Archive for the 'Eastern Coast' Category

21
Apr
09

Caterpillar in Hualien

My students thought I was weird for stopping to take a picture of this caterpillar munching on a flower.   Caterpillars in Taiwan tend to be quite exciting and fairly common.  Butterflies flit about in many varieties and colors on the mountain trails.   Someone once told me that Taiwan was the empire of the butterflies or something like that.   Of course, gardeners like my aunt aren’t overly fond of caterpillars.

21
Apr
09

Roadside Scenery around Hualien

Sorry I’ve been dreadful about posting and responding to comments recently.

Here are some photos of the countryside of Hualien from the vantage point of a tour bus full of children…

Many of the riverbeds in Taiwan are dry as this one is.  Often the water is diverted into rice paddies.

There tend to be a lot of tour buses that frequent Hualien.

It’s a good thing I never had to drive around Hualien– the clouds and mountains are far too distracting.  I’d never figure out proper directions.

The lamppost looks like an odd sort of tree…

Sitting on the bus, watching the scenery flow past the windows, I relaxed with the view of all that green and blue.  My kids and I all ended up dozing off at some point or another.  The nice thing about a bus is that I didn’t feel compelled to count heads every five minutes to make sure that I hadn’t lost any children on our field trip!

26
Mar
09

Farglory Ocean Park

The director of my school liked to take the kids out for a big end-of-the-year trip.  So last June we took the kids on the train to Hualien to visit an animal farm/zoo of sorts and Farglory Ocean Park.

Farglory Ocean Park just appears to be a pleasant ocean-themed amusement park at first.  Little did I know…

The view from the skyway of the ocean.  It’s really beautiful, but I was preoccupied with my three charges from my school since this was one bit of our school trip to Hualien for the end of the year.

I totally lost my street cred by admitting my fear of heights and scary swift ups and downs to them…  I escaped the swinging ship thanks to my lovely guy co-workers who graciously took one of my charges on with their guys.  She proceeded to be very queasy afterwards and so we lost our chance to switch off kids for the water- coaster.  In the looong line to get in, I was a big baby and whined to my kids that I hadn’t seen taking big scary rides in my contract when I signed on to teach them.  I survived, but was left woobly kneed afterwards (yup, I’m a big dork.).

I discovered one of the outer rings of the inferno (missed by Dante) is wandering an amusement park with kids who have very different ideas of where they want to go and what they want to do in the beating summer heat.  Thankfully Farglory Ocean Park also has aquarium and water shows were you can sit and watch dolphins doing tricks or manatees getting fed.  The little aquarium theaters bring an educational component to the park though the shows are entirely in Chinese.

The link in Chinese is here.  English information is here.

11
Feb
08

Back from frolicking…

I’m cheerful and bubbly again after being feasted far too much and taking quite a few train rides.  Photos to come after I fulfill some ancient Lunar New Year’s resolutions to clean out my hard drive, back up my photographs and video (which I happened to accidentally look through a bit ago and considered posting, but that would require some editing.  I forgot a few times that video doesn’t work like photographs and turning the camera on its side to achieve a better shot is kind of… stupid.  That, and my cartoon voice shouldn’t be exposed to general hilarity.), and figure out more photoshoppy things to play with after my computer gets faster again.

It’s the year of the Mouse, right, so if I’m a packrat…  it’s kind of fitting, no?

No, probably not.

Anyway, I headed down to Tainan and got to hang out with a chunk of the family that’s a bit further-flung from the chill of Taipei.  My two cousins who long ago impressed me with their awesomeness when I first came to visit are still immensely awesome and I was treated to scooter-rides (Look, ma, I’m still alive!) even though no one was willing to cross the maternal dictum that I refrain from being a scooter-zooter myself.

I set off the fireworks at midnight– vastly exciting and somewhat scary.  (My cousin checked to make sure I still had both eyes and no burns when the sparks faded.)

I popped pomegranate seeds all over the kitchen, and a spot of oil on my wrist in my forty-seconds of trying to be domestic as I helped by flipping the loa boa or gam ke,  radish-rice cake (I may have forgotten the correct Taiwanese/Chinese already, tut tut.).

We caught up on silly stories and slightly spontaneously skipped off to Hualien where I listened to the rush of the sea under the popping of fireworks, and ate really yummy salt-encrusted steamed fish.  The apartment we stayed in let us sleep on the floor on futons (the real kind that are not plumpy-thick, but could actually be rolled up and put away), behind Japanese sliding doors, where we were warmly welcomed by mosquitos in spite of hiding underneath masses of covers.  There was a very early morning mosquito massacre when my uncle hit the lights and my cousin and I got up and extracted revenge by slapping all the mosquitos attached to the walls and being rewarded with blood-splats– eeww, but revenge is kind of satisfying, considering it was probably, well, our blood.  Got back on the train which was standing room only, with people lining the aisles two-by-two, and children munching on bien dang lunch boxes in the stairwells by the doors.

The train ride was a vacation in itself (not the standing bit, necessarily, but the views!!!  Oh, the views!!!  I shall go into more articulate raptures with photographic documentation soon, promise).

Got back to Tainan for more feasting and then zipped through Taiwan on the bullet-train back to Taipei too early in the morning.

Right, going to really do laundry and clean…

I hope all of your Lunar New Year festivities were sparkling with yummy happiness!

03
Sep
07

Aquarium Fishiness

 

Tropical fish at the aquarium on the Eastern Coast.

We went to two aquariums in two weeks, and visited the center for oceanography.

Tropical fish will come to the surface when someone comes to the water’s edge. They think food is imminent.

 

Baby clownfish.

My dad is really into fish. Fish were all we could have as pets until the mail-order completely aquatic frogs, since we’re allergic to fur and feathers.

So, we went to the Kenting Aquarium, otherwise known as The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium. I’ve been to the Baltimore Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and I think they’re both awesome… The aquarium at Kenting totally kicks butt though… It’s huge with a few different buildings, and the exhibits obviously have been planned out carefully. Lots of tunnels for you to wander underneath manta rays flying through the water with schools of fish crossing overhead.

Awesome squid sculpture outside one of the buildings.

The aquarium has the best collection of corals I’ve seen yet.

Neat shark.

Really cute soft pillows that we wanted to take home, but didn’t.

17
Jul
07

Taroko Gorge

Is one of those places that a camera cannot do justice to, because there are so many layers of mountains, light, stone, trees, and waterfalls that one cannot fit it all in. My camera has been in purple mode as well, so there are some interesting purple-streaked shots. Visiting Taroko Gorge, I felt as if I was in Lord of the Rings territory, a fantastical place that cannot quite possibly be real, but impossibly is real.

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This was a temple that had to be rebuilt three times because of earthquakes taking it down. It is dedicated to all those who lost their lives building the highway that gets to the Taroko Gorge.

The faces of the cliffs are made of marble. My father was mourning the effect of car exhaust through the passageways we walked along– apparently in his youth, the marble walls gleamed white.

This waterfall went on and on and on, the pool above these was fed by at least three waterfalls on the side. I love the color of the pools, which is more vivid than the river below.

There are many swifts that make their home in the holes of the mountainside. As the evening crept through the gorge, they skimmed through the air, deftly soaring and plunging by turns through the gaps between the rock faces edging the river.

13
Jul
07

More Photos from the Eastern Coast

A lot of these tide pools were actually filled with rather stagnant water. However it was still generally very clear.




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