Dumb. We got the tans that we wanted (after only like half an hour under the sun), but we also all got sunburned. Yah. Ouchie.

So pretty!

After we had enough of the sun and the burning, t’was time for lunch. Fan Chuan Shi is pretty empty, in terms of restaurants (and people – there really weren’t that many around). The thought of going to the beach again after lunch wasn’t that appealing, so we decided to go go-karting (thankful for bikes, yet again)! It was fun, but hard. I can’t control those things and turns were difficult. I was also afraid of going too fast. I think I got passed by Picker and Dan at least 5 times … so I didn’t make the 25 laps that we paid for. Hah! It’s times like these that make me doubt that I’d make a good driver (sniff).

Then it was off to the most southern point of Taiwan – Er Luan Bi. We got lost and separated on the way there. Dan and I went up the wrong hill, and Picker and Cathy went up the same hill as us at first, but after not seeing us for a bit, they thought they’d gone up the wrong hill, so they went up the right hill. After staying at the top of the wrong hill for a while and not seeing Picker and sister, Dan and I decided to head back down and see if we’d run into them. We did. Thankfully. But this also taught us to make sure each bike has at least one cell phone instead of one bike having all the damn phones. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures of the place speak for itself (except for one thing – there were a lot of damn mosquitoes at the wooden platform. We were eaten alive!!).

Pretty rays of sunlight shining through the clouds – the picture really doesn’t do it justice.

We decided to get outta there before we were truly eaten alive. Ended up in New Port (mall-ish place) and getting our (well, more my) daily fix of caffeine (can’t ever leave Starbucks behind) while Dan went and bought himself Naruto (mmhmm, can never escape mangas either). And also enjoyed the blasting a/c – it’s so hot in Kenting. So. Hot.

We were all pretty pooped, so we went back to the hotel to rest. Dan stayed in the room to sleep while us girls went to the beach to nap. It’s nice listening to the waves as you fall asleep. As it got darker, the clouds dissipated and the stars came out. With the lights in the distance, there was no light pollution, so the stars shone brightly. It was gorgeous. Living in cities, it’s rare that you get to see a sky filled with stars thanks to the constant glowing lights. Down by the beach, it was fantastic. We saw the Big Dipper, we think. Decided to head back to the room before it got too dark that we couldn’t see anything (and accidentally step in dog poo).

We went back to the night market area to have dinner. A flying cockroach landed on me during our search for a restaurant (ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew … I had the heebeejeebies for a while after that. ew!!!). Decided on a Thai restaurant that had spicy food (duh). Decided to walk off the food and see the night market (it wasn’t as crowded as Tuesday night for some strange reason). We actually ran into a whole group of Picker’s relative. That was, um, unexpected. Picker had to go do her duty of saying hello to everyone while we stood by feeling awkward. 😛

There was a roadside bar – the drinks were weak. That’s all I can say.

After going back to the room, went out to star gaze some more with my sister. I swear I saw the Milky Way. I swear! (maybe) But then little boys (ok, maybe middle or high school boys) started setting off firecrackers and fireworks which freak my sister out. So we headed back into the room and watched Get Rich or Die Trying (erg. boring.) and a couple episodes of Las Vegas (Josh Duhamel – yum!) before falling asleep.

(half way there!)

Day Three

Woke up a bit later (since we went to bed later … heehee). Checked out, headed back to night market area to find brunch. Went into a pretty nice looking little restaurant which ended up being Thai again. There are quite a few Thai restaurants along that street. Got my daily dosage of caffeine and headed to next hotel, which was supposed to be the best one since it was the most expensive.

It was nice, but very minimalistic, and the owner is really laid back. When we got there, he wasn’t there, and we had to find his wai lao (maid) to drop off our stuff since the room wasn’t ready. When the room was ready, there was only one bed and the owner said he’d bring the floor mat by later that night. At night, we saw him bringing plants and asked if we could have the mat yet, and he said he’d bring it by later after we came back. Later, after we came back, we called him, and he wasn’t at the hotel, so he said he’d bring it by after he came back. =.= So yah, for lack of a better word, very laid back owner.

When we arrived at the hotel after Starbucks, we realized that Picker had forgotten her VERY IMPORTANT bag on a motorcycle in the lot we’d parked at. =.= How important is very important? Well, her DSLR, cell, and wallet were all in there ……… YAAAAH. So she hopped on Dan’s bike and they sped back to the lot, finding it, thankfully, stil on the bike. Phew! Close call!

We then went to the beach across from our hotel. It’s supposed to be one of the nicer ones, but there were a lot of people, and according to Picker and Cathy, lots of trash in the water (sadness). I didn’t go in the water this time because my period decided to grace me with its presence. Yes, talk about bad timing. So Dan and I just sat under our 300nt umbrella in silence. 😛 After they came back, we gossiped for a bit and tried to figure out what various NEHSers were doing now. This was also when I learned some of the interesting things about the old peoples. Muahaha. We talked and snacked until we could check into our room. T’was fun talking about the good old days.

We went a little bit crazy in the room. Some choice quotes:

Dan: “What’s the best hotel in Kenting?”
Picker: “水世界” (Water World – ghetto looking place)

Cathy: “We should leave the light on so the 抽油煙機 can run”
Dan: “You mean 抽風機?”

Lisa: “I have sunglasses tan!! Ahhhh!”
Picker: “You’ll look like a panda.”
Cathy: “You mean a reverse panda.”
Picker: laughs for 10 minutes straight to the point she’s keeled over with laughter. Why? I have no idea, but it was contagious and I was bent over the sink in the bathroom laughing my ass off too.

