Taiwan 2018: Scootering Through Weeks 7 & 8

Week 7: In lab, we conducted the second and final week of our exercise intervention using the DAQ APP (a pressurized pillow). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to recruit CKD patients for our study in time, which was a bit upsetting. However, our lab mate will most likely continue the intradialytic exercise intervention with CKD patients in the Fall now that we have been the first to test the device and ensure its safety. We celebrated Ayri’s 21st birthday this week with a trip to a crepe shop and a fancy, four- course dinner next to the shore. Our lab mates were kind enough to drive us on their scooters. This was the first time I’ve ever been on a motor scooter! It wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be, possibly because there is a separate lane for motorcyclists, which cars and scooters actually respect.
Feeling confident and comfy while Kat cruises effortlessly
My second scooter ride was over the weekend, when we traveled to the southernmost tip of Taiwan- Kenting! The bus fare and hostel, located on the edge of a large night market, were conveniently only $20 each. We casually drove the scooters we rented down the coast to a few small beaches and seaside cliffs. We expected to spend our time relaxing on the sand and swimming in the water; however, the ruthless waves made it difficult to even stand in the shallow end. We also weren’t expecting to be wildly tossed, thrown about and hanging on for dear life to the handles of a 5-person inner tube. I had my first water tubing experience, and I can now say it was my most exhilarating one as well. The biggest highlight of this trip would have to be when we got caught in heavy rain while taking pictures on a cliff that overlooked the ocean (30 minutes away from the rental place and an hour before our bus back). We hurriedly jumped on the scooters and carefully drove back while being pummeled by rain. We were drenched!
After Being Personally Victimized by the Rain
  Week 8:
Monkey Mountain
Hot, Humid and Beautiful Trail up Monkey Mountain
After conducting the post-test for each subject, we used SPSS to determine if there was a significant difference in the quadricep strength among our subjects. As we expected, we did not see a significant difference. We continued with writing the results and discussion section of our paper. Thursday, our lab took Ayri and I to a traditional Japanese Ramen restaurant where I had the best ramen I’ve ever had! It was interesting ordering on something that looked like a vending machine . I later learned that those machines are in most restaurants in Japan. After lab, our lab mates, Rachel and Patty, took us on a hike to monkey mountain, to dinner by the harbor and to a delicious shaved ice place called “Deer Grassland”. I really appreciated the lab coordinating this outing for us. I constantly feel how concerned they are with enriching our experience here. Riding on their scooters again made me realize how intriguing it is that you get so see, smell and feel so much more than when if you were in a car, yet it is something so habitual here. The fun and eating continued on Friday, when Dr. Guo took our lab to a fancy hot pot restaurant for lunch.
Exquisite Hot Pot Restaurant
 
Shopping for Traditional Trinkets
We boarded the High Speed Rail to Taipei for the last time on Saturday morning. It felt surreal thinking how my dad and I were so excited for me to ride the 186 mph train, a few weeks after my acceptance to MHIRT in February. We spent the day celebrating Kat’s 22nd birthday by perusing around the Taipei Zoo (for only $1); riding a gondola; visiting Chiang Kai Shek Memorial and Longshan Temple; and souvenir shopping for hours at an underground plaza that we found by accident. We returned to Kaohsiung  Sunday afternoon to prepare for our last full week in Taiwan.     Melissa