Ilha Formosa- Beautiful Taiwan....and the killer trucks

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June 8th 2007
Published: August 7th 2007
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Last weekend I was in Hualien. Hualien is on the East coast of Taiwan. Words alone cannot describe how beautiful and amazing it was. I am now kicking myself for now going there. The west is good to travel and see alot of places and history of Taiwan but the East cannot compare with the scenery. I now understand why they dont have cable, dont spend hours on the computer and they ride thier bikes. Hualien is good for so many things. The air is crisp and clean, the mountains and Pacific Ocean, and natural beauty. There are so many things to do here, it would be hard to get bored on the weekends. If I ever come back to Taiwan, I will live here without a doubt.
Mary and I spent the weekend hanging out with other teachers that we met when we first arrived in Taiwan. It was wonderful to catch up and spend time together before we headed out to all corners of the earth. With great friends, food and scenery it was impossible not to have a fabulous weekend. I was constantly saying "wow and this is gorgeous and beautiful." We rented scooters for the weekend and on Saturday we drove down the coast on Highway 11 and crossed the mountains and drove back up in the East Rift Valley. It reminded me so much of my time in Okinawa!! Hualien is also very unpopualted which made driving a breeze.

On Sunday we went to a beach that was entirely stones. It created the most amazing and soothing sound I have ever heard. After the beach we drove up to Taroko Gorge. This is a huge national park and is the most famous tourist spot in Taiwan. From this park they mine marble and granite. Hualien is maybe the second or third largest exporter of marble in the world. The stuff is everywhere. The sidewalks, buildings, on the side of the road and on the beaches. The airport was entirly marble and granite, floors, walls, and columns. I was in shock when I walked out.

Of course the weekend did not go by entirely without a hitch. Mary and I once again had a near death experience. This time it is only explainable by the fact it must not have been out time to go. To further explain....there is a very powerful family in Taiwan. They control the government and own a huge business. They essentially own all the concrete trucks and the trucks to transport other similar materials. Well they hire foreign workers such as poor Philippino or Thai men who are in Taiwan to earn money to support their families back home. Well this family makes sure they hold very little morals and these drivers are instructed to "take care of the job." Meaning, that if they happen to hit someone they have to finish the job. They will run you over and make sure you are dead so the family only has to pay a one time payment and not all the hospital bill and risk possilbly being sued. This is actually common knowledge too, but since this family is so powerful, no one can do anything.

So Mary and I were stopped at the red light in our respective scooter lane. All of the sudden we hear this truck lay on his horn and I turn to see this massive truck coming full speed at a red light, I scream and Mary gunned the scooter and got us safely off the road. We were inches from being road kill, literally. The moral of the story being watch out for those trucks, avoid them at all costs.

Enough writing, I will let the pictures do the rest!

More pics on wedshots and facebook!

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