Archive for September, 2007

29
Sep
07

Power…

After the lighthouse, we went to check out the public display of the nuclear power plant in Kenting.  The water of the beach is used to cool down the reactor.  My fondest memory of it was its strong air conditioning.  While my dad was getting the tour and everyone else was playing with the displays, I flopped on a padded bench, cooled down, and had popsicles.

As it’s an alternative energy site– it has this swooping solar panel thing outside.

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29
Sep
07

Erluanbi

We went for a quick visit to Erluanbi (also known as Eluanbi) to see the lighthouse which was put up to prevent foreign ships from coming ashore.  The aborigines apparently had this habit of killing everyone aboard, so foreign governments petitioned China, who controlled Taiwan at that point, to put up a lighthouse to warn sailors off from coming ashore.

The park provided us a nice volunteer tour guide.  We were in a bit of a rush, so we were hustling down the paths and didn’t follow the whole scenic walkway along the beach.  I ended up feeling a bit fuzzy and getting heat exhaustion.

 

 

From the walk to the beach:

 

I love the colors of the water in the tidepool.

 

Was definitely heat-exhuasted by this point…

 

 

 

29
Sep
07

Coconut

At the end of our jerky truck ride, we got to get out, stretch our legs a bit and I spotted this fellow who was selling coconuts or ye-tze. I ended up limiting my ramble-on-rocks ability by buying a few, so my cousin could try his first coconut juice-from-the-coconut, and I ended up with hand and arms full of the large bouncy things. Coconuts bounce. When I had my first coconut juice directly from a coconut, it was in Danshuei. I think it was after my uncle’s funeral in a brief visit I had. My (then-little) cousins and I got coconuts to sip from with straws next to the river, and I was amazed that inside this big green melon was that little brown furry ball I saw at the supermarket labeled as coconut.

I was never fond of coconut shavings or coconut in chocolate. However, I liked the sweet clear juice slipping down my throat, and the coconuts were fun to try to break, but bounced, not quite as well as a basketball (which didn’t prevent my attempts to dribble), but quite satisfactorily bounced on the cement sidewalks.

So, we sipped our coconuts dry through plastic white straws, and then my mother led me back to the grand coconut man, who obligingly sliced through our coconuts and carved the white meat out for us. The white meat is where the coconut shavings come from, and it’s actually pretty tasteless next to the actual coconut juice. It’s a very crisp texture.

I still prefer the juice.

The grand coconut man wielding his curved knife expertly, and precisely to get the meat out for us. When he was halving the coconut and chopping out the squared hole for our straws, it was more like hacking with that scythe, but getting the meat out he showed a deft grace.

29
Sep
07

Photos taken out of the back seat of a rickety bus

Jialeshuei (I think this is the name of where we were)….

On the coast of Kenting there are rocky beaches with interesting rock formations. The rock is made of different substances so as it is eroded, it develops mini-craters in the bits that are… more easily dissolved.

There were rocks that had gradations of pink through deep brown. Formations that resembled a snail, a battleship (which was apparently bombed a few times by the Americans during WWII, and mystified them since it never sunk), seals, etc.

We got on a rickety bus with open sides and benches for seats. It drives along the coast and stops every now and then momentarily for photo-ops. Then at the very end of the run, you’re allowed to hop out and wander a little bit before piling back in and swaying as the bus rattles back.

Another link.

29
Sep
07

Ready, set, go!

So, I’m (obviously quite) behind on posts by around four months now (keeping in mind that I’m in such a state that I just had to count off the months on my fingers).  There wasn’t much going on besides being flopped on my bed with my ankles up post-parental trip, so there wasn’t much to blog, but I did sort of promise myself to be all set by Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival) so I could blog that.  Mid-Autumn Festival was last weekend.  D’oh.

I have however been scribbling on other projects (one of which was the GRE writing section– it was a bit humbling to sit through the test administrator’s instructions and only understand the word “way-shen-ji”–tissue, which by the way, turns out not to be allowed in the testing center.) and acquiring a legion of work and battling six-legged unwanted roommates (the joys of living in a tropical urban area!) and trying to cook (okay, only twice, really).

However, I am now going to have a blogging marathon and be a good blogger and get caught up.  Here goes…

16
Sep
07

Rock on!

