Farewells and Hellos
Days 937 – 938
It was our last full day in Hengchun, and we knew we were going to be saying a few Farewells today. What we weren’t expecting was saying Hellos as well.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Hengchun is our kind of place; a good-sized town with a mix of shops, restaurants and food markets and surrounded by beautiful countryside. It has retained its history with the four city gates still intact and some of the city walls remaining. The people are friendly, and the town has a community feel, yet still has a flow of different people visiting. Yes, we like Hengchun.
While I was writing, Tim headed off to the gym. He noticed a couple of travellers there and introduced himself to them. Marko is Swiss, and his girlfriend Melinda is from Hungary. He immediately warmed to them and invited them to meet us are Cathy and Zeff’s stall for lunch.
A couple of hours late, we arrived to see them chatting away to Cathy and Zeff. We left Cathy to man the stall and went into the shop. I quickly realised that Marko and Melinda aim to travel as sustainably as possible. Always keen to learn more, I asked them what their three sustainable travel tips were.
Like us, they have bamboo cutlery and straws that they use rather than using plastic ones given out at cafes or restaurants. They buy 5L bottles of water and fill up their large travel bottle each day – and were very interested to hear about the Grayl Water Filter we use. With this, we safely use tap water. We could even drink from a river or lake – not that we’ve tried this.
Their third sustainable tip is to clear up rubbish – Ah, we really like these two beauties. They showed us a photo of a beach they were at yesterday, which happened to be the next beach along from where we were, and they filled loads of bags of rubbish. I was curious as to the implement they use. It irks me that we collect garbage in more plastic rubbish – a bit of an oxymoron. They buy a roll of bags made from corn starch that decompose quickly. Great idea. (Thanks for the photos Melinda)
It’s great to meet fellow travellers as we can share tips and strategies. They also told us about an App called Monefy for budgeting money. Tim makes daily notes of our spending, then adds this to a spreadsheet. Yes, you read that right – Tim has been doing this, not me! (Those of you who know us well know that I love spreadsheets and have a background in finance). It’s funny how various daily “chores” become a person’s responsibility – I’m not sure how this one became Tim’s.
Meanwhile, Tim played with Zion, and Zeff was busy in the background getting the shop sorted for when they can open it for running English classes and cooking classes. I think that was the aim, but we never know with this intrepid couple – they have so many ideas.
As we were leaving, Zeff generously gave us each a bag of wood shavings that he has made, which ward off insects. We think the wood is a mix of cedar and camphor and will make our travel bags smell nice.
Time was ticking, and we certainly couldn’t end the day without saying goodbye to our buddy Mike. We walked up to his place and sat for a short while, admiring his view and a new vegetable bed he’s been clearing. We needed to get on though as we had booked into a vegan restaurant – a little treat.
Big hugs goodbye. Yes, we are very fortunate that we can still hug here – Taiwan has proudly been keeping Covid19 in check, enabling us to have the freedom to live life normally. They have just set up a new website to provided information on Taiwan’s significant measures taken to combat this virus.
The next day, after packing our bags, we headed off to meet Marko and Melinda for coffee. What a delightful couple they are. They shared how they managed to hire an old campervan at a fantastic price – a fraction of what I found – so managed to visit more remote places for hiking. It sounded wonderful.
The conversation flowed, and we ended up talking about how travelling can deepen a relationship. The young couple are in the early stages of being together, and I hope they don’t mind me saying, but they looked absolutely loved up. It was beautiful to see.
We needed to catch our bus, so a fond farewell and we do hope that we meet again. Over two hours later we were at Zuoying Station to catch a train to Tainan. We were surprised that within 15 minutes we had already arrived at Tainan Station. But hang on a minute, looking at the map we were still 14km away from our accommodation.
I was sure that when I had researched, the station was more like a 14-minute walk to where we were staying! We then realised that there were two Tainan Stations! How daft and I’m sure we’re not the only ones who have ended up at the wrong one. There’s Tainan station for High-Speed trains, located outside the city and another one in the centre of town.
We eventually arrived at Luke 27 Homestay and said hello to Ray, our host. I couldn't help myself and questioned why the Christmas tree was still up. Immediately Ray burst out laughing and said he was too lazy to find a place for it. Ah - I think we will get on just fine with Ray, he has a great sense of humour.
After we settled into our cosy little room, he kindly showed us a few places on the map to visit and then suddenly offered to take us out for the next day! Wow – how nice is that!
One thing we have learnt is to always say “Yes” to any opportunities. I think we're going to like it here in our 14th place in Taiwan!