Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunset and Surfing on the Pacific

Jalishue Beach, Taiwan. Right after our arrival.
I have just finished my trip to Taiwan last week. The first place we were determined to go to was Kenting, Taiwan. I felt a deep connection to Taiwan on my last trip but had felt that I had not spent enough time on the southern tip. My room mate Michael wanted to go surfing. So, we made our plans to do 2 nights in Kenting area.

We ended up staying in Jalishue, Taiwan which is slightly eastern of the town Kenting. It is located inside in the national Park area and has great hiking, views and is most famous for being the best surf spot on the whole island. We took a long distance cab to reach this place because NO buses really go to Jalishue. They will go to Hengchu which is about 15 minutes away by scooter but because Michael did not have a liscence and I have never driven car we could not rent scooters while we were there.

We arrived in Jalishue just in time for the Sunset. We were there about 4pm so we had ample time to enjoy the sun and the beach for a while before it got dark. We also got to enjoy some beautiful street food at a nearby market set up. We ate fresh raw corn straight off the farm, Taiwan style sausages, and I had a big ice cream cone. Ice creams are massive and inexpensive in Taiwan! I ate icecream every day I was on vacation due to it's ease of availability and it's low low price compared to HK.
I'm excited to eat this ice cream cone! Only 30NT! That's less than one US dollar and less than 8 HK per cone!
The beach in Jalishue is a black sand beach meaning most of it's sand is derived from the fact that Taiwan is a volcanic island. But something we didn't know about the beaches was that they are very rocky. You can't really walk out into the water like you can in the states or other famous beaches because the rocks are huge and very slippery. We found it very difficult to deal with, so be prepared!
The Winson House. Next door is a very good All- American style diner!
We stayed at the Winson Surf House, owned by a local surfer named Winson (duh) for over 11 years he has made Jalishue his home. His wife and baby also live at the hostel and give it a nice homey atmosphere. There are varied room rates at the Surf House. We were staying in the dorms for 200 NT a night. A BARGAIN! However, we did not know that the dorms consisted of bunk beds and tatami mats. Not particularily comfortable but very cheap. Private and share rooms cost more but you get a real mattress. One expense that is also a little higher in Jalishue is the coffee. The best cup of coffee in the area was at our hostel, it was made Japanese style in a glass beaker/tube thing. Each cup is made individually and therefore takes a lot of time, so order it before you need it. But at 80NT, two cups of coffee cost us almost what our beds cost!

Surfing Lessons went overall okay. We never stood up but we able to stand on our knees a couple of times. The most frustrating part was the rocks and the fact that when we asked our instructor, An An, for help his lack of English negated getting any actual useful advice. His most common words for us, "Practice, Stand up Faster, Don't fall." Not particularly useful but the lessons were not that big of expense and we enjoyed the experience. I kind of knew going into the surfing lessons that I was probably not going to be able to do it. I had a severe leg injury almost 4 years ago that required surgery and a lot of physical therapy. I am very happy to be walking without a limp now and very happy to be as active as I am but my leg can still not do some actions fully. It was very frustrating to not be able to do it because of my leg. I knew this was a possibility when I went into the surfing lessons but it still made me mad at myself and sad. I tried to not let it get me down but when I smacked my bad leg on a rock near the end of lesson I couldn't help but cry. One, because it really fucking hurt. Two, because I was really mad at myself for being insufficient at a skill I felt I should have been able to do.
My room mate took this picture of me on the beach. I think it's pretty!
I spent most of my time in Jalishue relaxing. I enjoyed we could see stars at night and hear the ocean waves. I enjoyed how secluded everythig was because it made the experience very peaceful. I loved that the ocean was nestled into the mountains so we got the best of both worlds on the trip.
On our second day we went hiking into the National Park to see what was out there. There we discovered beautiful rock formations of both black stone and shale. I loved the look of the waves hitting the rocks. The waves had knocked holes and knicks into the rocks over the years. Nothing was touristy or over presented. It was simply as nature wanted it to be. We also found a cute little temple nestled into the mountains. It was early into Chinese New Year so we made our wishes for the year in possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
The tiniest temple nestled into the mountains of Kenting National Park!
I don't know if you're allowed to tell your New Year's Wish. Is it like your birthday wish, if you tell it then it won't come true? My wish was a very big one and more metaphysical than tangible. I did not ask for a pony like I used to when I was a kid.
Rock Formation Beaches in the National Park

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