31 Oct 2018

Penghu, Day Two

Headwind, tailwind, headwind, tailwind...

After braving Hujing, the wind continued to build into the night. We were told that the wind was stronger at night - I’m not sure the physical reason behind this, but it seemed consistent with what I experienced. My hotel room was on the North side, and the continued bashing on the windows by gusts exceeding 50 knots eventually changed from a minor annoyance to an aggressive lullaby. Perhaps the steady stream of air being funneled into the hurricane lessened with the heat of the day, and when the temperature dropped at night, some atmospheric process… I digress. I’m sure the answer and expression can be found in my dense atmospheric sciences notebook.

The next morning, I woke up feeling tired, but moderately well rested. We were up against 50 or 60 km of cycling as our goal was to reach the other side of the Penghu to see a historic lighthouse. The day was adventurous. We didn’t really have strict timelines to meet, so we got to explore several different detours. This was one of my favourite days, even though it was exhausting. Each turn we dreaded heading more North, more into the headwind, and hoped that it would help push us up hills and fight us going downhill. For the most part I think we got lucky with this, but there were definitely hills made worse by a gusty 90 km/h wind on our nose.

(Above image taken by Min)

I haven’t introduced our trip leaders yet, but they made the trip the amazing thing it was. Min, our trip leader was an ambassador and tour leader for Giant Adventure. Min was an absolute trooper, and her leadership and energy was contagious and helped the group press-on when we were feeling tired. She wasn’t feeling well for the first few days of our trip, and was prone to seasickness - a flu and seasickness were two things that definitely didn’t mix well with our tour. Nevertheless, many of these photos were taken by Min as she was always ready to capture our adventure. She was always enthusiastic, was able to herd a bunch of North Americans running around like excited chickens let loose in a field (or the beautiful scenes of Penghu). She made sure everything ran smoothly, was clear at communicating, and was always fun to be around.

Sandy, one of two people who worked for a tourism branch on Penghu, was also extremely fun to be around. She was very knowledgeable of Penghu, its traditions, and provided us with a host of neat facts. I was always wowed by Sandy’s ability to educate us on the history of the places we were at, names of seemingly random buildings to us, customs and traditions, and knowledge of temples and their religious significance.

(Above image taken by Min)

The third was Chiu Ja. I’m not sure how much english he knew, but his enthusiasm was also constant and energizing. The only few things I ever heard from Chiu Ja in english was “follow me, let’s go!”. This happened so much, that we informally referred to Chiu Ja as “follow me let’s go guy”. I loved Chiu Ja’s personality. We shared several jokes transcending languages, took funny pictures of each other, and shared laughter.

I don’t think I could have asked for better leaders on this trip and can’t thank them enough. They soon became quick friends, and I hope they rested well after working so hard for us. Thank you Taiwan Tourism Bureau for choosing the best, and thank you Giant Adventures for choosing Min for our group, and Sandy and Chiu Ja. I miss them lots!