After spending almost a month in Taichung it was time to get out of the city and enjoy the great outdoors, and see what Taiwan can offer. There is a place that we heard of from many teachers and locals that is called "Sun Moon Lake". It is about a two hour bus ride from Taichung and has some really good camping.
That is about all that we knew before going on the trip. We did not even know where the Taichung bus station was. We had a piece of paper that Allie's manager wrote the Chinese characters down for and we caught a taxi and we were off. Everything worked out and our friends that came with us found the bus station too. The fare was 150 NT per person which is about five US dollars, and no we were not on a bus with caged animals nor stow aways. It was a nice bus just a little bumpy but I think that was just the road. We first went to Puli which is a city that has a world famous winery. The winery makes a rice wine (yes also known as sake if we were in Japan) we didn't have time because we had to catch another bus that took us to the lake. Before we got on the bus our friend Mike and I got some bettle nut. Bettle nut is what the locals chew to get a buzz or something. It is a small nut that looks just like an acorn. I have been thinking about trying it and I could not think of a better time than camping.
We caught the bus to Sun Moon Lake, this bus ride was only thirty minutes. It was about 6:30 pm and already getting dark. We knew we would be dropped off on the opposite side of the lake not near the campsite at all. We just kept that information between Allie and I because we told our friends that we could take care of everything and figure things out since it was our idea. I think they already knew how Allie and I plan trips (just that we want to do something even though we don't have everything worked out like most people would do) because they did not have a tent or sleeping bags and everyonce in a while someone would ask "where or when are we getting our tents" or "oh yeah we need a sleeping bag".
When we got into the largest town (not a city) by the lake we stood out. A guy came over to us and saw that Allie and I had our big packs on and asked if we wanting to go to the camp site. If we did the last bus for the day was right there and leaving like now. So we all jumped on the bus, I mean if we were 30 secounds later we would of had to walk about ten miles on a windy road to the camp site. When we got to the camp site we were able to rent a nice tent for our friends and also sleeping bags. We had a campsite away from other people, well as far away as possible. We all were really excited and ready for a relaxful night, so we set up our tents and gathered firewood. After that we were a little parched and needed some fluides so we went back to the front of the camp where a really nice guy who gave us the tents and I think he was the owner or at least the manager of the campsite and asked where we could get something to drink or eat. He had a litte small store but he had what we were looking for. A case of beer and of course a bottle of wine for the girls.
Camping here is unlike any other that I have seen. They have every thing they need and here is a picture to prove it. Here is a group of children watching a big screen TV. (Enough said)
So we started a fire and had a few drinks. It was a lot of fun just to talk around a fire and really good to get to know our friends better. Mike is someone from New York but has lots of family in NC and he has been living in Hawaii for the last 6 months, David is from England and makes us laugh every time we get around him, this was his first camping experience in his entire life, and Heather is from California. Mike and I broke out the bettle nut to try. It is not something I recommend. It looks like an acorn and tastes like one too, and of course I had red teeth for about two days. It was nice to be in the mountains again, but there were some down falls to the weekend. There was a big group of kids that went camping, and of course they were all around us playing games and just seeing how close they could get. We of course were really nice and talked to them. The kids were the same age as the kids we teach, so we could not get away from that. Oh and Allie and the other girl were trying to teach the kids songs. That is when we knew it was enough and time for the kids to go home.
Alright Allie here, Jay is a tad long winded so its time for me to wrap up the blog. The next day we packed up our stuff and walked around the aboriginal village that we were camping in. Then we found some random guy that knew English to take his very rickity old boat out on the very foggy lake. We could hardly see anything in front of us. He was extremely nice and gave us a very good tour for the lack of visibility. I felt like I was in some Chinese movie wear a dragon was going to pop out at any moment.
We explored the area and had a really amazing time. We will definately be going back there.
WE hope everyone has a Happy New Years and just remember we will be in 2008 before some of you even wake up in 2007. Please write on our guestbook we would love to have your questions and see who is reading out blog. It is very nice to get comments.