Taiwan’s pretty side: Yilan Day 2

We met for breakfast on Saturday at 8:30am in the restaurant on the ninth floor of our hotel. Yvonne and I quickly finished our food and started taking pictures of the sun peeking out of the clouds. When we found stairs that took us outside to the roof, I borrowed Larry’s house shoes, leaving him barefoot, so I could go outside and take more pictures.

The weather was very cooperative during our trip, including this Halleluijah scene Saturday morning.

Just before 10am, after we repacked and I returned Larry’s shoes, we headed to a scenic outlook that was a five-minute drive from our hotel.

The scenic overlook was to the east of the bottom blue "9" indicator.

From the platform we could see the entire So-au Port, including a beautiful, secluded beach south of the marina.

Objects in picture are larger than they appear.

Yvonne, vacation planner extraordinaire, herded us back to the car, and we set out for a small artists’ community where a Japanese wooden shoe “factory” allows visitors to come in and create their own personalized shoes.

These blocks will someday be shoes. Comfortable, right?

Cameron immediately chatted up the saleswomen and tried on a finished pair. He wandered around the shop, his thick black socks sticking out of the shoes; the saleswomen giggled as he raved about the shoes and tried to convince me to put on a pair.

Always fashionable.

Later, after we’d pulled Cam away from yet another female admirer, we walked back to the car. It was time for lunch at a local restaurant, and after we sat down, I immediately began eating from the first plate brought to us. After a few bites, Yvonne looked at me from across the table and asked, “Mandy, do you know what you’re eating?”

It's generally delicious until you find out what you're eating. After a year in Taiwan, though, I've gotten over the surprise factor and just keep eating.

Pig ears. That was unexpected.

Soon after we finished eating, we drove through the marina, making our way to the beach we’d seen earlier from the overlook. It was a small beach, no more than a kilometer long, with very few visitors, and it was perfect.

Yvonne searching for shells.

When taking candids, I pass my target nonchalantly, then turn around and quickly take the picture before they notice and pose. It's a bit like a one-sided wild-west gunfight. This is a local fisherman who'd started a small fire to cook whatever he caught.

We stayed at the beach for a few hours, searching for interesting shells and rocks, climbing, exploring, watching the surf, shooting pictures, and taking in the views.

Click on this picture to see it full-size. No, seriously: it's a pretty decent shot.

Cam and I are either discussing the noisy bus of Chinese tourists that just arrived or Jay-Z's new album with Kanye West.

I climbed some rocks on the shore. It was a really unique beach, with smooth shards of shale littering the entire area.

Before it began to get dark, we emptied our shoes and pockets of rocks and sand accumulated and gathered, and we bid the beach a fond farewell as we left to visit a local tourist attraction: a lake naturally shaped like a flower.

Above the lake sat a large temple. As Yvonne and I wandered around taking pictures, Cameron found a new female friend and Larry napped in the car.

The sun set, so we left and drove to our hotel. From there we walked to a local night market. We quickly lost Cameron to a gathering of locals practicing magic, so Yvonne, Larry and I continued around the market. We ate dinner served from various carts, including a delicious ham and cheese crepe that never stood a chance.

At this point, one of these pairs of glasses is already owned by me.

The highlight of the evening was the ridiculous selection of glasses Yvonne, Larry and I tried on.

When I first saw this pair, I guffawed so loudly in the small store that people turned to look. I knew they were mine before I even picked them up.

With glasses like these, your IQ is certain to skyrocket at least a few points.

Now that's true love.

With no sign of Cameron, we left the night market and returned to the hotel. I relaxed alone in the room, then curled up in bed at 11:30 and drifted to sleep.

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