11990 Kilometres from Home
Still. I was expecting to be home this weekend, but decided to stay here just a few more days.
Rummaging through my suitcase, I found the GPS I completely forgot was with me. It took a good few minutes to track satellites ("Have you moved hundreds of kilometres?"... "Uh, yeah!"), and in the end it still couldn't tell me the distance to home. Garmin only does that for distances that fit four digits. I guess I could have switched to imperial units. Instead, I just plugged the coordinates into some web site. It told me what I already knew; it's far. But, with a twelve hour time difference I expected that to be closer to 20,000 km. Being some distance North of the equator makes for significantly shorter distances.
I spent the entire weekend at the Maokong mountain. This was my first time in South Taipei, and I clearly should have gone there sooner! There is a gondola there that takes people up on a 25 minute ride. As usual over here, the price and service are fair, as it's linked to the metro system. The entire mountain seems dedicated to tea production. At the top station, there are many tea venues, a tea promotion center, and most enjoyably, hiking trails. Hiking steep mountains is no easy task with the kind of humidity Taipei experiences. Nonetheless, I took a path down and then up (through a valley) to the next gondola station, Zhinan Temple Station.
There were several temples there, but Linxiaobao had the best view of the city. I waited around and read a book until sunset, then let the camera off its leash. Looking back at the photos, they don't quite capture the feeling of the actual sunset. It is impossible to capture in a photo the full sensation of watching the sun go down on a breezy mountain, at the front steps of a large temple, with the smell of burning incense.
So it was an alright weekend. It's August already. Time flies, and I'm missing my whole Canadian summer. I'll have to come back here when it's winter.