Saturday, 26 April 2014

Taiwan - an unusual destination for a holiday - Chapter 5 - the end of the journey.

Taiwan - Christine picked it up off the internet for $1799, for the money we paid it was a great trip.  Not somewhere we would have planned to go, but when I look back It was a real experience, we did have a good time.

You always meet such interesting people, people from all over Australia.  Geraldton in WA, Tasmania, Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Adelaide and even a couple from Bribie Island.  We ran into very few other caucasians on our tour, only a handful, there are thousands of bus tours with mainland Chinese tourists, we did appear to be the only English speaking tour there at the time.  Ran into a gent and his wife in an Australian Ugg Boot shop in Taipei, I recognised his accent and went up and said hello.  Not until we got to Teipei 101, the second tallest building in the world (currently) did we see a few more westerners.  

Below are some pictures of our most memorable moments, some of these you would have seen on previous blogs, but these are the memories you cherish.

Christine warming her hands on the $10 coffees at Quangzhou Airport.

A Taiwanese working going about his daily work.  He worked for the transport company.

Markets, we love markets wherever they are.

I think maybe the best memory of the whole tour, red wind and dumpling soup at 9am in the morning at Quangzhou airport.

A lovely group of young Taiwanese girls having a night out and the waitress taking their photo.

Dessert - say no more!

Beautiful china a little expensive but beautiful just the same.

Looking cool in our sunnies.

Trying to stay upright on the wall in the wind.  Note the hair standing on end, it was tough to sit there in the howling gale.

Just having fun.

A typical dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  We used chopsticks the whole time, we do like the whole experience.  It just means you eat  slower which is good for your digestion.

Just so beatiful.

I would have loved to walk over to the Island, we just did not have the time.  Eight spans, eight sets of stairs, it would have been quite tiring.  It does seem a little like a miniature great wall of china.

Carving a home from nature.

Fish penis, we ate them thinking they were scallops or octopus.  This was a delicious meal and they do make the most of every part of the fish.  We throw away far too much.

Even though it is digitised and there is a door in the middle of the print, it is a still a beautiful work of art.


Chris and I always love train rides, we had a lovely day on the high speed rail.  On the return journey I sat next to a lovely gent form North Dakota, we had a lovely half hour chatting.  One of the things we chatted about was the disappearance of the Malaysian airliner, still in the early stages of the search and still they haven't found it.  In our world that seems impossible to imagine.

Taiwan High Speed Rail is a high-speed rail line that runs approximately 345 km (214 mi) along the west coast of Taiwan, from the national capital Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung. The line opened for service on January 5, 2007, with trains running at a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) from Taipei to Zuoying in as little as 96 minutes, reaching almost 90% of Taiwan's population. Most intermediate stations on the line lie outside the cities served; however, a variety of transfer options, such as free shuttle buses, conventional rail, and metros have been constructed to facilitate transport connections.

The Maokong Gondola

The Maokong Gondola is a gondola lift transportation system in Taipei, Taiwan. Opened on 4 July 2007, the Maokong Gondola operates between Taipei Zoo and Maokong. The 4.3 km (2.7 mi) line has four stations. 

Chris and I spent a couple of extra days in Taipei and went on the Maokong Gondola.  There are teahouses and markets at the last station at the top of the hill.  The teahouses were a bit of a let down but a lovely day.

The last couple of days in Taipei we learned how to travel around the city in the underground like locals.  Most Asian cities I have been to have great underground systems.  The tiny island of Taiwan is approximately 36,000 sq kilometres.  Victoria is about 23,000 sq kilometres.  The population of Taiwan is about 24 million the same as the whole of Australia.

Our cities are so clean and well laid out, our populations have been trained to keep our cities clean, we have regulations regarding food preparation and standards for restaurants.  Most Asian cities are not up to the standard of ours, they are improving all the time but some still have a long way to go.  The biggest challenge for us ladies is that there are a lot of Asian style squat toilets.  Western style toilets are becoming more and more prevalent in the more modern areas but once you move out of the major cities, this can be a challenge.

It is all a part of the rich travelling experience to appreciate the differences without judging.  The Taiwanese people we came into contact with were always most helpful and always cheerful, I will always look back on this trip with fond memories.

This the end of the blog "Taiwan - an unusual destination for a holiday".

What's next?  maybe Japan, possibly Canada, a lovely trip to England as Maria and Bruce have just done.  Italy too, I must go to Italy.  Wherever it will be I know I will have great company and  a great time.

End of Chapter 5 - end of  "Taiwan - an unusual destination for a holiday".
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Taiwan - an unusual destination for a holiday - Chapter 4 - nature at it's finest.

Part of the tour was visits to national parks and nature reserves.  Just a few photographs of some of the areas we visited.

Amazing what nature can accomplish with a little bit of wind, rain and the sea.


* Eight-arch Bridge
The unique eight-arch bridge connecting Sansiantai Island with the shore was completed in 1987. It is 320 meters long and has 320steps.

Taiwan has many many bridges like this, all built very high up to avoid the rushing water during the typhoons.

The Taroka Gorge

The following pictures are of The Toroka Gorge, it is a very popular tourist attraction, most tourists visit this area as part of their tour.

The gorge is composed mainly metomorphic rocks, such as marble,gneiss, "schist",etc. The name, Taroko, means the "magnificent and splendid" in the language of Truku, the aboriginal tribe who resides in the area.

We walked a part of the way with our blue helmets as rock slides, earthquakes and damage in typhoon season is common.

Always love the signs.

I am wearing my safety helmut as the sign says.  What good it would do me when the cliff came tumbling down I am not sure.

This was a very enjoyable day.

A view of a typical residential area in Taiwan.

There are lots of fishing villages and fishing boats, most of the dishes we were offered at the restaurants were seafood, very little meat.

Lots of rice paddies, they are built right up against the buildings using every spare piece of land, no yard around the house, just rice paddies.  Makes you wonder if they have issues with mildew as it is quite a humid climate like ours.

This is a picture of one of the beaches, not sand, pebbles.  It is forbidden to take rocks away from this beach.  They are really quite beautiful.

This lovely gentleman was our tour guide, at times his English was a little poor.  I snapped him taking some snaps.

End of Chapter 4.
Another story from The Mint Green Cruiser
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