I was doing really well updating my blog with my adventures in Taiwan but ground to a halt once I got to China. :-( Anyway, for the final bit of my week off in Taiwan I headed further south to the city of Taitung. There’s not an awful lot to do here and the main attraction is getting on the boat to Ludao off the coast. Still there’s sufficient touristy activities to fill a day, including a temple with an oversized pagoda and geriatric karaoke, some pleasant parks, and a “national prehistory” museum.
Taitung is another place in Taiwan with an odd romanisation: it’s written 台東 which is pronounced more like “tai-dong”. On a related note, it’s also an example of the total lack of imagination the original settlers of Taiwan had in naming cities. 台 is short for Taiwan and 東 means east. In the name of the capital 台北, Taipei, 北 means north. There’s also 台南, and 台中 with similar meanings.
History lesson time! On the train from Hualien I saw some farmers burning the grain chaff in their fields just like in the character 秋 “autumn” which is made of 禾 “grain” and 火 “fire”. Taiwan can be very traditional in some ways.
For my last full day I took the boat to 绿岛 Ludao “green island”. The harbour itself is quite a fun place to visit, with a lively fish market:
The crossing is notoriously rough. Everyone I talked to and everything I read mentioned this. It’s possibly a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy: the one thing you don’t want to think about on a rough crossing is other people throwing up. The day was calm but the boat did bob up and down a lot. I think it would be fine for a short period but the journey is 50 minutes after which even I was feeling a little queasy. The boat was well prepared however, with plenty of sick bags stuffed in every seat pocket and dotted around the cabin. You could go outside for some bracing sea air, which was better in some ways and worse in others. Shortly after I took this photo the guy next to me vomited into a bin.
November on Ludao seems to be the off season, and there wasn’t a whole lot going on. The thing to do there is apparently to bomb around on a scooter, but you need an “international” drivers license for that, so I couldn’t, which is probably for the best. I wandered around a bit, had a look at the lighthouse, and then ate some fish.
The ferry only sails once a day so I was a bit paranoid about missing it on the way back. Being stranded on a desert island in the pacific sounds fun, but in practice would be very annoying.
To get back to Taipei I took an exciting internal flight on this little propeller plane! After not raining since Sunday, Taiwan’s weather finally reverted to form.