Hot Spring Christmas

Trip Start Sep 18, 2007
Trip End Apr 17, 2009

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Flag of Taiwan  ,
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

After having spent 5 days dressing up as Santa Claus at work and giving candy to kids in various classes...I was in need for some R&R. Meghan and I wanted to do something adventurous for Christmas. A lot of the people were staying at the dorm for Christmas. There is a nice restaurant nearby called 'Latini's' and they had agreed to cook Xmas dinner for the crew. I didn't want to stay at the dorm for various reasons:
1. I have not celebrated Christmas in almost 10 years. My parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and don't celebrate anything. I was always working at the Vet clinic on holidays and just never had any interest.
2. I had spent the last two Christmasses tanning on a glorious beach back in Brazil and wanted to keep the 'alternative Christmas' theme going
3. I was getting one day off and wanted to make the most of it
Meghan and I decided that we wanted to check out some hot springs. They are pretty big here in Taiwan and Japan as well. All we could think of was a day of just soaking in naturally hot, mineral-rich waters. We worked at the same school on Monday and just booked it right home after class. I was sick (again) and not in the greatest shape...but the promise of hot spring water was what was keeping me going. We picked up our bags and then took a cab to the train station. We bought a ticket to Taipei and then grabbed some grub from a vendor outside. Meghan saw this one train pull up and we jumped on before it was to leave. We found out that we had boarded the wrong train. The train was still going to Taipei...we had just paid for a sit-down 'fast' train and ended up on a regular metro style train. We contemplated getting off at the next station and trying to find our right train...but then decided against it. We got to Taipei and then bought our ticket to Jiaosi. We had been worried the trains would stop running at midnight...but our ticket's arrival time in Jiaosi was 1 we were rather relieved. The train ride there was rather uneventful. We got to the city and checked into our hotel. We had 100% spring water coming out of the 'hot' tap in our bathroom and I couldn't resist a quick soak before bed.
In the morning we got our wake up call at 7 AM and headed down for breakfast. Man, we were SO impessed by the set up and food! They had so much stuff it was seriously more like lunch than breakfast. We loaded up on the goodies and then went back up to our room to digest a bit before taking in the hot spring goodness. We had toured them right after breakfast and taken pictures. In the Japanese style hot springs....everyone is we obviously would not have been able to take pictures while soaking in it. LOL. 30 minutes passed and we changed into our swim wear. We started at the normal outdoor spring first. It had all these massage jets of water and two beds with bubbles that came out of them. I had a lot of fun just playing with the buttons and making all these jets of water come out everywhere. I was like a little kid again. LOL. We did some 15 minutes there and then headed inside for the Japanese style ones. Meghan and I were the only ones there...which is nice. I have heard stories of foreigner's body parts being openly oggled or even groped by Taiwanese people out of sheer curiosity.
By 10 AM we were all 'hot sprung' out and decided to explore the city a bit. We visited the Tourist Information Center and loaded up on the maps. We were told about these waterfalls that were some 40 minutes away and decided to check them out. Well, 1 hour (+) later we finally arrived at these waterfalls. It was an uphill climb the entire time. It's NOT cool to do that mch cardio when you're sick! LOL! Anyway...we took some wonderful pictures and basqued in nature's glory for some 30 minutes and then began our descent. On the way we saw 'gecko-on-a-stick' vendors. These lizards were gutted, cut in half and dried out and then tied to sticks for your eating pleasure. Nice. Meghan and I were thoroughly disgusted. We had some lunch at this little restaurant on the way back down and then had a nice 2 hour nap when we got back to the hotel. We were sooo tired! When we got up we went back in the hot springs some more and then walked around the city's one major street before going back to the hotel and calling it a night.
Wednesday morning we had more fabulous breakfast, soaked in the Japanese style hot springs some more and then hopped on a train back to Taoyuan. We both had to work...but we were significally refreshed and happy from our yuletide hot spring adventure.
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