Finally, we calmed down enough and headed out to go to Bai Sha (another beach). We got lost on the way there. But after getting directions from 7-11 (thank goodness for 7-11 man), we finally arrived at the beach, and it was a pretty darn nice beach. There were a lot of people, but the water was clean, the sand was relatively white, and it was just a fantastic view, especially during the sunset. Pictures!

As we were leaving the beach, I got a call from my mom with the bomb. I think I screamed, “什麼” really loudly. Aih. But the ride back to the room calmed me down. It was nice. For me anyway. Apparently Dan and Picker had fireflies hitting their faces as they rode along. I didn’t see any, but then again I was too absorbed in the enjoyment of a the nice night breeze in my face. Thankfully the fireflies were blocked by Dan (HEEHEE, sorry Dan).

Had dinner at Bossa Nova, another hotel-ish place a couple of doors down. The decor’s really nice and the food was good, too. Had me some chicken burritos although they weren’t really burritos, but they were good nonetheless.

After dinner we stopped by the hotel to drop off our stuff with plans to head back out to walk and digest dinner and find something to do. Made sure Dan didn’t watch TV and Picker didn’t go to sleep. After walking around, we realized that everything was pretty much closed, except for Bossa Nova, so we went there for cocktails. It’s actually weird because during the research of Kenting before our trip, one of the sites said that Nan Wan has a good night life, but restaurants/bars were closed at like 9 pm! Where’s the night life?!

We sat around and talked some more. I got drunk off my long island iced tea and felt very much alone because the others seemed all sober. Never get the stronger drink when everyone else gets wimpy drinks. Sigh. 😛 But there was a lot of laughing and giggling and planning for the next weekend. ^^ There were also cockroaches on the floor (ew) and cute happa kids that Picker couldn’t keep her eyes off. Went back to the room, and my sister prevented Picker from going under the covers until she showered since the three of us girls were sleeping on the bed while Dan slept on the floor. Picker, in response, curled up into a ball.

Lucky Dan got to sleep shirtless while us girls had to keep our tops on even though we were all sunburned in the same places. Ouchie to the chafing of our shirts on our shoulders. Sigh. Stayed up until 3 am watching Numb3rs – bad idea. Super tired the next day.

This trip though, there was a lot of late night TV watching. First night was X-Files and CSI; second night was Las Vegas, and third night was Numb3rs. Yay for AXN. 😀

Day Four

Last day in Kenting! Hotel provided breakfast at a cute restaurant down the street, so we woke up early to take advantage of it (early as in 9:30). Day 4 and we all look … tired.

But hey, we need a group picture (that took three tries to get right) ….

Funny story: While in the room, Dan tells Picker to turn on the lights (“Picker, GO!”) since she’s closest to the switch. Picker reaches … for the can of Pringles. =.= We see where her priorities are.

After we finished packing, we headed back to night market area to return the bikes. Picker overshot the store, so we had to push the bike back to the store. The lady was like, is it out of gas?! We were like, nah, just didn’t want to ride bike on the wrong side of the road (pshhhh, yah rite. More like couldn’t … :P). Our taxi was picking us up at KFC, so we thought we’d just sit there and wait till it was time. Got bored. Went out walking with our heavy bags. Dumb. Hot. So hot. Sweat like crazy. Went into stores trying to find relief from the heat, but most of them didn’t have a/c on. CRAZY! One of the stores was selling t-shirts that said “幹!我怕老婆”. Heh. Played rhyming game that Dan kept losing at. Took sweaty pictures. Realized that sister and Dan were wearing matching shirts (情侶裝!!) ….

Finally, we couldn’t stand the heat anymore, so we went back into KFC and played Chinese poker (Picker, you need to utilize strategy! strategy!!!) until the taxi came. And it was finally time to head back to the HSR station and go our separate ways. But before arriving at the station, there’s one more fantastic picture of Picker:


Some overall quotes, comments, thoughts about the trip:

– Dan and his orange juice – while the rest of us were ordering coke, sprite, etc. at restaurants, Dan always ordered orange juice. We finally found out it was coz he was making up for the lack of fruits in his normal diet. Mmmm, we were confused about his healthiness for a while.

– “You have such clean (toe)nails!” Picker referring to my toe nails. I still don’t get it. Didn’t everyone have clean toe nails?!

– “That’s what friends are for” – what I said after every insult to Picker. 😀

– Bathrooms filled with girls’ underwear and bikinis … poor Dan.

– “Ooooh! Cocktails!” – Picker and her cocktails, even at 10 in the morning 😛

– Sand constantly getting into Picker’s eyes while she rode the bike.

– Sunburn and bras don’t go well together; neither do sunburns and backpacks.

– Lots of sunblock reapplication to the point that we’re nearly out of sunblock. But even then, we got sunburned and super tanned. Thankfully we brought some aloe vera to soothe the pain and decrease the amount of peeling.

– There were still people wearing long sleeves down there … what. the. heck?!

– People seem to be really trusting down there. The second place we stayed at, the owners just left their front doors open without anyone sitting at the front desk. They had their computer and other electronic gadgets lying around too!

– Dan’s the definition of packing lightly; my sister and I had the most stuff. Dan only had a small back pack and it wasn’t even bulging. My sister and I both had two bags (one big backpack and one smaller bag), which were both bulging. Aih.

… Can’t think of anymore. Feel free to add more if you think of stuff (points to Picker and Cathy since Dan doesn’t read the blog).

Phew! That was a long entry. I think it took me like two hours to type and post … And if you actually read the whole thing, well, thanks! 😀 I want to do this again next year, if I come back during the summer. Who wants to go?! Let’s gooooo!!!!

More pictures at Flickr