Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 4 (Pingtung and Kaohsiung)

Friday morning we woke up before dawn, backed out things, cheched out do the apartment, and dragged our belongings to the high speed rail station. Kevin bought our tickets online with an HSR iPhone app and we picked them up at the ticket booth. Easy! Untitled Untitled We had 7-eleven steamed buns for breakfast again. Yum! Untitled We chose business class because they have outlets at the seats so we could keep our iPhones and Hannah's iPad charged up. Battery life is important when it is your vacation camera! Untitled Amazing how quickly these trains are! I would much rather take HSR than fly medium distances. Untitled Our friend Amanda met us in Kaohsiung and took our luggage to her home so we could adventure without them for the day. I wanted to go to the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park near Sandimen in Pingtung County to learn about these groups, especially the Paiwan, as Hudson is Paiwan. I researched how to get there. We can do this without a hired tour guide, right? Just follow the directions and the map. Untitled We got to Pingtung via rail. Untitled Untitled Untitled Then we needed to find the bus station to Sandimen that is supposed to be near the train station. It was starting to rain. We didn't see anything that looked like a bus station. There's not a lot of English help in Pingtung. People were looking at us. A very nice old man with no English approached us as we looked WAY LOST and WAY out of place. Kevin showed him the address of the cultural park indicating that we needed a bus. The old man walked us to the bus station in moderate rain, told the bus station attendant where we wanted to go, amd waited with us until the bus came because he wanted to make sure we got on the right bus. Now that's southern Taiwanese hospitality! Our first blessing of the day. Untitled I looked at the menu while waiting for the bus... but had no idea what to order. Haha! The bus ride might have been an hour or and hour and a half. We enjoyed looking at everyday life that we passed by. Untitled When we got off the bus, we didn't see any signs pointing us to the culture park. We used mapping on our phones to point us in the right direction. Untitled Untitled Then we saw a little brown sign in English and knew we were on the right track. The road out od town red us to this thing over the road that appeared like it was the way into the indigenous culture park, but a sign led to go up the mountain, and it was starting to rain. This was a very small town so there would be no taxis, and it was starting to rain. AND, Kevin had a 40-50 pound backpack on. He looked at me like he was ready to walk back to the bus stop and just wait for the next bus, whenever that would come along. I pressed us on, up the mountain. How far could it be, really? This is important, and we came so dar to learn about the Paiwan people. Untitled Untitled I pushed Hannah's stroller and urged Kevin to allow us to continue up the mountain. Cars were zooming by us every few minutes. The sprinkles of rain turned into big rain drops, and then it poured. I did not have a happy husband. This adventure was turning into a "marriage tester" kind of experience. We had safety issues with traffic, pouring down rain, Kevin's heavy backpack, and no really goof options for help, especially English speaking help. What to do? Oh, wait! There's a little village ahead. As we walked into the little village the first thing we saw was a itty bitty police station. The people inside we're looking at us and laughing. Not sure if it was with us or at us. Kevin went inside to see if someone could tell us how to get a ride. People us inside pointed across the street and I thought I heard them use the word "yellow" in Mandarin. The building across the street had a yellow metal roof. We went across the street to talk and the people just pointed us up the street, and up the mountain. This was not a good thing. Kevin was getting really ticked about whoever wrote this web site didn't provide a walking warning. This was quite a trek! After lots of marital strife, rain, and physical toils, we made it!!! Untitled Untitled Don't let that smile fool you. He was ticked! What ya gonna do? Untitled I'm going to skip the parts about the ticket booth appearing closed, yelling into the window looking for someone, Hannah getting biting ants on her feet, continued heavy rain, mosquitoes, that all of the indigenous exhibits were up and down little stairs (not stroller compatible), and that Hannah began to sob, "I wanna go home! I wanna go home!" over and over. An Enflish speaking man on our train helped translate for us to the tram driver. I wanted him to drive us to the front gate and ask an employee to call for a taxi or private driver to take us to the bus stop or all the way to Kaohsiung train station. We were leaving, and leaving now! This day quilified as the worst vacation day ever. Oh, forgot to add it was nearing 2pm and we had not had lunch yet. Hiring someone to drive us all the way was the best thing that happened all day. Untitled Untitled We rode the train back to Kaohsiung, Amanda met us at the station, and we went to the food court for a very, very, late lunch. Untitled Hannah had been up since 3am due to jet lag and was out asleep after dinner.we took the subway out for shaved ice with fruits. Untitled Untitled In my opinion, theirs shaved ice with all of the fruits was worth climbing a mountain with a weighted backpack in a monsoon. Kevin's not answering that question quite yet. I continue to marvel at the kindness of not one but three Taiwanese strangers. Exceedingly blessed. Library vending machine Very cool library vending machine, indeed.


  1. Love the post. Was rooting for you to make it up the mountain!! So glad you got to see the Park and if it all went as planned you wouldn't have fun stories to tell Hudson :-) They don't say that adoption is an adventure for nothin'!!

    Best wishes....can't wait to see the boy!!

    1. Sad part is we went all that way and didn't learn a thing about the Paiwan from the trip. Beautiful scenery in the mountains, even during a downpour, but nothing learned about the people.

  2. Well...if nothing else you can tell him the scenery is beautiful with lots and lots of rain. :-P We had a simular experience with a pagoda and a 100 degree day. Definately my idea to climb up the stairs even though dad had a hot, sweaty 10 month old strapped to him. The things our guys do for their adventurous girls!! :-)

  3. Sorry about all of the rain! I was hoping that the adventure had a happy ending and the park was everything you hoped it would be. At least you had some good food at the end of it! A full tummy usually makes it all better!

  4. You survived and have a great tale to tell PLUS you got fruity shaved ice and met some super nice people along the way so not a total loss! Although I appreciate that it may take a little longer for Kevin to see it that way ;)

  5. Was getting a little worried about you all with no posts. Sorry that you didn't get to learn more about the Paiwan culture. You get extra points for trying for sure! Let me know if you come into any info of the Ami/Amis tribes:)
    I do hope that all that strife made everyone tired enough to sleep through the night.

  6. In Taitung there was a warehouse that specialized in indigenous crafts. I think the Paiwan are known for their glazed beads and at the warehouse, they had a group actually making some and you could watch. Don't know if you're headed to Taitung at all, but that might be interesting. Sorry your day was so rotten but at least it's gotta go up from here!

  7. Oh my, I am sitting here laughing at your adventures! You are giving me inspiration for when we travel back someday (hopefully soon!) to go guideless most of the time :) Good job!!!


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