Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well Worth $59.95 + Tax

In Which Rowan Journeys South And Anticipates An Anniversary

About a month ago, my friend Thomas suggested that we go south to Kenting to find a desert he'd heard about.  "We'll hang out on the beach, look at the moon, drink a coconut, wander around in the desert, it'll be great."  

So I went to Kenting with Thomas and Matthew (a friend of his) last weekend, and it more or less blew me away.  I used to play Monkey Island when I was in fifth grade (hello, Aaron, if you ever read this), and the southern tip of Taiwan is just like that, unpixelated.  After taking the high speed rail that wasn't ("Dude," said Matthew, "You took the slow train!"), we got there at nine or so on Saturday night, and rented a scooter to get to our campsite.  We thought we'd be renting tents, but the guy running the camp told us that we could stay in a cabin for a very reasonable price, so we did that instead.  The beach was across the road and through a little gap in the trees, and it was both beautiful and deserted.  It was apparently used in the movie Cape No. 7, which I have not seen, but will now have to look into.  We hung out on the beach for a little while that first night, and I wandered alone down to the shore.  It was many things I've sorely missed: a large body of water, quiet, and dark.  Really dark.  The third night, the milky way was actually visible.  That first night was cloudy, and there were strange, tiny glowing things washing up with the waves.  They landed on the beach and shone blue there for about five minutes before fading out.  We waded around for a little while before turning in.  Thomas found a rather large cockroach in the shower with his foot, which was the evening's entertainment for Matthew and I.  We all more or less passed out right away, and I woke up at 5:30 the next morning to sunlight, birdsong, and a kick in the side.  

I took a shower and walked barefoot down to the beach, where I got to watch the light come up over the hills behind me to hit the waves.  Matthew and then Thomas came down when they woke up, and we went to grab breakfast at a little outdoor café that had very brightly colored koi in a little pond.  After everyone was actually awake, we started on our journey towards the desert that Thomas had heard about.  I rode on the back of Matthew's scooter and we occasionally stopped for pictures, when we couldn't deal with how pretty everything was anymore.  We drank coconuts, as advertised, and eventually came to a place where we could see what we were heading toward.  It looked like a sand dune to me, but that was alright, too.

It was a dune, more or less.  There were even dune buggies irritatingly scooting around on it, with screaming girls and smug looking guys.  It was pretty cool looking anyway, even if I did get a bit sunburned.  I'd bought sunscreen just before we left, but hadn't put any on yet, and by the time I did the damage was already done.  Thomas slathered some on his face and neck around the same time I did, and we went walking around the dune and surrounding area.  I collected shells on the beach and scraped my knee climbing a wall, but we had some shade and food at another small cafe and headed back to our scooters.  It was at about that time that we started to realize just how sunburnt we had gotten, so we headed back to the cabinsite.  The very charming and friendly host took one look at Thomas and told him that we could use his own personal garden of aloe plants to apply to our scorched skin, so I snagged a piece and daubed it on myself before taking a nap.  The gentlemen decided to wash Matthew's scooter and take a walk, insisting that they didn't want a nap.  When they came back, I'd woken up.  They both fell asleep, so I went back to the beach and walked along it for a while before deciding to go wake them up for dinner.  We ate at a great little Thai place that had some wonderful coconut drink and some decent food, then went back again.  We had a few beers and stared at the stars and the waves for a while before going back to bed.  

Matthew had to leave on Monday, so we spent the morning walking around a forest area (where the evil sun couldn't reach us).  First, though, we went and got Thomas a very fine hat.  I bargained the lady down because of a smudge on the brim, and we wandered through the forest happily.  We encountered some interesting snacks in the visitor's center, and Thomas was enamoured enough to buy three of them for the toys included.

Matthew took off after we left the forest, and Thomas and I drove down the coast (we only got lost once) to see the sun set at the southernmost point in Taiwan.  Then we drove back.  We talked on the beach for a few hours, and then I positively had to go to bed or pass out head first in the sand.  Not having any aspirations of being a large flightless bird with a frightening kick, I chose the former.  We went to sleep after a hilarious interaction with our host in which we tried to pay him what we owed him, he reduced the amount by 1000 NT, we tried to pay him what we owed him, he refused, etc.  It was bargaining, but backwards.  We headed out first thing the next morning, at just the right time.  I was still sad to leave, but it was just before I'd have started to get sick of something, like the way my hair wasn't ever really getting clean.

Tomorrow I will be opening my 10 Year Box.  I'm a little apprehensive about this.  I anticipate feelings of inadequacy, hilarity, wistfulness, and pride will abound.  I intend to post results soon.


mollysidera said...

Oh my goodness! The Ten-Year Box! I have to find mine and dig it out! I'm pretty sure I cheated and opened it up a long time ago, but I've forgotten it enough that it will still be a surprise. I can't wait for the post to see what yours reveals.

P.S. Yes, I read your blog. I even have an RSS feed. I enjoy it greatly. I'm just usually too lazy to comment. Or, apparently, self-interested, since reading about something that involves me is enough to prompt a reply.

Miss Kat G. said...

That sounds amazing, and DEFINITELY worth $59.95 +tax! Ok, I need to get a proper job so I can raise funds to pay you a visit one of these days. Curse me and my starving artist ways! *shakefist*

It's always great fun reading about what you're up to. Love the new glasses, by the way!

pickett said...

Rowan! We require news of you stateside for our mental health!