BONUS MATERIAL in this super long-winded post (fifth in the series of many!): Taiwan Celebrity-- Shakadang Scott!
Early next morning, the owner of Suto Home cooked breakfast for us. Basically western style breakfast with a side of guava, cherry tomatoes and coffee (sucky coffee, but it generally like that in Taiwan). Her specialty is toast with a mash potatoes spread. Quite novel. But the best part was we ate breakfast out at the picnic bench out in the lawn, enjoying the cool fresh air while her cute dog, Chocolate dashed here and there, tearing into her flowerbeds. In the morning light, we noticed the swings and garden that was obscured by the darkness when we arrived the night before. Learning about SK's sore throat, she passed her a whole bunch of lozenges and pipa sweets when we left. Nice of her.
First tourist attraction for the day was Qixingtan, a pebble beach. Right beside was an old airforce base that according to our driver keeps retired jet fighters at their hangar. Around the beach area was beautifully manicured lawn with sporadic marble sculptures. At the beach, a whole bunch of visitors were busy canvassing the area for souvenirs. Everyone had their heads down, looking for pretty a piece of rock. Lewis said that he would turn a blind eye, but please don't carry off a large piece of rock and end up being detained at the airport. Unfortunately for SK, she twisted he ankle and fell there. In addition to the smooth stones, she left with a slight limp and some scratches on her shin.
The day before, we had wanted to visit Shakadang Trail at Taroko. However, it was closed for the day. So we tried again that morning. Lewis dropped us off at the side of the highway, and we took the stairs down the Shakadang Bridge (check out Taiwan Celebrity: Shakadang Scott who happens to be friends with Juice Jack). The trail is actually hewn from the river cliff and from it, one can observe the river, rock folds, and boulder-strewn flats. A leisurely hike with not much incline at all (thank you!). Didn't go to the end, since we were given only an hour there. Plenty of photo opportunities, especially with the bright red Shakadang Bridge (which is lined with 100 cute little white marble lions) and pretty marble cliffs. Apparently, the indigenous tribes still use the trail and we got firsthand experience when a small vehicle came at top-speed while we practically had to flatten ourselves on the cliff wall. :S.
Driving on, we arrived at the coast-- Qingshui Cliff. The highway winds 800m above sea level with breathtaking views of the sea. Extremely scenic and as the name suggests, the waters were very clear and seemed to have several shades. Reminded me of The Great Ocean Road in Melbourne. Stopped at one of the coves and took the trail down to the beach. The sun was blazing (and butterflies happily humping) and it was a long trek down (the journey up nearly killed me). Did some silly cam-whoring at the beach and then begged for KH to carry my fat ass up. To be continued...