Kenting – Day One

A couple of days before our Kenting trip, it gets announced that a pretty strong typhoon was heading to Taiwan and would hit us during the days we were going to be lazying by the beach, enjoying the sun, and not worrying about ginormous waves dragging us out to sea. Up to the day that we left for the trip, the news continued to report on this HUGE typhoon coming straight at us. And this typhoon was not the only negative event that would affect our trip south. However, even though there were quite a few trials and tribulations during our trip, it was still one of the funnest and most memorable trips I’ve had. And that’s probably all thanks to to the people that I went with, old friends and new friends! The trip was partly to celebrate our 10 year high school reunion, and also my last trip with friends here before heading to the States for grad school.

Good, no, great times.

So, here we go.

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The sister, Cassie, and I met up at the HSR station bright and early to take the super fast train to Zuoying. Luckily for us, the typhoon hadn’t hit yet, so it was a partly cloudy trip. When we got to Zuoying, we were supposed to take the bus to Hengchun, but as we were waiting by the bus stop, a taxi driver approached us and said that he’d take us, in a cab, to Hengchun in exchange for our bus tickets with no extra charge. That seemed like a good deal since it would be a lot faster by taxi than by bus, and hey, no extra charge! So we agreed, and he had us wait at their “office” for 15 minutes. While waiting, we started to wonder if this was a good idea (what if he was taking us to get sold?!). Luckily, the cab came, and we were on our way to Hengchun where we would need to find another taxi to take us to our hotel. Little did we know how difficult that would be …….

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We arrive in Hengchun and the weather is still hot and sunny even though I think it had started raining up north (good sign!). So, we decide to get lunch first at a lunch box store that had pretty much run out of everything. Heh, luckily we got the lunch boxes that we wanted, but while we were eating, we kept hearing customers ask for this and that and getting the reply that they were out and the customers would have to wait. It was kinda funny.

After lunch it was time to get a cab to the hotel. This was difficult as there were no free cabs driving around looking for fares. We did manage to find one cab, but he said it would cost 600NT to take us to our hotel, and we decided that was far too expensive. So, we decided to take the bus to the stop closest to our hotel and walk the rest of the way (2.6km). The bus arrives, we three are the only people to get on, and the bus goes on its way. It turns into a long road, makes a u-turn at some point, and I’m wondering where the hell the bus is going. We make it to the last stop, which was the stop I thought we would get off at, but it turns out that our stop was the one where the bus had made the u-turn. Even worse, the driver said that he doesn’t stop at that one on the way back to Hengchun, and I’m just thinking, “holy sh!t, this is not good” because there is a 5 to 10 minute drive between each bus stop, which means quite a long walk. Luckily, it wasn’t raining, but the wind was huge, and it was still pretty hot, and we were all in our flip flops.

Thankfully, the driver was kind enough to stop at the intersection where we would then need to turn and walk the 2.6km to our hotel. At the intersection, there was an old lady selling coconut water, and that made Cassie a happy person and made the walk more bearable for her. But still, we were carrying our super heavy bags, walking down a long stretch of hilly road with no sidewalks in flip flops, our dresses getting blown every which way by the wind, and with cars and buses driving past us somewhat constantly. Therefore, unsurprisingly, we were bitching the whole way about how in the middle of nowhere the hotel was, how freaking huge the winds were, how hot it was, and many other things.

Finally, we make it to the hotel, and we all admit how worth it the long trek was.

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It’s not really a hotel, but more a bed & breakfast, and the design/decorations inside the rooms was very, very nice. You can tell it was well thought out and that the owner of the b&b is probably a designer. The B&B wasn’t located next to a beach, but this worked out well for us, since with the typhoon here, going to the beach wasn’t an option. We could still see the sea, though, and the waves were huge. The B&B was all white, and all the rooms had a view of the sea. The all-white buildings stood out against the green background of the mountains, and I’m sure on a sunny day, it would stand out against the blue of the sky and the sea. They had two dogs who, though not extremely friendly, didn’t menace the guests. I guess they just had a “whatever” attitude towards guests. The B&B also had bicycles guests could rent for free. On a nicer day, we might have taken advantage of it, but I feel like if we had gone bike riding, we would have just kept on getting blown over by the wind.

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Our room had three floors. The first floor was the living room area, second floor was the bathroom area, and third floor was the sleeping area. We had seven people sleeping there the first night, and there was plenty of space for all of us.

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The bathroom area had three separate rooms with a sink on the outside. One was the toilet, another a standing shower, and the third had a bath tub. This was a good configuration since there were so many of us. Two people could shower at the same time without affecting people who needed to use the toilet or wash their hands/brush their teeth. Also, the bathtub. I love the bathtub. It had little feet! Plus the tiles were awesome. Everything had the black and white color scheme, and it just looked very old school. The hangers for clothes were of deer heads, and there was a big window that looked out to the sea. It was perfect for sitting around and watching the huge waves coming in.

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There were also all these little old school decorations that made the place even better. It was these small details that showed the people who designed the place gave a lot of thought to it.

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The B&B also had a small cafe/bar that was also very nicely decorated. Many windows that allowed customers to sit and enjoy the sea view. Since we couldn’t do any beach-related activities thanks to the typhoon, and we were all parched from the long walk, we decided to just chill in the cafe with nice, cold alcoholic beverages and wait for the others to show up. There were some occasional trips outside to take photos, but we essentially spent the rest of the afternoon in the cafe.

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The blue drink was a specialty of the cafe. Aside from alcohol, the bartender also added salt from Okinawa and a carbonated drink, so the drink was sweet and salty. It kind of tasted like those 彈珠汽水 (Japanese drink with marbles). Super yummy! And Kasteel Rouge is cherry-flavored beer, which was perfect for coolling down. The orange drink was the tropical mojito, and the white-ish drink was a cocktail with yakult. All very, very yummy. We also ate dinner there, and the food was quite yummy.

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Some shots of the ginormous waves. Pictures really don’t show just how big they were, though. Personally, this was the first time I’d seen waves this big in Kenting, but then again, I don’t go down there that often. Either way, new experience for me, and it was kind of scary just how big the waves were.
After night fell and two more of our friends came, we went back to our rooms, showered, and started enjoying some wine. There were also small yoga lessons going on, thanks to yoga pro Cassie.

Then, at some point, the water went out because the electricity at the water company went out. Thank goodness we had all showered earlier, so that just meant we couldn’t really go to the bathroom. Then, some time later, the electricity went out. Which meant no air conditioning. Considering how the windows couldn’t be opened, it soon became way too hot to stay in the room, so we went to sit outside. Luckily the building blocked the wind somewhat, so it was nice and cool sitting and chilling outside. Also, by this point, we had all drank enough wine that the lack of water and electricity didn’t put a damper on our fun, so it was all good. The last two friends to arrive on the first day finally got here, but unfortunately for them, they arrived when the power and water were unavailable. Good thing for them, not too long after their arrival, everything came back on. And with the A/C back, we all blissfully passed out thus ending our first day in Kenting during Typhoon Soulik.

I must say that we were very lucky to be in the South when the typhoon hit. Apparently wind and rain in the north was insane. And it didn’t even pour until the end of our trip, and we were all heading back north. Lucky lucky!

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