Road trip begins...

Trip Start May 13, 2010
Trip End Aug 02, 2010

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Flag of Taiwan  , Taiwan,
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We are to begin our road trip today…although not until mid-afternoon (at least). First things first – a hair cut for me.  It has been a couple of months, and I may as well get it cut back a bit before carrying onto Korea and Japan.  As she was cutting my hair I was like 'oh my…she is taking a lot off!'  And in the end, it turned out to be the shortest haircut I have ever had – I could enter the army almost J  Oh well, it will grow back and does make it easy for travel in the meantime…

SW’s meeting at the school allowed me some time to update my travel blog as well as reply to some e-mail.  A few things going on at work that I will have to take care of (likely) when I am in Korea.  But I will not worry about it for now – SW has arrived and I am having my fortune taken by one of his co-workers.  She tells me that I am not at ease in one spot.  That I am a bit of a perfectionist and when I am at a job, I can only stay there for a few years before moving on.  I can change this cycle if I like, but probably not this year.  She says next year will be a good one for change, and Asia maybe where that change occurs.  We’ll have to see how accurate her prediction is…

We stopped at the post office and the laundry place before heading back to his place (where I still needed to pack for leaving).  I never believe that I will ever see a package I send back to Canada when I am travelling – it feels like such a risk.  This time, I am sending everything I bought and received in China, Vietnam and Taiwan so far.  I have no choice as my luggage is limited and I still have Korea and Japan to go to…plus the Taiwan road trip.  If I want to get more…I need to move some of the stuff I have.  Cost me about $50 – hopefully arrives in Canada within three weeks.  The laundry place was less successful as only a few of my clothes were ready – the shirts I needed ironed and my Vietnam wear which needed bleaching still needed to be done.  I’ll pick it up when I return. 

We left on the road trip at about 5pm.  I am beginning to see so much of Taiwan.  Last year, we did a couple of road trips – one small one to the south, and another longer one to the south, up the east coast, and back to Taichung through an impressive canyon system.  Each trip, I see more…and (hopefully) even remember a bit.  This time, we will head north – past Taipei, and through the fifth longest tunnel in the world (13.5 kms) before arriving at our destination, Jiasi, to visit a hot spring spa.  Our drive was 2.5 hrs, and included a few toll booths and almost 20kms of tunnels (including the 5th longest).  I had a chance to see Taipei 101 as we drove along the edge of Taipei, which is probably the closest I will get to it this trip. 

The hot spring hotel (Art Spring hotel) is very impressive.  I will have to remember this place for sure!  Typically, a room is $200/night, but because I am a tiger (and this is a tiger year) and we are travelling mid-week, we received 45% off the price…about 3300 NTD.  The room is very nice, and the springs are quite extensive with music playing and an indoor and outdoor section.  Each section has different spa ‘massage’ areas and there is even a heated stone you can lie on which is heated from the space below.  We spent quite some time just going between the five spa pools which had different scents (lavender was my favourite although rose wasn’t too bad either), different temperatures, and different colours.  I also enjoyed the spa set up as a rain shower.  I would love to return again one day.  Perhaps I could even become a spa person…surprise surprise. 

After a bit of time at the spa, we walked through the town and had some of its traditional food – duck leg and noodle – while finishing with a mango smoothie and cake slice for dessert.  The dessert was a splurge as I do not usually have it, but for only $3…I may as well enjoy my vacation.  I even bought a wine holder which has some of Taiwan’s national drink inside.  I still need to figure out how to get it home.
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