After enjoying Taipei for sometime, I chose to venture southwards to Pingtung, that is also referred to as Pingdong. I really liked this place as the people were super warm, the landscape really serene and there was lots to learn about their culture, especially due to the high older generation population. The below is what I got up to, feel free to follow suit.
a)Engage with the people
I was privileged to have a home stay experience courtesy of my friends Katys grand parents. These two opened their hearts and home to me and I will forever be grateful that I eventually started calling them grand ma and grand pa. It was interesting watching people observe grandma and I conversing with each other, her in Chinese, me in English, yet we completely understood each other.They became my tour guides and showed me all around the town and its outskirts. May God continue bless them abundantly.
2) Visit the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park
This place is found in Sandimen which is about 30km from Pingtung. This place is so rich in their culture from the music to the dressing to different cultural artifacts. Make sure you have time to go enjoy their dances at the theater. Their dances are so graceful and captivating, I stayed here for hours.
3) Make friends:
Walking and moving around the town of Pingtung was a lot of fun. I was the first if not the only African most had ever met. However as stated previously, Taiwanese are extra friendly and warm. They smiled, said hello and made me feel at home. They were impressed with my hair which was in braids, a concept they could not understand. They also really loved the black skin constantly referring to it as Piaoliang which means beautiful. I wish more Africans especially ladies would travel here and hear that Black is Beautiful, maybe this will deter them from skin bleaching.
4) Ride the Taiwan High speed Rail:
I got to ride on the Taiwan High speed train from Taipei to Kaohsiung and covered 395.5 km. It can move at a speed of 300km/h and has 989 seats. This ride is comfortable and though fast, you hardly notice the speed.
5) Visit the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
Ensure you make time to visit here and do not be in a hurry, there is so much to see. I learnt and saw animals I had never heard of like the Beluga otherwise known as the white whale and garden eels which look like big worms or small snakes but are actually fish. I also got to see penguins which made me very excited as well as a wide array of aquatic life. I even had the privilege to touch some of them, how cool is that?
6) Eat everything:
They have a wide array of food, with most being from the sea. I sampled anything and everything that was presented before me and really enjoyed most of them.
We visited a local restaurant that allows one to cook for themselves and I tried my hand at preparing their meals, make sure you try this. I was also converted into a fresh green tea drinker by grandpa, which we brewed daily. One boils water and then places green tea leaves in the pot and allows it to continue boiling, before serving- nothing like a fresh cup of green tea.
7. Go shopping:
I loved to visit the shopping areas and truly, I shopped and shopped and shopped. They are fashion forward and their prices quite friendly.
I love love loved Pingdong/Pingtung. I felt totally relaxed as even the mood on the streets is relaxed. I believe having a host in this case Grandma and Grandpa made my experiene more enriched. I became a professional green tea drinker, I learned basic words like We go-Zou ba, Xiexie-Thank you, among others. I highly recommend a visit there. For more on my Taiwan escapades, check out:
Taiwan 101: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/taiwan-101/