Friday, September 08, 2006

Mountains of Nantou/Puli

About 2/3 of Taiwan is covered in mountains, and we are now in a mountainous county called Nantou. Nantou is the only county in Taiwan that does not border the coastline. We had spent most of our time in urban areas up to this point, so it was time to explore some nature.

Our first stop was a landmark near Yi-Wun's home. This spot is famous because it is the geographical center of Taiwan. I am a bit skeptical as to how they measured the "center" of Taiwan, considering that the island isn't anywhere near a perfect geographical shape. AnywHavingays, it gave us a good view of Puli, and warmed us up for our next hike.

We drove up a winding road into the mountains, traversing up the steep slope. We stopped along the way to get some coffee, at the highest Starbucks in Taiwan. Yes, Starbucks really is EVERYWHERE. After taking a short break, we headed up further into the mountains.

After parking, we began our ascent by foot. The first obstacle was a large set of stairs, 487 stairs, to be exact. My calves burned towards the end, convincing me that I need to hit the gym when I get back home. Another set of stairs led us to a large statue of Chiang Kai-Shek, the former Kuomingtang (KMT) leader that fled China during the Communist Revolution. At the end of our hike, we arrived at Green Green Pastures, an open area near one of the mountain peaks. Here, we saw sheep and enjoyed an ice cream bar.

Heading back out of the mountains, we stopped at a vegetarian restaurant for some lunch. Many of my family members are strict vegetarians, due to their religious beliefs. We enjoyed a hot pot meal, with tons of mushrooms and veggies. For desert, we had almond soy milk with red beans, which was deeeeelicious.

Yi-Wun brought us to a paper factory after dinner, where we did a short tour and watched some of the workers make paper. Check out my Flickr account for more pictures from the day.


Ranee said...

that veggie food looks so good!

Barbara said...

Jeremy, I think that you have enjoyed more of Taiwan's deicacies in a week than I did in two and a half years!!! I never did have the courage to try chewing that stuff!!! Does it still make your mouth turn red?'I am a little disappointed that you could not go to Chiayi, but perhaps that is a trip you are supposed to make with me along...I am mostly so happy that you were able to connect with Sue and Peter-wonderful people!
It will be sad to say goodbye to all your new friends and family,but the world is getting smaller all the time and I know you'll return to the "beautiful island" someday.
I hope it all goes well in Honolulu. You'll have to move fast to get through customs and hop a taxi to Waikiki or whatever you plan to do. It will be quite a culture shock!Enjoy! Love, Mom