I realize these posts are kind of long. But I have busy days and lots to share!
I took a cue from my experiences the past few days and did as much verifying yesterday as I could about today's route to be sure I wouldn't have to worry about missed connections or confusion. I already planned an extra hour between the rail and bus connection due to timing, but the peace of mind was welcome. I ended up using a different service to get to Fancyworld, a mountain amusement park about halfway between Douliou and Tainan. It was another package deal, with van service to and from the park.
Because I used the van, I got to the park a good bit earlier than I planned, and spent the first 30 minutes walking around the east side of the park. The west side, where all the rides are, didn't open until 9:30, and even then many of the rides opened after that point.
Again I met two big disappointments: one of the coasters was closed, and another cross-your-fingers hope for a ride still running turned sour. The Fly Away ride seems to be permanently out of order, and the floorless coaster was closed for maintenance (which should have ended on the 9th).
Like yesterday's Waikiki Wave, the Fly Away is a really rare ride. There are only two more I know of running - one in England and the other in Europe. It is near the top of my list of rides I want to try.
However, all the other rides were up and running in short order - even the Top Spin which looks like its missing unless you walk right up to it, and which was running the strangest program I've ever seen. At least it's different, if a bit boring.
The other major coaster was pretty good for a short, simple ride, and I had a good time rotating my ride experience between a bunch of rides I don't usually go on. I even saw two shows.
First, I caught most of a Heidi kids program (you know, the girl who lives in the Alps, who has a dog and little boy friend). I loved the movie as a kid, and since the show was for kids I could still follow almost everything even though I didn't understand the words.
in the heat of the afternoon, I made a planned escape into a different air conditioned theater for a decent acrobatic and dance program. I think only one of the performers was Asian, with the rest being Western or Indian. Don't debate with me over India being part of Asia. It is. But Indians have a completely different look and culture from the other Asian cultures I know.
I really need a hat and suntan lotion.
I was basically done with my day after the show, but there was enough time for a few more repeat rides and a second trip through the haunted house. I had a 5pm departure scheduled with the van company.
I somehow managed to just make an express train an hour earlier than expected after leaving the park. The van driver was pretty speedy, and we left the park a little early. A four minute train delay made everything come together nicely.
Baseball was on the schedule for my evening, and it was off to Tainan's stadium for nine more innings of Taiwan's number one professional sport.
I've been hunting for baseball memorabilia all over the place since I arrived. I was told I might have luck in the convenience stores, but it hasn't happened. And the night market in Taichung turned out to be a bad idea as far as baseball stuff comes. (Of course as I said yesterday I had a good time at the night market.) I hope that I can find some stuff in Taipei this weekend, though I did pick up a couple small things at the game on Tuesday.
I joined the game in the second inning, after waiting quite some time for a bus that was supposed to be "coming soon" - for those of you using next bus technology like SF MUNI has, you know how frustrating it can be. But it's not just an SF thing.
This stadium has a late 1960s feel, most likely because most of the structure hasn't been updated in a couple decades. The seats in the infield seem new though, and there is a nice scoreboard and underutilized video board in the outfield.
When I got off the bus a girl also got off at the same stop, and in our short conversation she told me her dad worked with the Lions (Tainan is their hometown). From her description it sounds like he's either a coach or trainer. Anyway, as soon as I went to buy my ticket I received a very warm welcome by the Lions boosters. They insisted upon giving me a ticket, hat, and bento box. That food was *awesome* and not just because it was free. I think that's my first steak since coming to Asia and its my first full real meal in Taiwan. Pepper steak, tofu, veggies (zucchini?), cabbage, rice, and even a nice canned drink were all presented to me.
Being a foreigner has its advantages.
The home team took the lead right after I got settled on a two run homer.
Then, in the top of the fourth, the visitors finally answered back.
Three homers in one inning, including back to back jacks. The last one was so high, if the plane flying overhead had been about 20 seconds earlier it probably would have been hit by the ball. Five runs scored in the inning. I think that's the first three-homer inning I've seen in person, though I have seen back to back home runs before.
It was a fun game, and my second-favorite since coming to Asia. The Hiroshima Carp still hold my top spot.
Tomorrow, one more amusement park - E-Da. I don't know if I'll spend all day, so I might get to catch up on sleep after I get back. My face is getting redder by the day. But after tomorrow, I won't be outside as much because I'll finally be doing more culture "credits" in Tainan and Taipei. So until then...