Cool cities, green mountains and I get to wear shorts!!!
19.03.2012 22 °C
Love seems to be a common theme here in Taipei and well with romantic views like this even I'm feeling the love...
It seems that Taiwan was all I heard about when speaking with other travellers. Initially not on the radar as I was heading to Nepal, the heat and casual lifestyle was to much to resist!
The country was not what I expected, then again nowhere ever is. Taipei was my first stop, catching the bus from the airport and then on the train to find my hostel. Everything goes smoothly, but I get lost from my station to the hostel...this seems to be a re occuring event and my backpack even though I am continually getting rid of things is not getting lighter (I don't understand!!!). Eventually I see a backpacker and take a punt they are heading to the same hostel, she is and she has a map! The hostel is good, converted offices by the looks of it. Nothing matters to me except putting on shorts! (I'm excited!).
I'm still sick from the fever but meet a traveller that has some fever pills which has ingredients printed on the packaging, mostly paracetemol so I gladly accepted. It is amazing what drugs can do, it broke the fever. Along with the hot weather I guess my body can better regulate. Anyhow...Taipei reminds me a bit of Seoul, it's easy transport and has a western feel (as much as you can get in asia). Everyone not Taiwanese seems to be teaching or trying to teach english and there is alot of english speaking Taiwanese, in fact it's been the best country for english so far.
The hostel is right next to the night market, a local (Hi Taylor!) from the hostel takes me to try chicken pie Taiwan style. It does'nt even get started till about 9pm...
So Taipei is known for having what is now the second tallest building in the world (Dubai is now 1st). It's strange when you see the cityscape from a distance and there is this HUGE building amongst the rest. Strangely Kaohsiung was the same with one behemoth of a building. Here is a pic of Taipei's, it is supposed to resemble a sword I believe...
So I was pretty slack in the photo dept for Taipei....I was sick..gimme a break and well it's beer drinking weather! But, in the end I dragged myself out to have a look at Tamsui (Highly recommend if in Taipei). It's the port area for Taipei, which had a good atmosphere with boardwalk style food shops and such (the first photo's were taken there). It's also famous for it's lovers bridge and sunsets ] To get there we had to do a bit of a walk thru markets and shops stuff here is some Here's some pics.. Look at the feet on this guy, he's give Ronald McDonald a go for his money.. I have just realised I did'nt really take to many pics of the consulate building..thats boring anyhow, I'll give you some pics of Tamsui markets and streets walking to the port.. on the way back we found a night market for clothes, I needed some new shirts scooters line up for petrol
After more bumming around I decided that I should really move on and explore the country a bit so off to Kaohsiung I go all the way south. It takes 5 hours and costs $15 on the bus AND I get to watch a movie! I arrive at the hostel which is unmanned, I proceed in and see A guy on a laptop "Hi, I booked a room"..the reply "Oh, I'm staying here too, Umm I think Jim is still sleeping hungover"...Hmm this is going to be interesting. so I decide to head out let him get up (Btw it's like 12 noon) while I do some exploring. I head to the water. I see tour buses going up and down a stretch so I head that way and find a temple of such along with an English consulate building I think. Yes more pic's haha (I should warn you that this post will be picture intensive, even more than usual so maybe go and grab a drink, some dip and crackers), I'm going to start off with Kaohsiung's behemoth of a building in the cityscape... On the way I got to see some boats at port, this was my favorite. You see Ive been thinking of my next trip and I think that I will sail in an island littered area, going from one tropical paradise to the next..ahh..now the boat
From here I stay two nights, first night I get blind drunk having gone to see a band and came back to tequila shots and sugar cane. I wake up the next morning in a dorm...but it's not my hostel and I can't remmeber a thing in how I got there...oops. Anyhow I head into a more central Kaohsiung hostel which is really good (Cozy planet hostel if you go, it's great). One time the next night I hear outside a tune being played quite loudly, it being very hot I immediately go to the window trying to spot the ice cream van, after asking the owner he explains that it is in fact the rubbish men. You see once a day the rubbish trucks come thru and collect all the rubbish, when people here the music they come a running and dispose of the trash.
Oh, I need to back track a bit, before I left the other place I headed out to see monkey's again! Now if you have read earlier blogs my luck with the monkeys has not been so great. I asked the hostel owner where they were, he said they were very close giving basic directions of go here and read a street map so I felt confident that I could not fuck this up. So I head off with another traveller who I had warned of my previous attempts to see mmonkeys. So the directions are straight forward go to the tunnel and read the map and go up the hill (visible from the hostel) and you can't miss them.....I drag this girl along a mountain side for hours, slowly getting more and more jungle like with thin animal paths finally reaching a road we needed to improvise to get too. So you can probably guess that I fucked up the unfuckable. Once on the road we find out that it was the other side of the mountain that we walked past right at the start you needed to go to, now you probably know that my monkey endevours usually actually end up with a monkey encounter but it's more like a slap in the face for the huge gangs of monkeys I want to see...this time was no different as on our dreary walk back I did come across a small family of them but I was not satisfied. well anyhow the trek was interesting of sorts here is some pics Stray dogs, there are many We come across some deserted buildings in the middle of knowwhere and the monkeys one gives me some bad looks when I make monkey sounds There was this small one hanging out in a great possy watching the ocean, best seat in the house
The Taiwan crossing man is the COOLEST crossing man ever! He does'nt walk...he struts! it is so freaking funny!
Ok, so next country is Vietnam. It's going to take a few days to get my visa so I decide to head to the east coast where it's a bit more rural and untamed with a famous natural attraction Taroko Gorge...so why not. Off to Hualein I go, after 6 hours on the train this is what I see when I get off Thats the train station there, the clouds are hanging at the peaks of the mountain range and I'm feeling like I'm truly in a tropical wonderland. So i proceed to get lost in the city but eventually finding the hostel I'm glad I went with the previous hostel's recommendation, the hostel feels...beachy (If you go, it's called munkeysurfers hostel, something like that) here is a pic . I'm going to save you the pics of the city but you can see them in the gallery if you really want too.
I organise to go see Taroko Gorge, well I get told to go here and by a ticket for the bus. Because I was slack and slept in the first day I'm on a tight schedule for the trip (missing the first bus did'nt help any) finally get the bus and head there. I get dropped of at the famous 9 turns part of the gorge area to find it's closed... good start. I'm also just dropped of on a small windy road by myself, I start to wonder if my idea of walking the road myself instead of a tour was the right one. It works out to be fine and I make my way down the road taking pictures all over...the gorge is famous for being pure marble that has been eroded away as you may see with the pictures...I decided to take some marble rocks from the gorge as souviners... it seems me taking some of the great wall of china has started something (give me a 10 day visa *Bird*). Here are the gorge pics They had these hilarious signs all around..I giggled..then.. looked up and hurried..
Well you made it!
I'm going to try be a little more frequent as these blogs are getting way to long and I do forget some of the cool little things as time goes on. I am currently in Ho chi minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Blog comming soon! :p
I hav'nt figured out how to reply to comments, I do read them and appreciate them...just so you know your loved..naww