Miramar to misery

The other day when I was in Tainan there were a heap of fighter jets cruising around in the sky. Chien-Wen explained that there was an air force base nearby.

This morning as I rode to Fegung Fishing Port to catch the ferry to Green Island (I’m going for a little R&R at a hot spring!) I also came across some fighter jets. They were practicing stop-gos at the Taitung airport, where you come into land and then take straight back off again after only a second or two touching down on the runway. It’s good practice for a pilot’s approach and landing. I used to do it when I took flying lessons.

Anyway, I was basically the only person on the highway that runs parallel to the airport this morning so it was like that scene in Top Gun where Tom Cruise is riding his motorcycle with the planes in the background. (Except I didn’t punch my fist in the air!)

It was kind of neat. The pilot would come in really slowly and then take off at a rapid pace. I wish I had of stopped to take some pictures but I was worried I would miss the ferry if I stopped. 🙁

So the ferry – in some ways I wish I had of missed it. I wouldn’t say the seas were the roughest I’ve been on but for my stomach – oh boy! I managed to hold off the vomiting but now it’s got me seriously concerned about my ability to live on a boat for a month starting next week. I don’t usually get sea sick. In fact I’m usually the last one to go down but not today. The other Taiwanese passengers seemed to take it in their stride but not me, I was all about the heavy breathing. LOL

When the ferry arrived at Green Island I ducked into 7Eleven to get a drink and was about to start searching for a place to stay when I bumped into a couple – Stefan from Germany and his Japanese partner and their five-year-old daughter. They are the first westerners I have seen for a while so stopped to say hi. I told them I was looking for a bed and they suggested the homestay/B&B they were staying at just down the street so I went there and also got a room.

On the way I stopped at an ATM to get cash out. Because of the generosity of the wonderful people I have been staying with thus far I have only spent about $30 AUD since arriving in Taiwan. I hadn’t expected the ferry over to cost me quite so much – in fact I didn’t have enough in cash for the return trip – so I needed to pick up some extra funds.

The ATM spat my card back saying it didn’t accept Visa or Mastercard. What the!?

I figured there would be plenty of other ATMs for me to get cash out at until the B&B owner knocked on my door to collect payment for the night. I said I would need to get cash out which is when I learned that the ATM I used is Green Island’s only ATM. Shit! What am I going to do!?

The ferry only takes cash and it cost me $560NT (about $18) to get over here with my bike and I only have about $140NT on me (about $4.50AUD). So I’m kinda stuck.

Luckily Stefan lived in Beijing for a while and is fluent in Chinese so he was able to talk the B&B woman into hanging ten on the payment for my room to give me time to work out a plan. She agreed that if I couldn’t get cash from anywhere on the island that I could organise to get cash to her brother on the mainland somehow and once she received a call from him confirming receipt of payment then she would give me money for both the room and the ferry.

So instead of spending the afternoon soaking in the hot spring like I’d planned, I’ve been racing from shop to shop trying to convince the store owners to let me buy something on my card, then immediately return it for cash. It hasn’t worked. Some weren’t willing to do it (I guess they thought it was some kind of scam) and others simply couldn’t understand. How on earth could I have been so stupid!!!!?

I’m hoping that tomorrow when the post office opens I might be able to arrange something, otherwise I am praying, Debby’s aunt in Taitung will take money to this woman’s brother. Otherwise it looks like I am going to be taking up permanent residency on Green Island! I’ve begun channelling my inner Tom Hanks looking for inspiration. He got off a deserted island with a makeshift raft and a soccer ball so there is hope for me yet! LOL 🙂

After my luckless efforts I decided to do the only thing I really can do without money – ride my bicycle. I did a full loop of the island, and guess what happened? I got rained on again. This is certainly starting to get a little old.

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But the scenery is great. I eventually came upon the hot spring, (which is one of only three sea-based hot springs in the world – you can literally sit in the piping hot spring while waves from the sea roll over top of you) and attempted to go in but they wouldn’t budge on the $200NT entrance fee. Hopefully I will have the chance to come tomorrow but it’s looking unlikely at this point.

Mmm – I wonder what tomorrow will bring?


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