Saturday, July 21, 2012

2 Days in Green Island: Day 1--Bicycle Trip

       Hot, hot, hot! The temperature in Taipei reached 37C (100F) with humidity 50-70% and the dew point 24 C which feels like 42 C (112 F) for 7 days in a row in July 2012. The extreme heat has kept people away from the streets and staying at home or going to a beach to cool down.  
     What would you like to do when you plan to visit Taiwan for your summer vacation? If you like water sports such as snorkeling or scuba diving? I think Green Island which is an offshore island on the southeast coast of Taitung county is your best choice for the trip.  
     A couple of years ago my husband and I attended an ecogreen trip which was promoted by the government to ride bicycles around the island instead of riding motor scooters. It was a two day trip with the bicycle ride, ecological visit, and snorkeling on the island. 
     We arrived in Taitung city one day early prior to the trip. We stayed at the Teacher hostel in Taitung city which offered a reasonable price and comfortable accommodation. Its location was good. There were a supermarket and McDonald next to it. It also offered free bicycle rent for its guesses. We took the advantage of this free bicycle rent and rode along the bicycle trail which circled around the outskirt of the city. 
The view was taken from the Taitung City
bicycle trail loop.

We met the tour agent in Fugang Fishery Harbor
 which was the main public transportation port 
to Green Island and Orchid Island from Taiwan. 
Schedule and Info:
http://travel.network.com.tw/tourguide/island/sanasai/rd.asp
Our boat was scheduled to leave for Green Island 
at 9:30 am. The commute time was 50 Min's one 
way. This trip offered free bicycle rental on Green 
Island. So we just needed to carryour personnel
 items for the trip. 
The best season to visit the island is from May
to Sept. because the seasonal trade wind in the fall
and winter causes rough waves. So it may only
have one scheduled trip daily in these seasons.
 We just left the harbor and looked back at Taiwan.
I had never liked taking a boat. I took pills to prevent 
myself from acting awful in the public. I first sat inside
 the cabinet and watched the boat fighting with the 
waves. The waves were higher than the cabinet. I felt
waves were going to swallow our boat. Sooner some 
people started acting awful.  It was just like a contagious
 disease. The sounds of vomit were just like the waves
 echoed each others. The air smelled stinky. I felt I was
close to the disaster-like stage. I finally went out and 
joined with my husband on the bow and hoped my
 situation would get better. My brother in law was 
coping with his sea sickness in the picture. It was in  
early Oct. and the trade winds had already started.
We arrived safely and first stopped was at the visitor 
center for listening to a briefing about the island 
and trip details. Green Island is the fourth largest 
island of Taiwan. It is very easy to go around the 
island in a few hours but it offers some great outdoor
 activities for travelers which can't be finished in
that time.
We picked up our bicycles and started our 20 km 
bicycle journey around the island for 3 hours at our 
own pace. Well, feeding our tummy was the most 
important thing before we headed out on our bicycle
 trip.
Although it was in early Oct. The weather was
still hot and humid for both of us who just came back
from Las Vegas. We rode our bicycles  to the restaurant.
This was the first time that we visited the island. I felt
sorts of strange and unique about the island. But there
were a lot of tourists riding motor scooters on the street
 which had caused air and noisy pollution. It also made
me feel uncomfortable at noon for riding a bicycle. I
also understood that the government tried to promote
an Eco-friendly trip on the island.
We followed our group leader riding on the major
highway on the island. We were free to stop any
places but had to catch up with the group at certain
important tourist spots. This was a jail since 1965.

