Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hiking with Formosa Plastics

Saturday morning at 6:00 am I met up with a neighbor who works for Formosa Plasdajian1tics, a major company which large factories in nearby XinGang (New Port) and MaiLiao. We drove west to join up with 9 of his fellow employees from the two factory locations for a morning of hiking.

Last year they tackled Jade mountain together-- a two day adventure. Today was merely a "small case" for them to get in shape for later summer activity.

The whole day I was painfully aware that my dajian3 Taiwanese language is not to the point where I could understand what they were saying nor participate in their conversation. Nevertheless, I was accepted,  and could communicate in Mandarin and a little Taiwanese as needed.

We started our hike at TaiPing on the side of Mei (Plum) Mountain in ChiaYi County, continuing over to 2nd Jian Mountain and Da Jian Mountain (altitude 1300 m) in Yunlin county near GuKeng. We avoided the more popular Hua Mountain, which I hope todajian2 enjoy some other time. Hardly anyone besides us was out there in the morning; we surmise the presidential election kept everyone away. The guys I was with waited until the afternoon to vote.

Before concluding our day,  we ate a sumptious meal of noodles and vegetables on the mountaintop (11 guys ate what was planned for 20!) . tea

The scenery around us for most of the morning were tea plants cared for by various farmers.

Having been 2 to 3 years since the last time I engaged in a mountain hike, I was somewhat fatigued from over-exertion by the time I returned home. However, there was one guy a lot more out of shape than I was so I fortunately didn't stand out in the crowd (except for being white!). Yesterday I heard from coworkers the pollution index was off the scale for Saturday. All in all a good day though.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Suzuki Swift Woes

I'm a little disappointed with the mileage I'm getting on the Swift. Having filled up twice now, I got an almost identical 10.64 km/liter  (25 mpg US) of mostly highway driving. That's about $2.88 NT per kilometer. This is significantly lower (almost 10 mpg) than what I've found on English web sites. However, I've found a few other hits where people report getting my kind of low mileage. For whatever its worth (probably nothing), I'll mention this when I take it in later this week for 1,000 km servicing. Why does anyone buy a small car except for wanting to save gas? On the other hand, I'm fairly satisfied with the advertised 110 hp at 6000 rpm... feels like what I'm getting.

There's a second problem as well-- front windshield wipers quit working!!! First, they wiped in slow motion and then not at all. Not to happy about either of this issues but God is good.