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.    

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Night in Taitung, and first day in Green Island. (Ludao)

The train to Taitung was OK.  We didn't know which stop to get off, because for some reason this train this train was one of the old ones.  It didn't say in English where we were so I had to listen carefully to make sure that we got off at the right stop.  I didn't know how long it was going to take.  We had got some beers for the journey, and cracked them open in the station while we were waiting.

Some guy in Hualien told us about his friends hostel.  He told us it was called the Taitung Woo (Who Knows) Hostel and he gave us the card with the address on it, so we could go there when we arrived.  He told us we would have to take a taxi because Taitung was not like Hualien, and the train station is not in the centre of the city.

We got a taxi, and give him the business card.  We hoped the hostel would be empty because for some reason on the train we could not get through when I tried to call.  I asked the taxi driver if he knew where he was going, and he said yes.  Like they always say yes, then of we went.  Simple as that, well it didn't really turn out that simple.  The taxi driver got us to the rest place, but then he seemed to be lost.  He took the business card and his mobile phone.  He then proceeded to drive along the road with the phone stuck to his head, the light on in the car, and looking at the business card every so often.  He didn't seem to be that bothered about looking at the road to be fair to him, at least we didn't crash.

We eventually managed to find the hostel.  Well the Taxi driver finally managed to find the hostel.  It seemed really nice, and the people who were working there were just sat around boozing it up.  I thought that seems pretty good of them, it felt like a greeting party, even though they didn't even know we were coming.

The guy who owned the hostel introduced him self as Jackson.  He quickly showed us around our hostel and to our room.  The room was really nice and clean, inside there was only me and Steve, and two other guys from Hong Kong who were pedalling from Hualien to Kenting.

The hostel was really nice, I liked how it was inside.  It was really nice and clean.  After Jackson had finished showing us around, we went downstairs and told them, "after we go and eat, we will come back and join the party."

We headed out to look for something to eat.  In Taitung it is clearly not like Taipei at all, it seemed a lot more difficult to find food.  We didn't arrive till quite late either so we didn't want to stray too far in case we got lost.  We ended up just buying some fried food from a stand outside 7/11.  I got a ji pai, and some pigs blood and I don't remember what Steve bought but that is all we could find that was open and relatively close.  Steve wasn't happy with what was offer, because it was too unhealthy but he had no choice, nothing was open and we couldn't see anything for miles down the road!  We got a few beers from the 7/11 too, so that we could drink with the people in the hostel.

Jackson (do you know Jackson?)
When we got back, we joined Jackson, and his merry bunch of drinkers in the lobby area of his hostel.  Jackson introduced us to his companions, Belle and Grace.  We sat and chatted the night away, and drank till the early hours.  At some point in the night, an American girl turned up and joined us, in our mini Taiwanese style drinking party.  Which is more civilised than English ones I have been too.

Grace and Belle
The American girl seemed pretty cool, I have totally forgot her name....(mental note, to self.  Make better notes.)  She told us she had been living and working in Taitung, but she just left her job and was travelling for a while.  She told us she had even tried the betel nuts, just because some guy offered her one she thought why the hell not.  In theory it is a good attitude to have, but only sometimes.because those betel nuts look awful, and most people who chew on them regularly have the most horrible teeth I have ever seen.

We then got onto to talking about who knows the most capital cities for some reason, I don't even know why this came up.  What I have to say is I completely battered Steve and the American girl for knowing the most places that they asked about.  Steve told me it is because of my love of football, that I know all these weird places.  I replied does not matter how you know it.  Just that I know it.

We started to ask about the boat, and how it was?  How much was it?  This kind of thing.  They told us they didn't know the price of the boat, but that it only left at certain times.  The boat we were going to try and catch was the really early one, this started of a debate about if we could manage to wake up in the morning or not.  Grace and Belle were telling us we have no chance of making the early boat, because we had decided to stay up a lot of the night and drink with them.  This I seen as a challenge and then I told her, I bet you a whole bottle of wine that I will wake up in the morning.  This challenge was gratefully accepted.  The time of the first boat I think was 8.30am, and we were sat drinking till around 2 or 3am.