A not-so-good photo of a very interesting rock down on the beach in Kenting.

Many thanks to Paideia for nominating me as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger (I wrote most of this post an eon ago, which I have just gotten around to linking and posting up here).

(If I had the photoshopping talents of Oh, The Joys! I’d make my own button with a rock on it… Thanks to her, I’m more of a vintage girl, and my honorees get to meerow!)

I feel as if I should spread some gratitude as befits such an award… So, ahem, (imagines self with deep red flowy gown and for once gorgeous, and not graceless as I hop up on the podium here)…

Thanks to my family and friends for being the initial motivation for my blogging and encouraging me. Also to my family here in Taiwan who have taken me on most of the adventures documented here. A special thanks to my photographer uncle who facilitated my acquisition of a Sony Cybershot to replace my gutsy, but now unreliable Canon A75. My gratitude to Michael Turton and other Taiwan bloggers who have sent readers my way, and to all of you readers who slog through my excessive parenthetical clauses and even comment sometimes.

I haven’t really been reading much in the way of geared-to-the-public girl-blogs lately, so my nominations shall be sparse–

If there were ever a Rockin’ Girl Blogger, it would have to be Miss Maddy Gaiman (scroll down– her posts are bookended her father Neil Gaiman). She has to be the coolest guest blogger ever, though I’m quite fond of her father’s blogging and books too.

Paideia‘s other joint outpost of bloggery: Curdistan (what’s not to love about a blog entitled “Curdistan”!) on two ex-New Yorkers roughing it out in Wisconsin is fun.

Somimi rocks her blog with lovely art and fantastic shots of insects.

Jolynna’s blog makes me hungry with recipes (if I ever really have a nice kitchen and all my pots set up, I’m going to try pasta sauce outside of a jar) and coo over her animals.

For blogs by guys that rock–

Alton Brown’s posts range from Taiwan’s military rule to Marc Chagall and Beverly Sills which all work together nicely.

Tim’s ponderings about the vast and the quotidien are interesting, fun, and his photos catch birds on camera.

Misanthrope’s posts on both of his rambling blogs are thought-provoking.

Jonathan Carroll’s blog alternately grabs me and makes me wistful.

The aforementioned Michael Turton has blogged on Taiwan, its politics, and critters wonderfully.

And there are probably blogs I’ve forgotten to mention. So, if I’ve forgotten you, kick me in the comments, and maybe I shall nominate you as one of the Rockin’ crew.

(Okay, sorry, my brain made that rhyme, and it’s totally cheesy, but I’m sleep-deprived and therefore find the cheesiness appropriate for a post with “Rockin'” in the subject that features a photo of a… well, rock, because I’m really a slightly odd selection for the kind that involves guitar-crashing. This was especially highlighted this week when the clerk at my local everything store, who has taken me on an extended tour for furniture dusting polish once, including a visit to electrical cords, socks, and laundry detergent– the joy of shopping when one is illiterate and functionally dumb!– and has eagerly encouraged me to stop by frequently– was shocked because I didn’t recognize Bon Jovi on the store loudspeakers… My education has been rather deficient I guess! Anyone want to teach me guitar and grab me some leather pants?)

11
Sep
07

More from Kenting National Park

There was a greenhouse of cultivated rare flowers there.  This one was just outside of the greenhouse.

The tree with ribbons for roots.

One of the caves– there were caves dripping with stalactites (or is it stalagmites?) dimly lit with names like “Fairy’s Cave” and “Silver Dragon Cave.”

Sometimes exploring the nature of Taiwan feels like I’ve truly stepped into an alternate world– everything looks just a little bit familiar except when it doesn’t at all. For instance, there are butterflies, but they aren’t the butterflies I remember–the colors are different, the wings are bigger, or their flight is more bird-like.  Or there is greenery in the mountains, but the texture is completely different from what I grew up with.  The rose apple is the shape of a pear with the waxy translucent skin of a candle, and the flesh of an almost spongy apple.  It must have been so exciting for the early explorers to find this lush green island with its mountains of sleeping volcanos and trees weighed down with fruit.  The new variety makes the idea of magic more possible– reality has expanded.

Another link for Kenting National Park with more pictures.




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