Same as previous year, we decided to go to Kenting near May 1st holiday. I tried to recruit a bunch of friends for this trip, but most of them had some other plans. So we went with Paul and K-C, the two colleagues of mine. In fact, K-C went to Kenting with his entire family, so we only had lunch together, and then he went to enjoy his 5-star hotel. Me and Paul stayed in some simpler locations.
In fact, Paul went to Kenting area on Friday to give some talks, and I came there Saturday. I left Hsinchu at around 7AM on a high speed rail train, and in 1.5 hours arrived to Gaoshiung. Then I took a so-called Kenting express bus, which made lots of stops, so in another 2.5 hours I arrived to Kenting and called up Paul so we could go for a lunch. While waiting for him I could not resist the temptation to rent a motorcycle. The lady in the shop asked for a local driver license, which I did not have, so she could only offer me an electric motorcycle which speed was at most 30 kmh. Very slow ride indeed, but it was enjoyable, as Kenting is a place where you donтАЩt have to rush. Evertyhing is so close.
After meeting Paul we called up K-C and met in a Thai cousine restaurant. Then a rain began. It lasted for more than an hour. In fact, we gave up waiting for it to end, and went on our motorcycles through the rain. Before we left Paul predicted that the rain would stop as soon as we reach the beach тАУ and his prediction was true! So we spent a couple of hours snorkeling. That was my first time snorkeling, previously I only tried scuba-diving. I liked it a lot, as you can see many interesting species of fish in this part of Taiwan. Paul even spotted a lionfish, and he said it was very rare.
In the evening we took train to Taitung, a city on the east coast. Paul was going to participate in triathlon. He went there in the morning, and I was just exploring the city. It is quite unusual compared to other cities in Taiwan. It is very spacious, and the buildings are not very tall. This is why it reminded me of Finland, or maybe some cities in the United States. Both are big countries, and therefore people try to settle down apart from each other. But I did not expect to see lots of unused land in Taiwan.
This was a very hot day, with temperatures well above +30C, and sunny. I wondered how would Paul make it through 50KM triathlon. But he finished pretty early and with a good result, and then he was saying he did not feel tired at all. So we went to another Thai restaurant (for some reason Thai became our favourite cousine), and celebrated PaulтАЩs success with some beer. In fact, I taught Paul to say тАЬCheersтАЭ in Russian, and then we drank beer тАЬza HsinchuтАЭ, тАЬza TaiwanтАЭ, and of course, тАЬza triathlonтАЭ.
Then we decided to go to a beach to do some more snorkeling, but it turned out that there is no equipment rental, so eventually we decided not to go. So, we took train and I went back to Gaoshiung from where I took HSR train to Hsinchu, and Paul went back to Kenting where he was going to spend a couple more days. He wanted to take some surfing lessons, which were offered in the hotel where he stayed.
So, it was a nice trip, and I feel really passionate about triathlon now. Paul told me the next one is in Yilan in July. Maybe I should prepare for that one!