The best Chinese teachers in all of Taiwan work at my school. It's a known fact. Last weekend, three current teachers and one old one took six of us English teachers to Kenting. Kenting is a beach town in southern Taiwan. They organized everything, all we did was give them money and show up on time for the bus.
We took a bus to Kaohsiung and then a taxi from there to Kenting. The whole trip took a little over four hours. We spent that time enjoying the beautiful scenery and teaching the Chinese teachers new phrases in English (including their new favorite phrase "bad ass").
Upon arriving in Kenting, we checked into our super cute hotel, got our scooters and headed straight for the beach. There we decided to partake in a jet ski/tubing experience on the ocean. We signed up and then were given life jackets and helmets and told to go wait in this ridiculously long line. This would be a good time to mention that about half of Taiwan was in Kenting that weekend because it was the last weekend before Ghost Month*.
*Ghost Month happens here each August and it is where all of the ghosts from Heaven and Hell are able to come back into the mortal world. People leave out food and drinks as offerings, as well as burn incense and fake money on the streets. It is a month where, if you believe in ghost month, you are not supposed to travel and do "dangerous" things. This is because the ghosts can cause bad things to happen. You are supposed to stay at home because if the ghosts visit you and you are not there then they will be angry and bad things will happen.
Since it was the last weekend people could travel and do "dangerous" (being at the beach) things, Kenting was absolutely packed. After waiting in line for quite a while and being asked to pose for multiple pictures by locals (Patricia tried to charge them $100 NT per pictures, sadly it didn't work) it was finally our turn. Angela and I were put with the jet ski driver who was insane. He took us up and over the waves in grand fashion, with Angela yelling adult words at him the whole time. Once we were out in the bay we were dropped off on a giant tube with our friends and hooked up to another jet ski. The tube ride was awesome. Since I am used to crazy tube rides given by my favorite lake dwellers, the Borings, I did not think the ride was that insane. My Taiwanese friends on the other hand, did not have my same view. Once our ride was over, we were hooked back up to some ropes and left to wait until other jet skis came to collect us and take us back to shore. We waited and waited and waited. Angela and I were the last ones out there and were finally taken back to shore about half an hour later.
Upon arriving back at shore, we were notified that while we were out in the ocean a series of giant waves came in and took ten people out to sea. Nine out of the ten were recovered and alive, but one was still missing. We were out on the raft for so long because the tubing company was using their jet skis to look for/recover all of the people who had been swept out to sea. They were closing the beach due to the incident. As we were leaving, people were still in the water/on the beach trying to find the body of the one person missing. Ambulances and fire trucks were showing up; it was crazy. As we were getting on our scooters one of my Taiwanese friends said "Ghost month must have come early this year". We never found out if they ever did find the body, dead or alive, but I sure hope they did.
After that incident, we headed back to the hotel and watched the sunset over the water. Then we showered, changed and got back on our scooters to go to the night market. The market was nuts. It was completely packed and there was delicious food and carnival games everywhere. We spent a few hours wandering around, trying random food and people watching.
The next morning we woke up early, got breakfast and headed to a different, smaller beach. We spent the morning/early afternoon playing in the water and learning Taiwanese games, such as Seaweed. The life guards were extra strict today, considering the incident yesterday, and we couldn't actually swim but we could wade in the water, which we were perfectly content with doing. We got stared at by more locals but no one asked to take our picture, which was refreshing. I really don't mind getting asked to pose for pictures, but after awhile it does get old.
In the early afternoon we had to say goodbye to the beautiful beach and head back to our hotel to catch our taxi back to Kaohsiung. The rest of the day consisted of sleeping in the taxi, eating some delicious food in Kaohsiung, sleeping on the bus and scooting back to our apartments to sleep in our beds.
Another fantastic weekend in this beautiful country!
The mountains, as seen from the taxi, on the way to Kenting.
The name of our hotel
Such a cutie!
The beach on the first day
Sunset view from across the street from our hotel
Beautiful friend, beautiful place
The night market!
Rock Chalkin all over the world!
We had Cornel written in the sand and everyone took too long to pose around it, so the tide came and washed it away.
Love this one!
The gang in front of our hotel
Ready for some tubing!
Michelle's creation on the bus on the way home
Jet ski action shot!
Scooter gang, all ready to go!