|Typical morning - breakfast buffet (nice set-up, nothing special), return to room, go to lobby for 8:45 departure.
On the way to Kenting National Park, Alan talked about Taiwan's national health insurance and pensions. Alan's first son is deaf and because of that disability will be taken care of for life. In Taiwan, 4.69% of their salary is for healthcare of which they pay 30%. Their labor pension is 11% of their salary of which they pay 20%. You also have a volunteer retirement fund which you pay 6% direct from your salary.
He also showed a slide about the average income for the country which is only $20,823 US. Taiwan's minimum wage is $5.00 US. Then he came around and checked everyone's destination on Friday when we arrive back in Taipei. We are staying at the Gala Hotel again. The couple from Australia are departing around midnight to return home.
Our first WC stop was a 7/11 store around 10:20. We were on the West Coast by the Strait of Taiwan overlooking a rocky beach. During the 20 minute stop, our Russian girl, Elana went out to wade in the water. She said to me that it was warm and murky.
Along the route again, Alan discussed some of the fruit, such as the Wax Apple which is a reddish, pear-shaped fruit and showed a slide of mangoes on their trees. The fruit was covered with a white bag to protect them from insects and to fetch a higher price at the market. On the way we passed a common landmark, Monkey Rock, which was used as a meeting point for those visiting the area before the roads were paved. (Sort of like meeting at the Eagle in the Wanamakers Store in Philadelphia.)
We arrived in Keating NP about 11:30. This was the first national park created in Taiwan. Our stops in the park were quick excursions to see natural wonders. At our first stop, we waited while Alan got our tickets, then we walked up the slope to overlook the water and observe Maoyan (Cat) Rock. Cat rock is at the end of the Hengchun Peninsula where the division between the Taiwan Strait and Bashi Channel occurs. I guess with an active imagination you could see either a cat or dog lying there. But hey, it doesn't matter as long as it draws the tourists.
Next was our lunch stop in Kenting (Big bay) near Big Pointed Rock Mountain. The mountain from this side does not look like a big point, it looks like a sheered rock. We will be on the other side later in the day and see it as a big point. We decided to eat at McDonalds where I ordered a vanilla cone and Jean got a small fries for $50 TWD ($1.60 US). We sat on the second floor in the AC. It was 33 C/92 F on a very bright, humid, sunny day. It would of been nice if the sun had been blocked by an occasional cloud or two. Before we headed back to the bus, we did a quick walk out to the beach behind the 7/11 store which was across the street, for a look around before returning to the bus.
Most of the sites to be seen were only 10-15 minutes apart, so it became a hop off/hop on day. Our next wonder was Sail Rock, so named by the aborigines because of the obvious. However, Alan pointed out that some Americans say it looks like former President Nixon's head. He showed slides of people comparing their nose to his on the rock, and another slide where the person was picking Nixon's nose. We did not get that creative.
We made a stop at the Eluanbi lighthouse, located on Cape Eluanbi. Built in 1883 by the British, it was an armed lighthouse because of the local aborigines. It is near the point that separates the channel and the Pacific Ocean. Alan paid for our tickets and we hiked out to the lighthouse. We spent time taking pictures and then back out to the bus through the souvenirs/food stalls.
Longpan Park was our next and last stop in Kenting NP and is located on the East Coast along the Pacific Ocean. This area has been used for movie/tv locations because of the coral reef stones which make it look like a primitive, alien area. We saw some wildlife here - a small lizard was skittering around causing great excitement.
Back on the bus for a long winding crossing on Route 9 over the mountains to the East coast. It was hard for me to read or even sleep as the bus swayed from side to side taking the tight curves as we descended. We stopped at the bottom of the mountains for a 20 minute WC break at a large 7/11 store. Then continued along Route 9 following the Pacific Ocean coastline to our hotel, which happens to be another hot spring hotel.
The Hotel Royal Chihpen is another 5-star hotel we have on this trip. The hotel had a hot spring tub in every room, an aviary, some deer in captivity on the grounds, a small putting green, and an evening performance showcasing local native dancing and song. Our room was nice, and we had a small private balcony where you could here the birds and insects chirping.
The hotel had four restaurants from which to chose. We chose to eat at the lobby lounge since neither one of us wanted a full meal. I ordered the special Bavarian sausage and a beer for $260 TWD ($18 US) and Jean ordered Noodle with Chicken and Shrimp soup. We walked around the hotel a little before returning to the room.
Taiwan has fee wifi in every hotel and in most public places, plus in r bus. In the last two hotels I connected to the wifi that was our room number. Individual 4G for each room! Nice.
We went to the free 8:30 show. As we left the hotel to walk out to the open air stage, two native-dressed dancers greeted us. When we arrived at the hotel, one of the items in our key folder was a raffle ticket to use at the concert. You just place it in the raffle box before you sit down. We sat about five rows back from the stage. The Canadian cousins, Indonesian and San Francisco ladies sat front row center.
The performers and MC were young adults. They did a nice job. Some of the slides even had an English translation to let us know the story that was being depicted. One story was about a young lady who had two suitors. They competed in numerous games to see who would marry the young lady. The last challenge was to jump across a wide gorge. The young man who jumped and was carried by the gods on a rainbow across the gorge won the young girl's hand in marriage. As the winner, when he became chieftain, he had the women of the tribe sew clothing with the many colors of the rainbow, and that became their native garb.
Near the end of the program they had the raffle and handed out five prizes. Then they were going to have an audience dance. We have done many of those on various trips, but did not feel like it tonight, so we left before we were chosen. Two of the ladies from our tour in the front row did get chosen. We then returned to the room to relax, and watched a movie before falling asleep.