Sunday, June 29, 2008

Taiwanese hospitality

Why am I surprised that people in Taiwan are so nice and accommodating. They treat us like we are celebrities. Yesterday we explored the city that we live in, Tainan. It used to be the capital of Taiwan and has a lot of old temples and historical sites. We inevitably lost our way a few times but luckily we have a girl with us that speaks mandarin and very fluently. She went into a pharmacy to ask directions and got talking with the lady there. After a few minutes of talking with them about where we are from and what we are doing she offered to give us a ride to the night market. Her husband ran outside and pulled his car around to the front to pick us up. All five of us squeezed in and he drove us down. Just some random guy who knew us for 5 minutes! It was incredible. Then when we were finished with wandering around night market we tried to figure out how to get back to the train station when a taxi cab driver told us that public transportation didn’t run that late. He offered to give us a ride there even though he could be ticketed for cramming 5 people in his car. So we squished in his cab and jetted to the station only to find out that the bus we wanted to catch didn’t run that late on Sundays. Li, the girl who is fluent in mandarin talked to a different bus driver who told us that his route ran close to our destination and suggested that we take his bus. So we hopped aboard with faint hearts and tired feet, it was 10:30 by then and we had been walking all day. When we got about 2 kilometers from our home base he let us out but told us that he would finish his route and swing by again to pick us up. So we waited there on the street for about twenty minutes thinking he would just bring his bus back around. No, he came back with his car to pick us up. He was so nice! He finished his shift and then on his own time and own gas picked us up to take us safely home. Wow! People here are incredible.

So we had a pretty adventurous day finding our way around the city wandering on old temple grounds. We had the most delicious shaved ice with mangos, kiwi, guava, bananas….and also a yummy skewer lunch of pork, mushrooms and fishy things. It was super good and so cheap. Night market was the most exciting part of the day. It is like a massive swap meet with crowds and crowds of people pushing and shoving there way around booths that are selling anything from watches to food to t-shirts. I found a sushi booth and got 6 pieces of sushi for $1.80. I can’t even get 2 pieces of sushi for that much in the US!! Everything was so cheap at night markets, we will be going a there a lot. They have them every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. So fun!

We had a pretty adventurous day running around orienting ourselves with the city. So far I love Taiwan because it is so much like my second home of Japan only cheaper.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

most incredible thing i have ever seen in my life...

...was this! no, i didn't find this video on youtube...I TOOK IT MYSELF!

words cannot be found for how amazing it!We actually swam with dolphins!! In the wild!! At one time there were at least 50 around us. They swim really close together and there is rarely one swimming solo and the ones that did were the biggest of the group...maybe the males protecting the group. They are such incredible creatures. There was a little baby hiding under the tail of his mother and occasionally he would swim circles around her to test out his acrobatics. It was so adorable. We saw them jump out of the water from below. They have to get a good running start before they jump-its incredible to watch. One of them was showing off big time and jumping 6 feet out of the watter spinning like a crazy He was really good at it. I wish I could have gotten it on video. We are definitely going out again...this is one of my favorite pictures. I can't believe I took it! Pure luck- the picture at least. The whole experience was a definite blessing. But it came with a price...we were exhausted after chasing the dolphins around. It was even pointless to do so because we only saw them when they came to us. They were kind enough to grace us with their presence. Dolphins have got to be the most friendly loving creatures in the world!!Those of you coming to my graduation in June next year can count on doing this...maybe more than once. It has to be the most incredible experience. And it is free!! The best things in life are free...blessings from our Heavenly Father. His existence is more real to me could I doubt...we are gonna go again next week. GOD LIVES!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

talla than ka'ala

This is from the the top of Mount Ka'ala, the highest point on Oahu. This picture really doesn't do it justice though. It was gorgeous up there. We could see the North Shore, West side and all the way to Honolulu from the top. It was pretty amazing.These are the ridges that lead out to Ka'ena point the northwest tip of the island.
Hard to tell in this picture but it is Honolulu in the far distance and Mililani down there in the valley.
It was such a perfect day. This is the view we saw for most of the hike. North Shore. Amazing
Angry Aaron. We had to climb up with the help of ropes for most of the hike. It was pretty intense.
But definitely worth all 11 miles and 2,500 ft elevation gain. I love climbing mountains!