Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Taiwan Excursion

Friday, May 15th

We just spent the past 3 days visiting some awesome places. Our group has had so much fun and really bonded. I think I lost 10 pounds from all the walking, hiking, rafting, biking that we did (which is greatly needed). What an awesome experience. I’ve been to Taiwan before but I have really come to appreciate how much Taiwan has to offer. Not just in business but all the natural beauty of the island. I have visited many of the national parks in the U.S. like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, and Taiwan’s Taroko National Park is just as amazing. On Wednesday, we traveled by train south along the east coast to get to Hualien to begin our tour. After a 3 hour train ride, we boarded a tour bus to start our hiking and lower body workout excursion. We stopped at many of the famous sights in the park to hike and take pictures including Swallow’s Mouth, Tunnel of Nine Turns, and the Eternal Spring Shrine. That was the most walking I had done since Jo and I visited the Grand Canyon and Zion a few years ago. The day ended with us staying the night in Hualien City. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Still, I was up at 5:30am. I haven’t been able to sleep past 5:00am since arriving in Taiwan but I’ve enjoyed the early mornings.

The next day Thursday we would start our upper body workout excursion with a “team building” Xiuguluan rafting trip. It was a 2 hour bus ride to the river. Everyone was very excited. First we had to get some basic safety training then it was off to the river. It was a 22 km trip with about 18 rapid areas which were fun but not dangerous as it was not the rainy season and the river was pretty shallow. One thing about Taiwan I could not get used to was the heat and humidity. We were lucky today the sun wasn’t that bright but still, after a 3 hour trip, everyone had some good sunburn and tired arms. A funny story on our trip back to Tapei city while riding the train, another tour guide was talking to our tour guide and asked him what was wrong with our group? What did he mean? He noticed everyone’s legs. Why did everyone in our group have red legs? At least some people could get a laugh at our pain. After the rafting we then traveled to a resort in Kwansan where we could get some more lower body workout. This time it was a 12km bike ride around their town and rice fields. I didn’t expect to find such a cool bike path in a place like that. We finished the day with a nice dinner and cool down in their pool along with homework. This is the kind of homework I could get used to :-).

The next morning Friday, I was up at 5:30am again. So another classmate and I took the bikes out for another trip on the bike path. While riding, I heard a truck playing music (Beethoven) so thought, do they have ice cream trucks in this area? But the truck playing the music was a garbage truck. I thought that was unique. Back in Tapei, I noticed the same thing. Just an interesting cultural difference. We spent our final excursion day traveling to some scenic views and visiting two different aboriginal tribe areas. The Buton and Amie tribes. You never think that a place like Taiwan having aboriginals but the whole trip was a great learning experience into the culture and history of Taiwan. It was late before getting back to Tapei and I was looking forward to seeing Jo and Annabelle. Tomorrow, Saturday would be a free day in Tapei before departing for Japan on Sunday. We would spend the time with family and shopping for things to bring back to the U.S. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. Next entry will be from Japan.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a trip. I'm envious. How is your Mandarin skills improving? I'd like to hear how that went. :)

    Up next, Japan. I want to hear you singing karaoke in Japanese bro.