Friday, December 17, 2010

Taiwan -- Day 3 Cont'd ... Taitung City, Luye Plateau

Taitung City is big, busy, and beautiful place. The streets are lined with signage of all sizes, colors and dimensions but no English. There are scooters and cars and people all vying for the same spot on the road yet no one seems to honk their horn or yell at each other.  This is much different then the traffic chaos in Vancouver. There are a variety of stalls selling everything from produce to flowers to skincare to home gadgets. Colorful red lanterns hang overhead while the friendly street vendors vie for business from one another. 
Flower Stall

At one indoor market (at the corner of Jungshang and Jengchi Roads) there was a rainbow of fish and vegetables to choose from.  Whatever your heart desired you could probably get it here.  There were fresh meats, poultry, fish, seafood and innards. Dried fish, seafood, mushrooms and other things I couldn’t identify. It was packed with people and at one point a women even drove her scooter down the aisle and through the market. NOTE: the downside was that I still had on my flip flops and they weren’t conducive to walking around the ground that was wet with dirty water and remnants of mystery liquids from all the stalls.

Tiatung City Market

Bags of dried fish and shrimp

I "HEART" Taiwan 

Compared to other cities in Asia that I have been, I found that Taiwan is really low key and friendly.  People smile all the time, they try and interact and engage you in conversations and seem generally happy to meet you. 

Kate trying on a traditional hat

Local vegetable dealer

After our walk around the city and a quick lunch we headed inland on Highway 9 to the Luye Plateau in the East Rift Valley.  Here our plan was to go paragliding, but alas Mother Nature (in the form of Typhoon Megi) said it wasn’t to be.  The winds had changed and we were unable to take off.  Instead we drove down to another area of the plateau, Gautai, and went grass boarding.  If you’ve never been or don’t know what grass boarding is, you are missing out.  Basically you sit in a modified toboggan at the top of a large grassy hill.  The toboggan has wheels on the underneath of it.  You wet the wheels and then get a great big push from behind and off you go, hurtling down the side of said hill with nothing but some highly modified plastic between you and a good case of grass-burn.  (I’d love to see Tide could get those stains out.)  I’m proud to say that I am the reigning Champion of the Luye Gautai Grass Boarding October 2010 Tournament.  Of course it didn’t hurt that I had a few extra pounds on my competitors to keep the momentum up. 

Myself, Kate and Bev getting ready to grassboard


The large green field is the hangliding landing area.
It did have a "HEART" etched into the crop but the last typhoon destroyed it.

Views from the gliding departure point.

Local crops, farms and tea plantations

The views from the Luye Plateau are amazing.  Words don’t really do it justice.  The weather was bright, sunny and warm.  The birds were singing so loud you could barely hear yourself think and below you lay the entire valley of patchwork fields.  The Dulan Mountains and the Beinan River lay below, with the Middle Mountains to our right.  The area is known for its delicious honey black tea.  We stopped at the visitor’s centre to change clothes and get ready for our afternoon bike ride.


MB said...

Have you retired as the champion? Or will you be back to defend it?

VancouverBanshee said...

oh no baby I'm not retiring. I'm going to lobby the tourist board to bring me back this November !!