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Monday, November 14, 2011

Green Island day 2.

When we woke up for our second day in Green Island, we had to move rooms.  It was a bit of a pain in the arse, but we had to get it done because they were fully booked and they told us before hand we had to do this.  So we couldn't grumble about it too much.  As it happens our new room was 200NT cheaper than the other, but it was cheaper for a reason.


So off we trotted to the front desk to hand over the keys from the first room, and collect the keys for the second room.  The room we were leaving was huge, and spacious.  This was seen by the fact it had 4 double beds inside the room.  So you could imagine our shock when the new room only had 1 bed!!!  As well as 1 bed, it had a few mattresses on the floor, in a very Taiwanese style.  I don't mattresses like a drug den, there not like that.  If anyone has seen Japanese homes on TV how they have those mattresses that people sleep on because their apartments are small, they are like that.


It didn't really bother me one bit to be honest, there was just an initial shock going from one huge room, to a much smaller room.  Seeing as I can sleep anywhere though it didn't really matter to me that Steve managed to claim the bed before I opened my mouth, I prefer sleeping on harder surfaces than soft ones anyway, I find it more comfortable. The big problem was no air con, and this is why I tried to really haggle over the price of the room.  No air con in the summer on Green Island is a bit of a nightmare.


We then proceeded to drag our bags up to the third floor.  It doesn't really sound like much, but when the temperature outside is 40C then it feels a lot more than it is.  It might surprise you to know, sweat was pissing out of me by floor number 2.  In fact sweat was pissing out of me when I was handing over the keys and receiving my new keys, so to get to the 3rd floor felt like a small triumph!


After this herculean effort of carrying bags up stairs, it really was time to get some breakfast.  We dashed outside and hopped on the scooter, prepared to look for some breakfast, and ready for the rest of the day ahead.  We proceeded to hunt for somewhere to eat like a pack of wolves, the small problem with Green Island is there is not many choices of places to eat.


We found a nice small looking breakfast shop, it seemed quite busy and that is a good indication as any to eat there.  I noticed when we were inside they had some nice looking buns in a cabinet (in Asia it is common to eat buns, with something inside them for breakfast.)  I decided to order a couple of buns with meat inside.  One with beef, and one with pork.  As well as the buns, I also ordered what was no becoming the legendary breakfast of bian dang.


I took one bite out of my bun, and then all the meat fell from the middle!  I was quite devastated about this, I sat in the middle of the breakfast shop saying to myself in a really sad voice over, and over...."my meat fell out!!!!"  I am glad no one in Taiwan could really pick up on the innuendo of it.


After we ate breakfast, and I got over the devastation of losing my meat, we decided it would be good to drive around the island, stopping at all the various beauty spots, and scenic spots to take a lot of pictures.  While we were driving around, the whole island was absolutely beautiful, and picturesque.  Some of views from the top of the hills were stunning, and I don't think I managed to capture how beautiful it was on my old camera.








The first place we really stopped for any length of time, at a beauty spot on the top of a hill, that over looked a cover, and a secluded beach with no people on it at all!  When we got to the top of the hill, there was a couple at the top.  I guess they were enjoying a romantic weekend away or whatever.  The guy was an ABC (American Born Chinese.)  The girl was Korean, they were here to study Chinese.


I swear to god though, the guy he kept asking so many stupid questions.  It was kinda irritating, but the girl however was really quiet and didn't say much at all.


An example of one of his stupid questions..."do you have all the flags on your bag, because that is where your family come from?"


It was pretty stupid, so I had to answer yes, off course that's certainly the reason!  I told him, "my grandad is Spanish, and my Grandma is Cambodian.  I don't know how they met, and for that matter, I don't know why I don't look Asian, speak Spanish or Khmer!  To be honest, I have no clue how they met.  My grandad has never been to Cambodia, and my grandma has never been to Spain so thats just odd don't you think?"


To stop his stupid questions, I realised his girlfriends fly was down.  So I thought aha I know how I can stop him asking me such stupid questions.  I will point out his girlfriend is flying low.  So I told her, your fly is down!  Then as I thought he stopped asking me stupid questions.  Maybe he was thinking I hope she put her panties on today!


We took quite a few snaps from the top and then we made our move.  It looked beautiful up there, the beach and the cover, with the blue sea.  Just amazing I could of sat there for hours but there was much more to see, and I don't think I could of managed any more stupid questions spoiling my view.