 The government caught and sent gang leaders to the
island which was not open open to the public.
 Only the residents were allowed to commute between
Taiwan and the island. Followed by the political
change and social norms, the island opened to the
public in 1991. Its secrecy has beenrevealed to the
pubic and attracted many tourists.    
There were some pavilion lookout
areas along the road. It was nice to
take a rest under the shade with
a nice breeze. 
The sun was still bright which made me really want
to quite riding the bicycle and walk onto the beach.
We arrived at Human Right Memorial Monument
which our tour guide would give us an introduction
about its history. It was build in 1999 to
commemorate 
Taiwan political prisoners during the
period of White Terror under Chiang Kaishek and
his son Chiang Chingkuo's dictatorship.
More info about White Terror:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Terror_(Taiwan)
This was one of the views of the memorial park.
Across the memorial park was the
jail for political prisoners. Now it is
opened to the public.
This was the outline of the jail which was a must
visit place because of its mystery. I had heard
many sad stories about its history from those
lucky survivors of the prison and their families.
We lost our group and walked alone in the
compound. This sign directed us to the solitary
confinement which hosted patients, psych patients,
and anti-thought correction prisoners.  The cell was
called Prison Within the Prison.
Prison Within the Prison
We walked in and took a peek in the
cells. We couldn't image how a person
could live under these dehumanized 
situation. It was out of our imagination.  
But it did served the great purpose of 
brainwash to those people who scarified 
their lives and fought for their freedom.   
 We stood at the excise field and asked all kinds
of questions. If the political prisoners didn't make
their efforts to promote democracy and human
rights, we could still live under martial law
in Taiwan and would not have a chance to visit 
this island.
How could a person escape from this island? First, 
the walls were high and guards watched them all
the time. Second, if they were lucky to escape
the jail, how could they leave the island which
was isolated by the sea from the mainland?
It was uneasy to visit the political prison to learn
prisoners' lives and their personal feelings
 especial
the
separation from their families. Seeing their
families
 again was their only goal and which kept
them to survive in a crucified environment. The
blue sky and sea carried their home sickness and 
buried their hope in the deep ocean. If there is no
souls in the freedom, the freedom becomes 
slavery.     
Leaving the dark and sad place and continuing our
journey to the next destination, we were going to ride

up the hill which was the only difficult point in the 
entire trip. Its altitude is less than 200 meter above the
sea level. It is better to ride on a clockwise direction 
which is less challenge than counterclockwise 
Green Island was formed by volcanoes. It has many
different shapes of the rocks. Every rock is named

by its unique shape. I didn't remember any rock's
name because I paddled or pushed my bicycle 
hard  in the hot and humid weather. I just wanted 
to catch up to our team. We were far behind our
group for doing too much sightseeing. 
Finally we met up our group at the
so-called Little Great Wall. We got
water service and some time to walk
to these two pavilions. Although I was
tired, I still squeeze some energy to
walk there. I didn't know when I would
be back to visit it again. So I didn't 

want to miss any chance to see it.   
This view was from the second pavilion. 
Sleeping Beauty Rock on the left side
Haba Dog which refers to a person who is a paste

like a dog walking around following its master
in Mandarin on the right side  
The view on the top of pavilion was great and I knew
I was not the only one behind our group. 
Even just watching the waves hitting the rock, I
though it was worthy all the afford to walk up there.
After this stop we were going to enjoy all down hill
ride which meant not a lot of paddling and hard

work. 
It was a fantastic view of the dark clouds block the
sun and some sun beams went through the dark sky.
Amazing! 
The sun was down but it was still hot. People still
enjoyed their water sports. I wanted to soak in the
ocean but I hadn't finished the entire trip yet.  
It was dark when we finished the trip. My husband
endured the heat and humidity. The first thing
was to buy chilled soda or drinks to cool down
ourselves. The government gave us a certificate
to proof that we finished riding around Green

Island. My face got sun burn badly.  
Our super was to taste the traditional
Green Island food. It was not really
my husband's kind of food. 
     Because of the scarcity of hotel rooms on the island, we had to share room with my sister and her husband. It didn't cool down much at night. My sister and her husband decided to visit Sunrise Ocean Bed Hot Springs which is one of the three in the world for the famouse hot spring bath with our group. We decided to stay at our hotel to recouperate. It was a little pity for not going with the group. Well, just gave us a reason to come back again.

Sunrise Ocean Bed Hot Springs info : http://www.hoyaresort.com.tw/sunrise/en/index.html


1 comment:

  1. Nice pictures, especially the view of the sea,clouds & sun- like that one ...haha

    ReplyDelete

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