Monday, October 31, 2011

(Host) Family Vacation!

You may remember my host family from last month's Moon Festival. Well, they're still pretty much the nicest people ever (I really can't say enough good things about this family, I'm so lucky to have them in my life!). Recently, they were nice enough to take me with them on their family vacation to Kenting, the county at the very southern tip of Taiwan. It was a pretty long drive down, but that just gave me more time to bond with my host sister, Candy. It turns out that, despite a slight language barrier, angry birds and origami are universal.

This is Candy. She's adorable. End of story.
A roadside display for the "Hometown of Hawks"
Kenting National Park is a famous pit stop for migrating hawks and other birds heading south to the Philippines for the winter. So, every October, lots of hawk enthusiasts like my host dad, Jason, head down to Kenting as well.
Jason hawk watching with his super-zoom
We did get to see some hawks but I, unfortunately, didn't manage to get any really good pictures of them. Most of my good bird pictures from the trip are not of the raptor variety. But that's okay with me. If you know me, you probably already know that I love birds (and other animals) of just about any variety.

Cranes at Eluanbi lighthouse
Kenting is an absolutely beautiful area. The beaches are gorgeous and there are mountains and forests everywhere. The whole place is like a giant postcard. I also got to check out the National Aquarium and hike down to the most southern point in Taiwan! (Which has made me determined to make my way to the most northerly point on the island as well sometime this year.)
My host family in the giant whale fountain outside of the aquarium 
Lunch, aquarium style
Beautiful beaches!

At the Southern most point in Taiwan!
Also, at Jason's insistence, I tried some new and unusual food. Strange food is pretty much becoming a traveling trend for me at this point. 

Raw puffer fish skin salad
Flying-fish jerky 
Cheese baozi from a really famous restaurant in Kenting! Soooo good.

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