Symphony in South Bay
Days 867 – 873
What a weird week, I am sure that it’s not only us that the week has been strange, and ours was self-imposed! Perhaps we are in sympathy with many of our family and friends across the world. This week has been like Beethoven's dramatic 5th Symphony in South Bay!
I have always promised myself to share the good and the bad on GrownUpTravellers. This week has been pretty pants, or I have anyhow. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony springs to mind, the constant nagging rhythm throughout, sometimes angry, frustrated, sometimes calm and serene. And over the week the tension built to a crescendo.
Like all music, there is an end. I am glad to say that the “Fate” 5th Symphony has come off the turntable.
Part of the nagging was me getting fed up with doing the majority of the planning. After a tête-à-tête and calming down, I knew I needed to shift the pattern, Beethoven’s repetitive theme needed to change. The issue of me researching and booking had been a repeated theme between us.
I decided to go on strike for two weeks and handed the reins to Tim. He took up the baton. I am pleased to say that the music has been replaced by a much smoother tune now. As Beethoven said “Many assert that every minor piece must end in the minor. Nego! ...Joy follows sorrow, sunshine—rain.”
We have been in each other’s pockets 24/7 for well over two years now, and over this time we continue to learn how to live harmoniously. We do have our moments like this masterpiece, but even through this, we both know not to let things fester, don’t make rash decisions in thwart times and, of course, our classic: “it too shall pass” is extremely helpful. Just like good music, relationships have a variety of rhythms and tunes.
For the last week, we stayed at South Bay, south Taiwan within the Kenting National Park. We chose to have a chillax week; no sightseeing, just some walks and time on the beach.
Fortunately, we still have our freedom here; however, we seemed to stay in our tiny room probably too much – I did say we were in sympathy with everyone.
There weren't many good eateries here, but we found one nice cafe and was very impressed with their safety regime. They took our temperature, sprayed us with antibacterial and asked us to wear masks at the counter. This is one of the reasons why there is no lockdown here in Taiwan.
The 600m of golden beach sandwiched between palm trees and a clear blue sea was lovely. The southern part of the beach catered for party-animals enjoying screaming banana boat trips. Needless to say, we were in the quiet northern part, and much of the time had this area to ourselves.
Beyond us were spherical buildings and I wondered what they were. It turns out that it’s a nuclear facility! Crikey, I’m glad there was no cataclysmic disaster while we were there!
Tim would daily dig, kindly making me a chair so I could relax and read while he created some cracking sand sculptures. He is getting very imaginative these days. The two hats represented the English Civil War, the idea from the book he is reading. He had to add a clue for me.
I loved the one with the two holes – this was Tim’s symbol for our love; it’s the infinity sign, and to me, looked like the top of a heart. He’s a romantic soul 😍.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday, I needed some antibiotics for an infection and the local pharmacist directed us to the Tourist Hospital in the nearby town.
Before we entered, a man took our temperature and laughed nervously, all in a quandary when he saw mine. My temperature was over 37 degrees. It was rather hot outside. I felt well despite the infection. He took my temperature against my neck, and his relief looked palpable underneath his mask.
We were very impressed with the hospital. It was a bit run-down around the edges but well organised. I had to give a urine sample; the test was back within 15 minutes. Now that’s service for you.
Since mid-December, I haven’t been 100%, very unlike me. I suppose I have often taken my health for granted. On the way to the hospital, I quietly asked my body what message it was trying to give me. Immediately the word “settle” appeared. We have now booked an apartment for a month in a couple of weeks’ time.
Apart from visiting the beach and hospital, we had a pleasant walk up the hill, behind South Bay. This walk was also like a metaphor.
The first part was steep but manageable on a concrete road. We turned into a narrow sandy pathway with trees either side. Strange creaking noises surrounded us, and we were reassured to see towering bamboo swaying in the breeze.
We stopped and tried to capture a photo of a butterfly; there are over 200 varieties of butterflies in this area. I always imagine that they are looking out for us, supporting us and leading the way. In this crisis, I have read of so many butterflies, helping neighbours and strangers, assisting them with food or comfort.
Some of the tracks were level and pleasant to walk on, some were slippery scree and a few times we skidded, just saving ourselves from falling.
The scenery changed; it became dark as dusk was drawing in. A group of cyclists, stopping for a rest, zoomed off just as we reached them. Later as we turned a corner, a pack of black dogs started barking at us. Back straight, suppressing my fear, I ignored them and relieved that they didn’t come after us especially as the landscape changed to a steep decline. If I’d run, I would have landed flat on my face.
As we reached the bottom, to our surprise, there was a traditional Temple with bright, intricate paintings, a fierce dragon with lit-up eyes, looking down upon us. Well, we weren’t expecting that.
Life is like one big, unexpected symphony. As spiritual master Amit Ray wisely wrote: “Symphony starts when you walk together, feel the heart beats and understand the unspoken words.”