Erin and I have returned to work this week after a very relaxing vacation last week. Last week started off very exciting as Typhoon Fanapi blew through on Sunday. While Erin and I stayed comfortably inside watching the wind and the rain the storm dropped enough rain to cause school to be closed on Monday. Going in to school after the storm had passed I saw some of the damage it had wreaked with downed trees and flooding in some of the school's classrooms. It also meant a short work week (one day) as we were scheduled to have our Moon Festival vacation starting on Wednesday.
So after a busy Tuesday at work we woke up Wednesday morning and went to the airport. For this vacation we had decided on Penghu; an archipelago of the Western coast of Taiwan described as "The Hawaii of Taiwan" in our guidebook. Getting on the plane in Kaohsiung was a breeze (no need to take off shoes or take out liquids) and we we're soon flying to the main island of Penghu. It was a short flight though (about 30 minutes) and before we knew it we were getting picked up at the airport from one of the owners of the B&B we were staying at.
With our bags dropped off we were soon on a scooter exploring the beaches and temples of the island. We came across some wonderful sandy beach spots with warm waters, numerous sea shells, some very interesting temples and beautiful clear skies to go with it all. It's probably no wonder then that we found ourselves sunburned after only our first day. That night we rode into the main city on the island, Magong, for dinner and to have a look around.
The next day Erin was determined to ride her own scooter after having practiced on the one we had the day before. So we rode out on separate scooters to explore the island. As an archipeligo, Penghu is actually made up of several small islands connected by bridges. Because there's only one way out to (and one way back from) the farthest island,
Thursday ended up being a long day. During the day we saw the aquarium with some wonderful turtles, a large banyan tree sprawling across a courtyard leading to a temple, basalt columns formed by the volcanic birth of the island, a traditional village built from that same basalt, and a lighthouse at the very end of the last island. After riding all day we got into Magong to see the sun set before getting some dinner and heading home (though not before seeing a fireworks display, seeing a small parade, and stopping for a drink at the pub). It was wonderful seeing and doing everything, but we were exhausted.
On Friday we took it much easier and spent most of the day relaxing at a tree-filled park next to a beach. The day included a lot of rest and a long walk on the beach as we found beautiful shells and coral. That night, as the wind grew stronger we decided to rent a taxi to take us into town for dinner. Not being able to read the menu we ended up getting mainly what was pictured which turned out well, though somewhat strange (they put bbq sauce on our spaghetti).
Back home we did some Costco shopping and then spent all of Sunday working in preparation to go back to school. It was quite a trip and I'm glad the weather cooperated so well. It was a good reminder of why we go through all of the challenges of living in a foriegn country.