In which I take it easy for a week.
I arrived in Taiwan nice and refreshed. When I reserved my ferry ticket, I got a coupon for a free upgrade from “Middle Class C” to “Middle Class B,” which turned out to be one of the “Luxury Suites” on the boat. Apparently not may other passengers had the same good fortune, because I had the room and all six beds to myself. And a private bathroom! Fancy that. This group of traveling dancers was also on my boat. They had done a brief performance outside the ferry terminal in Xiamen, and did another one immediately upon deboating in Keelung.
Within twenty minutes of arriving I had already met the mayor of the city! Imagine that. He even gave me a business card. It was printed on flimsy paper rather than on stock. Interesting.
(Thank you to random photographer guy for neglecting to get my bicycle in the frame.)
I lucked out when Teddy came up to chat with me and wound up leading me to the road I needed to follow to Taipei. Thanks, dude! He’s a reporter for a local paper, so we did a little interview on the spot. I showed off my 2-month old water bottle and the wooden chopsticks I’ve been reusing since who knows when.
After 20km on route 2, I finally found the Keelung River bike route. Another 10km and I finally started to see some scenery I recognized, including the "Grand Hotel” in the background. I’m almost home!
Taipei 101 in the distance.
At long last, reunited with my Taiwanese family! Little Bro on the left, his girlfriend Apple, Uncle, and Auntie. For five days straight they stuffed me with mountain vegetables, Domino’s pizza, GUAVAS, and other sorts of goodness.
The fields the provided the grub for the above meal.
Apple’s a fan of Winnie the pPooh….
Uncle runs some sort of kitchen remodeling factory and is quite handy with all manor of things. Here he and Bro are soldering some connections on one of my helmet lights. They also fixed my flashlight up.
We also took a trip to Shilin Night Market, home to millions of fruit vendors, fast-ish food stalls, and clothing of all varieties. I believe this shirt belongs to the “unintentionally zen” series.
While us young’uns were out at the night market, Auntie cooked up some amazing focaccia bread for my road trip the next morning. Nice and dense, stuffed with black beans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins and more. Even more impressive, she made it in a skillet!
The next morning I set out for Yilan, where Luke and Tanya live. The first 50km were essentially retracing my steps back to the port city, Keelung. Once I got off the river path, it was pretty boring riding. One endless small town, tons of shops, tons of stoplights. I did pass this beautiful cemetery though.
Eventually I got out of the mountains and reached the water! I was hoping it would be the Pacific, but technically it’s just the Philippine Sea.
While snacking on some oranges and auntie’s bread, I ran into this couple on a honeymoon tour around Taiwan. Awesome!