Friday, August 1, 2014

More Touring--Gondola, Hot Springs--7/30--Day 4

Morning started at the Holo Family Hostel with a military guard and religious revival music mixed with Korean Kpop music to entertain us while we ate the Taiwanese breakfast. Apparently the hostel has each guest pose with this guy dressed up in military garb and then posts it on their Facebook page. I bet you can't do this kind of posing with US military garb.

I then headed out to take the metro to the Taipei Zoo Station, but chose not to see the animals there---too sad for me to see even if they have a cute baby koala bear there. The lines were fairly long since it is summer vacation here and there were lots of summer camp kids out for a day of hiking after the long gondola ride.
I had another beef and noodle soup along with some oolong tea which is one of the specialities they grow up here. After walking through a small plantation of tea trees, I headed back down hoping the line would not be too long this early in the afternoon
I joined a family for the return gondola and rode in what they call "Eyes of Maokong Gondola-Crystal Cabins" which have a tri-layer of glass you can walk on and see down below to the tree canopy. Quite an interesting feeling.
Of course "Hello Kitty" is a big hit here and they have these cute cats posted everywhere and in this case blocking the view. The kids seem to enjoy that more than the scary glass bottom gondola.
As we got down to the bottom, you can see the blue striped metro cars far down below. I took this metro back to the Beitou Hot Springs for a long soak.
This time I was able to test out the various pools. As you went higher, the temperature continued to rise. The bottom one by the changing rooms, lockers and showers was the coolest at 35-40 C,

This top pool was only for the hardiest at 45-50 C. I was only able to get in a few minutes before I felt like a lobster. Some of the older guys seemed to stay in here forever.

The middle two pools were about 40-45 C and over at the back right was a circular pool that was the cold pool at about 20-25 C. That was the pool I headed to after the hot soak. My fingers and toes began to prune up after the hour or so I was there. A guy in a red swim suit and cap, blew a whistle when it was time for us to get out to make room for the next cycle of soakers. The cost for this two hour soak was 40 TWD or about $1.50 USD.

I showed these three people who I met at the hot springs where they could get down to the hot springs river to soak their feet. Two of them are from the US and after graduating from college, decided to be English teachers in Taiwan. The woman from New Jersey decided to come over to combine work with travel and living overseas rather than continuing to find work as a teacher in the US. Both figure this teaching experience will help them whenever they decide to return stateside. What a great option rather than accept some part-time job at Starbucks or elsewhere similar. In Taiwan to teach English, you do not have to have teacher training, but you do have to have a passport from an English speaking country.

The fellow in the front is from Spain and works in hotel management in mainland China. He says that part of his job is to train the hotel staff in how to speak English.

As I made my way back to the metro station, it first started to sprinkle so I started walking faster, but soon it was a deluge. I ducked under cover and within 10 minutes the downpour was over. I guess because this is an island, the rain storms come up fast, but do not last long unless it is a typhoon.

The metro train this time of day was not very crowded so I quickly found a seat for the return trip.


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