I managed to drag myself out of the slump I was in and finally escaped Kaohsiung, but not before I went out on the official “tour of the hidden city” midnight bike ride / drinking session. Riding drunk down tiny alleyways in a large gang of pedal bikes was really a memory to be treasured 🙂
I moved onto Tainan, the previous capital of Taiwan and now a pretty but equally pretty dull city. I went to one of the main forts here from when the Dutch occupied the town and got some nice pictures – definately enjoying the photography part of travelling – and then looked around some of the parks and shops. After a quiet evening of seafood noodles and beer (for under 2 quid) and a little TV I slept well and headed onto Chiayi and the mountain train to Alishan. This is a 4 hour train ride up into the mountains, after which I checked into a hotel and had an early night waiting for my alarm call at 4am…
At 4am, everyone gets out of bed, treks over to a train (or hikes the 6-7km) and rides to the very top of the mountain area, where some decent (but over-crowded) lookouts offer views of a spectacular sunrise and the famous “sea of clouds” below. Unfortunatley the view was not as good as I’d hoped, and the sea of clouds was more like a thin viel of mist… Not many good opportunities for photos like I’d hoped and a little dissapointing.
But after a train ride back to Alishan and a quick nap I was ready to get down the mountain (by bus this time, less panoramic, but much faster and less wobbly than the train). I waited at the bus stop and was bemused to see a small parade grow larger and larger for one of the many Taiwan religious festivals that seem to occur. After staring at a groups of youths for about 2 seconds, I was dragged over to join them in there good mood, and had a few beers and a betel nut forced upon me. Buzzing off the cocktail I boarded my bus and spent a long lesiurely day on both bus and train heading back into Taipei.
So I am nearly at the end of my trip. A few more things to sort out and see in Taipei and well as a big session tomorrow buying cheap computer componenets (80% of UK cost roughly) to build myself a new PC when I get home, hopefully for little more than the PC I sold when I left ! Photos are now 70% uploaded, and the Taiwan album link is now fixed.