Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cycling around Taiwan: Day 3: Kenting to Dawu

Start day 3: February 11. Location: Kenting Township (崁頂鄉), Pingdong County (屏東縣). Remarks: Woke up at 5:00am. We were out on the street and ready to ride at 6:25, just as the sun was coming up. The street was quiet and deserted, lined with empty carts and stalls; quite a contrast from the party atmosphere of the night before. A fresh breeze and a few small clouds in the sky saw us on our way.

Out on the main street of Kenting Township at daybreak.  After a short ride we would be getting close to the southernmost point of Taiwan.

And here it is: a map of the southernmost point showing both of the southern capes of Kenting National Park.  This map can be found on the monument marking the You Are Here area in the photo above.

John and Andrea at the beginning of the pathway from the main road down to the southernmost monument.  It was still very early in the morning when we arrived and the early morning light is quite pale.

We arrived at the monument to find that several other people were already there admiring the new day from the bottom of Taiwan.  As soon as we walked out along the short boardwalk they seemed to disappear, leaving us alone with an almost invisible armada of small black insects that just wouldn't go away.

A bit of logistical flimdiggery by John allowed us to get a good group shot.

And what can you see from the monument that stands at the southernmost point of Taiwan?  If you are a big fan of algae, rocks, and beach sand then you're in for a treat.  If bars, amusement parks, and coffee shops are more your thing then you probably wouldn't hang around here for very long.
As you cycle back up to the main road you pass this place.  It twigged some vague sense of familiarity when I saw it but it wasn't until much later, after we returned home, that I saw it on the Central Weather Bureau web site up in the top-left corner.  It's some kind of weather station.  That big green thing also makes land-marking much easier on Google Earth.

Just around the corner on the main road is this cemetery from where the top of the Eluanbi Lighthouse may be seen.

Around the cape along the main road you come to Longpan Park.  There's not a lot here apart from some stunning views and beautiful scenery.  And that's enough...

Rocks, grass, dirt, and opportunities for taking some great photos.  Damn, that is a great photo.

More stunning seaside scenery.  A small settlement in the distance stands out whitely and brightly in the clear light.

At about 8:45 we arrived at the small town of Manjhou where we sat ourselves down at the local Beautiful Breakfast eatery and completed stage two of our morning repast, fueling us for the long day of cycling that still lay ahead.

A wonderful shot that epitomizes small-town-Taiwan takeaway breakfast.

A panorama of one side of a valley the no.200 enters after Manjhou.

We detoured off the 200 intending to follow the road that would take us through the Jiupeng Desert.  After passing through what seemed like a very quiet stretch of narrow road, anxiously avoiding the oxen grazing untethered on and next to the road, we discovered that the road no longer runs to the Jiupeng Desert, having been cut off by a water-course.  However, if you examine the area on Google Maps, you can see the shadow of the road as it used to be, continuing on the other side of the washout.

At about 2:30 in the afternoon we came upon the small village of Syuhai and discovered that some enterprising people had set up a cafe with a menu containing lots of the kind of food that we like to eat.  We stuffed ourselves and then relaxed, taking in the laid back charm of Taiwanese rural life while some local men killed a huge pig trussed up on a pole.  The pig did not go quietly.  We did.

Local fauna on the 199.

On the 199 in the mid-afternoon sun.  We posed for a group shot.

At the junction of county road no.199 and provincial highway no.9 at the border of Taidong County.  For some reason people regard this junction as rather significant; it was covered all over with the signatures and scrawls of many a passerby.  I guess it is the official start of the 199 that runs from here at Shouka to Checheng on the west coast.

Very close by the junction there is a wall that begs for posers.  Luckily we brought a couple along.

More local fauna; this time, some kind of moth.  We found them clinging to the pole under the distance marker.

A fine feast in Dawu.

End of day 3: February 11. Location: Dawu Township (大武鄉), Taidong County (台東縣). Distance on my electronic odometer: 284km. Accommodation: a homestay (more like a hotel) next to the 7-11 on the main highway running through town; NT$400 pp. Remarks: We arrived in Dawu (and the coast) after flying downhill from Shouka, covering about 10km very quickly. Tried to find a place to set up our tents but to no avail.

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