It is HOT! No use putting make-up on. It slides off as soon as you walk outside. Chuni and Michael tell me they don't wear deodorant. Michael says Asians don't smell. Hmmmm... when in Rome. I decide to chuck my deodorant, too. I am not Asian, but the pungent smells on the bus I think are mostly the dried fish people are buying to snack on..or are they? If I could go commando in Versailles, I can go deodorant-less in Taiwan. Underwear should certainly be optional here because it is do HOT and sticky, but when I jokingly mention that to Chuni, she doesn't seem to jump in on that one. I haven't lost my underwear (yet), but we're only 5 days into a 3 week trip and there's a side trip to Hong Kong in there...
I am writing this on my iPhone and my keyboarding skills are less than adequate on firm ground, let alone a very bumpy bus. Tedious. That's my excuse for typos, bad grammar or any other mistakes!
There are 36 people on our bus tour from 6 different countries. US, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Australia and the Philippines. The guide is Taiwanese and speaks English with a British/Australian accent. Thank God he is doing it in Mandarin Chinese AND English. Forget iTranslate. I have Chuni and Michael and I certainly need them, although it seems that the local people automatically try to speak English to me. I'm not sure if it's that I look totally bewildered or if they like practicing their English. Either way is good.
The family next to us on the bus is from Honolulu. Everything about the Dad reminds me of my cousin Mikey from Minnesota (except Mikey's not Asian). I, of course, tell the man he has a Minnesota Twin and he says his sister just moved to Minneapolis, so we exchange contact info to keep I'm touch. He's the one in the big group picture standing behind Chuni, putting horns on her head.
Today we have 6 hours total on the bus. We go down to the southernmost point of Taiwan and tour Kending National Park. On the way we pass thousands of Beetlenut trees and numerous glittery Beetlenut stands but we don't stop. We were too tired to hunt it down in the big city last night. Chuni was not too tired to go to a department store and buy EIGHT more pairs of shoes. (She bought 2 other pair earlier at the Night Market.)
The Pacific Ocean beaches are beautiful but they don't let you swim in most of them. This is torture as it is SO HOT! We sweat bullets every time we are outside. (The guide says the government is too protective and they should let the people do anything they want, like in the U.S.!)
We also saw a beautiful botanical garden with millions of cicadas serenading us (and a few dive bombing us). It really is a rain forest in the South here. Another reason to carry the parisols is the random torrential soakings you get from time to time. Check out the sign in the park warning of snakes, centipedes and wasps...
We are now on a VERY bumpy wind-y mountain road behind a slow truck. We seem to be a hearty group as no one seems car sick....but we have 2 more hours. We see mudslides all over from the recent typhoon. Chuni just mentioned that she would get sick if she looked down like I am doing this blog on the tiny iPhone. All of a sudden the salty spiced dried plums smell repulsive and a kid up front hurls. The guide announces a rest stop at the
7-11 (Oh, thank heaven)...
The Taiwanese people must be very flexible as they seem to squat for showering and toileting. There are tiny little benches to sit on in the showers and most of the toilets on the road are little troughs AND byop (bring your own paper)!!! I have has some interesting experiences in them and have no idea how my husband would manage!!! Rest stop now! Gotta go! More later...Did I mention it is HOT???