Taiwan Day 4

Continued from Taiwan Day 3.

Today is another family visiting day. We are heading by train to the Eastern part of Taiwan with my sister to visit another set of aunt and uncle.

Good morning Taipei.

The morning rush.

RL noticed the fish on the manholes.

Into the MRT we go to meet up with my sister at the train station.

Gotta get some snacks at the 7 Eleven for the 3 hour train ride. There are 7 Elevens EVERYWHERE!

Lunch to go. This place sells the Taiwan Rail bento boxes. The bento boxes were originally only sold on the train, but became so popular that they now also sell them to the general public.

$2 bucks.

The haul for the train ride.

7 Eleven for this side of the platforms.

7 Eleven for that side of the platforms.

Breakfast of champions.

Here’s our train.

This is the slower 3 hour train instead of the faster 2 hour train. When my sister booked the train tickets, they faster train had already sold out by the time she booked. It took less than 8 minutes for the faster train to sell out! It didn’t used to be like this, but Taiwan has been opening up for tourism so there’s been a lot of mainland Chinese, Japanese and Korean tourists and the tour groups buy up all the tickets.

My beloved Taiwan Rail bento box. First lunch for the day.

RL compares some of the scenery of Taiwan to that of the game Myst. She said that many of the buildings here look abandoned.

We were a little worried about maybe getting motion sickness on the train or the car ride in the mountains later in the day, so we went to 7 Eleven to see if they had motion sickness meds. They didn’t, but they did have dried plums which is popular in Taiwan for fighting nausea. This one was infused with mint, which is usual and I’ve never had before. After getting over the initial taste, I found it to be quite good. RL, who is very adventurous about eating, took one bite and said that it was the most disgusting thing she ate on this whole trip. She prefers balls over dried fruits.

We thought that we settle our debate about whether the mint infused dried plums are delicious with a tie breaking vote from my sister. I think she’s a fan…I think…

RL takes more photos of cemeteries.

We’ve reached the Eastern coast of Taiwan, that’s the Pacific Ocean.

This part of Taiwan is considered to be the more beautiful part of Taiwan.

RL loves those seaweed wrapped rice balls from 7 Eleven.

3 hours later, we’ve reached Hualien.

My aunt picked us up curbside, and off we go to second lunch.

Saw this sign at the restaurant, thought it was funny. It says, “video recording in process, please smile.”

My aunt is a vegetarian, so we eat vegetarian buffet.

Ice cream is also vegetarian.

My aunt and uncle both work for a big Buddhist charity here in Taiwan, and here’s the giant auditorium of the place. The image in the middle is a mosaic with over 3 million pieces of tiles.

L to R. Uncle, RL, me, aunt, cousin’s squeeze, and cousin.

After visiting with my uncle and cousin for a bit, they headed back to work and my aunt drove us to the tourist spots of Hualien. First stop is the beach.

RL popping a squat on the beach. No poop came out.

Beautiful, but I think rain is a brewing.

Heading into the mountains.

Some snacks before heading into the mountains.

You know those egg puddings that I am obsessed about? Well, they also come in ice cream form! Winning.

You buy a little roll of cake, and in the wrapper it comes with it’s own knife/fork combo. Is that a knike, or a forfe?

Entering Taroko National Park. It has indeed started to rain.

Lots of landslides in the area. This part of the road was recently washed away in a rock slide and a new one had to be built. You can see the old road slightly below the new one that we are on. My aunt says that this park changes a little bit every time she brings a guest here because everything is constantly getting eroded by nature.

RL’s haul from 7, some sort of fruit jelly dessert.

Many people wear hardhats due to the danger of falling rocks. This area has changed a lot since I was here almost 10 years ago. When I came here last time, there were almost no tourists, and now there are thousands and thousands of tourists in these giant tourist buses. I hate to sound like one of those people hating on other tourists, seeing that I too am a tourist, but it is very crowded here and I don’t like it as much as I did before.

The rocks are all braced to prevent it falling off.

Trimming small plants with a weedwhacker.

Found a nice pagoda. Literally 3 minutes after taking this photo, this pagoda was stormed with a 50 strong tourist group coming off of a bus.

OK, let’s do this. Let’s climb to the top of that pagoda.

Actually, let’s not do this. The gates are closing in 10 minutes, so we didn’t have enough time to climb to the top.

Well, that’s about all the time we had for Taroko National Park. This park is supposed to be one of the treasures of Taiwan, but I feel just ok about it. There’s an awesome hiking trail that you can take to the top of the mountains, but they only limit 80 hikers a day. You can judge the quality of this tourist spot for yourself by the photos.

Back in town, going to catch our train back to Taipei. Mochi shop for RL. She loves mochi.

Train station.

We took the slower train coming here, but was able to book the 2 hour fast train on the way back to Taipei.

Obsessed with those seaweed rice balls.

They sold my beloved Taiwan Rail bento box on the train. I’ll have one please.

This one is slightly different than the one I had earlier. I think I prefer this one over the other, but both delicious.

My aunt was very sweet, she got a bouquet of roses for the new bride. RL looks really tired, we are all really tired. By the time we get back to Taipei, it would have been 13 hours out and about, through jet lag and all. Ugh.

Oh, about the train ride back. We were dressed all day for humid high 80s weather, and inside this train, it was fucking cold as hell. Seriously, I’ve never been in a train so cold before, it was like 60 degrees. I had to tuck my arms inside my short sleeve shirt I was so cold. Whoever sets the temperature for the train should be shot in the knee cap, then forced to take this freezing train while naked. Asshole!

Back to Taipei.

Guess what convenience store I am at? After a long day like this, I need a beer.

Finally back to our temporary home! We are so beat!! I was so tired, I didn’t even finish my beer before crawling into bed and falling asleep. Looking forward to tomorrow, since it’ll just be RL and I. We won’t need to talk to anyone or see anyone, it’ll be us time all day tomorrow.

To be continued at Taiwan Day 5.

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