Datanpiwanglai Park (大潭埤往來公園)
But we three friends from three continents who did go on the bike trip had a wonderful time and enjoyed the hell out of a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
Did you know that many cultures and geographers recognize not seven continents, but five? I learned this the hard way in Japan, after a confusing-as-hell argument with one of my friends. At first I thought they were being silly, or somehow lacking knowledge. But then when all of my other friends agreed with them instead of me, I broke down and learned that to much of the world the five (and only five) continents are: America, Africa, Eurasia, Australia and Antarctica.
Ethnocentrically, I tried to argue them out of it, but soon realized that North and South America ARE connected (except for the Panama Canal, which is made by humans), and the “boundary” between Asia and Europe is completely arbitrary. I conceded the “argument,” while explaining that in my culture, we recognize seven continents, and leaving it at that.
Miraculously, we never got lost on our journey. Sure, we stopped and consulted several maps numerous times, but we made it without any detours... eventually.
Despite staying on the straight-and-narrow, we came across some wicked cool things on the way. We were minding our own business, biking along down a busy city street, and suddenly came on this temple with a dozen 100 feet (30m) tall guardian statues in front of it. The profound level of detail on the statues was breathtaking.
Naturally, we stopped to play around and take some pictures and stare at the statues for a while, and were glad that we did.
The park itself didn’t disappoint either. While there, we wandered around a temple with another 100 foot (30 m) tall statue, this one of Buddha, beautiful vistas of green growing things right next to the city, a simply stunning cloudy afternoon sky, some wicked cool bugs, and a Great lake. Okay, maybe not a “Great lake,” but definitely a great lake.
These life preservers trip me out every time I see them, and I chuckle to myself. So you create a lake that’s only a few feet deep, post big angry NO SWIMMING signs absolutely everywhere around the lake, and then put life preservers around the edges. Um, what?
If someone is in trouble, an accomplished swimmer nearby will hop in and help them, whether a lifeguard or simply a bystander. I have been both the watery savior, and the saved, many times in my life, though rarely were any of the situations serious… we Wisconsinites are simply accustomed to being around water, and have an eye for when someone is getting in trouble, and no qualms about helping them.
Reverse Psychology WIN – Sam Learns to Swim
I was terrified to try, and she knew it. I could swim a little bit but 50 feet was an awful long way, and over my head almost the whole trip, which is why I wanted her to take me. But I retorted: “FINE. If you won’t take me, I’ll figure out how to get mySELF out there. Then you’ll HAVE to take me.”
I spun around angrily and marched straight back toward the water as only a huffy seven-year-old can do, and spent the next 30 minutes practicing and screwing up my courage to doggie-paddle my way out to the float.
My babysitter then called out: “hey Sam, if you’re going to swim to the float, you’d better do it soon, cuz we’re leaving in five minutes!!” My eyes got wide as I saw she was packing up her stuff, and then my eyes narrowed. I had no intention of going back home; I had a float to swim to.
So I swam to the float.
I jumped and screamed and yelled and stuck my tongue out at my babysitter from atop the float as the water sluiced off me. I made moose ears at her and blew raspberries, triumphant at having “tricked” her and learning that I could take mySELF out to the float and didn’t need my stupid old babysitter to help me!!!
I got even happier when I realized I was right; she wasn’t willing to swim out to drag me off the float, so I had just bought myself some more swimming time by putting some distance between us.
She waved lazily at me from her spot sunning on the beach, unpacked her stuff and laid back down on the towel. She gave me a thumbs-up, then put her nose back in her book, leaving me again to my own devices.
Well played, babysitter, well played.