This past Friday was Children’s Day, meaning absolutely nothing to me but a three day weekend!
Children’s Day also happened to fall on the same week as Tomb Sweeping Day. A holiday for paying respects to the dead. Typically one would visit their ancestors tomb leave an offering, light some incense and say a prayer. Tomb Sweeping Day is special in the respect that it is exactly what it sounds like. You clean the Tomb, sweep it, maybe plant some flowers, in general make it look nice. On the way back from Kenting to Kaohsiung we passed hills and hills of tombs, all with piles of dead branches pushed aside and incense freshly lit, if I wasn’t so busy with a barf bag between my legs I would have fully appreciated it, but we’ll get to that.
Spring Scream is the equivalent to spring break, which I never was able to experience as a university student in the United States, so why not get the Taiwanese version. The actual spring scream is a huge music festival in Kenting. But it has evolved so that there are more parties and concerts than just the Spring Scream, so we stuck to the free ones.
We left took the train from Taoyuan to Kaohsiung at 5 on Friday, arrived in Kaohsiung around 10 and then got a taxi van to Kenting from there. Putting us at the campsite around midnight. We went to the same site the weekend before Chinese New Year and were the only ones there. This time there were no platforms left so we threw up our tents in the grassy area, that looked like a little shanty town by the time we got there. We paid 100NT a person for two days of camping, I’m not sure if they forgot to charge us or discounted it because we basically just slept outside on the grass. The campsite was hosting a free reggae party sponsored by the Fullon hotel up the street (Taiwan is so convenient). So the first night we didn’t even have to go anywhere. It didn’t start to fill up until 1 or 2 and was packed still when they cut the lights and music at 5am. There were a ton of foreigners, we met and talked to a million people and I finally got to use up the leftover glow-sticks (ingwen bung) from my Halloween costume. I actually love giving out glow-sticks, it is the perfect way to be social when you don’t know anyone, and it makes everybody happy.
The next morning we rallied around 11AM, everyone was up, it was too hot to sleep, especially in a tent. We got food and went to the beach. No beach puppies this time, just tons of people. until Free the Beach (free beach party) at three. We got a cab there, the cab driver asked us to teach him how to say “Do you need a ride?” in English. They had DJ’d until midnight and again it started slow and picked up around 10 after everyone in Kenting and had a few and needed a free party. The reggae party was going on again so we hitched a ride back to the campsite, and so conveniently, the party. Very much the same ending as the night before, bed time around 6, but not before a PBJ was made and consumed. At some point in the night (/morning) our tent collapsed, because I woke up in the afternoon outside in my sleeping bag, half of my face sunburned. Which now looks even more ridiculous a day later.
Our train wasn’t leaving until 11:30 PM Sunday night so we had some time to kill, unfortunately the weather wasn’t very good so after a small stint at the beach we got the bus back to Kaohsiung and here we are full circle.
I love Kenting, more so when there are less people like the first time I went, but this weekend reminded me of how much I love Taiwan. We hitched rides from various people, asked for information, and everyone was always friendly and willing to help. Even at these giant parties I did not see one single fight or discrepancy. The family who owned the campsite was so nice and looked like they thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the party.
Since we had the night train we didn’t get back until 5AM and then I had work at 9AM, enough time for a short nap. Thankfully I got to judge the story competition finalists from last week that broke up my day a bit. In for a busy week and camping again this weekend.