Friday. Not only the end of the week, but the end of the semester. The tradition here is for staff to be given some sort of gift/token in appreciation for all the hard work. I received a lottery ticket from one of Taiwan’s many lotteries. Now, I have to figure out how to find out if I’ve won! A teacher’s dinner is another tradition. Our staff went to a traditional Taiwanese restaurant where we had a wonderfully festive meal. I enjoyed the rare opportunity to get to know the other teachers while we ate shark, shark bone soup, pork belly, fried rice with river shrimp, poached fish, fresh fruits and a dessert of sweetened, pureed iced green bean soup.

After all this, what better way to relax than to go to a hot spring! Lucky me was able to accompany Rose, her principal and her son (Andy) to a Baolai to visit a hot spring. We drove up into the mountains in northern Kaohsiung County and arrived at the Fun Chen Resort Hotel in a couple of hours. The spa is set in a town that is in the homeland of the Rukai aboriginal tribe. Many places exhibit and sell their art and craftwork. Our evening started with a small feast of river shrimp, rice, cabbage, fried tofu and plum chicken. Delicious!!!

One thing I’m learning about myself is that I’ve outgrown my sense of adventure. I’ve settled into being a Holiday Inn kinda camper. Our lodgings for the evening were actually in small cabins rather than in the hotel. When we walked around to the front of the cabin, the setting quickly and quaintly turned rustic. The log cabins looked out onto a picturesque mountain setting with the relaxing chirping off birds and the sounds of a nearby stream flowing by. Walk back around the cabin and it’s back toparking lot, hotel and city streets. Yeah, my kind of roughing it!

Now this was a great weekend from the time in the springs and sauna, feeding fish in the mountains, visiting an aboriginal elementary school and stopping at a gorgeous national forest…it was all wonderful but sleeping on such a soft, plush mattress rather than my bed that reminds me of a coffee table, well, that was a slice of heaven!