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Archive for the ‘Fun Times’ Category

Wu Lai Hiking

On Sunday I went hiking in Wu Lai (烏來) which is better known for its hot springs, but instead I got to tread through icy cold water and jump from rock to rock all day. It was such a good feeling to get away from all the usual comforts of the city and into the harsh n’ dirty hills. Felt just like going on camp again, having to waterproof everything with plastic bags, cook lunch with a metho burner and eat out of plastic bowls.

Though I think the girl in another group we bumped into didn’t understand the notion of hiking and brought her LV bag. I know that being high quality leather and all it should survive being in water, but still… can’t help but laugh and shake my head when I see a person waist deep in water carrying a LV bag.

A typical Taiwanese tropical thunderstorm started towards the end of our trek upstream and we were very lucky to make it to a small shelter to avoid the brunt of it. However the rain did not stop on the hike back down the mountain and left us having to trudge through unstable muddy terrain and navigate across rudimentary bridges with water roaring pass below. In the car on the way back we heard on the radio that emergency crews had to rescue a family who were camping there, luckily we didn’t get in the news too.

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Formosa Water Park

Last Saturday I went to the Formosa Fun Coast with a few NTU classmates. It was a perfect day for such an event with fabulous weather which meant the bikini clad girls were out in droves. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take my camera around as water doesn’t go well with electronics, so missed out on some good photo opportunities which included not just pretty girls but scenic too as some of the higher slides provided a nice view of the ocean during the sunset.

The water park had some exciting slides which brought out the best screams I’ve heard for a while and sends your stomach up towards your chest. It also had a large pool with artificial waves which you could ride on an inflatable. There was a new slide being built which is set to open in the next couple of weeks and it looks like it’ll be their new main attraction. Look forward to going again soon to try that out.

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Feelin’ lazy?

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Time trials – Stopwatch measures how long you took,
fastest gets on the scoreboard

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Hualian

Friday

  • Depart from Taipei at 1pm Friday, taking the newly opened highway which tunnels through almost 14kms of mountain. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • The trip to Hualian requires navigating through dangerous, winding mountain roads that are prone to falling rocks. (Photo)
  • The traffic suddenly stops due to construction workers clearing some fallen rocks up ahead, causing a huge line. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • So we get out, stretch our legs and play Big 2. (Photo)
  • Taking a rest at a scenic lookout just outside of Hualian. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • It also happened to be right next to an airport so we got to see some planes landing up-close. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • 7pm, Arrive at Hualian to have dinner at a night market. (Photo)
  • Then another hour drive to our little motel which had an outdoor bath and pool. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

Saturday

  • Get up at 6am to arrive at the rafting place at 8am
  • White water rafting till 12:30. (Photo)
  • Taiwan Sugar Factory, to have ice cream. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • Then to an Aboriginal tourist attraction to watch a folk dance and do a maze. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • Some famous Wonton’s for dinner in Hualian City.
  • Then drive for two hours to our accomodation which is a kind of resort with little huts right next to a beach. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • Celebrate a birthday, food and drinks, then off to bed. (Photo 1, Photo 2)

Sunday

  • Get up at 9am for breakfast.
  • Beach Beach Beach. (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • 2pm, back into Hualian City for lunch and some shopping.
  • Start heading back to Taipei at 6pm, arriving at 10:30pm.
  • Finish my 600 word Chinese essay due on Monday.

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Fence to the airport.

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Entering the tunnel on the way back.

Oh, there’s three typhoons in the pacific this week. One is heading up to Osaka Japan, the other two is headed for Taiwan. Pretty cool stuff. Hopefully we can get Thursday off.

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Party at Daan

One of the ex-Kojen co-workers was able to get some time off from his military service which justifies a get-together of some sort and what better place to hold a party than the Great Outdoors.

This time the size of our Daan Park gathering got up-sized to grandiose with around 30 people showing up at the amphitheatre just chatting, drinking and being stupid. Photos from the night can be viewed here. I also have some photos that I took of Daan Park during the day.

On an unrelated matter, another typhoon is headed this way again and is named Kaemi by the Japanese. This one started further out in the Pacific and has had a few days to gather some strength, hopefully this one will bring some action. However I do hope that it hits on any day other than Tuesday, I got things to do that day.. ugh!

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World Cup Finals

Even with Chinese class at 10am the following day there was no chance I was going to miss the crowd atmosphere for this event. That was exactly what I got, a big fat crowd. Six thousand people.

