Yay! So this last week was the first time that I’ve been to the ER (急診室) in Taiwan for myself! It was actually pretty exciting. I learned that because of socialized medicine, everything they use is a lot cheaper…so when they did a blood draw they just let the blood drip out of the needle instead of using vacuum blood draw vials. They also stopped the blood flow out of the needle by pressing their finger down on the blood draw site! haha
Anyway, turns out I have tonsillitis. I’ve had it since last Tuesday. Since it hurts so much to swallow, I pretty much haven’t eaten anything for the last week. Every now and then I will try to drink something so I don’t get dehydrated. I’ve been on a couple of different antibiotics so hopefully it will start getting better within the next few days, otherwise they’ll have to try something else. Unfortunately, since I’m pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there is no Ear/Nose/Throat doctor for quite a distance. However, as long as the medicine fixes it, I won’t need to go see anyone else!
I had a family in my branch take me to the hospital and when they found out that I didn’t really have anything to eat at home that would be easy on my throat, after dropping us off back at home, they left, got a bunch of pudding, drinks and other stuff and then came back and gave it to me!!! Thanks 唐家庭 (Tang Family)!
On an even more exciting note, last Monday we had one of our investigators, 家銘 (Jia Ming – “Mr. Miracle”, birthday boy from last week) and 玉萍 (Yu Ping – “HuHu”, the chocolate lava cake baker extraordinaire), drive us along the coast and to visit some cool spots! One of the places we went to was a place called 八仙洞 (Ba Xian Dong) – it’s these large natural cave formations near the coast.
Baxiandong (Baxian Cave, the Eight Immortals Cave) is actually a collection of 16 caves in the north of Hua Tung Mountain carved into the 150-meters high cliff (nearly 500 feet, for my “standard” friends). These caves are located in Shanjian Village in Changbin Township in a beautiful coastal setting. For us science nerds, there are both geological and archaeological significance to these caves.
They were formed as a result of sea erosion a million years ago. As the earth’s crust elevated, the mountains were constantly eroded by the sea and 16 caves of different sizes were formed along the cliff; tectonic shifts moved the bottom caves to the top – that is the reason why some of the caves are a hundred meters above the sea level.
“Baxian” (eight immortals) are famous Chinese deities. The area is usually encased in fog that drifts around and through the caves, causing the interior to be damp and misty. (We happened to enjoy our visit on a sunny, clear day – YAY!) As the environment resembles that in the folklore when the eight deities crossed the ocean, the caves were named Baxian.
The caves once served as a home for the earliest Taiwan inhabitants. Taiwan’s first and oldest prehistoric site was discovered in the highest cave. Some of the artifacts found in the Baxian cave by archaeologists, specifically stone and bone tools, are dated to the Stone Age Era, some 15,000 years ago. These artifacts have been linked to the Changbin Culture, a rich Paleolithic pottery culture. The site is ranked as a first class national historical site. The caves have since been turned into Buddhist and Taoist shrines.
We also went down to the beach area further down the coast. On the way back home, 家銘 took us to an old sugar factory which is now a cool tourist spot with lots of ice cream (yay!) and a pineapple park (it’s by a pineapple farm…everything is related to pineapples!). On a side note, it’s very important that you look up a video called PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen)…you won’t regret it! (Not sure that’s true, but here’s the link, in case you want to test Elder Simonson’s promise!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu5G443dQ4A
That’s most of the excitement for the week…a majority of it was spent resting to be honest. Hopefully this week I’ll be feeling better! On the bright side, with all the money I’ve saved by not eating this last week, I’ll be going to the most expensive steakhouse in town once I’m able to start eating normal food again! 😉
– Elder Austin Simonson