Taiwan, East Asia

Monday, 8th November at 0930: the start of the grand tour.  It started out as many great journeys do with a few hiccups, because of my rusty navigational skills.  Not to worry soon we were amongst scenery like this!
Out of Taipei we headed East and down the coast.  If I hadn't tried to be so intrepid it might have been easier and I might have been able to provide mum and dad with their lunch earlier than 4pm, still it was a waffle and a coffee, so well worth the wait as you can tell by their gleefull expressions.  That night's stop was slightly more exciting at the Leader Lodge within Taroko National Park.  Fortunately it was a 1 storey building as there was a 6.8 earthquake that night.
Tuesday was spent crossing Taroko gorge which is one of Taiwan's tourist hotspots and very beautiful.  We trekked around pagoda's, bathed in very very very hot springs and drove and drove and drove for ages without seeing anywhere to eat, again lunch came at 4pm - My role as tour guide was leaving us all a bit hungry!
Out of Taroko National Park and having driven across the centre of Taiwan in a day averaging 20km per hour (yep, it's not that big!) we arrived in Nantou.  The epicentre of a devastating earthquake in 1999, it is outstandingly beautiful and reminded me of New Zealand. Except even New Zealand doesn't have furry tomatoes.
Wednesday From the Green Finger B&B we headed down to Sun Moon Lake, another hot Taiwanese tourist destination. The view above is a 360 from the top of the Tzen Pagoda.
All through the trip I'd been using my most fluent Chinglish and had bluffed my way through most situations with confidence, until we decided to take a boat trip and I nodded and smiled my way through at the captain as usual. At the other side of the lake we were ushered of the boat and taken to be dressed up as aboriginals.  Unfortunately yellow isn't my colour.
The aboriginal costumes are very reflective of the colours around Sun Moon lake, and central Taiwan in general.  The flowers, temples, pagoda's, bright green grasshoppers...and just look at that blue sky!
Thursday we left Sun Moon Lake, misty eyed and ready for our next Taiwan beauty experience.  Unfortunately tour guide Bampton got it very wrong and we ended up in a really dreary town on the West coast called Lukang, which I've been assured it interesting at the weekend, we didn't take one photo.  We quickly moved on to spend our last night on the road in Taichung.
Friday in Taichung we were able to see the best of New Taiwan. The National Taiwan Natural Science Museum (try saying that after a few rice wines!).  An indoor rain forest with loads of beautiful lilies and orchids, and a giant mosquito on guard duty.  Mum and I were quite taken by the really ugly big fish, but they wouldn't fit in our backpacks.