We started to talk about what the boat was like, and how was it.  They kept telling us that it is horrible, and loads of people don't like taking the boat.  They told us we should take a sick bag and everything.  I asked them why, and they said because you will be sick on the boat for sure.  I then informed Jackson I will not be sick on the boat, and on top of this, I will not even take a sick bag, in fact I will take a 4 pack of beers and drink all the way to Green Island, just to prove a point.

I also told him, that you are forgetting the UK is an island country also and I have been on a lot of boats before.  Never once have I been sick, but I have definitely drank beers on boats, so I assured him, thanks for the worry.  I will be fine.  Then because we were all in betting mood, I decided to make another bet, if we get a picture of me drinking on the boat, and then show him it, he has to be stood waiting for me with more beers at the ready when we got back to Taitung.  This he agreed to do.

We eventually managed to get to bed around 4am.  Steve even started telling me that I would never manage to wake up either, and that I best just go and buy the bottle of wine, and give it to them all tonight.  I thought bollocks to that, I am indeed a betting man, and I will wake up.  I told them I would be awake for 8am or something like that, but eventually we didn't wake up till 10.30 and we had clearly missed the boat to Green Island.  The only solution was to go and buy our breakfast.  The 2 guys from Hong Kong came with us, when we seen them in the street.  They were looking for somewhere to eat breakfast too, before they pedalled to Kenting.  We managed to find a fried dumpling place that was open, so we just piled inside of there, and ate that for breakfast.  The reason being, Taitung seems pretty spread out and more in the country side than an actual city, and things were pretty difficult to find.  As well as this we did not have much time if we wanted to catch the boat to Green Island.

When it came to paying, the 2 guys from Hong Kong said they wanted to pay for us, this was very kind of them, and we told them that they didn't have to, but they insisted.  On the walk back to the hostel, I stopped off at a 7/11 and bought Grace a bottle of wine.  Seeing as she is the one I made the bet with.  When in 7/11 I was looking at the wines thinking, I know jack shit about wine.  I just ended choosing a bottle that looked nice, and taking it to her.

We arrived back at the hostel and she wasn't even wake, I had to make Jackson go and drag her out of her bed so I could give her the bottle of wine for losing the bet.  She told me that it didn't really matter that much, and I didn't have to buy it, but I told her, a bet is a bet.

After this we then decided to get a taxi.  Jackson called the taxi and all that was left to do was sit and wait.  The taxi arrived and were on our merry way to Green Island.  The taxi cost around 200nt.  Which was OK for the distance we travelled.  The boat station is quite far from the centre of Taitung.

We went inside the station to buy the tickets.  When I asked the woman about the next boat to Green Island, she was very miserable and pretty angry.  She looked like a big raging lesbian, and looked like she wasn't getting any.  That's the conclusion me and Steve came to as to why she was so bloody angry.

We then toddled over to the next booth and the woman told us all cheerily that we can buy boat tickets for the next boat.  This was at 12.30 I think, which give us around 1 hour to kill.  We bought the tickets, if I remember correctly they were around 700 NT each.  We only bought 1 way tickets because we did not know how long we would be staying on Green Island.

After all the scare stories from Jackson we were thinking about just not getting any beers at all.  After all he did tell us how terrible it was, and how nice will it even be drinking a beer when everyone around you is having an all  mighty puke fest anyway.

To waste some of the time, we had a look around the dock area.  There were a lot of fisherman in the dock, stocking up all their fish onto trucks.  The trucks were piled high with ice as you would expect to keep the fish fresh.  They had loads of sharks, I guess this is what Gordan Ramsey was going on about when he made that TV show about Taiwan and the shark fishing.  I asked the guys doing the fishing where they were from because they didn't look Taiwanese at all.  They told me they were from the Philippines.  Me and Steve both tried to take a lot of pictures, then it happened.  I seen some other foreigner taking the boat to Green Island.  He had a small pack of Coronas and at that moment, I said to Steve, we can't be outdone in drinking by some little guy like that.  He looked like he was on a hot weekend away with what could only be assumed to be his girlfriend, or a companion of the good friends kind.

We walked back over to the beer stand, and started to haggle with the woman over how much we should pay for the beers.  I only managed to get 20 dollars of our beers, but she knew she was in a position of power in the haggling, there was no one else around selling beers, and our boat was going to leave in about 5 minutes so its not like I had a big window of opportunity to work in.

