Eventful Week!

Trip Start Jun 18, 2009
Trip End Aug 01, 2011

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Flag of Taiwan  , Taiwan,
Monday, August 30, 2010

Well so much has happened since I have last written! It seems like I have been going non-stop for the past couple weeks. I am hoping for a little slow down soon! My weeks have been filled with lots of good adventure and Taiwan firsts! Some good things and others I hope to not experience again! 

I guess I will start with the bad....About 2 weeks ago I had my first scooter accident. I was very lucky in that I wasn't hurt badly. I just got a little scrapped up. I got hit by a car but thank God we were both moving at pretty slow speeds. The car was trying to merge over and had slowed down as I was going around her and then she decided to go. She stopped and made sure I was ok and picked up my scooter. She asked if I was ok, I just had some scrapes on my feet so I got back on my scooter and drove home (true Taiwanese style). Besides my feet getting scrapped and having a sore butt for a couple days I am doing fine. Hopefully that was my first and last scooter accident. And as with most crashes, I was literally 2 blocks from home. I am very thankful that I have now moved closer to work and have cut my commute in half, meaning less time on the road in heavy traffic times! :)

But enough with the bad, onto more fun and exciting adventures! A couple days after the accident I went to the night market with my Taiwanese friend, Dawn. I love getting to go out with her because things are always easier when you have someone that speaks the language and I have been able to do lots of things I otherwise never would have. Well, we were going to the night market looking for some dinner. I knew I was going to be in for some interesting eats! I am very proud of how brave I was! We started out our dinner with some blood cake (pigs blood and rice). They dip it in some peanut powder so it was basically really dense, spongy stuff with a light peanut taste. It was ok, it didn't have too much flavor though. After the blood cake we went for something a little more "normal"....sweet potato fries! These were very delicious and I ate lots of them because I knew I had more strange things ahead of me. After the fries we got in one of the longer lines to wait for this Taiwanese version of a hot dog. It was a hot dog but instead of a bun it was wrapped in rice. It had veggies on it too. This was pretty good. For a grand finale for our meal she took me to eat stinky tofu! This is the one thing I thought I would never try while here. While driving the streets you will often get a whiff of it and your nose will sting for a while. It is a very pungent smell and definitely deserves the name stinky tofu! Stinky tofu is a type of fermented tofu. Well, we sat down and she ordered us a plate. I was already really full from everything else but she insisted that I give it a little taste. I took one little bite and to my surprise it wasn't that bad. The tofu was very spongy but I didn't get any of the taste I was expecting. I don't think it will be something I eat again. I am just proud to say that I have tried it! 

After my exciting week I planned a trip to Alishan with Tara, Mike and Rachael. Alishan is a town located up in the mountains known for beautiful sunrises and amazing views. We took the High Speed Rail down to Chia Yi and then got on a bus to Alishan. It amazes me on the roads that these buses drive on. Road construction on mountain roads is just about as widespread as road construction in the summer in MN. Because of land slides and frequent heavy rains they seem to always be repairing the roads. There were some points I was a little frightened to be on the road because we would be driving over dirt roads and I would look out the window and all I could see was a straight down drop! Just a little frighting! Well, we made it to Alishan and it was already so refreshing when we stepped off the bus...it was cool out and I was able to breathe fresh air! Something you begin to cherish living in a big city! We did a little hiking when we got there. We hiked some trails know for having very large and old trees. After our hiking we can back into town to have some dinner. We had a normal Taiwanese dinner at one of the restaurants. I ate some of the best chicken I have had here! It tasted almost like American Chinese Food! It was awesome! After dinner we went back to the hotel to get to bed early. We had a wake up call bright and early....4:00AM. There is a train that takes you up the mountain before the sunrise. Our train left at 4:40AM. We got packed into this train and brought up the mountain to a large crowd of people all awaiting the sunrise. It was beautiful and wonderful until a man with a megaphone began shouting the whole history of Alishan in my ear. 1. it was way to early to be that loud and 2. way to ruin the peace and beauty of a sunrise in the mountains! But after about 20 mins he stopped and we got to watch the sun come up! It was awesome! Then we wanted to hike to another look out so we began following all the other people, bad idea! They were not going to the other lookout but going down the mountain. Well, by the time we figured this out we were almost all the way down the mountain. We stopped at asked where this other look out was.....it was all the way back up the mountain. So we turned around and hiked all the way back up the mountain (oh, and I was in flip flops due to my scooter accident and my scrapped feet). Well it was worth the hike up because we found the lookout and it was absolutely beautiful. Words and pictures can't capture and explain the beauty. We were the only ones at this lookout point and we had a 360 degree view of the mountains surrounding us. We were able to get some great pictures! After spending about an hour and a half on top of the mountain we began our hike back down. The town didn't have too much else to offer so we packed up and headed back to Taichung. It was a great weekend and so refreshing to get out of the city! 

After our trip to Alishan I returned to Taichung to get all packed up at my house because I was moving into my new apartment the following day. I am already dreading my move home because I have accumulated so much stuff!! Last Monday we had the Cornel's school bus help us move. We filled the whole bus will all my stuff and my roommates 4 bags! :) It was a lot of work but we got all the stuff out moved across town and up 10 floors in an elevator and moved into our new place. I love the new apartment! It is so much nicer than my old house, I have a big bedroom, big bed, my own bathroom, I am closer to work and all the places we go out to! It is all around good! :) I have almost gotten completely settled in. I still have a little unpacking and organizing but for the most part I am all settled! 

One last big event that has happened recently was my birthday!! This past weekend I was able to celebrate my birthday with Tara (my friend from home)! We have back-to-back birthdays so we had a combined party of Saturday. We started our day off at the salon to get our hair done. I got my hair washed with a great head massage and an up-do done for only $8!! I should start getting my hair done every night before I go out!  :) We then started our night with drinks at my apartment and then went for dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant. We then moved on to Fubar for some drinks. After they closed we went out to do some dancing at 89K. It was a fun night and we stayed out until about 4AM. On my actually birthday Tara and I just lounged around my apartment and then we went out for a birthday dinner with Mike and Dawn. I am so thankful for all my friends who made my weekend a great one! They are my family away from home :) I also want to thank all my friends and family back home for all the birthday wishes! Thanks for thinking of me on my special day! :)

Well I think that wraps up everything that has been happening here. Sorry it got to be so long! 

Until next time....love ya and miss ya! 

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