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Green Island Adventures April 6, 2006

Posted by AkumAPRIME in : Life , trackback

Click the picture for the Green Island photo set!

Originally uploaded by AkumAPRIME.

The way to paradise is fraught with peril

Joyce and I left for Green Island on Sunday night, at 10pm. by train. The trip started out rough. A 7 hour train ride is something few people look forward to; especially one like this. Two cute kids quickly became two baying brats about three hours in to the trip. Well to be fair, it was really the one kid’s fault. He kept LA making these NALA loud noises NA. Then when his parents tried to stop him, he began to cry which incited the other.

At any rate, I was able to find maybe an hour’s sleep before arriving in Taitung at 6am. We had to wait until 11 for the ferry, so we rented a scooter and hopped around uneventfully for a couple hours. Finally we ferried over to Green Island.
When I stepped off the boat, the beauty of the island was not immediately apparent. We got our scooter, gassed up and it was on the ride around the island to our quarters that I was amazed. The island is not large; you can scooter around it in under an hour. The beautiful beaches and natural rock formations and trees and animals and… well I’ll let the pictures speak for me. (Note: pics up ASAP) So we had lunch, napped (due to lack of sleep), had dinner (goat* hot pot) and slept.

The first Real day on the island

An early rise at 4:45 got us up in time to see a beautiful sunrise. A quick breakfast and we went snorkeling. Out in the water, I wanted to dive deep, but was unable due to the life vest. After asking the coach who was with us, he allowed me, and I was able to go wild. (As a side note, the Taiwanese are not swimmers. They don’t go into the ocean, they don’t swim much really. This is disconcerting to me. At any rate, it was remarked upon that foreigners are good swimmers, so it would be ok if I took the vest off.) The fish were gorgeous. I saw Angel fish, Clown fish, Goblin fish, Tube fish, fish I don’t know the name of, Sea anemones, Sea Urchins, etc… The water was a clear blue, the water was warm… I kicked a rock pretty damn hard, got some coral scrapes… All was well with the world.

After a nice bowl of shaved ice sea weed, we went to the jail that exists on the island. Well, there are two jails: one is actively used, and houses some of Taiwan’s worst criminals. The other was a political prison that now houses a monument to a period of social unrest and political corruption called the “White Terror”. It was nice to learn a little history about the country I’ve been living in, even if it wasn’t the nicest historical period.

When we finished with the jail, we went looking for a place to rent snorkeling equipment, so I could go by myself. Well apparently a Taiwanese girl had done this several years ago, went out, and never came back! So after being told by three stores “Nonono, no one will rent you equipment,” I found one that did I had Joyce drop me at a beach and told her to meet me in an hour. Walking down to the beach, I saw two signs: one said “Snorkeling”, the other said “No Swimming.” hmmm… well the water was ridiculously choppy, and a group of six students from Honduras were sitting in the shallows (well three were). I invited them to the original snorkeling spot I knew from earlier in the day, if they would give me a lift. They accepted, but we would be three to a scooter, something I didn’t want. So I gave them directions and headed off for a looooong walk back to the hostel. As I walked, a group of twelve scooters passed me. All of them had two people on, but one. I thumbed him down, and they were nice enough to give me a ride. They were a group of Indonesians and they happened to be going to the nature walk right next to my house.

I grabbed the scooter, and headed out to Chaikou, the nice snorkeling spot. I found three of the Hondurans (one was Mexican) on the way. They pointed me to their snorkeling minded friends and when I found them…. OMG. A fisherman had told them this was a good snorkeling spot. All I saw was a mud hole. So I grabbed them, we headed to Chaikou, but they split off to go to the jail with their friends. So to sum things up from there, I snorkeled, saw the Hondurans one more time (glad they finally got some decent snorkeling in) and headed home. Joyce and I had dinner which was… disappointing.
As we walked around after dinner something scary happened. Taiwanese LOVE their pets. I mean it. They seem to allll own dogs, and pamper the hell out of them. I am inclined to approach every one I see, in general. If they are friendly, I pet them. If they growl, I don’t! Well this one dog stood as I approached it. Confusingly, it wagged its tail, but it ears were pointed and it growled. Since I wasn’t convinced of its friendliness, I walked away but it quickly ran towards me and jumped on me… and froze… if I moved, it growled. I could’ve attacked it. It was in the perfect position for me to punch it in the face, and though I think I would’ve been able to beat it in a fight, I’m sure I would’ve incurred painful bites. I had Joyce go in to the store the beast had been guarding and summon the owner, who was able to get it off me…. Not sure what made it do that… I don’t know if I had the scent of a male dog on me or if the dog was just crazy…. /sigh

Near our hostel was a mountainy peak with a small building, where you could watch the sunrise. That night we decided to go there to see the stars, but cloud cover was a problem More importantly, the buffeting winds were inSanely strong.