Crazy guy, who looks like Jim Morrison.
Once on the boat, people were looking at me and Steve weirdly.  They were all armed with their sick bags.  Me and Steve, our weapon for the boat was not a sick bag, but 4 beers each!  Rock and roll, indeed!

Once the boat got moving it felt pretty tame, it was no where near as crazy as people were saying.  Some of the boats I have been on to France have been worse than that.  Anyway I thought it must get worse because this is just the beginning or the journey.  So we cracked open.  The beers started flowing on the boat.  At this rate I knew they would not last long.  The drinking continued anyway, the couple from Peru had beers and a bottle of wine.

Taiwanese class going on a trip.  I thought they were 14, they told me they were all 18 ha!!!!!
At this moment we decided we needed to take a picture for Jackson to show him, we got the boat with ease and drank on the way there and back as promised.  We selected to have the photo taken at the back of the boat, and we used one of my beers and the Peruvian guys wine for the photo, to make it look like I was more bad ass.  After that all we could we do until we got to Green Island, was sit, wait and off course.  Drink!

Before we got on the boat, we called a hostel/hotel from Taitung.  We agreed with the guy to get bicycles at the pick up point.  The thing was he wrote my name in Chinese.  I know my name in Chinese, and I can write and read it.  I was just hoping he used the correct characters for my name.  So this was like a small mission to see if I could manage to find the guy OK with him having my name in Chinese.

Eventually we got to Green Island.  It took around 45 mins I think, if I remember it correctly.  Getting off the boat was a bit of a nightmare walking past all the people who had thrown up.  The smell it stunk, I was happy I had a strong stomach, otherwise I might of been one of them spewing my guts up!

When we got off the boat, there was loads of people standing around with plaques, and signs waiting for people.  There was also loads of people trying to make you go to their hostel, and rent their scooter.  Etc etc. Obviously we had to find our man.  We were looking around for Ma Ke in Chinese, and then I seen him.  There he is I shouted, and went ha....Ma Ke!!!!  Then I got my photo taken with the card and me, as you do.

I didn't really understand what the guy kept saying to me, and we nearly ended up arguing.  I don't even have a clue what it was about now.  Some random guy passing told us what he was going on about, and then I remember saying "well that's OK then isn't it."  Then I told him in Chinese you are my new friend.  He seemed very happy with this.  Then off we went to collect our bicycles.  The problem was the bicycles looked completely shit.  One hundred times worse than the Giant bikes we hired in Hualien.  At this point we decided that a scooter was a much better option.  They would not allow me to get one due to not having a license of any kind with me, so thank god Steve had a one, otherwise we would of been stuck on bicycles that looked like they had been there forever.  Plus I am clearly not the fittest and I didn't really want to be trying to peddle around an island, on one of those in the 40c heats!

So the downside to this meant, that I would have to be the bitch and sit on the back.  The up side was not trying to bloody peddle around in the heat.  We drove of, and then headed for some petrol.  We just followed the guy around the corner, and he told us this is the only petrol station on the whole island.  We filled it up as much as we could, and while we were there we decided to run into the bush and take a piss break.

The guy from Peru drove off ahead of us, and my god was he drunk.  He could not even stay up straight on his scooter, and it was a very good call from Steve to stay way back behind him.  The guy from Peru didn't give a shit though and just kept saying "come on, WHAT THE FUCK!"

When we got to the room we ended up haggling over the price.  The price she told us was for the air conditioned rooms, and she tried to charge us that price for 2 nights.  The problem is, she was telling us that we had to change rooms and move to a room with only a fan.  We ended up haggling over the price for a while until she agreed she could not charge us the same price for both nights, when clearly both rooms were different!  We ended up paying 200NT per night each for the room with the fan.  Steve was confused what we were paying for, and what the extra cost covered.  It eventually turned out we were paying for the 2 nights, and 2 days of the scooter all at the same time.

After that little mix up, we dumped our bags into the room, had a quick change and a shower and then went to have a look around the island.  The roads were all windy, and the views were stunning.  Truly beautiful.  Driving around the island was great, it really had everything even only driving past it once.  There were mountains, beaches, hiking trails, and relaxing spots where you could sit around and watch the sea, and people go by all day if you wished.  That first ride around the island on the scooter was a real eye opener to how beautiful the place was.  It only took us 1 hour to drive around the whole island.  That was just one straight drive though, we didn't really make any stops.  This was just to see what there was to do, and of course test out the scooter.

