Posts Tagged ‘asia expat’

We were ready to leave Taipei and get some green views and less scooters. We got green; scooters stayed with us.

On the day we arrived in Taipei we wandered to the train station to try and score tickets. We traipsed up to the information desk ready to receive no information whatsoever and were quite aghast to find the most helpful and friendly woman ever to grace customer services. She pointed us in the right direction to get tickets and said she would join us if she wasn’t busy. Yeah right sista, see you in hell!
You could have bowled us over with a feather when she appeared behind the ticket clerk to let her know what we wanted. Excellent service and the first time ever I have received actual information from an information desk.

Three hours later on a pretty uneventful train journey and we arrived in Hualien. A very quiet, very untouristy little town where it is said tourists use as a base to tour Taroko Gorge. Well we were doing that and we could not see any other tourist in the near vicinity. Luckily our little hotel, C’est Jeune, spoke English and arrange a taxi dude to take us to the Gorge and let us do our walking whenever we wanted. I wanted to whale watch but alas the whales don’t take guests until late May. Boo!

We strolled to the coastline to see the Pacific Ocean come in after it’s long journey. Bit more effort buddy!

So Taroko Gorge is like The Grand Canyon in reverse. You drive though and cliffs rise up on each side to a dizzying height. It really is quite spectacular. There are a couple of 2km walks along the road which we took and the taxi picked us up at the end. Perfect set up; we saw a lot of tour buses and it was good to skirt around them.

The start of the The Taroko National Park

First stop was the Eternal Shrine which is a little shrine surrounded by cliffs and alongside a waterfall fed by a natural spring. You have to saunter over this bridge to get to it.

The shrine, the waterfall, the mountains.

Next stop was a 2km walk through the Swallow Grotto; named after the little ass-hats that live there and swoop down on top of your head every few seconds. Nice place they got though!

One of the revamped rope bridges the aborigines here would use to get places.

So this swallow grotto walk was along a road cut in to a cliff with the river down below and more cliffs facing you. There were fantastic markings and patterns on the cliffs due to water running through during the ages. I could divulge more scientific nuggets of fact about lithostratigraphy but I won’t.

Those rocks on the river bed were massive.

Our taxi and Mr. Pong await.

Next little 2km walk that the taxi dropped us off at was the cave of nine turns (I didn’t count). More cool scenery.

At times you couldn’t see the sky for the cliffs like in this instance.

It’s hard to get across the immensity of the cliffs without a human comparison.

So after these walks we were getting hungry and after an unsuccessful stop at some god awful tourist trap we soldiered on. The next stop Pong wanted us to see was a nice little Buddhist temple up a little hill. Okay we can do that. Little did we know that divine intervention was driving us up those steps

An ornate bridge on the way

On the way up to the temple; just don’t look at it at an angle and everything will be fine. Move along.

So up we go to the temple and don’t really make it that far because a nice young lady with good English asks us if we want any lunch. yeah, let’s see what you got..”Only vegetarian” she says cheerily which was great news altogether (well for one of us) so we decided to eat there and then and hoped that our taxi driver knows what has happened us.

It was delicious. Best meal in Taiwan. That’s from a meat eater.

So after that lovely little stop our taxi driver droe us back the way we came for there was another little 2km walk along the river bank at the start of the park. Suited us fine.

Oh before that he thought we would like to dice with death and walk along a rope bridge. Mad the railings were low when you got to the middle.

And although I proclaim at the end of the clip “Taroko Gorge” like a triumphant adventurist it really isn’t the Taroko Gorge, there is another couple of thousand square miles of it around us. This part is actually a bit lame, but hey it’s a rope bridge and the closest I get to being Indiana Jones.

Some pics from our last walk.

Strange eerie blue green colour in the water.

And our lovely trip to Taroko Gorge was then done! We stopped off at a beach on the way back…..

….for whatever reason, then we were back in Hualien for the night. It was a struggle in Hualien to find something to do (even to find somewhere to have a drink), so we resorted to unquestionable tactics to grab a bite to eat. Not a word.
It was actually the first place I had been where not anything in any shop or cafe was in English, it was interesting to say the least and good prep for our future trips to mainland China.

So we ended up in Taipei the next day to grab a plane back here. Honkers. Tight, squeezed in, hectic but ever so convenient Honkers. I missed it.

That concludes a condensed review of our trip. Hopefully I can pull some Honkers related material out of my head soon. I have an idea…it involves food…

Read Full Post »

Ahh yes,  the lonesome wailing of bagpipes reached up, soared if you will, to our 11th floor apartment last night. It was a signal and a warning that the first evening of Hong Kong Rugby 7s was over and the Scottish were marching through the streets of Causeway Bay to reach whatever place would sell them alcohol.

Catching the MTR this morning to my footy match (more on that later) at 7:30 there were already groups of fans heading to the Hong Kong Stadium for a day of drinking and very little rugby watching. Actually I’m watching it live on TV now and it is actually a bit exciting to watch. A bit.
I have made the decision to not venture out anywhere in the vicinity of bars tonight. I think and people have told me it will be chaos and like hell. I’m sure bagpipes will be involved too. I’ll hide under a pile of coats until it’s all over.

So my footy team, Hamsap FC, had our last game in our season this morning versus Friends United. They weren’t friendly and we weren’t united. We lost 3-2 and it was a waste of time; constant arguing, whining and time wasting on their behalf. It puts me off playing in this league again next season (which actually starts in May). I finished on 19 goals, not my 20 I wanted but fair enough. Time will tell what the new season will bring.

I’m off now to try and organise a little sojourn to Taiwan for our Easter break.

Here is my latest photo of IFC2 on a rainy cloudy day.

Stay tuned for some EXCLUSIVE Hong Kong related music I have been given to EXCLUSIVELY put up here!!

Read Full Post »