Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Rundown

Sad but true fact of the day: I'm a better traveler than I am blogger. Thus far, I've managed to travel somewhere in Taiwan pretty much every weekend since I've moved here. But I've just been too dang busy to write individual blog posts about all the stuff I've been doing lately.

So I've decided to just give you the highlights. Here's a quick rundown of what I've been up to these past few weeks:

1. I joined a school of fish (the Nan Fang Ao Mackerel Festival)
I got to march with a "school" of fish. Ha. Get it?
The centerpiece of the festival: a giant papier-mâché mackerel that they paraded through the city streets...
... and then proceeded to burn on the beach.
In case you're wondering, yes I did have to help carry the mackerel for part of the parade. But the festival was an awesome experience. Definitely one of the more memorable things I've done thus far in Taiwan. If you want to see more pictures (complete with my commentary, of course) click here.

2. 我偷了一些柚子 (I stole some pomelos)
Siena and a few of my other coworkers invited me to come with them to pick pomelos from some trees that they own. When we got there, they all decided that the pomelos on the other trees looked nicer than the pomelos on our trees. So, after much discussion about the implications of the English idiom "the grass is always greener on the other side," we decided to snag a few off the other trees to see if the grass really is greener. Honest, it was all for the sake of English. 
Siena, caught in the act 
Our haul.
Our verdict? The pomelos aren't always sweeter on the other trees but their insides are always pinker.

3. Despite the fact that I moved to the other side of the world, I still ended up at an old Spanish fort (a trip to Danshui)
Ivy, colonial Spanish buildings, and an American flag.
Fort San Domingo in Danshui is just like home.
It even has cannons. I know where I'll be heading if I ever get
homesick for downtown St. Augustine.

4. I was invited to a 真的 Taiwanese beach party (shindig at Mr. Brown's beach)
Jack and Scorpio, two of the awesome Local English Teachers here in Yilan, invited all of the Fulbrighters to their friend's beach party in Toucheng. About 8 of us went. When we got there, it was pretty much like an elementary school field day except that we were at the beach and we spent a lot of the time being herded about, playing games we had never heard of before, and generally having no idea what was going on. In other words, we had a total blast.

As soon as we got there, we were thrown into a volleyball game: Taiwan ren vs. the foreigners (and Scorpio).  We won! After that, they quickly divided us up so that there were only one or two foreigners on each team for the other games.

Christine playing one of the water games. It involved tying a sponge to your head, running into the ocean, and trying to be the first team to fill your bucket. The people throwing water at us as we did it were just an added bonus.

Me gearing up for another water game. For the record, we kicked everyone's butt. 

To see a video of one of the other beach games (and me participating in it), click here.

5. I took my first scooter trip (I drove all the way to Jioaxi and I didn't die) 
Terri and I shortly before we decided it was a good day for a swim.
Christine, Terri, and I headed over to Jiaoxi when we got out of English Village last Friday afternoon. On this trip, my second to the Jiaoxi waterfalls, there were hardly any other people there. When we got to the top fall, we had the place completely to ourselves. We took in the scenery and then Terri turned to us and said, "You know, it's always been a dream of mine to stand under a waterfall and wash my hair." So, naturally, we decided to ignore the "Danger: deep water" sign and go for a swim. It was heavenly!
(The moral of the story: dreams come true in Taiwan).

Then, to round out our perfect Friday afternoon, we checked out the hot springs (which the area is known for).
The public foot bath
One of the womens' bathing pools
Okay, that was a lot. I'll stop here for now. Next time, I'll tell you all about how Christine and I took a trip to Keelung, got lost, and (among other things) ended up making friends with some bus drivers.

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