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Mon, 20 Aug 2012
day 17 in taiwan (0 comments)
today we got up early and were fetched by a bus to be brought to the harbour. there we started our whale watching tour, hoping to finally see whales. so we got on a boat and drove out to the sea. soon we spotted some other whale watcher boats[009-010,024-025], and then some dolphins[011-023,026-032]. luckily they were in the mood to come closer, and also there were quite a lot of them. so they followed us, some also swam in front of our boat. aaaaw, so cute! we were happy, but still whales would be nice, because that was the main reason for the trip (and also because we already had the "swimming with dolphins" experience in new zealand). so we drove along the coast, but there were no whales. bohoooo, unlucky us. but on the way back to the harbour we spotted another small group of dolphins[036-037] - this time a different kind of dolphin, though we had no idea which species, as all the information on the boat given by the crew and the captain were not in english. all we got over the loudspeaker was a "different dolphin" - hehe.
the whale watching trip was surprisingly cheap, compared to the ones we already had, so this is definitely a recommendation for whale lovers (and/or watchers). also they handed out some kind of "diploma" once you survived the trip. or was it for spotting dolphins? we don't know, as we didn't get one, because no one told us they will be handed out to the brave survivors. bohoo! back at the visitor center we fetched our luggage from the nearby hotel, and got on the "taroko gorge shuttle bus", heading to buluowan[048-052], where our hotel is located. a wonderful trip inside the gorge, winding and steep on sometimes pretty narrow streets, close to the abyss. but the bus driver drove like a boss, and so we soon arrived at our accommodation. unfortunately it was a long stairway from the bus station to the reception of the hotel, but we made it, with some breaks for examining strange coloured caterpillars. our japanese style bungalow[053-057,063-070,077] (equipped with two cool chinese hats[055-056]) was located in a park[064-067,077] with other bungalows in a circle like shape, surrounded by high mountains. what an awesome resort! also they had all kind of insects, and each of them way bigger than what i am used to. spiders[058,071-073,075,078], stag beetles, crickets, caterpillars[098] (though they were tiny, and the ones we already spotted when we arrived), undefinable, strange bugs[079-080,082-083], locusts[099-102], etc. especially the spiders were everywhere and pretty big. their body is like my forefinger, the entire spider with legs has the size of my palm. luckily they always sat high up in the trees or under the roofs.
later that evening we were invited to an show. they even had an english handout what were are about to see, namely aboriginal rites[103,111], dances[104-106,108,112-122] and some old instruments[107,109], and new ones[110]. the performers were all from the hotel, and although no pro performers, they all had fun and were committed. especially the younger girls really seemed to love the dancing. also the singing parts were quite impressive. and another impressive thing was the demonstration of the echoes (that's what "buluowan" means in the taroko aboriginal language). all people at the show were shouting, than waiting several seconds to hear the screaming all around them.
when walking back to our bungalow, there were stars all over the sky. really impressive and lovely. what a great place. ah, and of course the food was great too, but we did not bring our cameras, so no pictures of that, sorry. track: day 17

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