Saturday, June 4, 2011

Island Trips (one solo & one with 10 bikin' 6th graders)

A three day, two night trip with 10 sixth graders + bicycles = recipe for disaster. Frank and I both knew it and yet the excitement buzzing throughout our classrooms was quite catching. With high hopes, we set out to tour Xiao Liu Qiu Island a few weeks in advance.
A 25 minute ferry ride ended in an island paradise revealed. 
From Xia Liu Qiu Island

Entering the harbor

A rented scooter took us around the 18 km island in a very short period of time. During that ride, we saw caves, amazing coral beaches, 

From Xia Liu Qiu Island

tide pools, quaint beach shops, a beautiful stark white lighthouse, and a 100 year old banyan tree.
From Xia Liu Qiu Island

Two weeks later, we boarded the same ferry with 10 overly zealous kiddos with bikes. Upon arriving at Xiao Liu Qiu, the weather decided to take a turn for the worse. It rained and rained and rained. Ten bikes with twenty flat tires were pumped up and one student was down before we even hopped onto our bikes with the confession that she couldn’t ride. Shortly thereafter, another student was down with blood dripping from both knees and the promise of a tremendously huge bruise in the near future. 

The bike line-up - check out the folding bikes that are favored by many Taiwanese.  They seem practical for folding up and cramming into a car but those tiny wheels make for a lot of work.

This day, tide pools were enjoyed while the rain pummeled us. Dripping wet and content, we went back to the cabins for the night.

The next day, we were greeted with a sick little girl. By the end of the day the fever was so high a trip to the hospital was made, an injection given, and the little girl was put to bed. Amidst the sickness there was another bout of bike collisions, skinned knees, and lots of tears. Oh and the rain--it didn’t stop.
In spite of the sicknesses, blood, gravel and tears, we had a fabulous time. One the last night, the rain let up long enough for an outside BBQ and a beautiful sunset.

The kids were little troopers, ever anxious to see what else the island had to reveal. Biking back to the ferry terminal, we got wet-very wet. With water spraying in all directions, they bombed down the final hill and dismounted their bikes. Every one was drenched and smiling. The perfect end to a not as planned trip was having a pod of 30 porpoises playing in the ferry’s wake.

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