Making the most of the unexpected but certainly not unwelcome mid-January sunshine, Charlie and I took our trusty scooter in search of Dongshan and dinosaurs. Dongshan is a scenic water park area situated between LuoDong to the west and the pacific coast to the east. Here you can find waterside cycle routes (as well as cycle hire), boat trips along the river, a “wading area” and, of course, fairly gargantuan, funkily-painted plastic dinosaurs.
The cycle routes pleasant enough, and the Merida cycle hire place offered a number of high quality bikes ranging from simple single seaters to tandems and even outlandish looking cycle buggies. Charlie and I had a serene two kilometer stroll downstream before I realised that I’d left the keys in the ignition of our newly purchased scooter, prompting a sweaty-palmed sooner than planned return trip back along the same route. Finding our scooter still in place, lime green keys swinging merrily in the breeze, we gave a sigh of relief and settled down to picnic by the riverbank. Our lunch was peaceful, interrupted only by the occasional boatload of friendly Taiwanese waving and shouting “nice to meet you” and their astonished gasps when we waved and smiled back.
Well-nourished, we went to explore the “wading area” which seemed much like what we’d call an extravagant paddling pool back home. Equipped with flumes and fountains, it looked a promising place to spend a hot afternoon in Taiwan, except for the fact that it’s kept dry until June. Undeterred, we ventured further into the park area, finding, what else but of course – plastic dinosaurs. Surprised, but not unpleasantly so, we shooed off younger and probably more deserving Taiwanese kids to have our photos taken with the prehistoric plastic. It made for an interesting contrast – the immaculate-ness and the just-so feng shui of the park, with lines broken only by the occasional dinosaur. Very strange and very much what we’re beginning to expect of Taiwan. Much to its credit.