Taiwan Walk – Day 3 – Shitping Township to Changbin Township, Visiting the Baxiandong Prehistoric Caves, Crossing The Tropic Of Cancer, and An Amazing French Dinner In a Small Village


Taiwan Walk – Day 3 – Shitping to Changbin, Visiting the Baxiandong Prehistoric Caves, Crossing The Tropic Of Cancer, and an Amazing French Dinner In a Small Village

Breakfast at our lovely inn included rice congee, with nine different kinds of small plates of cooked, pickled and steamed vegetables, and a delicious warm tofu topped with a creamy dollop of preserved tofu, which I adore.

When I mentioned to Wendy that I wanted to buy some of this preserved tofu to take home, she said that instead of buying it during our walk, she will send it to our hotel in Taipei, where we had left our bags for safe keeping.

I am always amazed at how friendly and kind her way of thinking is.
Later in the day while we were eating a seafood dinner, Joseph (Wendy’s husband), shared with us a similar story.
He told us that he came from a big family, and that he has six brothers.

Taiwanese meals are often eaten around a big table, and all of the dishes are served in the middle of the table and shared by all.
When the brothers ate a fish together, all of them were eyeing the fish head, since it is considered to be an especially moist and tasty part of the fish.

Despite the fact that each of the brothers wanted to eat the fish head, they selflessly did not dare to touch it, leaving it to their other brothers.
Little by little the fish’s body was all eaten, leaving the head, the most coveted part, untouched.

I find that this daily selfless way of thinking and behaving builds a better and sweeter character.
We must encourage ourselves not to constantly think of ourselves, nor take the best part for ourselves.
We must learn to focus on the good of others and of all, instead of pushing to get the best, to be the first, or to get there faster.

From the inn, we walked to a big rock formation of hardened sand dunes by the ocean.
We climbed on it to enjoy the rocky sea views.

By the time we started walking, the day was already very hot.
We took off our raincoats and stripped down to our long sleeved t-shirts, which we wear mostly for sun protection.

We took a detour over the bridge to see a tribal fishing village.
The local tribes used to build their own unique fishing boats.
These boats were more like rafts, built of thick bamboo that was tied together with ropes and curled upwards at the bow, to allow the raft to ride the waves.

Today they build the same fishing rafts, but not from bamboo.
They make them from large plastic tubes that resemble drain pipes.

The local information center was a good place to buy local music CDs and get some brochures about the different tribes living in the area.

As we walked through the village, we came upon a gathering of elders.
I decided to stop and chat, and luckily Wendy was walking at the same pace, and she also stopped to chat.

It was an annual celebration of the tribal elders.
A few pigs were slaughtered and the food preparations were on their way.
The tribal people were very friendly, and curious about visitors.
Some spoke a little Japanese, so we were able to communicate with them a bit.

This part of Taiwan is really easy to walk through.
There is a wide cycle lane on the road, which makes walking really easy and safe.

We have often seen groups of cyclists and even a few women cycling alone, which I am not surprised to see.
Overall, car and bus drivers are not aggressive, and the country feels safe and very welcoming.

We planned to stop for lunch at the Tropic of Cancer monument.
The Tropic of Cancer is the marker of the earth’s latitude that separates the subtropic from the tropical.
There were fruit stands selling fresh fruit and we had some freshly squeezed cold juices and some nuts.

The day that had started out cloudy had become so sunny, that I decided to buy a hat.
I had left my wide brim hat with our backpacks that were being transferred to our next hotel.
The only hats the stores had were hand stitched and beaded by the tribal women in the area.
Still it looked cool and will provide me sun protection for the day.

After a rest, we kept walking south.
The beaches were wide, with stony black sand.
Now that we were walking in the tropics, the weather seemed to have gotten even warmer.

There were a set of prehistoric caves along the road, called the “Baxiandong Caves.”
This Archaeological site is open to visitors, who can walk through the park and admire these very tall and amazing caves.

Some of the taller caves were closed for maintenance, but we got a very good look at the few caves that were open.

Wendy had to mail important documents, so instead of walking to our hotel for the night, we walked towards the nearest post office.
Our goal was to get there before they closed, and then to be picked up by our hotel.

The hotel was lovely, located in a tribal village in the hills, overlooking the mountains.
The next morning I saw a fabulous sunrise from our bed.

The hotel seemed like a very unlikely elegant place, located in a humble village.
It has an elegant restaurant, offering French cuisine and an extensive French wine menu.

Wendy had made reservations for us to enjoy their dinner.
We arrived freshly showered and enjoyed a truly fabulous French dinner.

There was a staff of waiters and about eight people in the kitchen, assisting the chef to prepare, plate and deliver delicious and creative dishes made with local ingredients.

After we finished our desserts, we were presented with a small homemade chestnut pie.
We each were told to choose a slice.
In one of these slices, was hidden a little ceramic star.

This game is called the “King’s Pie” and it is celebrated on the New Year.
The person who finds the star in his or her slice of pie, will have a very lucky and blessed year.

As we carefully tucked our forks into the pie, Wendy said:
“Oooh, I really hope it will be one of us.”

I thought it was very sweet.
I am used to people thinking: “Ooh, I hope it will be ME…”

Halfway through eating our pies, Joseph pulled the ceramic star out of his mouth.
We all clapped with joy.
Now there was no mystery left for the other guests in the little restaurant that was fully packed with people.

Joseph was crowned with a paper golden crown and we all wished him a very blessed year.

I wish you also a very blessed year!
With love and blessings,
Tali

Stats:

Daily Steps: 35,778
Daily Kilometers Walked: 26.5 km.
Active Walking: 6.5 hrs.
Total Walking Time: 8 hrs.

Total walked – 71.5 km.

Accommodation:
Nanzhuhu resort, Changbin Township, Taitung County
A beautiful mountain inn, with nice rooms and a fabulous French restaurant, serving delicious dinner prepared by a team of a chef and eight assistant aspiring cooks.

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