June 5, 2008 (its really June 14 but i forgot to write in this before i left taiwan)
Our last trip we took together in Taiwan was fun. I was gonna write about it right after it was over but I kept putting it off and now its like 3 weeks after... oops. But it was a really great 2 night trip. The first day we went to Ling Jiu Mountain which is a Buddhist monastery and we had a tour and met the founding monk who lived in a cave on that mountain by himself for 2 years fasting and meditating. After that 2 years was over he founded the monastery there. It was really nice and they had their free vegetarian lunch for all of us which was also very good. After that we went to the beach... but since it kept pouring rain and thundering and lightning I didn't go in the water. After spending some time there we headed to our hostel that was pretty far away which I was excited for since it had its own hot springs. But since we spent too much time at the beach we arrived at 1030 and they closed them at 11 :( so we only got to spend a few minutes in it. So instead of just going to sleep me, Phil, Zoe, and her boyfriend played mah johng all night (for money of course) and I won the most, 70 Taiwan dollars! (thats only about $2.10 US dollars haha) but it was fun.
The next day we had to get up early and head to the water rafting place. I was really excited for it cuz I have never done anything like that before. But I was also just a little worried to. So we got there and had a little training and got some life jackets and helmets and went out to the boats. In my boat it was Phil, Alyssa, Cala, Olivia, Mr. Zhang and Dan. It was pretty slow going at first... the water was slow and we were just paddling, and the life guards in their boats kept splashing us and then pushing us back in line with the others. There were a lot of boats, maybe 50 or so. Every once in a while we would get to some rapids and it would go a lot quicker and we had to dodge rocks and things but then it would go back to slower water. And then there was one part of the river where the rapids were a bit bigger and faster... few more rocks... ect and we saw a boat stuck on a rock ahead and then another one run into them and get stuck and then we were heading towards them. And we had been doing this for a couple hours now and had hit a lot of other boats so I wasn't worried or anything... and then we hit the boat and ours decided to flip over and throw us all into the water and come on top of us. And so I was in the water and could come up because the boat was on top of us. So then I tried to go down into the water a little deep so I could get out from underneath the boats, but the water was really fast and deep and there were lots of rocks everywhere and I was flying down the river coming up barely enough to just get a breath of air and then going back under. And then finally one of the life guard boats pulled me into their boat. And then we got everyone else and flipped our boat over and got into it and then I realized I lost the helmet that was wearing and my glasses :(
So we finished up the boat trip with no more problems and then left to go to our hostel for that night. But before we got there we stopped at a glasses store and I got some contacts to last me until I could get some new glasses. So basically we were all really tired so when we got to the hostel we just crashed. The next morning we got up early and left to go see Taroko gorge which is basically a giant grand-canyon-esque kinda thing that was nice, and then headed back to Taipei stopping at some sight seeing points on the way back. And then when we got back we basically had a week left to finish our projects... which I hadn't really started. But it went surprisingly well. I wrote mine about the declining use of Taiwanese language among the people of Taiwan... if you wanna read my paper just ask and I'll send it to you :p and basically I packed up and left Taiwan on June 5. I am really happy I had a chance to go to Taiwan and improve my Chinese a lot more, I guess it didn't turn out so bad after all not getting into Egypt last semester. It will be nice to leave Taiwan I think but I'll probably start missing it after a week or two... especially the food haha.