We decided to drive towards the cove we were looking at from on top of the hill.  When we got closer and closer, we could see how huge it was.  It was covered with lots of dead coral.  From the top at the beauty spot I thought it looked like a beach but it was clearly loads and loads of dead coral the closer we got, and it was huge.  It felt like we were ants, scampering around the surface looking for food or whatever ants do.  Running around in some huge place like that really makes you realise how small we are in this world compared to natural places, and things like that.  Steve took a piece of dead coral I think but I am not 100 per cent sure.  He told me he takes something from every place he goes too.




Where's Steve?



When we eventually decided to leave there, we had a wonder around the area and we came across some really old style houses.  I was going to have a look inside and take some photos, but then Steve said I shouldn't because it clearly looked like people were living inside the old houses still.




I started to feel my belly rumble away, Steve felt the same so we went off to get some lunch.  This is kind of like an interlude to the story of Green Island....


We tried to find some place new to eat, but Green Island really does have limited options when it comes to eating food.  So we ended up in the same place pretty much ordering the same things as the previous day, although this time Steve managed to get some noodles, and instead of eating beef, I ate some venison.  We also decided we should go back to the Jail shaved ice shop, and buy a shaved ice to say thank you for getting a free one the previous day.


Jan was having none of it, and was telling us that we were guests, and he wanted us to have another crushed ice for free.  We also wanted to ask Jan if they was any way we could buy the ticket before the next day for the boat, and what time the boat leaves in the morning.  Jan checked it out for us, and he told us there was one at 10.30.  We decided we would get this one, and he told us that we would have to go to the harbour and see if we could buy a ticket.  He also told us if we didn't manage to get a boat ticket we would have to stay on Green Island for another 2 days because they was no more boats leaving until then.


When we finished our crushed ice, we wrote on his wall and exchanged numbers.  I promised to keep in touch with him, and told him if he ever came to Taipei he should give me a call.  In the spur of the moment, I really couldn't think of anything cool or witty to write on the wall, so I ended up writing the very boring and unimaginative 'Mark was here' plus, N.U.F.C!  Pretty boring.  I really should of added after N.U.F.C, Champions league and Premier League contenders 2012!!!!





We drove back to the harbour quite fast, because we didn't want to waste loads of time by dawdling about where to buy tickets, when to go there and what time.  When we got there the woman told us, we just had to turn up the next morning, and that they cant be bought the day before.  Pretty much a first come first serve basis.  So with that in mind, we decided that we had to get there quite early in the morning so we could manage to get a ticket no problem.


We decided to go to the prison from here first, because even though it was free to enter and look around, it had a closing time of 5.  The reason the prison is of importance and significance on Green Island is because it used to hold 'so called' political prisoners.


When we were looking for the prison, we were just driving around, we thought it must not be that hard to see a prison.  It is only a small Island.  We eventually seen a prison and started driving towards it.  It did not seem very touristy, and there was not so many people looking around.  A guard stopped us before we could go any further and he told us that this was indeed a real prison, and the prison we were looking for was further a long the road.  We only tried to drive into the real prison, and take some pictures.  I would of loved to have seen the looks on the inmates faces with us two wondering around like we were there on holiday!!!


Going of the pictures  I saw there from the time, and looking at where they had to stay, I can safely say that the conditions seemed pretty atrocious.  They were tied together and frog marched to the Island.  I assume they were not marched across the water but that goes pretty much without saying.






When we were inside the jail, you could walk around and see where the prisoners lived, and there cells etc etc.  The part they had for solitary confinement was just an open space, with a big huge rock blocking the doorway so they couldn't leave.  They were put inside here with no clothes and it would be freezing i'm sure.  




I found the prison a very interesting place to go.  It was very factual and it proved some more insight into the history of Taiwan for me.  Anyone visiting Taiwan should check it out, as a bonus you don't have to pay.  You should go there with more time to spare than we did, we only had about 30 minutes until it closed.









As we were leaving the sun was beginning to set, we didn't have any clue which part of the Island would be the best place to watch the sunset, so we just jumped on the scooter and went buzzing around hell for leather looking for somewhere we assumed would be a good place to watch.  


We drove for a little while then we saw a place with a lot of people at the top, and we thought it looked quite an impressive spot to watch the sun go down.  When we were walking up the hill we had to avoid all the goat shit and then we found a nice spot and sat down, to watch the beautiful scene.  


There was one small problem, the sun was setting on the other side of the Island, so we did manage to see the sunset but I am sure if we had of been at the side where it was going down it would of been totally amazing.  My advice would be to make sure you find out where the best place is to watch the sunset before you go looking for it, because the sun sets so fast here.


Even though the sun set went really fast, how ever when we were sat watching it seemed like it was hours.  All we could do was admire how beautiful this Island was, and how picturesque the scene looked, the sea, beaches, hills, all greens, blues, and yellow......and the sun setting in the background.  Absolutely amazing!








