Midnight Train to Hoi An, Vietnam

I had booked a soft sleeper for us. A traveling compartment with four berths. I had hoped for lower berths but the train was full and we were stuck with two upper berths. We were sharing our compartment with a young couple traveling with their eighteen-month old baby. This young mother was also nine-months pregnant! As the train began its trek to Danang, picking up speed, we began to wonder if her pregnancy would withstand the shaking, rattling, bumping, lurching motions for a few moments, much less the sixteen hours ahead of us.

Tainan Family

Tony picked us up at the Tainan High Speed Rail Station and we immediately set off on a drive for the hills. He handed us each a rice ball filled with some pickled vegetables, a local favorite breakfast, and a bottle of water. Driving towards the hills we had time to get acquainted. High in the hills the sky was a beautiful blue looking down on the grey smoggy haze covering Tainan. Tony explained that one of his favorite things to do is to drive up high above the smog and drink a cup of his local favorite coffee. Conveniently, that is one of my favorite things to do as well!

The Dragon and Tiger of Lotus Pond

It was getting late so I was relieved that we were in time to tour the Dragon Tiger Tower. Dragon Tiger Tower is a temple consisting of a pair of colorful and modern pagodas looming over Lotus Pond. The dragon’s throat is the entrance and the lion’s mouth is the exit. Entering a dragon’s throat and coming out a lion’s mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune. Inside, paintings depict China’s 24 most obedient sons as well as scenes of heaven and hell to inspire people to do good deeds during their lifetime, and to provide threatening examples of retribution for wrongdoing.

Aliens have landed in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Six hours after arrival in Kaohsiung we discover our lodging is on the seventh floor of a slum apartment building where you really don’t want to walk barefoot! Laurie, in her most loving way possible, told me we were going back to the airport, period! We managed to get the phone fixed at the airport, reserved a new place to stay, and raced to the metro to catch the very last train of the night! We arrived at Drum Fang at 1AM. Twenty hours into our journey.