Funny things in Taiwan: the Hostels

Did you ever see a hostel in Taiwan?

No, I guess you didn’t. Because they are impossible to find! (Or because most of my readers are living overseas, haha)

DSC_6641Just as an example: look at this small place. At a street somewhere in Taipei our friends found this impossibly small door. The door lead up to a private staircase all the way to the second floor (or third if you count floors in Taiwanese way) where the small hostel was placed.

When trying to find the hostel I booked I mostly find myself walking around the streets , with a gp in hand, and still not finding the right place. Once I found that I passed right outside the door a couple of times already.  Another time we came to a door with no name or number at all. Someone on the street told us to knock at it, and voila, it swung open and we found our place to stay. Why are the hostels in Taiwan always hidden in such a subtle way?

Yehliu Geopark and confusions on names in Taiwan

DSC_6512April 2015, Taiwan

This spring we went to Keelung. Or Geelung, as I thought it was to be pronounced. Taiwan is so confusing: most of the cities have names that doesn’t help you to know how to actually say the name. Taipei is to be read as “Taibei”, Kaohsiung becomes “Gaoxiong”, and Hsinchu is actually Xinzhu. Now when reading Wikipedia I realize that the name of Keelung is actually to be read “Jīlóng“. Even though older written names like Chi-lung still seems to be around. Conclusion: Does writing Chinese with Latin alphabet really has to be this complex? 

Keelung is a city on the north tip on Taiwan, a small distance from the city you can find Yehliu Geopark.

DSC_6522The Geopark of Yehliu is famous for stone formations. The geological conditions made the soft stones shaped by weather and wind, and looking like all kinds of funny figures. Above you can see the “tofu” stones, and below one of the higher structures.

The most famous (and crowded are) was at “the queens head”. Once upon the time the stone might have looked like a proud females head. But today the surface of the stone has lost so much the head is almost unrecognizable. Nature is creating it’s own live art, under constant reconstruction.

DSC_6600As always I feel an urge to get out from the tourist crowds, so we directly headed over to the more distant park of the Geopark.

DSC_6531The peninsula of the park was high and pointy, and offered a beautiful view of the sea around us.

DSC_6525A beautiful bird with a very distinct song was in charge of the soundtrack.

DSC_6519We did not really know where the path was taking us, we just kept walking higher and more far away. But when we reached the end point it was like someone had planned it perfectly for us: we got to a small pavilion just to enjoy a dramatic sunset. Can you see the man finishing on (the second picture) below?

DSC_6580DSC_6561DSC_6589When it started to get dark we walked back down to sea level. We found the previous crowded parts of the park almost deserted, and could take our time looking at the previous-queen of stone.

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Heat in Taiwan

DSC_7866It became really hot here in Taiwan now. Summer in a subtropical country with high humidity and eternal sunshine – yaaaayy. Even a short walk from my dorm to the bus stop becomes a small challenge. At times I will glare enviously at the locals who are having umbrellas to shade themselves with. But I have decided that I am not that integrated in the Asian lifestyle for using sun-umbrellas.

At least the sunshine makes Hsinchu quite photogenic. I did not do any edit on these pictures, but the colours are really popping.

DSC_7872My short walk from the bus to University made me feel like I was slowly getting fried. While passing the constructions outside campus some of the high-up workers stopped to wave at me. DSC_7874The entrance of National Chiao Tung University (above), and my beloved library (below).

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Shifen and the wrong Lantern Festival

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One day in Taiwan, already months ago, we did a trip to Shifen, next to Pingxi. I was there before, if you remember? (Read here: Pingxi Hike part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

It was a very unplanned trip, but honestly I didn’t care much. We had a good time together, even though it was dark, rainy and crowded.

DSC_6220DSC_6187DSC_6194One of the things we went there for was to paint a lantern and send it of in the air. We were happy to do this during Lantern Festival, thinking it was the right time of the year.

What S tried to tell me many times (but I still didn’t understand?) was that it was not that Lantern Festival. So we were apparently there and thinking we celebrated Lantern Festival, even if we got everything wrong. As I said, in despite of everything we still had a very good trip.

DSC_6260Lanterns rising up in the rainy sky.

After it got dark painted our own Lantern and send it of. I wrote in my best Chinese, S wrote in his best English and the third friend wrote in German.

DSC_6272Note to ignorant foreigners: The Lantern Festival is not for this kinds of lanterns. Always listen carefully to your local friends.