So, apparently some people actually read this (hi Mum), because my two week time-out from writing caused, among other things, at least THREE readers to look askance, and a tornado in Auckland. Life and the universe has kept me busy, what with ups and downs and earthquakes whilst I'm on the toilet (TWICE in TWO WEEKS, what are the odds?!), but luckily I've got some new blog fodder to ram down your gullets, my sweet foie gras friends, because I spent the last two weeks in TAIWAN.
Well, because it was cheaper than Guam. Which is, I have been told, the poor man's Hawaii. Which should by rights make Taiwan the Hawaii for people who shouldn't travel. Taiwan should be the backarse of beyond. No man's land. Gore. But look:
I feel obliged to state that it was not actually this cloudy all the time - though the coud cover was not infrequent. It's just that when the weather looked like this:
I was too busy doing useful holidaying things like swimming and reading Neil Gaiman and seeing how much shoulder skin I could contribute to the diet of local insects before I left. Unfortunately, my personal holiday plans were shown to be at odds with those with whom I had chosen to holiday. This is probably my fault. I should have known:
Anyway, it turned out that their idea of a holiday was one in which you did things. Like climb. And cycle. Things that make you perspire. See, my concept of a holiday is basically spending as much time lying on my back as is feasibly possible within the pace of ten days without developing bed sores. So when I discovered that I was going to be expected to do something that required more exertion than ordering food off an entirely Chinese menu that looked like this:
... rather than like this...
... I was a little crabby.
Incidentally, Taiwanese food? Delicious. But you know the rumour about how they eat dog?
TRUE. But I really didn't expect to find it paired with pineapple. But I digress.
I was understandably a little trepidatious about the forced exertion. In fact, I behaved rather like this:
I am such a good travel companion. Seriously. Take me with you next time you go to Guam.
The more I looked into the whole "exercising whilst on holiday" concept, the more I doubted it. I mean, why would you fly thousands of miles to end up in a place signposted like this?
Nothing says fun and relaxation like killer bees.
Taiwan itself even seemed to doubt my mental fitness for its myriad dangers. Especially when it comes to taking short cuts.
Really? Dangerous? Because, I think, if I put my left foot there and sort of hook my knee around like this and kind of twist backwards as I jump, I can probably avoid falling hundreds of feet and having my remains painted across boulders as they are swept seawards and PLUS I won't have to climb that fucking awful hill you're pushing me towards... No? You don't think so? Go home you say? To bed? With a book? Oh alright then.
So I cycled up a mountain on a bike with one pedal and I hiked around the edge of gorges and peered into valleys and looked out for snakes before very nearly sitting on a frog and then I ate out of bowls shaped like toilets and then I walked some more and then I bought four skirts and then I climbed eleventy million steps behind two Taiwanese sisters who barely broke a sweat but grew afraid of the "dark" at midday every time the canopy met overhead and I avoided being killed by bees or poisoned by snakes and by the end of it all I looked like nothing so much as this:
Alas, the holiday is now over. Until I return for a brief trip to NZ in July, I will have a busy few months at school, interspersed with studying, as I have, in a fit of inexcusable madness, signed up VOLUNTARILY for a Japanese proficiency exam which presumably means I will have to develop some level of proficiency in Japanese. They should put that on the box.