Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hsinchu via a 760m mountain

I would never have fathom that I would have to climb another near near 1000-metre mountain as I did on this day itself. The reason was simple, but it was also stupid. Read on.

I miss Tenglong. Great hospitality.
 Leaving Tenglong Hot Spring Resort, I felt a tinge of sadness because the people there were extremely helpful and nice. They were concerned for my trip, and the lady gave me cream for my chapped lips, as did the guy, Guorong, who saw my peeling sunburnt skin and gave me arm warmers, which were some long black sleeves. Great!

Nice bike, IKR!
 I left Tenglong and was supposed to go back the same way I came in, but me being me, I don't like to go back the same way I came from. Instead, I checked out the map and it says that there's another way which I can use. The most interesting thing is this, it heads diagonally up until I hit the Provincial Highway 3.

What I didn't expect is to meet up with some truly shitty grades that make me feel like an idiot. Should have gone by the easier way. The route takes me up to Baguali Mountain, whose peak is 1000m, but luckily, I didn't have to reach that high a distance. I (mostly) pushed my bike up the 760m incline. It was shit.

Then it rained. Shit.

Not that bad, because rain is tolerable, but what made it truly dangerous is the equally steep downhill portion. The downhill portion was super steep, and what made it worse was that the road was wet and slippery. My brakes - they took around 50m to get me from 40 to zero. It was that dangerous. I did lose it once - my rear wheel locked and I was sliding into a ditch - but nothing too nasty, which was a good thing.

Met this uncle on the PH3. Gave me directions.
 I rejoined the PH3 and it was a truly great road. Love the 3. I have been on it for so long, no other road compares to it in terms of quality.

My ambition was to hit Taipei, but after wasting an hour on the mountain, it was already 3pm, wet, cold and cloudy. Unlikely, but I thought I could hit Taipei by 3am.

Not likely, it seems. By 5pm I was shagged out TTM. I was in Sanwan and I thought, sian... I think I better just find a hostel. So I decided to go to Hsinchu, because there was supposedly a hostel.

I reached Hsinchu and I found the hostel. No space. So I went to agoda to find a cheap hotel. Turns out there's one in the middle of the hottest place in the city - Zhongzheng Road. So I went there, only to find out that there were only the four-person rooms were available. They cost 1600NTD (SGD70). It was freaking expensive, but I was... whatever! I'm tired!

We drop it like it's hot

But at the reception, I met Alaric. Alaric is Filipino and he works in Tainan. He's here because he's finding his wife who works in Hsinchu. At the counter, he had the same problem - four person room for one person. So I asked him if he wanted to share the room with me, splitting it half-half. And the rest was history.

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