Pottering around on Cyril
Days 932 – 935
A few days relaxing and catching up, then a lovely day pottering around on Cyril, enjoying the sea breeze by a fisherman village and the Whale Explorium, finally meeting Audrey properly.
After meeting with Mike, Cathy and Zeff, we decided to stay five days longer here. Our Airbnb wasn’t our usual standard: dark, cluttered and the shower was mingy with loads of mould – Yuk. Luckily the clean and spacious place we stayed before was available, and it was a mutually happy reunion with our host and her son.
We had a few days rest where I caught up with writing, Tim went to the gym and we found a few great places to eat. This included John Dough’s Pizza. Our veggie Pizza was the best we have eaten in a long time. Crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside with loads of flavours. The owner, Matheus, was from Slovenia, and when he met his Taiwanese wife, he decided to live and set up this business here. We sensed from our conversation that he is a perfectionist.
We decided to hire an electric scooter so we could explore the area more. When picking the scooter up, which we named Cyril, we assured the owner we were ok using the bike. He must have wondered when I put my helmet on the wrong way around!
On Friday, we ambled along the 11km journey, Cyril doesn’t exactly go fast – I think our top speed was 34km per hour and that was going downhill! At last, we arrived at the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium near Houwan on the southeast coast. When we saw that the price to enter the Aquarium was Twd450 each, we decided to just potter around the area, this time on foot.
By the car park was a large curvy building, the shape of a Whale. We discovered that the steel structure, called the Whale Explorium, had a Solar photovoltaic system on top and learnt that the annual power generated is estimated to be 70,000 kWh; equivalent to reducing 43 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. We haven’t seen loads of renewable energy here in Taiwan, so this was great to see.
Despite numerous cars and bikes in the car park, we were the only ones looking at this building. It seems as if it has been used in the past, but now sadly empty. According to their website, “many marine outdoor activities, such as canoe, snorkelling, sea swimming, have been held near this station to enrich the meaning of marine education...” Why is it’s not fully utilised now?
The best thing was that it gave us a pathway to the beach. Again, apart from a fisherman, we were the only ones here. We pottered along the beach, which was covered in fragments of coral as well as driftwood and stones.
In the distance, we could see a house painted like the Union Jack. Curiosity got the better of us. We strolled over to the village of Houwan, which means “Back Bay”. A great name as it does feel like we were away from the touristy Marine Museum and the bustling towns of Hengchun and Kenting.
The Union Jack building turned out to be Bluemanpo B&B, but it looked deserted. Do you think the owners are British? We preferred the tiny building next door called the Shepherd’s House.
There seems to be quite a lot of building work here, which is a shame, as the feel of the old and quiet fisherman village will probably be lost. One construction under maintenance had great views of the sea – but the front room of each floor was the bathroom! How weird is that! Can you imagine sitting on the toilet or in the bath with pedestrians ogling at you? And what a waste of the view if you put up curtains.
We stopped off at a café for a coffee, but because the owner was not there, all we could have was a cup of water. At least this was free!
We hopped back on Cyril and carried on around the coast, taking a detour off the main road at Wanlitong. Next to the Snorkelling centre was a thriving small café. It was well past our usual lunchtime, so we popped in, and a young lady kindly helped us translate to order some dry noodles with vegetables.
Later, in the evening we drove up to Mike’s place to finally meet his partner, Audrey, properly. We have met her while she has been working in the Thai restaurant, but that’s not the same as sitting down to chat. She is a delight. The four of us nattered away for some time, after admiring the work Mike has put in making his smoker and creating a great outdoor kitchen.
Suddenly, we realised the time. The restaurants close quite early here, many at 8 pm. A quick walk down the lane to the main road, our first chosen restaurant was closed; however, Audrey luckily found a place for Hot-Pot. Thankfully the soup was not like the one in Chengdu which was “blow your head off spicy hot”. Audrey knew what she was doing and added seafood, eggs, vegetables, pancakes, noodles and thin pork for the meat-eaters all at the right time. And the total price of Twd 520 was well received.
Time for bed and a safe journey on Cyril back to our clean and comfortable accommodation. I wonder where we will venture tomorrow.