Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Trip to Yilan (宜蘭): Day 2

Nick and I awoke on Saturday morning to our roommates telling us that we had just 10 minutes before the bus left! Oops - So much for our bike ride.

Unfortunately, a typhoon was in the area, and the water was too choppy to go out on a boat, so our whale watching activity was cancelled for the day - on the bright side, this did delay our departure just long enough to give us a chance to eat breakfast!

After breakfast, we headed to a pretty cool out-door museum and spent the morning checking things out. Due to the inclement weather, and the fact that we had only two umbrellas in our group of 6 people, our movement throughout the park was restricted, so we didn't see as much as we would have liked.
Below is a picture of the house of the first national scholar who came from this area. We spent about an hour in the house (partly because we were waiting for a break in the rain!) and learned a lot about the tradition of education in Taiwan and in China. It's really a interesting history which dates back over 2,000 years - I will surely touch upon this in another post.... one day!

I would actually really like to go back to this museum to catch all the stuff that we missed, especially the famous Taiwanese puppet shows that can only be seen two places in the whole country.

(picture source here)

After the museum, it was off to lunch at the harbour where we were supposed to go whale watching. Fortunately, right next door, was a huge black-sand beach - complete with volleyball nets, a stage, a shaded concession area, and some other fun surprises.

The beach was clean and beautiful. On one side was the ocean and on the other mountains.

At lunch we were told that we had three hours to spend at the beach; due to the typhoon, no one was allowed to swim in the ocean, but we just happened to be at a beach with a kiddie pool / shower-mister contraption.

Yes... a kiddie pool - at the beach!! A large square pool was actually dug into the sand just a stones throw from the ocean! For those who aren't comfortable with swimming in the dangerous sea.
(I just kept thinking that my father, who thinks a trip to the ocean is the ideal vacation, would get a kick out of this! I could just hear him laughing at the utter ridiculousness of it all. "What the hell do you need a pool for ON the beach! The ocean is RIGHT there! Isn't the ocean enough!!!" - no... the answer is the beach, by itself, is just not enough)

After taking a break in the shade, we wandered over to the stage area to check out what was going on. Apparently a dance competition was taking place and it was priceless.

Take a look at two of my favorite performances:

It seems to me that the minimum level of talent required for a public performance - be it singing, dancing, or anything else - is much lower here than in the US. I guess lacking considerable talent is no reason to miss out on all the fun - more power to them!

Just as we began to wander away from the crowd, we received a phone call from our friends.

Apparently the tour group decided to cut our time at the beach short - by one whole hour! And the four of us were the only people who hadn't returned to the bus!

Now, I know that the Taiwanese people have a somewhat apprehensive relationship with the ocean, and they certainly don't enjoy sun bathing, but this beach was chock-full of things to keep you occupied, including a nice place in the shade with food and misters to keep you cool (not to mention that riveting dance performance!)

It was absolutely beyond me why they would want to cut short what to me was the best part of the trip - but we didn't have a vote in the matter!

My theory was that everyone would rather be singing karaoke on an air conditioned bus than being scorched by the sun on the sweltering beach.... but that's just my theory!
Regardless of the reason, we headed back to the bus to begin our journey home to Taichung!

1 comment:

  1. god i love the girl in the suspenders