Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Day 9: Hualien
Kai put me up in her apartment. She had two finicky dogs that always bark if you look at them wrong. The next day my girlfriend met up with me in to spend some time. I was still in a stupor. Limping and sore I drove around with her, enjoying every minute with her. I was originally supposed to meet her in Taichung, but logistically, it made more sense for her to come visit me in Hualien.I knew I would soon be returning home to Maui and our time together was short.
At this point, I was still planning to ride from Hualien to Yilan, then from Yilan to Taipei. But as things played out, I ended up taking the train back to Taipei, a move I knew I would later regret.
The weather and mood in Hualien was grand. We rented a moped. Finally riding on something other than my bike and my enpained buttocks.
Ahh, undeserved speed. You learn to detest and resent all those cars and mopeders zooming by you, carelessly going up hills with no thought as to the amount of effort it takes when self powered. A festering hatred slow-boiled into a fine point, manifest by glares at "them." I had begun to think everyone was lazy, but then I realized I was the only biker on the road and that I was the different one. But here I was riding a moped and loving the "free ride."
We stayed in a nice bed and breakfast owned by a parent of Kai's student. it looked like a small luxury suite that should have cost way more than it did. The next day, we drove around Hualien, initially intending to go to Taroko Gorge. But an unexpected incident set us back. The previous evening, Kai had taken one of her dogs to the vet and it ran away. She spent the night and morning looking for it. When we met up with her at about 12 or so, we continued to help her. With no luck, we set off to Taroko, but didnt get far when we decided it was too far. We headed to the Seven Star Beach area instead. I felt sad. In about two weeks I would be leaving her forever. I tried to saturate myself in the moment and enjoy her every smile and remark.
Kai mentioned that the road from Hualien to Yilan was quite dangerous. With my weakening strength and will, I was inclined to believe her and hang up my lycra. The back of my head said, "You will forever regret not finishing the remaining distance..." The front said, "Your ankles hurt, your ass hurts, spend time with your girl, Kai said it's dangerous, you're scared, let's not die yet." I said, "What time does the train leave?"