Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adventure 2- Sun Moon Lake

Yesterday, New Years Eve day, I went to the largest natural lake in Taiwan called Sun Moon Lake. The previous teachers were still here and one of the mom's came out to travel with her daughter. So me, another new teacher, one of the old teachers, her mom, and one of the student's dad went to the lake. The dad, George, took us all over the lake. We took a boat tour, which we understand nothing that was said, obviously since it was in Mandarin. But it was so beautiful. Unfortunately, it was rainy and very foggy but it was still amazing. Taiwan has some great landscaping, once out of the cities.

In the center of the lake there is an island, called Lalu. It is a sacred island that people can on go on. There are floating gardens and walkways around the island for tourists.
Arial view of the island
There is something cool and interesting about the white deer, but I don't remember what it is. I'll find out eventually.

Mountains from the boat.
This is how they fish
I absolutely loved the water. It was a gorgeous color, sort of an aqua. Not the green and brown that you see in the states.

Next we went up to a Buddhist temple that was located along the side of the lake. Above it was one of the tallest Pagoda's. The Pagoda, temple, island and the most expensive hotel in Taiwan ($600 USD a night) are all in a straight line. Inside the temple they have a way to tell your fortune. There are a bunch of sticks in a container and you pick them all up and shake them and drop them. Which ever one is the highest, you take it and that is your fortune. Each stick has characters on it and you find the fortune to match the characters. I have the paper, I just have no clue what it says!
The year of the rabbit! 1987
If you ever find yourself in an Asian country, NEVER leave your chopsticks straight up in the rice. It is because of this, they place in-scents straight up in the grain in honor of the dead.

At one of the Aboriginal towns along the river there was a ton of shopping and souvenir places. This is the main thing that stuck out to me.

We hiked up to the Pagoda, well really we just walked stairs but that is hiking in Taiwan. Once we got to the top, since it was so foggy, and the ground consisted of small white pebbles it looked like snow.
Unfortunately we could not go up into the Pagoda because of the earthquake in November, but it was still beautiful.
I am not sure the real purpose of this big drum, but it is fun to jump up and bang on it!

The end of the day, we went to the biggest Buddha in Taiwan, in my city Changhua.
Me and Buddha
The back of Buddha. I thought this was hilarious, windows in the back of Buddha

Overall scene

Me and my new boyfriend

And here is a view of Changhua

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adventure Number 1- Tokyo

I left for Taiwan yesterday morning. I was excited and nervous for the upcoming events. I think I was more nervous about flying than acutally being in Taiwan. First leg of the flight, Baltimore to Minneapolis, went smoothly. In Minneapolis my flight to Tokyo was delayed for three hours, thus making me miss my flight to Taipei. Now I have to spend the night in Tokyo, well I guess I should say I get to spend the night. Unfortunately I am in a airport hotel and it was 8 pm by the time I stepped outside after getting off the plane, figuring out my flight schedule and going through customs, so I will not actually get to see Tokyo really, but it is on my passport saying I was here!!

Luckily the airline arranged the flight for me to get to Taipei so I did not have to worry about that hassle. A lot of people on the flight missed their connections. The hotel is very accommodating, and I got $10 meal voucher in Minneapolis, $25 off my next flight with Delta, and dinner and breakfast at the hotel. It sucks that this happened because I was suppose to meet up with the rest of my group in Tokyo and go on to Taipei with them so the school could pick us up all at the same time, but now I have be picked up alone and taking to the school alone.

Needless to say, this is for sure the first of many adventures that I will have. I am still not sure what possessed me to actually do this, but once I get the Taiwan and figure things out I think I will find out.