well, the camera is awesome. the gorge is awesome.
the first night, we got into hualien at around 11pm and stayed in a hostel with a freezing cold air conditioner and a heavy, wanna-be down comforter.
the next morning, after kind of a hassle, we finally were able to rent 2 scooters and start into taroko park. the ride there was amazing. i'm not sure what 'lien' means but 'hua' is flower and the whole town smelled like asian jasmine and citrus trees in bloom. it was so good. and the drive up the mountain was beautiful and got cooler and cooler as you went up.
we checked into the hostel and then headed to the Shackadon trail, which was closed (though we found a secret passageway and got in anyway) and so we walked for probably half a mile or so and ended at a swimming hole that gill really likes.
the water you could see from the road was all gray from the marble bits, but the water at the swimming hole was beautiful blue.
i was messing with my camera and everything went blue for a couple of shots.
after shackadon, we went to this area called swallow canyon or swallow something-or-other. my only stipulation for the day was that i wanted to do easy trails and take pictures of beautiful things. but somehow we ended up hiking up the most difficult trail in taroko. it was 1.5km of nearly vertical climbing on rocks and boulders for an hour or more.
there were all kinds of signs saying 'for experienced, well-equipped climbers only. turn around!
i thought my body was going to give out. we hadn't eaten lunch, we had no water, and i was using every shred of manners and positivity i had in my being. i was obviously still complaining a lot. anyway, we made it to this suspension bridge and then turned around and went back down.
saw this weird plant. any thoughts, majtown?
look gram, mail comes by carrier pigeon to the hostel.
before they took me back to the train station this morning, we walked 'the tunnel of nine turns' which used to be a road, but the traffic was so bad that they had to make a new road, so they turned the old one into a scenic pathway.
and then 2.5 hours later, i was back in taoyuan and on my way to school.
i have a cold and all of the kids are sick so it was a long day.
we got a new guy in the dorm, alex. he's from michigan and seems nice and normal. i haven't gotten to talk to him too much yet.
time for bed. i need some serious rest.
additional pictures here: