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Welcome to Day 4 of Janet and Randy's Taipei Adventure 2018

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

I managed to sleep until 5:15am, and tried to go back to sleep, but finally got up at 6:15am.  Got ready and headed to the club lounge for breakfast at 7:00am.  We were taking a tour today, and were being picked up at our hotel at 10:00am.  So, we had a leisurely breakfast, then Randy suggested that we wander over to this nearby river park (where he had gone for a run on a previous day). I hadn't noticed, but there as a very cool and ornate temple that was on the street corner and we both noticed it on our way back on the walk. We came back to the hotel and just chilled out in our room until Dennis showed up around 9:15am.  At 10:00am, we headed down to the lobby, where we met up with our guide Will.

Today was a national holiday, and unfortunately traffic was really bad getting out of the city.  So, we were stuck in traffic all the way to Yehliu Geopark.  We got to the park just around noon, and managed to get one of the last spots in the parking lot.  Outside of the geopark is a little market, so Will walked us through that first.  Randy and I bought some freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, and Dennis bought some freshly squeezed orange juice.  Both were quite tasty. 

Will got our tickets and then took us into the geopark visitor centre so we could watch a little movie about the geopark.  We thought that we would be in special movie theatre, but we were taken to a room with tables and chairs in it, and a TV mounted in the corner.  They played an English version of the film for us - which explained the different rock formations, and how you were not supposed to go past any of the red lines, or climb any of the formations. Seems like pretty obvious instructions, but apparently not to all.

After the movie, we headed into the park itself.  Being a national holiday, it was BUSY.  And as it was noon, it was also very hot.  Even though the park was right on the ocean, there wasn't any cooling breeze or anything.  We went to the first section of the park that had the "Mushroom" rocks.  This was a cool area that you could wander around right next to the rocks.  However, there was a 'referee' guy there with a whistle that would tweet at anyone that was crossing the red lines or climbing the rocks.  As there were a lot of people there, we heard a LOT of whistle blowing!  apparently they didn't watch the film.

We next walked to an area with the "Queen's Head".  This is a rock formation that looks like a Queen.  However, you had to line-up if you wanted to take pictures next to the rock.  It was quite a long line, and it wasn't moving very fast.  We saw one couple taking pictures - first the gal did like 20 poses next to the rock.  Then the guy took a bunch of poses. Gah!  Then they had someone else take pictures of the both of them.  Ugh.  It was hot out, and we didn't feel like waiting, so we just went to the other side of the rock and took some pictures instead.  The pictures probably didn't show the Queen's Head as good from the back, but I'm sure it is good enough.

We wandered around the geopark for a while longer, but finally the heat and crowds got to us, so we got the hell out of there.  We were all sweating pretty good, so we went across the street to a 7-11 to get some cold drinks.  Dennis decided to get a Taiwan Beer (that was the actual name of it).  It obviously wasn't too bad, as he had downed it by the time we got back to the car in the parking lot.

We hopped back in the car and headed to the Juming Museum.  This is a museum dedicated to Taiwanese artist Ju Ming.  The majority of the sculptures are outdoors, due to their large size.  Our guide hadn't been there before, so he had programmed his GPS to guide him from the geopark to the museum.  However, the GPS took us on a 'shortcut' that was this one lane road through some rice paddies.  The problem is that this road was a cement road with a 2 foot drop on each side.  So, when we came across a van parked on the road (the owner was in a rice paddy doing some fertilizing), we had to stop and wait for the driver to get back in his van and do a remarkable job of backing up to an intersection to let us through.  As there was no way we could go around him - otherwise the vehicle would drop off into the rice paddy. Kudos to the driver doing the reversing !  I'm not sure I'd be able to drive in reverse for that far with that level of accuracy.

But we finally managed to make it to the museum.  Our guide didn't accompany us into the museum - he just waited outside for us.  A lot of the works had a militaristic theme, but overall there was some really unique artwork there.  As it was hot out, we only wandered around most of the park, then decided to call it a day.  There were a large number of sculptures outside, but there were also a few exhibits indoors and those were really interesting as well.  The Hippos in the fluffy clouds was definitely an interesting one. 

Our tour was over, so we headed back to Taipei.  As it was almost 3:00pm and we hadn't had any lunch yet, we had Will stop at a 7-11 to grab some snacks.  Then we continued on to our hotel, arriving around 4:30pm. 

As we had such a good foot massage a couple days ago, we decided to book another appointment and include Dennis this time.  So, we got the concierge to make a reservation for 5:30pm.  While waiting for our appointment, we hung out and just relaxed in our room.  Randy went up to the club lounge and brought back a couple bottles of beer that we had with the rest of our snacks.  Then we walked over to the foot massage place, taking Dennis through a part of the hotel he didn't see when he was staying here (there is a big open marketplace at the back of the hotel).  For our massages, we decided to pay the extra for an additional neck and shoulder massage.  It was really nice, and felt so good.  Dennis really enjoyed it as well.

It was around 7:00pm by the time we were done, so we headed over to Food Republic to have some supper.  Randy went to a ramen noodle soup place, while Dennis and I tried another place.  Randy also ended up getting an order of some crispy chicken to share as well.  So between the 2 of us, we had a lot of food.  But luckily it is really cheap.  I had ordered some sort of meal set based on a picture, and the fact that I wanted some noodles that looked really good.  My meal had a clam omelette-type thing, a dish of noodles, a bowl of pork ball soup, and a plate of fried veggies.  The clam omelette was not good at all (way too fishy for my liking), and the noodles that looked so good were really fishy tasting as well.  The veggies were good, and I ended up having some of the crispy chicken that Randy got.  His ramen was really tasty, and so was the crispy chicken.  The meal that Dennis ordered was much better than mine.  It came with rice with minced pork on top, some crispy pork, fried veggies and the same soup. Oh well, when the menu isn't in in English, you always take a chance.

After the meal, Dennis headed straight to the MRT station to go back to his hotel, and we walked back to ours.  It had been a long, hot day, and I had zero energy to do any sort of work on the journal.  So, I ended up pretty much going straight to bed.  It was definitely an early night with the heat and all the walking around.



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