I have finally gotten around to posting my photos of the sleepy town of Hoi An. Brad and I got a little bit trapped in this town and ended up staying a lot longer than we wanted. It wasn’t so much for the abundance of things to do here but more the charm of the clustered buildings throughout the town centre, the abundance of glowing lanterns on the river at night and our favorite lady who sold banana fritters at any time of the day and night.
Hoi An itself was definitely a big tourist destination but somehow you never felt too bombarded by the other tourists it was a nice mix of people and the streets never felt full, it was conservative and outgoing at the same time. Architecturally the town had this cross between French meets Mexican and to add to it there were chihuahua’s at every corner.
Lucky for us we will be back at christmas to meet with Brads parents maybe then I will get round to doing some of those tourist attractions on offer. /em>
Dulan originally was a place we only meant to stat for four days, barry and Sonja the owners showed us immense hospitality and when our days went to four to ten to twelve, never once made us feel uncomfortable or move us. Even though they had other bookings for our room.
We enjoyed the daily rhythm of the beach and in all honesty spent most of the time sleeping, eating, swimming, drinking. But what is a holiday without these chances. Nonetheless we saw a part I think of Dulan other people may have not and we are grateful for that.
Goodbye Dulan, we hope to return one day.
Kristina and Brad
Chewing betel nuts for the first time. Gross I know but it needed to be shown 🙂
Our private beach we swam in and took Denny the little black dog
While in Dulan we had the pleasure of meeting Vikram and Stella. Vikram like a lot of people here was an expat, originally from India moved here to seek the blissful life of Dulan that so many others have fallen in love with. Not only did we hear the history of Taiwanese culture but also facts like the percent of indigenous population on the east coast, as well as Taiwan being the third largest importers of pesticide and their progression to a green country. We also learnt about the geology of Taiwan and the tectonic plates beneath the island (which we witnessed a earthquake while there). Vikram was and is a man of many strong words and opinions, his ballsiness was what Brad and I loved the most.
If there is an invisible line it was crossed several times in our days of knowing Vikram.
Stella, Vikram’s girlfriend was a beautiful women too. She treated me like a sister while we were there forcing me to dance to her music and hugging me constantly throughout the nights we spent with them. Stella was an Indigenous women from the Amis tribe and while there I learnt a little of their language. While I can say it I can’t spell it so I won’t put up what I learnt. Mainly I learnt to say ‘I love you all’, which when saying among brad and I, Vikram and Stella it said what we all felt.
To know two people for such a short time and feel a warmth unexplainable is beyond me.
While chatting to the two we learnt that Vikram is suffering from MSD a blow to our hearts and news common words cant express.
A light in the midnight sky shines bright,
But when it goes out it is missed.
A loss gone astray but not far from the next.
I regret not having more photos of this time
Today we set off for a trek through a river canal. We have been fortunate enough to be included in the tight knit team of the two hostels Dulan 98 and 102, we have been staying in Dulan98 and it has felt more like a home than place to sleep at night.
Our trek led us through rivers banks, climbing rocks and swimming waist deep. We ended at a waterfall for a rest and the adventurous to try and climb.
Barry and Sonja the owners of the two hostels invited us to a BBQ at their property the night before. Expecting to arrive at a house, when we get there the land was pitch black and stepping out of the van Barry pointed in a direction saying, ‘walk around their and please break your ankles carefully’. Dodging potholes, rocks, sticks and dogs we made our way around a dome shaped structure. Once on the other side we could see the enormity of the dome and it’s excellence. Unfortunately it was too dark to take photos. Designed by a Swedish architect, the dome was comprised of treated recycled bamboo. The bamboo had been split lengthways and bent to accommodate the shape of the dome, an environmental wonder and alot of hard work.
That night we sat around a fire, shucking oysters, roasting mince balls and drink beer and wine. We listened to the wonders of Taiwan, finding out hidden treasures on the east coast and getting to know more of each other and how everyone came to be at this place.
As the night went on feeling drunk and full we raised the fire to a monstrosity adding bamboo, which creates a firework effect. Listening to the popping and playing games our night was soon coming to an end.
Back in the van, six adults and four dogs we made our way back to the hostel. Another night and memories to keep.
Some more photos of the effects of the typhoon at its strongest point and our trip to Cheng Gong.
Today we decided to explore Chenggong a county township about 30 minutes out from Dulan. We catch the bus in with a friendly betel chewing bus driver who has techno beats blasting in the back for the whole ride. Arriving in Chenggong the air is thick and salty with a haze over the town, we start our walk to the aquarium that was recommended to us by Barry. Worth the money and living up to its title “The aquarium of anemone fish” if you like Nemo then you have gone to the right spot. Every different kind of Nemo fish imaginable in creative well looked after tank set ups as well as a variety of other sea creatures of all kinds.
After a couple of hours watching fish we decided to grab a bite to eat from some of the amazing seafood this harbor has to offer. Arriving at one of the many restaurants on the street we were greeted by someone who could speak English, ‘Mary-Lou’. ML helped us choose one of the fresh fish lying on ice, some long stringy green vegetable I don’t know the name and fried rice. The meal was absolutely delicious, the fish as fresh as it gets and for all this food plus beers was only 600TWD (about $18 aus).
Moving on we try to make our way to Sansianti but without the ability to read Chinese couldn’t figure out the bus timetable, so we decide to see if Mary-Lou can help. Back at the restaurant we ask about the buses and before we know it we have a small group of six people all yelling (as the Taiwanese love to do) and talking over one another, eventually it seems a decision has been made, ML will come with us and show us. Brad and I walk back around to the bus stop ML jumping on her scooter, after some deliberation over the bus timetable ML calls her uncle a taxi driver to come pick us up and drop us where we need for the same price as the bus. The hospitality doesnt stop here though, she also gives us a card with her number (and Facebook) to call when we are finished in Sansianti to get her uncle to pick us up again.
I have said it before but will say it again, the people here are beautiful.
We get to Sansianti watching mesmerized for sometime at the giant waves, rolling in every which direction like each individual one had a mind of its own, before crossing to Sansianti island. Walking across the bridge in this typhoon weather was quite an experience. As you walk across the sea you have got this violent ocean beneath your feet, waves crashing and spraying up around you and wind billowing in your face.
After exploring the island we get ML to organize the taxi back and make our way back to Dulan on a non techno bus this time. Back in Dulan we climb up to the rooftop of our hostel, taking in the ferocious winds blowing palm trees and knocking things over all while watching a stormy sunset.