( Our transport from Taichung-Jiji-SML-Cingjing)
Mr Liao came to pick us up at 9am. We skipped his suggestion to buy some more food and headed southwards the Jiji route, passing Ershui. We took a couple of shoots and 'accidentally' ended with lots of sugar plum lollipops! I posted a wooden postcard , 100NT, back home from the Jiji train station.
A side trip to try the ice Popsicle at Er Kan was a welcome treat as the weather was by then unbearably hot, with compliments from Mr Liao.
Passed Shuili, we stopped at various spots south of Sun Moon Lake for more Kodak moments at vantage points, scenery accented with tea eggs and wild boar sausages. Mr Liao is indestructible in the heat and his accounts of various places and events vivid and interesting. But the most touching sight was the viewing of the underground water inlet that was the source of Sun Moon Lake. There was no words to describe the enormous energy and water gushing from the belly of the earth. Thankfully, there was no tour group around to jostle with. It is one of the best secrets at SML. Simply awesome!
(SML underground water source )
We went north to Puli and ended at a county run flower farm to enjoy the last blooms of lavender , petunia and daisies in the scorching winter sun. Finally, to establish routine,we had a very late lunch ( bianshi, lurou rice and fresh juice ) although they weren't very much needed.
At Puli, we tried free cookies at the very crowded winery but the winner was the tofu which was the most incredible snack of the day. We ended up with Shaoxin laced sausages which is so-so.
( Puli flower field in Dec )
Less than an hour later with very careful driving from Mr Liao because of my car sickness, we reached Misting Plaza, at Guominbinguan unfazzled and fresh. We bade goodbye and gladly parted with 3500 NT, money well spent on the excellent trip and an even better guide.
云蒙仙境 has all rooms on very steep slopes, not recommended for those with knee problems / heart problem etc. The bath tub was missing although they advertised it as there and there was no heating for the 12C night. But its view facing east will make tomorrow's sunset viewing very easy, from the comfort of the room.
( After overcoming the steep slope to the lobby, the second hurdle is the steps to our room )
We had steamboat dinner at the Chinese restaurant beside Starbucks.Its big reasonably priced portions is meant to be shared. I bought lots of bookmark pens . At 20 NT they are a steal.
Of course the day would not be complete without coffee at Starbucks , enjoyed alfresco in the cold.
By 8 pm, we were enjoying our star gazing at the balcony. The skies cleared of clouds and the sky was star filled, very touching. Orion looks bigger than usual. Geminids Meteor shower peaked this afternoon but I did not catch any shooting stars in the early part of the night. 11.30pm but still persistent, I again scanned the eastern sky and was richly rewarded. About 10 stars streaked across in 15 minutes, from the constellation of Gemini, near Orion. Some made long bright streaks, from left to right, others quickly faded. One went downwards, sending chills down my spine - what if it lands on earth? The mega thrill was when a very bright star with a dusty bright tail zipped past the sky!
I was deeply contented staring into the starry sky despite the cold. This is the experience of my life.
( Nice view and big room if you don't mind not having heater in winter )
That's how a holiday should be.