And here we were, sat at the top of a big hill, taking in all this natural beauty.  Sat on a tiny Island in the middle of the Pacific ocean watching the sun going down.  


After the sun went down, it was bloody freezing on top of that hill, so we decided it was time to go for something to eat.  We had ate at the same place for the last 2 days or whatever so we decided it was time to do something different.  We decided to try the BBQ place that we drove past the previous day, as every time we seen it, it was really full.  There was also a karaoke inside, and people were singing and drinking their nights away.  This place looked really fun and lively.  This was the place to be in the evening on Green Island.  


The BBQ was on 2 sides of the road.  They sat us on the more quiet side, probably thinking the foreigners might not want to see how Taiwanese like to party.  We got our food, and then we started to BBQ it.  We thought we were cooking it just fine, but all of a sudden we were the only table in the whole place, who's BBQ was on fire!!!  


The woman told us that we had to use the bottle of water to cool down the BBQ which was a little bit annoying.  This was because it was just like a disposable BBQ, and they had no fans inside the restaurant.  


At the moment Steve pointed out the reason why we had to keep the BBQ cool, the guy was lighting the BBQ's with a big blow torch!!!  to light the BBQ.


I thought the food was just OK, and inside the place seemed a little bit dirty.  This was especially compared to other places in Taiwan.  So I just ate what I could until I was full.  They didn't really have so much choice for their BBQ either.  


While we were sat having a beer and chatting some guy walked past us with a huge and mighty beard.  He caught me staring at it because not many Taiwanese people have massive beards like that.  I asked if I would be able to get a photo with him, and he said sure but finish your food first.  While we were finishing off our food he came back over with some beers and we had a bit of Gan Bei (cheers, but down your drink) going on.  We had a few drinks with him and his friends before they left.  We also got a picture taken.




When I was full I decided to go around and take some pictures of the place.  First our side which was a little bit tame.  Then I told Steve I was going to take pictures over at the other side.  There was loads of young people singing on the karaoke and dancing.  I went and asked if I could take a few photos, they told me it was no problem.....but, they then made me dance with them also!!!  Before I knew it, I was on the stage rocking out...






At this point I seen Steve walk over the road looking for me and to see what I was doing.....he had a big huge laughing grin on his face.  I could see he thought it was pretty funny I went over to take pictures and ended up on the stage rocking my night away!


There I am on the stage, rocking out with this big group of Taiwanese people and all I did was go over there to take a couple of pictures.  The people I was dancing with then wanted me to sing!  I tried telling them you don't want me to do that with my crappy singing voice.  They were having none of it, and they were really insisting.  So I told them if you get  me a beer i'll sing.  I thought this might be a deterrent!!!  I should know what Taiwanese people are like by now, and they came back with beer.  










So that meant I had to sing.  When I asked them what they had in English they said they didn't have any English songs.  So I just sang what I know best and give them a rendition of the Blaydon Races!  The place started to empty when I started to sing.  I like to think this was because they were leaving anyway, but really we all know it is because my singing is crap.  


We said the group could come to the hot springs with us if they liked, but they told us it is too hot for the hot springs in the summer time.  We had decided to go for a second night, because we had to really, as there are only 3 of these kind of hot springs in the whole world!


This time we decided to go much much later than the night before to see if there was any difference in what time you went.  When we got there we realised we forgot our swimming caps, and ended up having to buy more.  I thought it was much better in the evening, loads of groups of young people.  Earlier in the day it was more old people and young families


We chatted with loads and loads of people that night, and everyone wanted to know what we were doing in Taiwan.  They all wanted to know why we came to Green Island also.  It was nice to chat with loads of people and try to practice my Chinese.  


The best group we spoke to was in the big hot tube like hot spring near the sea.  They had brought their own beers into the complex.  (We didn't know you could take your own beers in, otherwise we would have done the same thing.)


I even managed to have a youth work moment in the hot spring.  It came from nowhere, but came it did.  They had to tell me there name and one thing they like to do.  Basic ice breaker activity but, I was surprised it just popped out at this moment in time.  Was really odd, but the group seemed to like that I asked it, and they all told me.  And no I cannot remember what they like!


They gave us some of their beers, and we got some more gan beis in the hot spring which I was surprised about but it was all good crack.  It seemed I was getting gan beied a lot on this trip.  


Eventually we decided to leave the hot springs after spending about 2 hours inside.  I can safely say it was one of the best things I done on the trip around Taiwan.  I loved it.  


I didn't mention it earlier either, but if you go south in Taiwan.  Make sure you get some sun cream, otherwise you will end up lobster red like I was.  


I really loved Green Island and would recommend it to anyone, was the best part of the trip for me personally.