My original plan of going to Brass Monkey was scrubbed when a friend called me up saying that Taipei Arena was holding a free World Cup Finals event in its stadium and he has 10 of the 6000 tickets available. The entire night was an absolute blast which started with us guzzling down a bottle of beer each as they had airport-like security with no alcohol allowed. In the hour leading up to kick-off we mingled with random people, throwing cheeky comments at the opposition and finding some crayons to draw on ourselves. Others passed the time by playing Big-2, as typical Asians do.

So I have four big screens and I have the crowd. To top it off, the match was exactly what you would expect from a Finals match. Both exciting and nerve racking with superb displays of teamwork and skills with even a bit of drama thrown in. But I think the highlight of the match would have to be when Zidane unleashed his supermove. For some reason, I just found the way Materazzi flew into the air from the blow to be quite amusing.

Overall I think both teams played excellently with the referee being the only person on the field to perform badly, missing some very obvious handballs and a penalty deserving foul. It was just too bad that France had to go down the way they did.

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On an unrelated matter, Taipei is set for a direct hit. Don’t typhoon’s know not to come on a weekend?!

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We were robbed!

I am very proud of what the Socceroos have achieved by getting into the second stage of the World Cup Finals. To top that even further, they have managed to give the 3 times world champions a run for their money by keeping them at a draw for 90 minutes. However with Italy down a man, and Australia still having two subs for the overtime, the match was decided when the referee gave Italy a very questionable penalty with 5 seconds left. From the slow motion replays it is very obvious that defender Lucas Neill was going for the ball and that the Italian player, while jumping over his body decided at the last minute to fall over. There was no malicious foul at all.


Though disappointed, the Socceroos have done a great job. They have defied all the critisism and non-believers to stamp Australia’s name onto the list of soccer nations. I think the next event is the Asia Cup. It would be very interesting to see the crowd at a Taiwan vs Australia match.

I watched the match at The Brass Monkey and it was an amazing experience. There was around 30 or so Aussies and we were cheering and chanting throughout the match, drowning out the Italy supporters who were less vocal. Whenever we did the “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” chant, my friends who are Italy supporters would give me an evil glare. Not to mention the playful shoves when we shouted “Bullshit.. Bullshit..” whenever it was obvious that an Italian player had dived.

Now I don’t know which team to support in the World Cup. Or maybe I should just watch Wimbledon and forget about it.

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The Bliss of a Tie

Wonderful performance by the Socceroos last night in a nail-biting encounter with a ragged Croatian team who were busy pushing, shoving and pulling shirts rather than actually playing soccer. This match also showcased the most dismal refereeing I’ve seen with two clear penalties not awarded to the Australians. One for an almost rugby tackle that literally floored skipper Viduka, and the other for a fisted punch to the ball that is normally reserved for AFL, both inside the penalty box. Not only that, the ref seemed to be suffering from short-term memory loss that resulted in him giving Croatia’s Simunic three yellow cards! I hope this ref is sent home.

I watched the Aussie vs Croatia match at a place called Bliss which is a bar and restaurant run by a Dutch fellow. The set up there is pretty good with three large screen projectors which allowed them to play different matches at the same time. This suited me perfectly as it was a necessity to also keep a close eye on the Japan/Brazil match after Japan unexpectedly scored a goal, and if Brazil did not win it would’ve put Australia in a very dire position. However the crowd atmosphere was a bit lacking at Bliss with about 40 Brazilian fans booking the entire second floor, leaving just a handful of people downstairs. There was only 3 Aussies there including me, and we were the only people watching our match. I think next time we’ll go back to Brass Monkey as the atmosphere there is much better.

We didn’t however, expect to end up at Bliss. Originally we have planned on going to the Tavern, however we found out after a quick phone call that they expected to be full and referred us to Capone’s, an Italian restaurant / bar run by the same managers. The staff there was really friendly and were very accommodating to our unusual requests. They even bought us chairs when we were standing to watch the Italy vs Czech Republic match. We would have continued to stay there for the 3am matches, however they were way passed their opening hours and were staying open just for us. Feeling guilty we decided to decided to walk over to the Tavern to see if we could get a spot as it was likely that the crowd had dispersed. Well, that plan went down the toilet when the skanky girl told us we needed to pay NT$500 to enter. Good thing Bliss was only a short distance down the road.

Next crazy no sleep soccer night should be June 26th where the Aussies take on Italy which should be fun as my friend is a die-hard Italy supporter. Shouting match!

No appropriate photos for this post as I didn’t bring my camera.
But you can look at these from the celebrations in Melbourne.

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