Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 24: Sunday, June 1st, Jici beach to Fongbin, Hualien County.

Sketchy route down to fishing spot

The next day I woke up around 8, ate my little breakie of tea eggs, a snickers bar and a can of X2 caffeine coffee [Hopefully, without too much melamine in it!] and set off. First, I climbed the big rock hill across from the guesthouse. It had a nice trail and good views, and wasn’t too tough. Then, along the road I continued south. The view was pleasant. At first there wasn’t much in the way of settlement, but there were nice looking mountains, some of which had lovely streams coming down from them. There was also a tunnel, an aquaculture facility, and a fish port.

Gilligan's retirement home

Later, the coast straightened out, and started a section whose pattern became very familiar: A 50-200 meter strip of coast to the east of the highway, sloping gradually down to beach level, often planted with rice, corn or coconut palms. The beach was just out of sight, but the deep, lazy blue of the Pacific always visible. Every 1 or 2 km, there was another little village, often with some kind of aboriginal influence. There were circular stone meeting or dancing areas, buildings made with canes and reeds, churches, crosses on graves, and other indications that I wasn’t in HANsas any more. (Sorry!) In one town, I saw a squad of old ladies, on the kind of scooter-style motorized wheelchairs the disabled often have, buzzing around town like a motorbike gang! Reminded me a bit of Monty Python.

Small town feeling

Pit stop!

Rice near the ocean: Typical Highway 11 scene

Onwards I went, until my schedule forced me to stop. I found a bus stop and parked myself in front of it, much to the interest of the old couple sitting outside across the street. A few minutes later a taxi came by, and offered me an amazingly cheap rate of 200NT to Hualien Railway Station, which was at least 50 km away. So off we zoomed.

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