Whew time is flying by. This weekend is a long weekend because of the national holidays Children’s Day and Tombs Sweeping Day. While most of Taiwan is paying their respects to their ancestors, in Kenting there are huge parties and concerts in which thousands upon thousands of people flock to play.
I first heard about this months ago so when some of my friends from Kaohsiung decided to make the trip I decided to join them.
The question was, how to get there, where to stay, and what to do? On any long weekend in Taiwan transportation becomes a circus because certain areas of the
island aren’t developed enough to easily support an influx of thousands of people.
How to get there? I could take a train to a bus, or the high speed rail to a bus, or a bus to a bus, or the high speed rail to a van, or the high speed rail to a scooter.
Because my friends from KH were going to scoot, I decided I would train down to KH then scoot with them but SURPRISE! by the time I decided to do that the tickets had run out so I ended up taking the High Speed Rail (2x as expensive but 3x as fast) to get there.
After arriving in KH on Thursday around 8 pm I picked up the scooter from Louis Scooter Rental. What looked completely legit on the website, turned out to be the kind of car garage you might find on the show hoarders. While I had originally intended to get a 50cc scooter for $400ntd/day, the shop owner insisted I get a 100cc scooter for $500ntd/day to make sure it could actually get me to Kenting and back. For $10 more I thought, why not? For the record though this made me feel like a bit of an outlaw because I’m technically only licensed to drive a 50cc. #wildchild #asia
So anyway we passed out that night and headed out for Kenting the next morning around 8:45. The ride was incredible. 100cc scooters have way more power than what I am used to so I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. It had some incredible views but alas, since I was driving I couldn’t snap any.
Where to stay? So in Kenting there are resorts, hotels, hostels and camp grounds. I really only decided to go to this a month ago and it is sort of like Mardi Gras. If you want a good hotel/location you need to book months and months in advance. So, I elected to camp with my friends.
What to do? We really had no clear idea what we were getting ourselves into. We bought tickets to a festival called Spring Scream, where we also camped BUT there were parties all over Kenting. There was a huge party on the beach and fancy hotels hosted parties as well. The festival we bought tickets for turned out to be FAR more tame than some of the other events going on, but in the end I was very okay with that.
We got there the first day, set up camp, and headed to one of the beaches. While incredibly picturesque, the beaches are generally not made for swimming. We all went in for a period of time but the waves and undercurrent were frighteningly powerful.
As the day slipped into the evening a huge night market was set up along the main road running along the coast. I’ve not seen anything like it in Taiwan thus far. Food truck style bars, fried oreos, hand made ice cream sandwiches, UGH THIS WAS THE LIFE! It was enchanting and the atmosphere was electric. This was also where Phoebe and I decided we needed sarongs.
We wandered the night market and eventually went back to our festival site and jumped and danced and fist pumped to music till we could no more.
Then I had my first night of sleep, camping! Let’s just say, in between the dog barking, the cars driving by, the poor guy vomming his guts out, and the bugs, I didn’t really sleep.
But that was okay because the next day we went to Bai Sha beach. A full day of lounging, playing in the waves, napping in the shade, and eating delicious fast food ensued.
Later we hit up the night market again, had a huge dinner, and headed back to the festival for a bit more jamming.
To be perfectly honest though, by the time we made it back to the camp I was POOPED. So Phoebe and I, like the good ol’ party girls we are, passed out by 11:45. I knew I wanted an early evening because I was heading back to Taichung the next day, but I didn’t plan on that early! oh welllll.
Anyway the next morning I woke up and was out on the road by 7:15. By some miracle, I slept wonderfully and I felt refreshed and psyched for the ride back to KH. I was clipping along at a good pace when I felt my scooter losing power. I was revving the gas and I was going from 60 to 50 to 30 to 10 to 0 km/h. I was on the shoulder and it was only 8:30 so there wasn’t a lot of traffic (so I wasn’t in immediate danger) so I took a second to try all the tricks I know to turn on a scooter. No luck.
So I rifled around my good ol’ fanny back and found the card for the shop I rented from. The owner insisted he come to me, but from KH that would have been an hours wait! Instead I opted to wait 10-15 minutes to see if it was just overheated or something.
Well, I waited and it didn’t change so I decided I would push the scooter to the nearest mechanic (didn’t have any brighter ideas). It was probably 30 minutes later when a young Taiwanese guy pulled up beside me and asked “are you out of gas?” I explained that it wasn’t starting and he insisted to help me get to a mechanic. He told me it would be “很远,” or, very far.
So, because it is perfectly normal to accept help from a stranger here, and because I had so few options, I went with it.
It was nuts! He put his foot on the back of my scooter and cranked the gas slowly and he essentially pushed me 20k+ miles to the nearest mechanic.
He then waited to make sure my scooter was fine, and then insisted to accompany me to KH, and then assisted to go with me to the scooter rental. I realized on the way there that he was probably going to demand the shop keeper pay me back the money it took to fix the scooter (thankfully it was a small issue). Honestly I don’t know what I would have done without him. It was probably already in the high 80s when my scooter broke down and I was no where NEAR a mechanic so it could have been a ROUGH day. I am really grateful for his generosity and help.
Anyway, the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, comparatively. I did stop at my favorite restaurant in Taiwan for some killer french toast and damn near died of happiness.
So with a full belly and happy heart I made my way back to Taichung. Let’s just say I’m pumped to sleep in my own bed tonight.