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Monday, September 5, 2011

Hualien

We were up early again, to make the trip to Hualien.  We went to the train station around 10am.  The woman in the train station told us, that the train was fully booked up and we would have to wait about 2pm or 3pm for the next train.  As we were booking the train she told us someone just cancelled their tickets on the next train to Hualien.  She then told us, we could make the purchase for the next train heading that way, which would leave very soon.  This was very lucky, as we would of had no real time in Hualien.


When we arrived, we decided to go and find one of the hostels from Steve's Lonely Planet book.  The hostel we went to was spot on.  A bit pricey by hostel standards I have normally stayed in but the quality of there hostel was good.  I have actually forgot the name now, I should of wrote it down, but if you have Lonely Planet Taiwan, the newest edition only has 2 options in there anyway.


We then headed out to try and hire a scooter, to go and see the scenic areas.  It turned out we had no luck in hiring a scooter.  The place that seemed pretty legit wouldn't let us hire a scooter, because I have no license and Steve did not have an international driving license.  In the end we ended up getting push bikes from the Giant shop next to the train station.  This actually turned out to be a brilliant idea in the end.  Was really great flying about on the bikes, we took some time to find the beach, which seemed a lot more difficult than it should of been.  


The bikes we got from the Giant shop were so light, they were like a dream to peddle about on.  While we were hunting for the beach, we came across this place selling some kind of egg pancake thing.  It seemed different to similar types in Taipei, I thought this must be Hualien's version of this.  Their was also a huge que of people waiting to get their food, and like Jen keeps telling me about food here.  If there is a big que for food in Taiwan, then it must be worth checking out!




Then disaster struck, the old woman working on the food stand seemed to have lost her place on the order sheet, and she had no idea of who was next, or who ordered what.  We must of been standing about 15 minutes and people who turned up after us were collecting their orders before us, which was bloody annoying.  They didn't even phone ahead with their order because they put in their order when they turned up.  I am also good with numbers in Chinese so there was no chance I had missed it.


At this moment, I had to get my beer face on, and think I was standing at the bar not getting served.  The new woman who took over bless her, she had some struggle to get some control back into the orders.  I harassed her a bit, and she kept apologising, I felt bad for harassing her but, I was getting pissed off for waiting so long.




Eventually she took command of the order sheet, and managed to get everything under control.  She managed to stop a mutiny so fair play to her.  In the end, what we bought really was worth the wait, it was damn bloody amazing.  To the point I wish I bought two of them, but there was no way I was going to risk that order list again!




Then we pedalled off in the direction of the beach.  We eventually managed to find it, and then we pedalled along the beach.  It was quite nice, and pleasant, but the major problem was the amount of factories and industries there.  I am not sure if we ended up in the wrong place, or if there was some other scenic place we went too, but by the time we found our hostel, ate something and got the bikes, it was nearly 3pm.




So we made do with a peddle around the beach, while stopping to take photos and water breaks!  It was a good ride, really there didn't seem to be many people out on the beach to be honest, maybe we missed the peak time or something, or maybe people are just not that bothered about it.  We pedalled quite far in all honesty, it was interesting and the fact we didn't notice the time meant we were having a great time.












When we headed back into the city, we decided to go and hunt for the night market on the bikes.  This was fun, I still love night markets in Taiwan, even though a lot of the foreigners I met said I would hate them soon enough.  I still love night markets.  I love all the food you can buy there, and just how its a great place to go and hang out.  The one in Hualien however was really small.  When we got there we decided to eat there, we got our self some juice and then we stopped off at a cheap steak place to get something to eat.  I got a big piece of cheap steak, and Steve had himself some noodles.  It was nice, and cheap.  I don't remember the price.  Less than 100NT I think however.  (mental note to self, I should write down place names, and prices in the blog book!)


Then we made haste back to the hostel, it was amusing seeing Steve ping the bell on his bike at the cars, made me laugh while I was pedalling behind him.  At least he was telling them to get out of the bloody way, when we were on the the way to get some beers in!


Then we went back to the hostel, had quite a few drinks and had an early night.  We would have an early kick off the next day because we had to go to Taroko Gorge.  The nice woman in the hostel had told us the best way to see most of Taroko Gorge.  We had to get the 9am bus right the way up to some point on the Gorge, and then hike so far down for 3 hours or so, and catch another bus around 1pm, then we had to hike for another 3 hours, to catch a bus at 4pm back to Hualien.  This she said was the best way to see all/most of Taroko Gorge.  This was our plan for the next day.


As we were going through this plan, there was a small matter of the push bikes!  The Giant shop didn't open until 9.30am, and we had to catch the bus at 9am.  When we told the woman in the hostel this dilemma she told us that she would kindly take the bikes back for us in the morning.  How nice was that, don't you just love it when a plan comes together eh? 


Then off to bed I went, and the lights went out on this part of my story.......