Chinese New Year Week

The one week a year that Taiwanese take time off from work is Chinese New Year.  I was expecting to see a lot of parades and celebrations while we traveled around the island, but was surprised to find next to nothing in the way of big celebrations.  I had a really great time traveling around the island seeing Taiwan and Green island, a small island off the west coast of Taiwan.

Jason and I left Puzih on Sunday night and went to Kaishung so we could see the Superbowl early Monday morning.  There are very few places with live feeds of games, but we found one and were watching the game at 7am Monday.  It was a good game and it was fun to hang out with a bunch of foreigners rooting on a great game!

After the game, we got on a bus to Kenting...........the BEACH!!!

Jason is from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  He just got back from 7 weeks at home and was lucky to get back and immediately go on a travel around the island!  It is good to have him back.

We got to Kenting around 4pm and went down to the beach to find Merina, Dawn, Rachel, and Blair.  They are all from  British Columbia, Canada.  They had found a great camping spot in a cove on the beach.  We got there right before sunset and it was beautiful!!!

Me and Dawn

Jason, Blair, Me, Merina, and Dawn with a  beautiful backdrop

We went out to the night market and found the Hotel California!

A view of the beach from our camping sight

Our Camp site.  We started as a small group and quickly multiplied.  Many different foreigners from all over the place came to our camp site and joined us.  The tide was a little scary because it got really close at night, but it never got us!  It was a beautiful place to wake up in the morning!

The tide pools were right in front of our campsite, so we woke up to many Taiwanese standing directly in front of our camping spot and we caught most of them much more interested in the camping Wygoran (white people).  We felt like we were a tourist attraction!

This is Frog rock.  Directly across the cove from our camp site.

Almar and Cindy (South Africa), Helen (Canada), Me, Christen and Jason (Canada)

We left the beautiful, warm beaches of Kenting with Sunburns and a lot of sand everywhere to head to the other side of Taiwan.  We headed for Taitung.  A bus and a train ride away.......and a much needed nap on both!

We got to Taitung late and saw the only festivities that showed signs that it was Chinese New Year.

There were about 100+ people letting off fireworks in the park near the beach!  It was like a war zone!  People were throwing fireworks so near to people (including us). I got pretty freaked out!  It was funny at first and then a group got way to close for comfort with their fireworks!  There were 3 year old little kids running around with lighters and lighting big ones!  It was weird!  Definitely something I would never see at home!!

Jason was the king of the fire!

We went to a campground that was abandoned.  We didn't know why it had been abandoned, but we went through the gate and found nice platform areas for tents and so we camped, but it was a freaky camp site!

Cindy, Helen, Me, Christen

Helen and Me

We woke up in the morning and saw this directly outside of our tent.

Taitung is gorgeous!!

We left the camp ground to go get a ferry boat to Green Island.  We went out to the main road to get a taxi, but we couldn't find a taxi or a bus anywhere so we walked a VERY long time along side the very traffic filled highway.  We were a tourist attraction once again.

We finally got taxi's and got to the ferry just in time to board the ferry to the island.  We got on the boat and we all really enjoyed the first 10 minutes of jumping through the ocean.  Everyone on the boat was laughing and enjoying the amusement ride.  Then the real fun started!  People started vomiting.  I am not just talking about 1 or 2 people, the whole boat just started getting seasick!  I had no problems with being sea sick, but the sounds were killing me!  I spent the whole trip plugging my ears and humming to myself just so I didn't get sick!  It worked, but it was a LONG 50 minutes to the island!  Seeing the green faces getting off the ferry created a new definition to GREEN Island! 

We got off the ferry and rented scooters to start a trek around the island.

All packed up and ready to go around the island.

View of ocean from a beautiful view point.  There are tide pools under this bridge.

Christen by the rocks

View from our camping spot on Green Island.

Beautiful views of the landscape of Green Island

We went to the hot springs that night and warmed up.  The wind on the island was very cold and I couldn't get a single clear picture because of how windy it was.  I could hardly stand up so taking a clear picture was very difficult!

This room had the most comfortable pool.  It was enclosed so the wind couldn't get and it was the most comfortable pool temperature, too.

The hot spring is one of only three known salt water hot springs in the world.  I have been in freshwater springs, but it was neat to be in a salt water spring.

Friday morning we woke up and went around the island again (it only takes about 30 minutes to go around the entire island).  We went down to an abandoned village down by the ocean.  It was interesting because it looked like people were building it up and just left in the process of making it.  They left tools and things around and houses looked like people just left in a hurry.

Me in one of the small village houses.

Christen in front of one of the houses.

Me in front of the view of the village.

It was a bit creepy to see the abandoned village, but the views are awesome!

We went to see an abandoned prison.  Green Island has three prisons.  One is abandoned and you can explore it, the other two are active and house political prisoners in one and Mafia prisoners in the other.  It is like a MUCH more beautiful Alcatraz. 

Prison from above

Prison with an amazing view!

The front of the prison

We drove in here to go walking around the actual prison cells, but only got as far as the ox in the distance.  It was way to creepy to be there.  We all quickly turned around.  One of the guys we were with went in and explored the cells and said that it was freaky.  There are still cots and other things that were used in the prisons. 

This ox was tied by his nose ring to those rocks.  I have not seen many cows in Taiwan, but there were a few oxen on the island. 

We went and turned our scooters in and then headed back to the ferry for the boat ride that loomed ahead! 

Here's one of the ferry boats.

View from the Ferry boat!  I had never been out in the middle of an ocean!  It was a weird feeling!

Video of Ferry Boat Ride

I wore my head phones for the trip back!  It was a much easier trip! 

The trip was a much needed break from work and the everyday life of Puzih, but I was VERY glad to get home and take a shower!!  I saw a lot and experienced traveling with a large group.  It was beautiful!  It is nice to be back in my apartment, though!