Thursday, May 18, 2006

Taiwan, Part 4

Today was mainly a travel day from Kaohsiung to Hualien. This morning the tour bus took us around Kaohsiung city. The first stop was a large man-made lake surrounded by a park. It was pretty deserted since the entrance fee was NT$100 per person, expensive even by American standards. It was a pretty nice park though. There is a seven story pagoda that all of us climbed and took pictures, even 70-year old Mr. Lin.

The tour guide said that tour groups from China don't visit this park because they have to pay. Even though the tourists pay a lot to come to Taiwan, officials in China take a cut, and since they have to travel through Hong Kong, more people take a cut. When they finally get to Taiwan, there's not much money left so they go to places that are free.

View of the lake

A stone bridge that has nine-turns. The tour guide said that evil spirits can only travel in a straight line so they can't come across the bridge. I think he made that up.

View from the top of the pagoda

Next, we went to another lake that was surrounded by Buddhist and Taoist temples. The Taoist temples are elaborately decorated with all sorts of figures and stuff while Buddhist temples are more plain. At the 2nd temple, it started to pour, probably still due to the typhoon off to the west. We decided to call it quits and headed for the airport.

A huge multi-denominational temple

Not sure what this was. On the left is a dragon (entrance) and on the right is a tiger (exit).

The flight to Hualien was uneventful. We rode in a Fokker 50 and the flight was about an hour; the trip would have taken 5 hours by bus. Hualien airport also serves as a military airport so they told us not to take any pictures. There were several bunkers at the far end of the airport with some F-20's.

Our plane from Kaohsiung to Hualien

The hotel in Hualien is not too bad; I think it's better than our hotel in Kaohsiung. Once again, even a so-so hotel in a small city has 100-channel cable TV and wireless LAN. The shampoo and conditioner however, come in small plastic pouches, like condiments. Tonight, we ended up eating in the night market. We had some steamed buns, steamed dumplings, and a bowl of rice noodles for about NT$125. Tomorrow, we will go to Taroko National Park and take a train back to Taipei. I don't have Internet access in our apartment in Taipei so this may be my last post from Taiwan.

Night market stand where we ate dinner. I was too hungry and ate all the food before taking a picture.

1 comment:

closetmusician said...

man, those bao tze look so good man, there's no good chinese food in seattle. it blows here.