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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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The Sea of Bikes

Even with more cars and scooters than the roads can handle, the Taiwanese have not forgotten the primitive bicycle. With famous bike manufacturer Giant calling Taiwan home, bikes have had a long history in this country and have managed to grab a special place in people’s hearts with the most rusty thing I’ve ever seen still being used. Not a day goes by where I don’t get almost run over by some old granny, or hear the nail breaking screech of brakes that hasn’t been oiled for decades.

So needless to say, when NTU’s campus includes two decent sized lakes and farmland a bike is definitely a requirement. There is no chance of you making it in time for your next class if it’s on the other side of the campus as it takes almost 20 minutes to walk from the Main Gate to the Rear Gate. With almost every single student having a bike, you can imagine how hectic it must be.

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Wanna bike?

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Only leave your bike in designated areas… or it will be taken away.

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.

Fulong Beach

Monday was Valentines Day according to the Chinese Calendar. I think the guys in Taiwan get the wrong end of the bargain as they have the Western, Japanese and Chinese Valentines Day’s. With the trend for girls here to be materialistic, it means three bracelet/ring/necklaces each year that she can brag to her sisters.

Let me take this opportunity to mention that I’m not a festive person. I don’t make any effort to celebrate any special day. Those that have been to my last minute, CBF birthday parties have witnessed this. So if I actually do something on a special day, even if it seems insignificant to you, it means I have probably climbed a mountain, worn the skin off my hands and put my blood and sweat into it. So I guess it was a good thing I didn’t have a Valentine.

Anyways, I went with some Chinese-Indonesians from Chinese school to Fulong Beach and put a shrimp on the barbie. The shrimp being me as I came back with a bright red upper body. The skin should be peeling off any day now.

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Ghost Month

The 7th month of the Chinese Calendar is the Ghost Month where the Gates to the Underworld opens and the spirits are left to roam the Earth. So for now there’s no getting married, buying a house, whistling at night, pointing at the moon, surgery, swimming, going to the beach, starting a business and hanging laundry up at night. The older generation take this stuff very seriously with the real estate and wedding markets quietening down. Even my dad is recommending that I don’t go to the beach….fat chance. It’s the middle of summer here!

Though what really gets me is the excessive need to burn paper money for the ghosts and spirits to spend with the rational that if they are busy having fun, then they won’t come disturb you. So you have every business with a metal can outside burning paper. Pretty soon I will need a gas mask just to walk down the street. Not to mention the fire hazard this is on a breezy 38C day. Worse of all.. this year there’s a Lunar leap month, meaning that the 7th month will occur twice.

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Mass paper burning session

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Corner of Nanjing East Rd and Fuxing North Rd

Kaemi Shmaemi

Typhoon Kaemi came and left at warp speed with the eye of the storm spending only 5 hours on land. Its effects on Taipei was a bit weird as it seemed like just your normal sunny day with people going out for a swim in the outdoor pool while at the same time gale force winds still wrecked havoc on those living on the east coast of Taiwan. Though in the early morning a nice howl was chanted by the wind, and with it also came some torrential downpour. This was enough to satisfy me, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the Taipei City Government with businesses and classes being conducted as normal.

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Clouds from Kaemi rolling into Taipei as the night approaches

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Destructive weather on the east coast,
but no effect to the citizens of Taipei

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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