Friday, August 7, 2009

a day at the beach

some photos from a trip to taiwan's north east coast, including baishawan beach, about a one and a half hour drive from taipei.

in protection. the little tents cost about nt$200 per day (you also get a mat), the hot sun and high temperatures (around 35 °C, with a humidex of about 45°C) make it a good choice.

ask any asian woman, public enemy #1 is: the sun. an average western girl will spend more time directly exposed to it on a one week tropical vacation than her eastern counterpart will in a lifetime. if you need to get from point a to point b, the only way is through the shade. if there is no shade for more than one femtosecond, you open your parasol. you also wear a hat. and long sleeves. and pants or long skirts. and sunscreen. for most taiwanese girls the idea of going to the beach is about the equivalent to spending your summer holiday in prypiat. the downside: vitamin d deficiency (possibly resulting in osteoporosis) and no chocolate candy girls :-(. the upside: women look 10-15 years younger than caucasians and skin cancer is ten times less common.

the sand is hot. more than three steps and you get blisters. unfortunately it also radiates that heat which in turn is carried inland by the sea breeze, adding another few degrees to the temperature.

the only way to keep cool is in the water. sadly the swimming area for some reason is very small (the section you can see on the photo is about one fifth of the full length of the beach) authorities say that the currents are too strong, i think they are just overly cautious. at high tide the place is more like a giant jacuzzi. luckily when the water recedes they extend the barrier hundreds of feet offshore but only till the water is still only waist deep. the bottom line: don't expect to swim at the beach in baishawan (lifeguards are everywhere and i think they all former navy seals and military police)

the only way to go deep is taking a board to the surf area. the calm weather did not make a good day for surfing...

even i can't spend more than 2-3 hours at a beach, so we took off for a joy ride along the really scenic coastal highway. we stopped by the temple of the 18 lords, a.k.a. the dog temple.

did i mention women on the island do not like the sun? now that's sun protection, taiwanese style!

i think this is just a newer shrine built for the same dog and sailors just further up the mountain road from the shore. it looks huge, we didn't actually make it all the way up.

people looking for crabs in the rocks on the coastal highway.

enjoying a snack and the view.

this is fuguei cape, the northernmost point on taiwan.

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