"Once you know where true is, it defines everything else that has to happen." -Anne Lamott, Blue Shoe

Asia » Taiwan » Hualien » Hualien City October 15th 2011

Yesterday we were worthless and barely made it out of the house. When we did go, Eva walked around the city with us and we bought food to cook for dinner. We made a massive beef-filled squash and some salad an... read more

North America » United States » Texas » Dallas March 24th 2011

Ronald and I took the bus from Taipei Main Station's West Bus Terminal (you have to go out a special exit and it's not really connected to the metro) and paid 90 NT for the bus. It took an hour and dropped us off at Terminal 2 (it goes to both terminals) and the driver was...interesting. He was chewing on a betel nut half the time and we were sitting in the front so we could see everything. Normally when the bus is stopped at a green light and you're sitting in the back, you just assume there's something in front preventing the bus from moving. When you're in the front, however, you can see how the driver just isn't paying attention and is trying to charge his cell phone/mp3 player/etc. Checking in was fast and ... read more

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei March 23rd 2011

Yesterday was a fail. We started heading towards Keelung to see the cool rock formations nearby and its famous night market, but at each stop of the train the weather was getting worse and worse, so we decided to come back. Then we went to Eslite, a 24-hour bookstore near the Zhongxiao Dunhua metro stop. It's something like 6 floors and the bookstore is on the top. The other floors sell music, computers, food, etc. Everything you could want. I wanted to buy the whole stationary section, especially a scrapbook-style calendar by Mark's, but it was too big. I'll just have to make my own when I get home. Anyways, we spent a while there before picking up the keys from Holly and heading back to the apartment to rest. Today I leave for the airport ... read more

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei March 21st 2011

Yesterday we didn't do much besides walk around the nearby Yong Khang street. There's a famous restaurant there, but Holly's housemate says she's not sure why...basically it was sort of a fancy street and not really our style. Today we went to Danshui (pronounced "dan shwey"). It's about a 40-minute metro ride from where we're staying and the station is right next to all the action. There's a long cycling trail along the coast and tons of little shops and food stands that get going towards the evening. We also saw some couples taking wedding photos on a small wooden dock...there were at least six couples with their photographers there, so it must be somewhat famous! Next to the photoshoot was a restaurant that had the table grills and a great style. I can't really explain ... read more
cool wall
table from the restaurant we almost ate at

Asia » Taiwan » Taipei March 19th 2011

This morning we caught the 10:47 train from Hualien to Yilan and then the bus to Taipei. We had to go out the rear exit and then walk a little bit down the street to get to the bus terminal, but once there we found two companies: one that went to Taipei City Hall for 120 and another that went to Taipei Bus Staion for 129. We took the cheaper and immediately left. It took an hour and then we took the metro to our host's office, dropped off our bags, and ate lunch. Then we went to the Sun Yat Sen memorial hall. It's basically just a big free area where people practice their sweet dance moves, fly kites, walk around, take pictures of their kids, etc. We hung out there for an hour before ... read more
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Asia » Taiwan » Hualien » Hualien City March 18th 2011

Yesterday we were worthless and barely made it out of the house. When we did go, Eva walked around the city with us and we bought food to cook for dinner. We made a massive beef-filled squash and some salad and we couldn't eat it all, so we're gonna reheat it tonight. Today we went with Eva to Taruko National Park. It was really beautiful, but the trails we "hiked" were sort of a joke. The first one we did, the Swallow Grotto, was literally next to the main road. The second one, Lushui Trail, was overlooking the road -- not really the experience I'd been expecting, but nonetheless pleasant. Tomorrow we head to Taipei and meet our next CS host! Technical details - The garbage trucks play a tune like ice cream trucks would in ... read more
USA scooter
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Asia » Taiwan » Hualien » Hualien City March 16th 2011

When we woke up we decided to go to the hot springs that were "nearby". We took Eva's moped and had to ride through the freezing cold. Really it wasn't that cold, but the wind made it miserable. By the time we got there, 2 hours later and after a few stops for directions, I could barely walk. There are two hot springs places and we went to the first one we saw, Hoya Hot Springs. They have two buildings across the road from each other, one is a hotel, and one has the hot spring pools. We quickly changed and got in the cooler of the pools -- we couldn't bear to stick our icicle-like toes and fingers in the hot ones. So after we warmed up a bit we played around with all the ... read more

Asia » Taiwan » Hualien » Hualien City March 15th 2011

Today Ronald went out to scout prices for the train and/or bus to Hualien. It seemed that we needed to take a train to Kaoshiung and then a bus or train to Taidung and then another bus or train to Hualien. We packed and got in a cab (with help from Thomas and Bárbara) to go to the station. We got there at 13:50 and the woman at the counter sold us a ticket for 13:59 and it should take about 2 hours. When the train stopped and everyone got off, we had gone one stop too far. We were in Pingtung, so we asked a couple of conductors and eventually just took all our stuff with us to ask at the information counter. The woman sold us a ticket by train to Hualien leaving at ... read more

Asia » Taiwan » Tainan March 14th 2011

Our lovely hosts let us borrow their bikes today! I have to say, I've really liked this city and it seems absolutely perfect to bike around in – it's not too big and there aren’t too many hills. There are lots of parks and tons of scooters and a decent amount of bikes so you can just sort of blend in. Anyways, we started off at the café where we found the baguette (Pain Francais) – we’d eaten the baguette during dinner and still had the cheese, so we needed more bread. After eating there we headed south and got to the Chik Kon Temple. Then we rode on to the Shrine of the Five Concubines. Apparently 5 concubines of one of the kings all hung themselves together to maintain their honor when they were being ... read more
terrible fotógrafo

Asia » Taiwan » Tainan March 13th 2011

Today was sort of a lazy day. The four of us walked around the university park a little and then they sent us on our way to go to the Confucius Temple. We decided to walk there because it was a nice day and we had nothing else to do. So about 30 minutes later (including some stops) we arrived. It was pretty…there were a few old red buildings, a half-circle pond with tons of turtles, and a running track in front. Kids in the middle of the track, in the field, were playing ultimate Frisbee. It was a nice, relaxing scene, and then we headed to the next block to see the south gate. It's the only gate left standing but it was closed, so we just took some pictures from outside and then walked ... read more
so pretty!
so pretty!
so pretty!

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