PingDong Mountains

--- --- Saturday, October 3, 2015 --- --- --- ---

Several weeks ago I was approached by one of the daughters of the family I live with and was asked if I wanted to go on a weekend trip “with my mother and her friends”. I was told they were going to Pingtung (or PingDong) at the southern tip of Taiwan. I was given a price and told that everything was included in the price…it sounded like a great deal for a fun trip (although what fun was to be had I still wasn’t sure!) so I agreed and gave them a thumbs up!

Packing for a weekend away when you have NO idea what is going on is difficult. I was told to bring walking shoes….I had no other information {where are we staying, how are we getting there, do I need nice clothing, a swimsuit?} NOTHING! (…I honestly thought about giving up, throwing in the towel, and bringing JUST my walking shoes lol….but I decided against that I grabbed some bug spray  on the way out as well! :P

Well let me tell you, it was my surprise when I show up to the meeting place bright and early at 6am last Saturday only to find 2 coach buses and 70 some people waiting to board for the weekend “with my mother and her friends”! I later found out “mother and friends” organized a guided tour and they all brought ALL their families…hence 70 something people at 6am doing the hokey pokey outside the buses (ok not really, but it did take some maneuvering to get us all in the right places!)

This tour ended up being a guided tour of some of the mountains near the south of Taiwan….oh my goodness, BEAUTIFUL!!! We had a nice hop-on hop-off guided tour service where we would drive a bit, get off the bus go around, get back on, drive a bit and repeat. I’m telling you, I also think they were preparing me for their personal Thanksgiving feast as all they did was bring more, and more, and MORE food! Our weekend fare included 7 full meals (yes please do the math I wasn’t even gone 48 hours haha) in which we ate at traditional Chinese restaurants where food is brought out (not ordered specifically) and served family style at the lazy-susan table. As soon as you being to think you were full they’d show up with another plate of food that you {{just HAD to try}}!

The pictures below are from our first day {Saturday} Sunday warrents it’s own blog post…. (I know I’m behind L I promise it’s coming!)

Let's just start out with this view...umm can you say gorgeous!!! 

The views were beyond  wonderful, winding trails, waterfalls, mountain top home and churches. I joked that next year I was going to work in the elementary school we passed just so this could be my view every morning!
A small group of some of the people I spent my weekend with...and yes I was the
only white person besides Angie, the other girl renting in my apartment building. 
Taiwanese people are VERY cautious about the sun. Cautious to the
 point they carry umbrellas everywhere they go...including up a mountain!

Group shots, some fancy indigenous 'people' and my new BFF Summer!  
Love this group shot of some of the family I rent a place from in front of a mountain-top church!