Distance Today: 67km
Total Distance: 846km
Maximum Speed: 44kph
Average Speed: 16kph
Time in Saddle: 4hrs 6min
Journey: Dan’Shui – Ba’li (via Provincial Highway No. 2 & No. 5), Ba’li – Kee’Lung (via Ferry)
Accomodation: McDonald’s & Park
Money Used Today: NT$277
0800 I woke up with a feeling, a good one. I know that this would be one of those FUN days, and it better be one because it is the second last day of the trip. Breakfast was a typical city urban style on-the-go one and everything seemed like a rush because we got up comparably late. The first few miles of the road was exhausting and steep, but soon enough we arrived at the northern coastal areas of Taiwan, and beautiful beaches came back in sight.
1200 This Highway No. 2 (台2線) seemed like a quiet road, most often we’re only the ones on it. While passing by the Ching’ Hsui (清水灣) and Bai’ Sha’ Wan (白沙灣) beaches, which is perhaps the most popular beach front on the northern region, we witnessed the wide sandy beach and the panoramic view of the ocean. At dawn or dust, visitors flock the beach for relaxing strolls on the sandy ground while indulging in the harmonic sound of the wave or a blanket of shiny stars above. Being a beach person, getting to hear the waves splashing onto the rocks and the sea breeze whistling through my eyes makes me happy. At that moment, I don’t mind the physical difficulties of the journey anymore, it’s all worthwhile…
1230 We had our lunches at Jin’ Shan (金山), a golden-sand crescent-shaped beach area, which is about 500 meters in length and 200 meters in width. There is a popular Jin’ Shan Youth Activity Center (金山青年活動中心) near the beach, which offers a wide range of facilities including accommodation, restaurants, a conference room, barbecue and camping areas, a seawater swimming pool, and a hot spring gymnasium. The place is an old fishing village transformed into a bustling tourist attraction.
1400 We arrived at Yeh’ Liu Geopark (野柳國家公園), known for its bizarre rock formations resembling anything your imagination tells you. Located at the northeastern portion of Taiwan, the rocks here were eroded by seawater for centuries and thus carved into magnificent masterpieces by Mother Nature, the sculptor. Not an amateur anymore, these works of Mother Nature really do stand out in awe, proved by the sounds of OHs, WHOAs and WAHs wherever we go. Having paid the NT$25 (student price) entrance fee, we took the initiative of snapping all the photos we can get so that no beauty goes to waste. Here’s one that I like much with me and Ruo’ Ci literally hanging on to our lives over a high cliff while trying to give a cool pose. Here’s another one with me pretending to be the Thinker, while savoring the magnificence of Nature. Here’s one with me and my retarded look, cycling past a huge rock, and envying the immortality of the Queen’s head.
1830 The remaining roads were way tougher than this morning and as we predicted, we couldn’t reach our destination before sunset. The moral of the story is not to be too ambitious and playful at the same time; we shouldn’t have spent too much time enjoying ourselves at Yeh’ Liu when we expected so much mileage. Lesson learned, we continued to enjoy ourselves while arriving at Kee’ Lung (基隆) with a treat to the infamous Miao’ Kou night market (廟口夜市). It meanders through lanes and alleys in the downtown area of Kee’ Lung surrounding the Dian’ Ji Temple (奠濟宮) and offers a wide choice of Taiwanese food.
2100 After walking for hours in the night market, we went into a McD for some rest. We bought large cups of soft drinks to treat our dehydrated bodies, and started to blurt out ghost stories we have heard or experienced. We went on chatting our ways with drinks after drinks and realized that we wouldn’t have to be worried about time because this being a 24-hour McD and we clearly haven’t found a place to stay for the night.
0000 We accepted the fact that there’s no way we can find a cheap affordable place to spend the night in the city so we decided to loiter the dark away in the place where everyone’s lovin’ it — McDonald’s. We then removed our bags from the bikes and carried them all the way into the McD’s. Next, I then took liberty of being the first one to clean my legs with a wet towel followed by a hair wash in the toilet’s basin. After changing into fresh clothing, we settled around the tables and found ourselves a comfortable spot to spend our night.
0100 Just a few minutes after all the cleanup; we heard the announcement stating that they will be closing soon… Surprised and shocked, we then found out that this particular McD’s cater 24/7 for takeaways only. There’s nothing we much we can do other than laughing at our silliness while exiting the shop, going back to the streets. The city actually is still brightly lit even after midnight, and we can see homeless people wandering around just like us.
0130 We are homeless but fortunate enough to find a nearby park with an empty pavilion for us to rest in. The pavilion is shaped like an octagon with a dragon and a pig on its roof. The dragon is a symbol of power and the pig a symbol of prosperity for the Chinese. You can imagine how blessed I was to stay under this two auspicious animals; having said that, no offense, but they do seem too cartoony.
0200 To make our street experience more authentic, we decided to eat our instant noodles over hot water with the street-like pose. To tell you the truth, this marks the first time I have ever slept in a park, and I actually slept well. The mosquitoes seem to dislike me (good for me but bad for my friends), and I do love the outdoor breeze much. While listening to cars whizzing by and the occasional footsteps of people walking by, I almost forgot how different it was compared to the beach sounds I heard this morning. Hmmm… But, who cares? Zzzz…