Many companies in Taiwan have a (for me) strange practice where, if there is a work day squeezed in between a national holiday and a weekend, they will give their employees that day off. As compensation, you have to come in to work on a Saturday, usually the week before or the week after. This Tuesday it was the 228 Peace Memorial Day  which commemorates the February 28 Incident. Due to the squeeze day policy this meant that we had a nice long four day weekend. It is still winter here in north Taiwan with bone chilling temperatures of around 14 degrees Celsius (you don’t know true cold until you’ve spent a winter in a tropical country) and rain. To escape the cold and misery, Renegade Wife and I decided to go south for the weekend to do a bit of camping.

Knowing that there would probably be a lot of other people with similar plans we set off already on Friday evening, aiming to go as far south as we could before we got too tired. There was a bit of a traffic jam at first but soon it cleared up and we reached north Kaohsiung some time around ten pm. We found a cheap motel right off the highway which was not only acceptable, it even had a Jacuzzi with a TV, not what you expect from a roadside motel.

Luxury hotel?  No, 1400 TWD motel.

On Saturday morning we hit some heavy traffic but it wasn’t too bad and around lunch we reached Baisha (White Sand), a few kilometers north of beach resort town Kenting. There are several camp sites just by the beach, the most popular one, Happy Panda, was fully booked but the owner took us to his friends place nearby where they still had space. Putting up the tent was a bit harder than expected, mostly due to the ground being so hard the tent nails kept bending, but not too bad. For those who don’t know, the Taiwanese style of camping is very comfortable but also very gear intensive with big tents that even have dining rooms and lots of foldable furniture. The Swedish style on the other hand is very close to nature but rather spartan, and the equipment is generally man portable. Since we didn’t want to spend a tone of money we opted for  compromise between the two styles that was simple but comfortable.

Yini at our little camp site

We spent two days there, relaxing on the beach and barbecuing outside our tent in the evenings. I brought my mask and snorkel along and though the water was a bit chilly, just a few degrees above that of the Swedish ocean in the summer, I stayed in for quite a long while both days, exploring a series of underwater cliffs. It’s no Great Barrier Reef or anything as spectacular but I had a lot of fun I and saw some beautiful fishes and interesting corals.

On Sunday afternoon I decided we should do something different, so we drove into the nnearby town of Hengchun for a spot of Go Karting. There are several Go Kart tracks in Hengchu but  we selected one where you could get cars for two people.  In the end, Yini let me drive on my own because she was afraid to get motion sick. It was really fun but I’m pretty sure I lost the race, if it even was one.

I am determination and speed

A few years ago we were sightseeing in Kaohsiung and kind of stumbled upon Lotus Wakepark and I’ve been longing to go back. So, on Monday we packed up our tent and drove northward with the intention of turning this into a real adventure sports weekend. Yini didn’t quite feel like playing in the water that much so she headed off on her own while I played. I’ve only tried wakeboarding once before but by the end of the day I was already hitting the smaller jumps and other obstacles; I’m a bit surprised but proud of my own progress. I definitely have to go back.

My second time on a wakeboard, finishing with a bit of flair.

After about three hours of wakeboarding I was spent, I had no energy left and my arms were sore from getting pulled along for that long. Neither I nor Yini had much need for sightseeing, so we grabbed some dinner then found a hotel for the night.

On Tuesday we laid the adventure sports to rest in change of a bit of normal sightseeing before heading home. In the north part of Kaohsiung is a place called Moon World, where the landscape consists of a kind of dried mud cliffs that sort of look like the surface of the moon. We spent a couple of hours walking along the path that takes you up and around the cliffs. It’s a cool landscape but the way it’s been turned into a tourist attraction makes it a bit too sterile and not quite wild enough for my taste.

The gray mud cliffs of Moon World

It was a good weekend, the only downside is that I still have pain in my arms from wakeboarding.