Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hualien (Part Two)

Some places are so beautiful that visiting them one time just isn't enough. This is the case with Hualien, Taiwan, located on the eastern coastline. The scenery there is simply stunning; towering green mountains stretch for miles along highway roads as misty clouds roll through the skies. Probably the most breathtaking bit of coastal views we took in were the Cinshuei Cliffs. From heights of almost 1000m, they plunge straight into the teal waters of the Pacific Ocean. The colorful stone beach below is made up entirely of marble, rocks, and pebbles. This spot goes down as one of the most beautiful places we've ever visited.

While there, we also visited Taroko Gorge again. It's hard to capture the sheer magnitude of the marble cliffs and winding river gorge. From the jade-colored pools of falling water to the wide span of ferns jutting from the rock face, we definitely understand why it's labeled one of the most beautiful places in Asia to travel through.

The last day we were there, our group of friends met up with some other foreigners from our hostel and we all went on a white-water rafting trip down the Xiuguluan River in Rui-Sui, an area a little south of Hualien. The trip down the incredibly scenic river started out mild while we all got used to paddling as a group and going down mini-rapids. About an hour and half in, we took a break for a classic Taiwanese lunch of rice, tofu, meat, and veggies called biandang, or lunch box. After the break the second part of the trip began and the river really started to get fun. We paddled down crazy rapids, whooshed down small waterfalls, and maneuvered our way through some rocky spots- we almost tipped our boat on a huge rock formation when when crashed into the side of it and went spinning. Our river guide was hilarious, and he kept zipping by us in his speed raft to splash us and try to trip us up. Unfortunately we couldn't take any pictures, but we had a great time.

Random highlight: I mentioned to my friend Elle that a life-long goal of mine was to pick and eat a banana off a wild banana tree. When we were scooting back from the Gorge on Saturday, Elle shrieked and made us all pull over. She spotted some banana trees on the side of the road and I finally got to taste my dream!

Less than three weeks and we'll be Stateside again- see you soon!


free ciity said...

Hi! I found your blog through the teaching program. My boyfriend and I are interested in working in Taiwan. I was wondering if you could give us any advice, tips? It looks like you are having a great time. Are there certain areas you would recommend over others? Is the pay enough? How is teaching? Is the program good? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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