When we got back to the small main street, we then had to look for something to eat.  We ended up in some small noodle shop.  Steve attempted to get some kind of fish, and when the guy showed him he looked a bit excited.  It turned out it was sushi, so he had sushi, and I ended up with venison noodles which we just OK.  The cost for food on Green Island seemed quite high.  There was also not much choice, most of the Taiwanese people were practically raiding 7/11.  

After we ate our lunch, I told Steve I wanted to buy some crushed ice.  It is wonderful, even though it doesn't sound to great in the name.  There were 2 different choices of places to go to.  One looked like it had been done out as if it was Halloween, and the other one was made to look like a jail.  I told Steve I thought the one that looked like a jail was way cooler, and it seemed like it had more people in.  That is normally a good indication to go inside as any.  When we went inside we ordered our crushed ice, and we met the owner of the place Jan.  Who was really nice, and he helped us order.  Basically they shave the ice and put toppings on top.  It seemed the speciality for Green Island is to put seaweed on top too.  I didn't like the seaweed on top that much, I prefer the mangoes and cream.

When we finished and went to pay, Jan told us we didn't have too and he was giving it to us for free.  We tried to insist on paying but he was having none of it.  That was really nice of him, and we thanked him loads before we left.

After we ate, we went back to our rooms so Steve could check out his lonely planet book.  It was talking about a hot spring.  This hot spring was apparently only 1 of 3 in the whole world to be powered from sea water, and not from volcanoes.  So obviously we had to go and see it, and test it out.

Actually we got ourselves all excited about because the lonely planet was really bigging it up. So we quickly packed our things, and then rushed out to the scooter in childish excitement.  To the hot springs we go!  We drove around for quite a while looking for the hot springs.  It was dark by then, as it was the evening time so we couldn't see all the signs that well.  When we realised where it was, I think we must of drove past it about three or four times.  Then when we did eventually get there and get the scooter locked up, we decided to walk to the top of the hill.  I persuaded Steve that if they have a hot spring up there how awesome would that be, sat on the top of that rock looking down on everyone else.  When we got to the top, it just turned out to be a viewing point, and we wasted our time walking up there because the view was not that great, unless you
went up there to view the hot springs complex which was actually quite amazing.

We then clambered back down the big hill, we both had loads of sweat pissing out of us anyway, so it didn't matter if it had came from walking up there, or back down.  We had the Taiwanese white man summer look.  Then when we went to pay, and enter the pool they asked up about the skullies (swim hats).  Sorry if anyone finds that offensive I know it is a bad nickname for them.  When you go swimming in Taiwan they make you were the skullies for hygienic reasons.  Even though someone could be minging dirty when they get in the pool anyway, I do kind of understand the idea behind it, and it is nice that everyone has to wear one, even though they are as uncomfortable as hell!  So we had paid to enter the hot springs, we had changed, and we still didn't manage to enter any hot spring water, because we had to go to the shop and purchase some skullies.

Eventually everything was sorted, and we could eventually go into the hot springs.  What happened when I first put my foot in.  I expected it to be hot, and it turns out I only went and chose the cold pool first.  That was typical of me, I am a natural cold blooded creature, I don't need the hot in my life thank you!!!!

The hot spring complex was amazing, and it is for sure one of the best places I have been to in Taiwan.  They had loads of different pools and areas, and it was awesome.  They had more filtered water inside that you could tell was not coming direct from the sea but even still that was lovely.  They had a selection of different hot pools at the top near the entrance.  The hottest one being in the middle with steam pouring from it.  Then they had some cooler ones further down near the cold part.  These were all amazing, and I wish I stayed in Green Island for longer so I could go back to them again.  As well as these hot springs, they had some more natural ones outside the complex.  These were much closer to the sea, and were a lot better I thought.

Gua Sha treatment for heat stroke relief

Earlier this week I had to get Gua Sha, because of suffering from bad heat stroke after hiking in the afternoon, like a madman, bang on midd...