My sort of resolution for deciding to stay away from home longer has been to keep in better touch. I figure I can start by updating this blog once in a while. Of course, it’s been more than a year since I last wrote in this space, but as always: better late than never. I hope to one day not begin my posts by saying that. I’d like to start updating again with a series on some travelling I’ve been doing in the past several months.
As you may know, the first place I went to upon returning to Asia was the island of Taiwan. After getting there, I went by train from Taipei (where the airport is) to Tainan, where my friend Lon studies Mandarin at a University. I stayed there a week. Of course, Lon had a large itinerary of things for us to do including camping, riding around on his motor scooter, eating a variety of Chinese food, going to a spa, a beach, and I’m sure some other things that I’m forgetting now. Fortunately, I don’t have to remember everything exactly because I took some pictures while I was there.
This first one (above) was taken from the roof of Lon’s apartment building. One thing that impressed me a lot about Tainan was the amount of shrubbery and ‘green’ throughout the city. This is certainly not something you find a lot in Busan or other cities in Korea.
This next pictures are of the camp ground we stayed in. This wasn’t in Tainan, but in a nearby National Park. I don’t remember the name of the place exactly, but it sounded a little bit like the English word ‘cutting.’ You can see here that we had the entire camp ground to ourselves.
The park was actually quite an impressive place. You can see that our camp ground was on a decent sized field. Behind us, was a nice mountain for hiking. Just a short motor bike ride away was a beach. It was really a great place to observe the natural beauty of Taiwan.
You can see here that I’m both relaxing on the beach and guarding the intertube as if my life depended on it. This is because I previously lost one of the rafts we brought with us to the wind (it blew deep out to sea). Here are some more pictures of the beach:
I’ll remind you that it was October when I was visiting Taiwan. Although we met sort of overcast weather when we first got there, the temperatures were still very high. This is because the part of the island I stayed in is in the Tropics. Now that it’s the cold part of winter in Korea, I often think of Lon and how he’s probably still experiencing very warm and comfortable weather this time of year.
Next are some pictures I took when we went hiking on the mountain I mentioned earlier. You can see I’m sufficiently sunburned, but still enjoying myself a good bit.
One impression I always had of Taiwan was that it’s such a small place, and so I guess I assumed the entire island would be densely populated. In truth, so much of the island is nearly uninhabitable thanks to its mountainous interior.
With some bad timing, the weather finally cleared up for some bright skies the day we had to leave to go back to Tainan. We did get to hit the beach one last time though. Here are some sunny pictures:
Back in Tainan, Lon wanted to show me a couple of sights around town. The first was a famous fort. We didn’t actually get to go inside (or see it very well) because it was closed, but the neighborhood nearby was interesting to look around in. We got lucky on our timing too, as we stumbled upon a birthday party for the neighborhood’s deity. This is an annual party, and as we were walking by, got invited to join in the celebration.
You can see it was a pretty big party. The highlight was, after finding out he could sing a song in Chinese, our hosts insisted on Lon singing it for them using their Karaoke machine. I also got a short video using my camera.
On my last day in Tainan, Lon took me to a famous building that has been covered over time by a large tree. I guess the tree is more famous than the building. We spent time debating how many trees there were exactly, but I guess in the end we knew it was only one.
Lon and I used to see each other every day. So, staying just a week with him seemed not enough time. But after Taiwan, it was time to move on to Thailand. It would be my first time in Southeast Asia, and of course I was excited. My time there was one of my favorite vacations. I’ll share pictures and my story of that place in my next update (hopefully soon!).