Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mid-Autumn Festival aka. The Moon Festival-Part 2

Ok, so here is the rest of the story... sorry that it has taken so long...
So after we got our ice cream which was actually really good (I got mint-chocolate... it was some of the best I have had since I have been over here) we headed for an aboriginal arts center. After getting lost about 4 times in a bus... and heading down little tiny roads and attempting to turn around, we finally found it. What we did there was watched the tribal dances... it was very... interesting. They did many different types of dance. After that we headed back to our place that we were staying. The original plans were for us to have a traditional Moon Festival BBQ. But, because of the rain and all of that fun stuff we did not. So they just decided to give us money and drop us off in a part of Hualian City that has many places to eat. Which made us happy. The next thing to do was for our group to figure out what we wanted to eat. After many options were weighed we decided to go to Pizza Hut. The only problem was we didn't know where it was. We knew that there was one because three of the people that were in my group had been here last year and they had gone there. So we just kept walking down the road and we found it. It was so nice to have pizza! I had been wanting some for a couple of weeks. It cost more than we had been given for dinner... but it was worth it! After that we couldn't resist going to Starbucks. It was right down the road from where we were. Then all of the sudden it started to pour down raining. We still had to walk about a mile or so to where the bus was going to pick us up. And one thing thats different from America is sidewalk are few and far between (the same thing with garbage cans) so we ended up having to run through the rain to get to where the bus was. We were soaking dripping wet by the time we got to where the bus was going to pick us up. Praise God there was something for us to stand under while we waited for the bus because we had to wait about 15 minutes for the bus. After our night of adventures, we headed back to our sleeping quarters. On our way there, they told us when the other group would be leaving and that they were probably going to be stopping in Taipei to go to the 101 (the tallest building in the world). The whole Yuli team thought that that sounded like fun so we asked if we could go. They said that we could we just had to pay for our way home. We decided that we would, so we left at 8:00 the next morning to head to Taoyuen by way of Taipei (they are maybe an hour train ride from each other). It is one of the most beautiful drives from Hualian City to Taoyuen. Especially in the rain! It is also one of the most sickening rides. The roads are very bumpy and they are all two lanes and one side goes straight down into the water. It was crazy! And also the traffic was very bad because it was a Holiday and also the rain had made many mudslides and so some places the road was only one lane. So you had to wait your turn in order to pass by it. It was a looooooooooong trip. At one point we were taking so many pictures on the bus of the scenery so the driver of the bus was kind enough to pull over and let us take some pictures. At one point I was sitting on the guardrail to get a picture... it was so much fun. Well... to make a long journey short... we did not end up going to Taipei because by the time we made it there it was about 5:00 and we still had another hour or so to drive. So we just went to the English Village (EV) in Taoyuen. It felt like coming home... that is where my time in Taiwan started. It was so much fun. After we had been there for awhile and eaten dinner we went out to play a game of basketball. Basketball is not my strongest sport... I actually don't think that I have a strong sport. Anyway, we ended up playing a game with some of the local kids. It was so much fun. At one point I was on a team with a guy named Andrew and it was just me and him. We actually ended up winning... somehow. I was totally shocked! After we finished basketball we headed back to the EV to get clean. We then decided to finish our game of Phase 10 that we had started the night before... we actually ended up starting a new game. It was about 4:00am before we finished the game and I had to be ready to leave to head back to Yuli at 8:00. So needless to say I did not get much sleep that night. The next morning we had to get two taxis in order to get all of us to the train station. So we made it there about 8 minutes before our train was going to leave. So we decided to just head to Taipei and we would get a different train there. The only tickets that were left on the train were standing tickets. So we were standing in the aisles of the train with about 40 other people. It was quite amusing. After getting off in Taipei, we had to find where you bought tickets... it was up three floors from where we were. So we finally found it and all of the trains that were headed to where we live were full. So Lauren and I decided to ask for a train headed to Hualian. They had tickets! It was the nicest train that I have been on over here. We probably paid for the niceness but... It made for a pretty comfortable sleep. We then got to Hualian City and had to wait about 3 hours before the next available train left. This was ok because it was around lunch time and so we decided to find a place to eat. We were first going to go to a place that we went to when Lauren, Sarah and I had gone before. But they place was full. Lauren and I ended up walking around the block to see what the different places had. We ended up finding this place that sold what they called a hamburger... it was basically a chicken sandwich. It was really good. Oh, and a nice thing about the place was that the people spoke English. It was actually really good for most people over here. Especially to be working at a food place. We got on the train and then we made it home safe... so that was the end of my exciting weekend.

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