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Mingao Hot Spring Resort

TAIWAN | Thursday, 3 October 2019 | Views [65]

Bird of the day, Taiwan Partridge, Daxueshan NP

Bird of the day, Taiwan Partridge, Daxueshan NP

THE TROPICAL STORM WAS A FIZZLE, DESPITE the dire forecast and we were ready to leave Taipei.  The 5201 Airport Bus left on schedule and dropped us off at the Avis counter.  They tried hard but maybe they’ll try a little harder next time.  We appreciated the upgrade to a Ford Focus and they even programed the Garmin Sat/Nav for our first stop.  It took us a 100km goose chase before we realized they hadn’t turned on the GPS function.  And while their Garmin looks like our Garmin, everything is written in Chinese so it took a lot of luck for Connie to re-program it.  Luckily the port it sent us to wasn’t the one where the bridge collapsed.  That really would have pissed us off!

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      Try a little harder                         An unexpected treat

I selected Mingao Hot Spring Resort in Guguan because it’s only 10 kilometers from Daxueshan National Forest, one of Taiwan’s premier birding areas.  The drive, however, is 65 kilometers, mostly on twisty, turny, narrow roads.  And Taiwanese, we’ve learned aren’t nearly as polite as Japanese drivers even though they drive — mostly — on the right.

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   Monkey Business in the Forest

I didn’t expect to find forested mountains in Taiwan — I guess I should have.  Some of the peaks top out over 10,000 feet and most of the time in Daxueshan we were at Denver elevation.  That’s probably why Taiwan has 60 bird species found nowhere else.  We have already seen 28 species, 17 of them endemics.  The Formosan Rock Macaques were a bonus.

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   Grey-cheeked Minivet

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            Taiwan Yujihina

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                   Vivid Niltava

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                        White-eared Sibia

Guguan itself looks like a small, run-down European spa town.  The main street is a series of restaurants all serving the same fare — noodles and rice, of course, with live trout, sturgeon and catfish swimming in tanks and cooked in a variety of ways.  Or you can have intestine, pig stomach, foot or . . . you get the idea.  A Family Mart and 7Eleven sell everything else you might need.  Lanes running uphill and downhill from the main drag lead to various hot spring resorts.  Ours is on main street and pretty basic.  It has everything we need including breakfast of salad and egg sandwich with chicken (I hope) patty.

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   Breakfast of Champions                    Laundry day — Aleady

Today is the 26th anniversary of when Connie and I met, a date we revere as much as our wedding day.  I think we will wait until Hawaii for a celebratory dinner, someplace where we can read the menu and have a glass of wine.  Instead, I did our laundry in the spa tub.  Cleanliness is next to . . . impossible when traveling.

 

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