At 5:40 am I was picked up in the hotel lobby by one of the Edison tour guides to go to the airport, a small plane then got me and a couple of others to Hualien airport to begin the bus and hike tour through the Taroko gorge. The road through the gorge was completed by some 10.000 people with some 226 casualties over approx 10 years. And a beautiful temple was build to remember the people who died making the gorge.
(according to our guide) Taiwan was originally created from the crashing of the Eurasian and Filipino continental plates some 6 mill years ago. As a result Taiwan is rich with mountains and the Taroko gorge was no exception. Highest mountain in taiwan stands 3900+ meters tall. It is also rich with jade and marble. And the biggest marble factories are located in Hualien, because of the large marble deposits marble statues can be found everywhere along bridges, roads and the temples.
I made some new friends and networked a little. In fact they even bought me oden on the train back to Taipei. ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ
Because of the high concentration of marble the sharp turns along the road and the quarries where quite something. It was like looking at the rings of an old oak. Layer by layer of history.
Although a lot of history of the Taiwanese aboriginals was told to us by our local guide, a big percentage of what came out of her mouth was about how great a tour guide she was and it got to a point where it was a little embarrassing. But the nature bit of the trip was very enjoyable. Also plenty of nice likeminded people to discuss my newfound joy of photography with (^_^)
We also visited a jade "factory" with the most insane sculptures at equally insane prices. Most of which we were not alowed to take photos of... But here are a few quick ones I snapped anyway.
(Please click image to view all details in full size)
Also got my girlfriend a pair of dark blue jade earrings and a jade necklace ♥
At one point we traversed a suspension bridge where only max 8 people at any one time were allowed on. The rail was only tall enough to reach my belt line. I took loads of 1080 hd video on this trip that I will incorporate in a slideshow at some point.
At about 400m there is a restaurant with traditional aboriginal food where we stopped and had our lunch. (⌒_⌒) Boor soup and rice made in bamboo was really good. The meal included taiwanese rice wine that you had to drink through the nose of the small ceramic boors. (guide:"kiss the pig kiss the pig")
On our way back to the train station for the 2,5 hour trip back to taipei( remember it was a 40min flight getting there) we also stopped by to see (and unknowingly also participate) in some aboriginal folk dance. Seemed Fairly modernized to me (maybe mostly because of the modern setting, indoors with lights and speaker music) but was pretty fun in the end.
We were blessed regarding weather the whole part of the trip that took part outside like hiking shopping etc, but just as we boarded the train back the monsoon started, so quite lucky. (´ω｀)
More pictures from my Hualien trip at smugmug.
Got back to the hotel around 20:30 that evening, got a shower, some food and hit the jacuzzi while about 13GB of pictures and video unloaded to my laptop from that day alone, and quickly passed out. ( ︠ु௰︡ू) zzZZzz