I spent the weekend in Haulien (花蓮), the largest county in Taiwan, and many say the most beautiful with striking views of the mountains AND the oceanside. It was really truly as beautiful as everyone expressed to me. Had quite a few moments of silence just observing. I was more impressed with the mountains, how green, majestic and encompassing - literally - they were. Not as impressed with the Pacific Ocean as I have seen that massive body of water in beautiful settings a time or two. ;) 

Please take a look at my photos of carved wood sculptures, mountainscapes (some you can see with lines of tea plants), caves (filled with Buddhist shrines), aborginal centers including a pic I snapped of some of their handwoven vests, ponchos. I really wish Posterous.com allowed me to write captions so I didn't have to do it this way. Here are some more details:

  • At Taroko National Park (太魯閣) which is the beautiful stretch of mountain ranges and gorges made of marble, and other cool-looking stones and also the Bachelorette Ashley's date spot with Ben on the motorcycle, I was scared. I'm not usually afraid of heights, at least not to an unreasonable degree, but this time, I had a lot of trouble looking down. Like. I took most of the photos really quickly and backed away from the railing asap. Also, another reason I was feeling tense is we didn't have helmets and there were signs posted every hundred or few steps that said: "Danger: Rockfall. Please Pass Quickly!" or "Please Wear a Helmet in case of Rockfall!" I walked quite quickly. Though rest assured, no one thought I was uncool for it.

  • I got seven mosquito bites in the span of 30 minutes while my aunt performed acupuncture on me. Five of these bites are on my hand. You guys, I watched with my very own eyes the mosquitoes bite my hand, fly to the surface, rest and suck my blood, those basts. But I couldn't move because there were acupuncture needles in my arm and I was too polite to bother my aunt. So I tried blowing them away, but they would not budge! Omg it was tragic. I am writing a separate blog post on how much I hate mosquitoes, stay tuned.
  • The food was good!! I didn't capture them in photo, but my first meal of day one was literally eating cut up duck and chicken parts out of a plastic bag, using my hand wearing a plastic glove so avoid oily and meat drenched fingers! It did feel a little barbaric but I also loved it. The meat was so tender and flavorful. I feel like a mosquito talking about another animal's meat this way. Ugh. I also ate a lot of guava on this trip to counter the meat intake.

A big Thank You to my aunt (though really she is my dad's cousin), her husband and to Joyce, her daughter for hosting me in Hualien and taking care of me. I had an amazing time regardless of the moments of fright and bites. (a kind of rhyme)

Every day I wake up feeling so grateful to have this opportunity to see so many places in Taiwan mostly because I have people in my life who are willing to take me around. I love this little island. x

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Authorjustine lee