Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Penging the Hu
My good friend Naomi and I had a lovely weekend getaway that started very, very early on Friday morning.
We went to Penghu, which is a set of islands off the west coast of Taiwan. It takes about 45 minutes to get there by plane from Taipei.
Because of available flight times we went at 6:30am on Friday morning and came back at 7:45am on Sunday. Two days was not enough to see all the islands had to offer, but we did get a great sampling!
The first day we were able to rent scooters, which we'd been a little doubtful about.
Here's how the conversation went:
"Do you have Taiwanese drivers' licenses?"
"How about an International Driving license?"
"Oh... well do you have a drivers' license in Canada?"
"No." (neither of us do by the way! I've found a kindred spirit!)
"Ok.. well just give us your passport number and we'll get those scooters ready for you."
We drove over 30km from one end of the "horseshoe" to the other. Covering 4 islands in all, the highway is connected by bridges. We stopped along the way to see some interesting things, and wandered through a little village. It took most of the day for us to go there and back, and one of the highlights was the "Western Fort" built by the French. It was really neat to explore! I'll have to get those pics later since Naomi took them on her camera.
We got back in time to scope out which beach would be best for sunset viewing, and headed over there just in time. It was really nice, and a great swimming beach, though I didn't swim, I regretted that later :(
Another cool place we saw the first day was the "Whale Cave" (above) where legend has it a whale jumped through the rocks. Not too far away was a mysterious sunken ship!
The funny thing was there was no sign or information, and the first person we asked didn't seem to have a clue it was there (a shop owner nearby), her answer was "Today is the first day this season we've been open, I don't know" funny thing is the ship looks like it's been there for quite a long time!
This is the eagle and the dragon. Congratulations if you can see either!
The second day we signed up for a boat tour of four more islands. We had a little miscommunication about what the tour was actually like, but did see some cool stuff on the islands, including the double heart built 300 years ago to catch fish but has now become a symbol of Penghu, rock formations apparently shaped like animals, and another traditional village.
The FUNNIEST thing about the tour was that on the first island we went to we had this really annoying tour guide who felt the need to single us out at every stop. We'd kinda look around on our own, and he'd yell through the loud speaker, "Hey, beautiful Canadian ladies, come over here so I can introduce this site." Meanwhile we're thinking we can't understand what you're saying ANYWAYS! But I guess he was really concerned that we would enjoy our tour....
hmm I'm already starting to forget all the funny things that happened to us! But all in all, it was a nice place, and I'd definitely like to go back again and try some water sports etc. For now, I'll just enjoy my souvenirs: a pearl necklace and cactus jam (one of many specialty food items available from Penghu).
You can see some more pics here.