Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Day Trip to Xitou (Hsitou)

On Friday, Nick and I participated in a field trip organized by the folks at the Chinese Language Center I attend: A day trip to Xitou (also spelled Hsitou).

The first stop on our field trip was at the National Craft Research Institute in Nantou. There were a couple small museums and it was okay - some neat things to look at - but nothing too special. BUT after about an hour of perusing their wares, it was craft time! And I was super excited. The project was bamboo carving. We each got our own bamboo piggy bank and were able to use a bamboo-carving stylus to design it in any way we chose.

Here is a picture of Nick carving his first Chinese words EVER into bamboo, I was so impressed by him.
Both of us are very proud of our art projects:
After that, we made one small pit-stop at a place for lunch with a nice view of a waterfall and then it was off to Xitou Forest Recreation Park. Xitou is a beautiful place, lots of hikes and walk-ways through a sub-tropical forest. I wish we had some more time to spend there. Perhaps, one day we will go back on our own to explore more. Some of the walking paths are quite scenic and peaceful.

In our quest to get away from the crowds Nick decided that we should hike to the highest point in the park, which is supposed to have a great view. Unfortunately, the entire way was paved with stone and granite slabs which are partially covered in moss and, due to the humid environment, very slippery.

The whole hike I just kept wondering WTF is up with the Taiwanese and their "hikes"? I really don't understand why every trail we've been on so far has been completely developed into a staircase. We're assuming that it was done to preserve the trail, maybe to prevent it from becoming a mud slide.... I don't know, but I really don't like climbing stairs in the woods, especially slippery stairs.... it's just not my thing!

The day was very hot and humid and as time wore on, the weather became hazier and muggier. After about 40 minutes of the up-ward climb, we were told by a descending hiker that we still had 2 miles left until the end - This man did not speak English, so we really weren't sure how credible the information we were receiving was; however since we had no idea how long the trail was, and were becoming exhausted and sweating profusely, we were inclined to believe him. We definitely didn't have time to finish 2 more miles one way, so we decided to throw in the towel and turn around (but to be honest... neither of us were too disappointed!)
All in all, we both really enjoyed our trip to Xitou and I would definitely recommend it to anyone living in central Taiwan. I think we'd both like to go back and spend some more time there exploring.

No comments:

Post a Comment