May 18, Kauhsiung

The next morning's Starbucks run was nearly lost. Fast and furious rains made the scooter ride down the street harder than expected. The final insult was a giant "Closed" sign waiting for us at the front door. Rain soaked we returned empty handed. Fortunately the weather was far from cold.

The rain let up, and we took the scooters on a last run through slow and windy roads in the surrounding hills. It was a farewell tour of Kenting, and by the time it was finished, Starbucks had unlocked its doors.

The several hours of bus ride home were finished with the rental of two more scooters back in Paula's home town. We were soon greeted by Josh's family with a supply of red envelopes. These traditional chinese gifts are containers of big money. We were surprised and thankful. We also enjoyed returning the envelope contents back into circulation around the city.

That night, in Kauhsiung, dinner was hosted by one of Paula's favorite restaurants. We ate well, but we also ate dirty and obnoxious. It was a fun night, but hopefully Paula will be allowed back. That night we discovered the secret that small portions of Taiwan Beer made strange noodles all the more agreeable. Dinner was quickly followed with Birthday celebration for Avery. She was now three years old, and had three separate cakes to prove it. We left the table in an exceptionally large pile of used trash and serving plates. We also nestled an entire pack of used napkins somewhere into the mix.

After browsing an expensive night market nearby, we decided to stop for a movie at the MTV private movie theaters. Movie selection turned out to be a challenge, but we ended up with Madagascar. The least offensive to everyone, but also the least exciting for most. It turns out the private theaters are actually large rubber mat beds. One can only hope sanitary measures are used to clean these unsavory cushions. I think I was glad to see we were in the large family sized room, instead of the smaller rooms designed for couples. The movie viewing was enhanced by jumping and dancing of Avery with different partners.

Paula left the theater early with Josh, leaving us to scooter our way back to the apartment alone. This was performed successfully by everyone, leaving some of us confident enough to head out again. This time into the city for a midnight market that was big on serving "food". The term food is used here to represent identifiable animal parts hung up and placed on sticks.