Sunday, April 05, 2009

Travellogue Taiwan: Hualien and Yilan


From Hualien, we made our way to Yilan, the state just northwards. We visited Taroko National Park, famous for its marble.


Upon alighting the bus, I noticed swifts up in the clouds yonder.


The river had crystal clear water flowing towards the sea beyond. Having tried the coffee (supposedly brewed using water from the river itself), we climbed up to Eternal Spring Shrine atop the hill.




We continued our journey towards Taipei along super narrow roads. It was just wide enough for a bus. The linzi centre we stopped at was very expensive and despite their enthusiastic marketing and persistent persuasion, we all came out of the place empty-handed.

The next stop was yet another money-spending place - the marble factory. After having our lunch at their restaurant, we were brought on a tour of the factory, introduced to the different kinds of stones in production.






I have to admit that the stones they sold were cheap but I did not buy any as they were set in stainless steel, not in sterling silver or white gold.

Suhua National Highway was like a roller-coaster ride but the view was superb. While everyone else was taking a nap, I was busy shutter-bugging.







The batteries to my camera were drained due to my enthusiasm in getting good shots. Along the way, we stopped to buy steamed sweet potatoes from the local roadside vendors.

Despite feeling slightly dizzy, I found Nanfangau and Nantien Temple interesting. No, this temple isn't like the one in Wollongong, silly. This one worships Ma Zhu for the peace and safety of the fisherfolk.

Dusk fell and it was time for as to arrive at our final destination for the day: Shangrila Leisure Farm. At first, we were thinking: wow, Reliance actually arranged for us to spend a night at Shangrila? Cool! How wrong were we! It was of a different concept altogether but we were not let down. It turned out to be the BEST of all the places we've stayed at so far! We had no complains for the food and rooms. The view was breath-taking. Here are some shots taken the morning after:







After dinner, the hotel had activities lined up for us. We made glutinous rice ball and wrote wishes on a wish lantern.



There was also a top-spinning competition. After all the hype, Shek Mei, Xue Er, Alicia, Miss Lee and I sat outside and had a long chat about their babies, their husbands, and the economy.

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