Traveling with Taiwanese friends is the only way to go because they know all of the local secrets and hot spots. First on the list was a spectacular jungle hike. Between the dozen or so waterfalls and hundreds of butterflies (over a thousand species migrate to Taiwan every year), I kept busy behind the lens of my camera.
After hiking we drove into a small aboriginal village for lunch. There were all kinds of odd foods lining the streets. Sausage on skewers, baby birds on skewers, hard boiled eggs covered in what looked like wood chips, and gelatinized seaweed drinks. I tried not to show too much interest in any one food, because anytime I would do a double take, or pull out my camera, or ask "what is that?" Mat and Sheri would rush over and purchase enough for everyone to try. I guess my grossed out curiosity was mistaken for hungry interest. On the plus side, it forced me to try some things I never would have the nerve to eat otherwise.
By the time we made it to the restaurant, I was full on the street food, but Matt and Sheri still ordered six large entrees so... we ate some more.
Bellies bursting, we got back in the car and drove to the Lein's privately owned hot spring resort in the mountains, but before we went for a soak in our private rooms we ate again.
Soaking in the hot springs was such a relaxing experience. It was peaceful and quiet in the mountains, and because the rooms were open to the sky, we caught the tail end of a shower that sent raindrops plopping in the warm water.
Well, it was peaceful until Chris saw a wasp fly into a hole near our little pool, so he grabbed a bucket of water and threw it in that general vicinity. I don't know what he was thinking... or not thinking, because the obvious happened. All of the wasps who made a home in the hole came swarming out looking for the source of the disturbance, so we spent a fair amount of time with only a sliver of our faces peeking out of the water hoping not to be the victims of a killer bee attack.
Following the hot springs we ate again and hit up karaoke (which apparently the Taiwanese are super into). Chis and I sung "Unchainted Meoldy". A good portion of the words were spelled incorrectly, and it wasn't uncommon for the lyrics to be wrong either.
That evening we drove back into Taipei and ate a huge dinner (since we hadn't eaten all day) and then hit up the movies.
Thank you Britton for having a birthday--I'm now fatter for it. :)