Highs and Lows

27 06 2012

The past few weeks have been a blur. Rachel came into town for a week from Thailand, Scott left last Friday and somewhere between I managed to visit Yilan County, battle the biggest spider I’ve ever seen, lock myself out of my computer and deal with more stomach issues.

As I mentioned before, last Tuesday Rachel came into town. I was unable to get time off work, so while I was off to work, she tried to adjust from jet-lag.  When I got back to my room, I opened my door and turned on the light to find a huge spider chilling next to my air conditioning unit.  I woke her up and then pointed out that she had a friend chilling to her side. After we both scurried out of the room, the spider began running back and forth until deciding to take shelter in my AC unit. Great, I have a new roommate.

I hate my life…

We left the room to grab dinner and try to forget about my new friend. Upon returning back home, he was out again and back in the top right corner of my ceiling.  Knowing full well how fast these spiders are, I went downstairs to get Ryan to help me. The game plan was for him to jump up and try to hit it, but if it fell to the ground I would be waiting.

After much deliberation, and having just about everyone else in the dorms gathered around my door giving advice, we finally went for it. Ryan gave him a good smack, leaving 3 of his legs splattered on the wall, but the feisty critter landed in full stride, and was aiming for my desk. I  finished him off with my heavy-duty trekking boot.

Legs

The remains

Ah, now I can sleep, or so I thought…. That night I woke up a couple of times paranoid that there was another spider residing above my head and other parts of my room. Thankfully, morning came, and with it, no more spiders.  I only work for a few hours in the evening on Wednesday, and as luck would have it, class was cancelled due to heavy rain and flooding! Sweet, a day off!

That Friday, I said bye to one of my best friends, Scott. He moved back to Seattle.  I was sad to see him go and I don’t think that I fully realized how I would feel by not heading back with him. See you soon buddy!

Scott and I at Alt

Saturday morning Rachel and I boarded a train to Yilan County and took advantage of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday and a rare two-day weekend! We arrived around 10:30 am and took a cab to our place. It wasn’t too far out from downtown and was an awesome little place somehow hidden in trees and on the river.

I have no clue how Rachel found this place….

That afternoon we walked to the major river nearby and watched the preliminary rounds of the dragon boat races. It was cool to see, but overall quite boring. We headed back to our place to see about renting a scooter. Since no one spoke English this task proved to be quite difficult, but shortly after asking we found ourselves in a car heading into town. The man who gave us a ride pulled up to a scooter rental shop across from the train station, told the man what we wanted and left us to fend for ourselves.

These guys demolished the other team

My ARC, Rachel’s international drivers license and her expired Taiwanese health card were all we need to have access to a scooter for the next 24 hours. We then headed up along the coast for about 25 minutes  to the beach. Once there we just chilled and talked for a while before heading back into town before dark.

Yay for scooters!

Chilling at the beach

Tons of crabs came out right before we left

A quick stop in front of a giant temple

Welcome to Yilan

That night we ventured into the city to try to find some food. Luckily we stumbled upon the Luodong Night Market, which is huge and jam-packed full of hungry Taiwanese people.  Unfortunately, we forgot the camera, so no pictures. It was insane to say the least.

The next morning, we packed up our bags and headed off to do a hike and hopefully see some waterfalls. Lost for the better part of the trip, we managed to arrive at the hike. It was super short, in fact, it can’t even really be called a hike, but it was fun nonetheless. The waterfall was quite impressive and it is too bad that Taiwan decided to stop maintaining the trail.

Turns out Yilan hosted a giant leather show…

I love Taiwan’s mountains

Getting closer

Waterfall

We chilled here for a while

After hanging out on the trail, Rachel and I headed back into town to get some food. We spent our remaining hour or so playing cards until getting on the train and heading home. We were smart enough to buy our return tickets at the same time as when we left, thus guaranteeing seats on the way back. Good thing too, the train was crammed.

It was an awesome weekend, and I was sad to see it come to an end. The week went by too fast and the next morning Rachel went to meet back up with her friends and finish their trip. Back to the grind.

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The past month…

4 06 2012

Sorry for the delay. The past month has been a blur. I tried to spend as much time as I could with Rachel before she left. We did a quick day trip to Kaohsiung which was a ton of fun. Other than that it’s been a lot of work and trying to plan for future trips.

In other news, I’ve been cycling a bit more during the weekdays and just trying to get out rain or shine. The past weekend I finally had some closure on my cycling trip around Taiwan by cycling the northern cross country highway. It was one of the best bike rides I’ve ever done. Period. 135km of solid mountain roads and almost no traffic. Pure bliss. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera with me, but I’ll definitely be doing that ride again and I’ll make sure to bring a camera along.

Hope to have some fun trips and photos up soon!