Sunday, May 21, 2006

Taiwan, Part 5

I've been having no luck trying to connect using wireless from the apartment in Taiwan. Right now I'm at our office in Taipei, right across the street from Taipei 101. The office is pretty nice, probably even nicer than our Irvine office. It feels like I'm back in the U.S. except everyone is Chinese and speaking Mandarin. The conference room I'm in is right next to the receptionist. She's been on the intercom for the past hour asking people if they want to order lunch.

Anyway, back to the tour. The final day was a tour of Taroko National Park and a train ride back to Taipei. The mountains near Hualien are mostly marble so the valleys carved by rivers are pretty steep. We took a large tour bus this time since a couple more groups joined us and it was crazy seeing all these buses navigate through the twisty mountain road. At the beginning of the tour, the guide (Mr. Su) only spoke English and Japanese. Later, we had to ask him to speak Mandarin since we could not understand his English at all. It's pretty sad when I can understand his Mandarin better than his English. He also said "on your right" all the time even though he was pointing left and said left in Mandarin. :)

We stopped in several places to take pictures and then walked a 2km section of the old road.

Gate in front of the old road leading up the gorge

Old footpath made by the Japanese to access marble, jade, and other gems

View of the road and tunnel dug into the mountain

Traffic jam due to tunnel construction


One of many waterfalls along the roadway

Rapids along the bottom of the gorge

A pagoda and statue along the roadway

A temple near the bottom of the gorge. The tour guide said that it's been rebuilt three times, the last time due to the 9/21 earthquake.

After the tour, Mr. Su took us to lunch... at his house! He owns a store along the road that sells marble stuff. I think being a tour guide is how he gets customers to come to his store. My parents bought a couple of bracelets that supposedly had magical powers. During the tour, Mr. Su got a sore throat from talking. Someone in our tour group offered him a cough drop but instead he held his bracelet to his throat saying that will help. Hmm...

After lunch we went to a park along the Pacific Ocean that was right next to a military base and we were warned not to take pictures of the base. While we were there, eight F-16s took off from the base and flew right overhead. Finally, we stopped by a mochi store (Hualien is famous for its mochi) then the train station for a three-hour ride back to Taipei.

Some pretty marble vases for sale at Mr. Su's store/restaurant


Scenery along the Pacific coast north of Hualien

The receptionist just announced that bento lunches are here. I'm eating lunch with my parents and their friends at 12:30pm so I'd better take off and find a taxi.


ocgal22 said...

Great photos!

ocgal22 said...

Hey, I just spoke with Jessica L. and I found out some interesting info -- I think my mom is on the return flight you guys are on . . .