It rained hard at night but it was just sprinkling in the morning. I have been to Hualien many times. I knew it would clear up after a shower. So, I was not really worried about the weather situation in Hualien but the road condition and the heavy Chinese tourist flow in Taroko National Park were my major concerns. This would be a leisure day for us so no time constraints. We left our hotel which was in the downtown area of Hualien at 9 Am.
|Our sightseeing spots in the park|
|We were lucky because there was no traffic control and the traffic flow was less than normal. We stopped by the Swallow Grotto and let my friends walk along this section which is only inside the tunnel area for safety reason.|
|The narrowest of Liwu River, after this section it gets wider and then flows into the Pacific ocean.|
|The tunnel was built by hand using chisels and dynamite.|
|What do you think about this sign? The sign also states where you are and where you can find a toilet nearby with the distance indications along the road. For most Chinese tourist's buses only come to this far and then turn back to the city.|
|The plum tree trail leads to the Silks Hotel. In general, the plum blossom season is around December to February. The colder the weather is the more the plum are blooming.|
|A view from the bus station|
|It was not really easy for my friend who came to Asia the first time to have different food other than American food. She was excited and willing to try but she didn't know how or if there was any order to start eating the food.|
|My job was to explain what each item was and there was not any order in eating the food.|
|This is the Bulowan upper terrace, owned but leased by the governmental. The government released the land to the private ownership by the B.O.T project which is Build,Operate, and Transfer. Now it is operated by the Leader hotel group.|
|If you enjoy a quite environment, it would be the best place for you to relax and interact with nature.|
|The lower terrace of Bulowan has an aboriginal museum displaying the Taroko tribe cultures and customs. To the far back to the terrace is a prehistorical museum for this area. It is also the park information center and a souvenir shop.|
|An old aboriginal lady demonstrated her weaving skill.|
After leaving the park, we went to visit a traditional Taiwan desert shop to visit its museum and tasting its desert products.
|The museum displayed the owner collections of items relating to the agricultural eras. I remembered my parents rode a bicycle just like in the photo to deliver bags of rice to their customers in my childhood. It was a tough and simple life.|
|Following by the modern society, the three wheel motor truck replaced the traditional bullock cart for the farmers. It worked more efficient. Now, it still exits in the country side of Taiwan.|
If you ask a westerner to pick up one jewelry to represent Chinese cultures, most people would choose jade as the jewelry. For the westerners coming to Taiwan, they would like to ask me where they can buy a piece of decent jade as a souvenir for their loved ones.
Hualien is the only place producing jade (nephrite) in Taiwan. After seeing the marble gorges in the national park and also the needs to pick up a few of jade souvenirs, we decided to visit a marble factory which also sells Taiwan jade.
|A local famous artist was creating his artwork for the company.|
|Cutting the marble (picture was taken in 2008)|
|It was definitely noisy and dangerous for us. I wondered how people could handle this kind of working environment.|
|12 Zodiac Animal Statues|
|Overlooking the city|