Lindsey’s thinking and Tim’s got competition!
Days 901 – 905
Domestic God and Goddess, some touch competition for Tim and I've been noticing quite a change in my thinking
Apart from on Wednesday, (I will come on to that) the last few days have been us transforming into renditions of Nigella Lawson. For those who are not familiar with this lady, she is known in Britain as a Domestic Goddess. She makes the process of boiling an egg look quite sensual.
Now, I’m not getting lewd here. It’s just that I’ve noticed that Tim and I have both enjoyed doing domestic tasks, not something that we’ve done much on our travels. We rarely need to clean or change the bedding, and often, we are living in just a bedroom, so don’t even cook.
Staying in our lovely Toucheng apartment for a month means that we have been shopping and cooking meals every day, going to the laundrette weekly and today I was vacuuming, mopping and cleaning the fridge.
Don’t worry; I’m not going to write a whole blog about cleaning – I just wanted to share that I used to see housework as doing tedious chores and would avoid it, if possible. Today I was cleaning with vigour and joy! Haha, I have learnt over the last few years that our change of perception only ever comes from a shift in our thinking. I was one thought away from becoming a domestic goddess, and I found it! Long may it continue!
Yesterday I had a few changes of thought about travelling around on a scooter. It moved between delight, fear and freedom all in one day!
After doing some research of the area, I could see that there was beautiful coastline north of us including Laomei Green Reef with its weird troughs covered with bright green algae and Yehliu Geopark with rock formations like an Egyptian Queen’s Head. We decided to hire a scooter to explore this area, and our lovely hosts found a bargain for us – just £8 for the day’s hire. They even drove Tim to the shop. Claudia and Celso are very special people.
We left our apartment in glorious sunlight. Even at 9 am, it was scorchio. Oh dear – did we forget that the weather can change here nearly as much as Britain?
The first hour of our trip was fun and relaxing as we chugged north on Route 2 with the surf to our right and mountains to our left. The occasional juggernaut trundled past us, but that was fine, we were enjoying exploring beyond Toucheng.
But then the weather turned. Dark clouds were forming over the mountains and coming our way. Gusts of wind were buffeting us; I tried to tuck myself in tight behind Tim to make us more aerodynamic…and to get a bit of shelter. My thoughts of “fun and relaxing” had turned to fear. The wheels of the large lorries seemed deadly, and I had to keep breathing deeply to remain calm. Meanwhile, Tim didn’t have a care in the world!
We stopped off at a Buddhist temple which looked interesting. By the side of the unusual gold-topped Temple was a large seated Buddha enclosed in glass. The inscription (using google translate) said “Shining Jade Buddha by the Lingji Mountain”. Unfortunately, the Temple was not open, and some guards stopped us wandering around.
We realised that we were near Fulong Beach, well known for its golden sand, very different from the black sand we have in Toucheng. It is also famous for its annual Sand Sculpture Art Festival. I thought I’d read somewhere that because of the COVID 19 virus, the festival would not be held this year.
Checking our map, we found a side road leading down to the river which separates the town from the broad expanse of beach. The lane stopped at a shack, but we could see the river and coast through a gap in the bushes. We hopped off the scooter and walked down the grassy path avoiding the occasional lizard crossing our way.
As we reached the path parallel to the river, we could see that not only was there a pedestrian bridge over the river but on the other side were massive sand sculptures. Oh wow! We just had to investigate further.
What a treat! We reached the roped off area and stood admiring the amazing carvings miraculously built all from the sand. The largest was of Gulliver from Jonathan Swift’s classic Gulliver’s Travels. Well, as we have written many times here in GrownUpTravellers – every day is a school day – both Tim and I thought Robert Louis Stevenson wrote this! Whoops!
Surrounding Gulliver were soldiers, his giant shoe and hat to the side of him. The detail was incredible; including folds of his hair and the anguished look on his face. Tim, you have a bit of competition here!
We realised that there was an opening further along the beach and was able to walk amongst all the sculptures. There was a collection that looked as if they represented the film Bugs Life with locusts, ladybirds and butterflies crawling over mounds, Egyptian and Japanese characters, a Dwarf riding a rat, Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit and Love Heart hands amongst others. We couldn’t believe our luck that they were here and that we could wander around on our own.
A wooden platform showed how these massive mounds are built. This is the foundation; a digger then packs sand with water and a diluted glue ready for the sculptor to create the artwork. How they then carve on top is beyond me. It’s not as if you can lean a ladder on the sand; surely it would all cascade?
We wandered back to our scooter after having our packed lunch. It had taken us all morning to reach Fulong, so we realised that my plan of touring around to many of the places I’d pinned on the map was not going to happen. I had totally underestimated how slow it was on the scooter, especially with all this wind.
Back on our motorbike, we arrived at Longdong Bay for the Dragon Caves. Sadly the many boulders stood in our way, so instead, we watched scuba divers dip into the sea and found a pleasant walk up onto a hill, watching a bee collecting nectar.
As we still had a bit of time to explore, we carried on around the cove to the Bitoujiao Trail with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. We scoured for sightings of dolphins and whales but no luck, however, we were very fortunate that we didn’t get rained on.
It was time to return so that we didn’t have to drive in the dark. We stopped off a couple of times to avoid numb bums and visited a stunning Temple as well as a quick photo opportunity of a huge white building that wouldn't have looked out of place in the Middle East. We have since found out that it's a private home!
Ah, we missed the Golden Waterfall, the Nanya Rock and the Yin and Yang Sea. Perhaps we will hire a car next time – I don’t think my nerves could last another day on a scooter on Route 2…or is that just my thinking?