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10/26/10 – 10/28/10 (luzhou)

Luzhou – Taitung – Luzhou

This was our last full week in Taiwan and we were excited to cap it off with a visit to Orchid Island. Orchid Island is one of two small islands off the eastern coast of Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who live on Orchid Island are called Yami and we met some of them at the Independence Day parade who raved about the beauty of their home. To get to the island you can either take a two-hour boat ride or a twenty-minute airplane ride from Taitung, a city that is an hour plane ride from Taipei.

It was hard getting a flight to Taitung and the only one available was a 9am flight. We woke up eager and were ready to go. The flight to Taitung was short but bumpy. When we arrived in Taitung we found out that all the morning flights to Orchid and Green Island had been canceled due to gusty wind conditions. The plane seats only ten people so any bad weather conditions could prevent the plane from taking off. The boats also weren’t going to the islands. They couldn’t confirm whether or not the afternoon flights would be canceled until the time of the flight. We were devastated. This was our final hoorah before returning to the states. After consulting with my sister we decided to wait at the airport till our 1pm flight to see what happens. If the flights are canceled we would stay in town to see if the flights took off for the next day. 1pm came around and it was still a no-go. We decided to stay the night in town and booked a flight to the island for the following day.

Taitung is a small town known for its surfing and custard apple fruit. We found a cheap hotel in the town center and settled in. After dinner we walked around checking out the shops. To my surprise I found a few shoe shops that had shoes my size. I was in luck! I wear a size five and it is extremely hard to find shoes that fit me. I went crazy and bought three pairs of shoes. I wished we could’ve made it to Orchid Island but I was also happy to have new shoes.

The next day we woke up early to call the airline to see if the flights were taking off but to our disappointment the morning ones had been canceled. It seemed the island was telling us to come back another time. We booked a flight back to Taipei for the following day and visited the sights in Taitung. We were hoping to rent a motorbike to drive around but then learned that we needed a Taiwanese license. We figured since the town wasn’t very big and we could rent bikes or just walk. We heard there were bikes for rent at Taitung Forest Park so we took a taxi there. Since it was mid-week there were hardly anyone at the park. We walked around enjoying the peace and quiet. We walked over to the bike rental shop and found out that we could only ride the bike around the park. It seemed we kept striking out. It didn’t seem far to the Taitung Seashore Park so we leisurely strolled to the next park. By the time we reached the park the wind was starting to pick up. The park was right at the beach facing the Pacific Ocean. If we squinted our eyes we could see San Francisco. We grabbed lunch at one of the few restaurants along the shore, which happened to be the restaurant that someone at the hotel recommended.

For dinner we decided to check out a Japanese restaurant, which turned out to be an all-you-can eat. They only had menus in Mandarin but the waitress was kind enough to read the entire menu to me. It has been a little hard on my ego to have to tell people that I can’t read Mandarin even though I speak it perfectly. I often get puzzled looks from them when I tell them in Mandarin that I can’t read the menu. Sometimes I go through the process of explaining that I was born in Taiwan but grew up in the states and have been able to keep up my speaking abilities because we always spoke Mandarin at home. We were really full from our meal and decided to walk around. We stopped in one of the shops to see if they had any souvenirs. We started talking to the shopkeepers who recommended that we check out a bar owned by an American. We didn’t want to go back to the hotel yet so walked over to the bar. The bar called Kasa was down a dark alley among residential buildings. It was a rustic looking place with a nice ambience. We quickly discovered that every Westerner visiting and living in Taitung was at the bar. We had seen a Westerner at the airport chatting up some girls who turned out to the owner of the bar. Earlier in the day we saw another Westerner at 7-Eleven who was also at the bar. Both are from America. It is a small world. The guy we saw at 7-Eleven is Dave, a former Mormon. He came to Taitung a few years ago as a missionary and decided to start his four-month traveling adventure here. We didn’t realize he was a post-Mormon when we offered him a beer. It was his first beer in his life! After a few more beers we called it a night.

We boarded our flight to Taipei and were back home by mid-afternoon. Because there was a second typhoon lurking on the horizon the temperature had dropped a few degrees. It was cold enough to warrant a jacket, which was a nice change from the humidity we had been experiencing. We were disappointed we didn’t get to visit the island but it will give us an excuse to visit to Taiwan.

Reader Comments (3)

Thanks for this latest post! Love hearing about your adventures. Great pic! Can't wait to see more pics! :)
November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHGO
All the great adventures you have had but the power of weather entered into the end of your travels. I know there will be more adventures to come.
November 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterml
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