Josh, meet monkey...monkey, meet Josh!

You know that fuzzy warm feeling you get inside when you introduce friends from 2 different instances in your life and the 3 of you have a great time together and all in life seems well...yeah, that's kind of what it felt like to introduce Josh to my monkey friends in Kaohsiung!

I was supposed to work Christmas day {perks of teaching in Asia right!} but rearranged my schedule so I taught all my classes in the morning and asked for the afternoon off (you've got to take what you can get!) But the afternoon off meant that Josh and I could partake in the ever classy & traditional 7-11 Christmas luncheon as well as get an early head start on the almost 2 hour trip to Kaohsiung (sidenote here: kudos to me, this was the first time I drove my scooter to the High Speed Rail station...yay me!)
7-11 Christmas lunch! Seaweed chips, coffee, pork sticky bun, Japanese rice cake, sweet potato, tea eggs, & yogurt drink...HELLO Taiwan!

We got to Kaohsiung around 4:30 and met up with Tina who had beat us there, dumped our stuff off at our hostel and headed to Pier 2 art district to do some exploring before dinner.  Dinner was a delicious ma & pa Taiwanese style shop with dumplings, noodles, fried rice, & wantons! After dinner {because you know there no such thing as too much food!} we walked down by the love river & checked out 2 local night markets for some more late night treats. (I'm quickly learning that going to the night markets in groups is the best strategy since you can split items between more people you get to try more foods...SCORE!) We headed back to the hostel a little early and were all able to FaceTime home and wish our families Merry Christmas before heading to bed early(ish) for our long day ahead tomorrow!

Saturday was the day...Monkey Day! (clearly the excitement is evident in one of my 200 posts about these monkeys!)

After grabbing some breakfast, we hopped in a Taxi (thank goodness I had been there before and knew better this time around!) and had him drop us off at a gigantic temple at the bass of the mountain which also convienantly is one of the trail heads leading to the top of the mountain. We walked around the temple for a bit and checked out some Buddhist monks during their prayer/chants and then began our hike. Shortly after telling Josh & Tina that I had to walk at least 30 minutes before I saw any monkeys last time a little guy crosses our path, and then another, and another...Ahhh I was in heaven once again!

We hiked, walked, checked out the monkeys, and got lost for nearly 5 hours before we decided we had our exercise in for the day and Josh was out of camera memory {from his point of view I'm not sure which was worse!} and we headed down the mountain in search for some food!

After a terrific lunch at a local cafe we rented a couple of bikes for the afternoon in an attempt to really see what all this city had to offer us! We checked out the local outdoor art park, rode under the mountain tunnel to see the local university, walked along the ocean, and then decided to call it a night and catch one of the last High Speed Trains back home!

(Sadly I wish that was the end, but after figuring out how to get my scooter out of the HSR parking lot, we still had to drive home, unpack, && pack up all of Josh's things to catch the 8am bus out of Hsinfong headed for the airport :(  It was a great 2 weeks with Josh here, but I think we are both in serious need of some hibernation now!)