Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lanyu Island part 4

Andrea went for an early run in the quiet of Sunday morning. When she got back to the church she convinced me that going for a swim was a good idea. We got our things and headed down the road on the scooter to a nice stretch of clean, sandy beach. Compared to the beaches near Tainan, the water was so clean and fresh, and the morning was beautiful and crisp. It was a great start to the day.

After our swim and subsequent shower John joined us for a trip to the Epicurean Cafe for Sunday breakfast. We all ordered the Epicurean Breakfast, their signature dish, and it was wonderfully wholesome and fantastically satisfying. This day was a day to sit back and relax, to just enjoy the air and the coffee. We three sat around chatting and reading our books on the roof of the cafe, looking out over the taro fields down to the sea.

Here we are enjoying coffee, company and books. One of the employees managed to start a fire with a discarded cigarette and I think John was the first to notice the small flames licking at the boards next to the door. The fire was subsequently quickly extinguished with a glass of water but it is a lucky thing that we were up there to notice the fire starting because the wooden structure was very dry and caught quickly. It is easy to imagine that if we weren't up there to see the fire begin, the whole place could have gone down in flames.

Here are the taro fields next to the church. Taro seems to be a staple on Lanyu and is grown all over the place in irrigated paddies.

Later (once the spirit of sloth had departed) John took us to a beautiful grassy area we had passed by the day before. A paved pathway wound itself around the hillocks and through the grass. I don't know how it started but after a while we were attempting to capture a synchronised jump on camera. After about ten attempts we managed to get a shot of all three of us suspended in mid-air in front of the blue sea.

The time to depart from Lanyu drew closer. Before returning the scooter Andrea and I took it down the road to the biggest store we had seen on the island to buy a few souvenirs and some snacks for the ferry trip home.

Before much longer we were waiting for the ferry on the dock at the harbour where we had first set foot on the island two days before. And then we were watching the island dwindling into the sea behind us as the ferry plowed slowly across the strait towards the mainland. I think that of many places I have been in Taiwan, the island of orchids will render some of the most vivid memories of a sense of place: The goats, the Yami, and those towering grassy mountains in the middle of the sea.

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