On the bus drive from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Dongshi I saw so many apartment blocks. We already drive for a while when I asked Yen if we are still in Taipei, she said that’s another city. For me it looks like one mega city. Taiwan has one of the highest population density in the world. They are living 23 Million people on an Island that has the half size of Tasmania. The last two years I spent in Australia and New Zealand. I appreciate my time there. Coming to Taiwan it’s a big difference for me. It took me a while to get used to it. Fortunately Yen lives in Dongshi, a small town, situated on a river and surrounded by mountains. At her mothers home I receive great hospitality. Her mother cooking for me every day delicious meal. I really like the Taiwanese cuisine. Nearly everyday I taste new flavors.
Down the road is a park with a narrow-gauge railway and the Hakka center. The Hakka center is about Chinese and Taiwanese who identify themselves as Hakka people. They have their own language and tradition. Yen’s mother language is Hakka. Behind the Hakka center runs a cycle path that connect Dongshi with the surrounded towns. At the weekend this cycle path is very busy, there are many bike rentals along the way.
On our first bike trip we went to visit Eve one of Yen’s friends. Every time I want to go on the left side. But in Taiwan is right traffic. Also when I cross the road I’m used to look to the right first but I have to look left first. Next to the cycle path are fruit orchards. I noticed they are small vegie gardens and plantations everywhere. Many people grow they own vegetables. I discovered fruit and vegetables who are new to me.
Yen’s brother in law took us to Alishan mountain. A national park in Chiayi County. Many people coming here very early in the morning to see the sunrise from the top (2500 m high). We took the Alishan Forest Railway. Unfortunately it was overcast when were there and we couldn’t see the sunrise. But the drive with railway was nice and we enjoyed walking trough the national park.
We went several times to Taichung City for shopping. It’s the third largest city in Taiwan with nearly three million people. Most people use a scooter for transportation. I think if would everybody use a car the city would stuck in traffic jam. As a pedestrian crossing roads it’s not easy you have to lookout all the time for scooter. The pedestrian paths are parked with cars and food stalls. Same as in Dongshi, it’s common to walk on the road and you have to trust the drivers that they not cut you heels. Taking the bus is very cheap and the first 8 km in Taichung City are free.
Staying longer at one place it’s a good opportunity to do things that must be done. I went to a dentist, I haven’t been at a dentist for two years. It was all good, my teeth got polished and I payed only 900 TWD (30 Euro). I bought a new laptop. It was not an easy decision. I didn’t missed a computer for the last 4 months. But somehow I wanted to work through my pictures and update my blog. Then I spent much time in front of the computer. I went late to bed and my rhythm of life from cycling, eat and sleep changed to computer, eat and sleep. I didn’t do much sport except short bike rides.
It’s time for movement. Tomorrow we will start cycling around Taiwan.
Dongshi and surrounding