Taitung art village

Visiting Taitung today we head to the artists village. Unfortunately for us everything seems closed, but we do see a sign for felt making at 4pm so there is hope. We go looking for food in the meantime and stumble upon a place called ‘wonderful’, a very stylish little thing situated on the corner it is filled with retro furniture, comfy cushions, large light fittings hanging from the ceiling spiral down in the shape of bells and cardboard animal heads hung on the walls.
Brad and I choose a comfy couch facing open windows with a wooden bench in front. We order desserts a cucumber juice and brad a beer, we are completely amazed at our food and drinks and my only regret is not bringing my camera. My dessert came out with five pitted dates stuffed with spiced mascarpone and a toasted almond wedged on top with lime zest shavings, brad got a chocolate cake the texture really fluffy with fresh cream and compote and my cucumber juice was delicious with mint, lemon/lime blended up with heaps of cucumber.
After dessert we wandered around again and things were starting to open up there were little artist stalls, shipping crates that had been painted used as shops and a band setting up to play. We bought a carved wooden cat while there and like usual collected post cards.
I don’t have any photos of this day but I have a few I’m posting up from our first trip to Taitung and wandering the street markets.

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Hualien – Taroko Gorge

We met some very charismatic men the day before our journey into the Gorge, Miguel from Spain and Jean from France. We planned a bike ride together that night that would see us do 20km up hill. Drinking too much and enjoying each others company too much we didn’t go to bed until 2am.
Waking with hangovers, a quick bite to eat, we start our ride through the mountains and into the Gorge.
With breathtaking sites and enormous mountains on either side, the river ran strong through the Gorge. We had many stops along the way, taking photos and catching our breath.
The four of us explored every crevice and path we could stray. Blood pumping through our veins and our bodies glistening with sweat. One detour we made was perhaps to our disadvantage the path was rocky with steps and difficult to follow. I made a wrong turn and by the stroke of luck or a loved one watching over I managed to land from a two meter height in crouching position on a boulder down bellow. My lover came to the rescue and I came out unscathed apart from a very sore swollen ankle. With still more riding yet I pushed on and dealt with the pain later.
Back on the main track we sought out a way to get done into the Gorge. At last Jean spotted a path and we made our way down for a swim in icy cold water and a snack atop a boulder. Down in the Gorge we had found our own secret picnic spot and the people on the highway just dots far away.
With legs aching and clothes soaking wet, Miguel and Jean continued uphill, Brad and I turning back. Brad made us all dinner that night chicken fried rice, it was delicious and we all ate together even the hostel owner asking for some. We sat up drinking and singing until morning again, body’s sore and exhausted we slept like the dead that night.
The next morning we rose together again and head to Taitung on the train, here was the end of our adventure together for now. Disheartened to see them go we made our way to Dulan cove.

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The people hold the key

In time here we have been so fortunate with the people we have met and the help they have given us. Words can’t express what kindness we have been shown and although I have come to accept that giving is a part of Taiwanese culture it still surprised and amazes me every time. If only there were more places in the world where helping someone out selflessly and honestly wasn’t such a hardship.

Kenting beach – south coast Taiwan

I have been meaning to write about our time in Kenting beach over a week ago, but so often with traveling time escapes you and before you know it your mind is being occupied elsewhere on another journey in another place.
This being said perhaps I never got around to Kenting as it wasn’t a major experience for Brad and I. We had hopes of finding secluded beach and hidden destinations in Kenting only to find it to be a major tourist area. The town was full of fumes and rubbish, and the beaches too had traces of washed up rubbish on the shore line.
Lucky for Brad and I we managed to find a little cave situated off from the beach that you had to swim around to get to and as most of the Asian tourists weren’t good swimmers we could spend our days there secluded.
It was sad to see such a beautiful place be destroyed by the effects of tourism and the culture seemed amiss here. We enjoyed our time there but were not sad to see it go.

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Rain streaked Ximen

We move from the mextaiwan hostel today to the new moon hotel, it’s a bit more expensive but we don’t mind as it will only be for two nights.

The new moon hotel is situated in Ximen and when we arrive  the city is wet and glistening from all the rain. There is a parade of umbrellas on the street with people running in all directions chatting and laughing racing into the malls, not concerned of the puddles at their feet.

We sit undercover on some stairs while we consult the map. Sitting down we watched swarms of school girls and school boys meeting up with one another, pairing off and walking down the streets hand in hand. Their was something romantic and youthful about Ximen that’s hard to put into words. 

Another confusing map and lost on which way to find Our hotel. Again someone came to our rescue and didn’t just tell us which way to go but personally walked us to our building. The people here are truly amazing! 

I decided to get a foot and neck massage that night while brad explored Ximen, taking photos of the street. Afterwards we had some beautiful Korean food before heading to the ‘family mart’ for a take home beer. In the shop we ran into two Taiwanese guys, this led to us drinking beers on the street,  swapping stories of what we do, our plans for travel and having a great time. After a tall beer each they were successfully drunk and on their way home. We said our goodbyes swapped Facebook details and said goodnight to another day in Taipei