A goodnight goodbye

This day was effectively my last day on the island. Joyce and I had planned on a 4:45 sunrise, but when the time came, we chose sleep over sun. 8ish led us to breakfast, then to Bullhead mountain. We wanted to get on top of it, but were unable, so we went to its neck, where Swallow Cave lay. I saved a hermit crab (the ungrateful bastard kept pinching me) from certain doom. The we headed to the hot springs to look at them.

I went snorkeling for a bit at this point, with the goal of swimming out to where the shelf drops off. When I got a certain distance out however, I realized there was no one around. I saw the depth and darkness of the sea about me, and a primordial fear welled within me. I swam quickly back to a shallower setting. But even here I was faces with danger! A scorpion fish, very poisonous, swum beneath me. An eel, the first I’d seen here, swimming nearby. Then, as I stood on the rocks, another eel, staring at me, baring his fangs… I may love the ocean, but that many things in 20 minutes time is enough for me. Then after a nap I dropped Joyce off at the ferry and I was on my own.

I took the nature walk near my house. I saw lizards, squirrels, one of the now uncommon spotted deer which the island is famous for, butterflies and Huge spiders. After the hike I went into town for some tea (Oh oh oh, tell Wayne that I was wrong. Milk in tea is Awesome!) and see the cute dogs. I saw two little kids, maybe 8 years old, one of whom was drinking a Smirnoff Ice, an alcoholic beverage. I tried to tell him not to drink it, that it was bad for him, but they ran off.

I enjoyed a barbeque dinner, then hot springs that night. At this point, alone, I became bored. I headed back to the hostel and saw a fire on the other side of the mountain. Alarmed, I asked some people I, mistakenly, thought to be natives what it was. They didn’t know, but an old man laughed and said it was the garbage being burned. It turns out he was wrong, as the shrieking sirens of fire engines told me. It turns out I was right in my guess that the high winds, coupled with the burning of “ghost money,” started a fire. I’m guessing they put it out. Still bored, I looked around for people to talk to.

Next to the hostel is a BBQ place. I was a bit hungry, but not much, so I approached a table of four men, and asked to order just a small amount of food. They decided to treat me, and I sat down for what turned out to be a great evening. The man to my left, 22, named Andy, spoke english well, so we could all talk. The two across from me were 16 and 17, and sadly smoked many cigarettes. The three of them lived in Thailand now, but were back for their summer break. To my left, 13, was Brad. 13? No way, I laughed and asked again, 13? I made him stand up… after a few minutes it became evident they meant 30.. ok, lol, so we talked, and eventually karaoked and had some beer. The table to my left had four older men and three younger girls. They invited me over to talk to them, as they knew english, and kept toasting and filling my glass. We had a wonderful, if drunken, time and I hope they all email me the pictures we took!!!

A few hours sleep later and I ferried, sadly, back to the mainland… The train ride was not pleasant, but faster. Now I’m back in dreary and bustling Taipei. But not for long! I’m off to Thailand in 2 days… OMG! I better pack…

* The word for goat and lamb is the same in Mandarin. So I was told we were going to have lamb hot pot, but as soon as I bit into it, I could taste that it was goat. It tasted like goat smells. It was good, but lamb is Much better.


1. scoosh - April 7, 2006

Why was the dinner disappointing? Thank god for kind-hearted tourists and their willingness to share scooters and other random shit. Which reminds me, are you the one riding the scooters or is Joyce drivin?

P.S. Choppy water in Taiwan = DEATH! I strongly recommend against risking that considering my l33t swimming skills and inability to beat the current. Damn I’m a good swimmer!

P.S.S I hate that when I’m typing a comment it goes off screen so I can’t see what the hell I typed.

2. lorna - April 11, 2006

the trip to Green Isl sounds FANTASTIC! haven’t seen pics yet, but can’t wait. what wonderful experiences you’re having. ahem, back to reality…are you STUDYING?!
have a great STUDIOUS time in thailand as well, and send many pics again.
i’ll tell wayne he was mentioned – how’s that wonderful feeling when you realize that what you were
soooo sure of…ain’t really true?
mind boggling,

3. Leslie - April 11, 2006

I can’t believe all the incredible experiences you’re having… What a kick! And what the hell are you doing ignoring the swimming advice? duh! You are so lucky with all that you encountered that no harm came your way. Stay lucky please, and a little careful .That’s the unsolicited Aunt advice for the day. I’ll tell Wayne that you discovered “English Tea” (with milk). It does depend on the tea, if milk works or not (works with black teas, not green or herbal). Now there’s your unsolicited Tea advice for the day. Keep having a GREAT time! Love you, Aunt Les.

4. maximushimushi - April 12, 2006

nice long entry there, honey-pie. sounds like a very eventful vacation. I’m psyched to see you
in Taipei, man. Right now I’m finishing up my stay here in Tokyo. Great city. A lot like new york
actually, but in Japan.

5. Andrea - April 14, 2006

Hey, Think about it!!!!! Dog spelled backward is GOD.