Last Friday my roommate Chen, having an affinity for trains booked a whole car on one of the trains from Main Kaohsiung station up to Taipei. A whole caboose car: with three compartments, a small section of normal seats, a dining car with a bar and a lounge with open space and cushy chairs and a small balcony overlooking the tracks in the back.
The dining car quickly established itself as an amateurs gambling room with card games. The lounge became a dance floor, favored by the smokers because of the easy access to the balcony.
Pulling into the station in Taipei at 6 a.m. most of the party headed to a nearby hot springs to soak and recalibrate our internal clocks. However, I didn’t anticipate the nakedness of the hot springs we attended.
I have soaked in many hot springs over here in Taiwan, up north in Tainan and down south in Pingtung. This was my first nude hot springs experience, and the only thing questionable about it was the way it had separated sexes so you couldn’t talk to all of your friends.
I am no surfer. The closest I came to that growing up in Montana was my sister’s two month fascination with skateboarding and bruising my tailbone in a skate park near our house.
Despite my lack of experience I jumped at the opportunity to take the train to visit the South African surfing hostel in Dulan, Taiwan. Friday evening we jumped the Kaohsiung express to Taitung arriving at one in the morning. The two hours on the train only allowed more time to enjoy libations and catching up with friends because Taiwan has no open container laws.
The local beverages of Taiwan include primarily beer, Kaoliang 高粱 a sorghum liquor and balida medicinal alcohol. PAOLYTA is the balida brand necessary for these weekend excursions.
The trips to Dulan require surfing, beach bonfires and excessive drinking. The best places were food are the reasonable priced Vietnamese restaurant and newer Italian restaurant both on the main street. The local drinking stations include the 7Eleven and the Sugar Factory although the music happens early around 9 or 10 so get there before 11 or you will miss out.
If you find yourself in this part of the world don’t be surprised by the kindness of strangers. Don’t be surprised by the quantity of beer consumed. Don’t be surprised to be walking home from an all night beach party at five in the morning.