Sunday, March 31, 2013
Taiwan III 2nd Half: Frog in a Hot Spring
Dinner was quite special-- chicken roasted in an earthern jar using lychee wood. A sure fire way to kill vampire chickens. Having discovered that we were from Malaysia, the lady boss asked her Indonesian maid to get the orders from us. In addition to the trademark chicken, we had Wawa vegetable, teamed fish and three cups century eggs. The chicken was served whole. SK donned gloves and ripped it apart, finding special herbs inside. Before serving, our driver Lewis dumped a whole bowl of the chicken oil on it. Oily, but essential as it was chock-full of flavour. The food was good, but we were literally shivering in the restaurant. Cold, cold, cold and foggy in the mountains.
By nightfall, we arrived at Lushan for our hot spring experience. Our luggage went through the long way, while we took the shortcut via suspension bridge to the hotel. The room was large, but old-fashioned. The hot spring wasn't the nekkid kind, it was out in the open. According to the rules, we had to don swimwear, complete with cap (I looked like a nun). The locker area was also exposed, so we had to strip in the cold night air and scramble to the higher pool area. Before going in, we took a shower, splashed our bodies with the hot spring water and washed our feet. The water wasn't as hot as I expected and there was no smell of sulphur. Luckily, it wasn't crowded, just us, a small family and a tall beefy guy. Different jacuzzi options were available depending on which part of the pool you were in. Super strong water jets. We dipped for about twenty minutes before moving on to the hotter herbal hot spring. Basically I felt like a chicken in pot of herbal soup, cause there were muslin packs of herbs in the water. Had to go in bit by bit. Think my balls were hard boiled. Stayed in there for less than ten minutes I think. The last step was the cold water. We watched the beefy guy just dip hs body into the water in one swift move. Didn't flinch. So I went to give it a try. After all that heat, the water felt like it was freezing!!! I tried to pat down my body with the water and slowly put my feet in. Managed up to my abdomen. By then, I couldn't feel my feet! Numbed! Gosh. Supposedly necessary to close the pores after soaking in the hot springs. Did what was neccessary and jumped back down to the locker area. Amazingly, I did not feel cold at all. It must be all relative. Heat and cold sensors all confused.
Felt really light and my skin felt smooth after the dip in the hot spring. Walking out of the hotel, we were ambushed by the people from the liqour stall opposite the hotel. Specialty of the area's millet wine. Tried many varieties, but we only bought one bottle. Cari makan after that at a local restaurant. Ordered some foods suitable to go with the wine-- fried mini fish with spicy salt, fried mini shrimp, stir-fried pig's intestines and sweet basil omelette. Finished the whole bottle at the restaurant. Felt a bit high after that. Noticed that the town was quite dead though it wasn't that late. Asked Lewis about it the next day and he revealed that Lushan was devastated by landslides some years back, and that cause large tour groups to shun the area. Gradually dying and if disaster should strike again, it would surely be a dead town. Quite a sad fate. Went to bed all warm and toasty that night. And the hot springs must have gotten KH's blood flowing faster... Love the therapeutic effects of the hot spring!