Wednesday, October 19, 2011

are we crazy???

So after a long day of visiting random places to replace all the hiking and biking we were suppose to do, we were finally able to rest in our hotel rooms. A bunch of us hung out together cracking dirty jokes and just "bonding". Well a subset of us got down to playing deuces or big two in Chinese. Taiwan has some funky rules for playing deuces so I implemented American rules. In Taiwan the smallest suit is the clover, followed by the diamond, heart then the spade. Also when placing a straight, it can't be combined with other hands like full houses. They have never even seen a flush! They only recognize straight flushes... I tried to play a flush down and everyone ganged up on me like I was making shit up. I hadn't played deuces in a long time but I was sure there was such a thing as a flush. The Americans who were in the room and who were consulted didn't back me up at all.... They didn't know how to play deuces but I'm like dude this is a poker hand and they didn't believe me. I was forced to not play my flush and lost the game. Then I wikied it later and I was like seriously people need to get educated! So mad!!

The next day we went to visit the Cilan Sacred Trees Garden. Cilan refers to the trees and orchids in this area and how they grow together. This place was actually part of the original plans except we were suppose to do it a day earlier but due to landslides that blocked the road it wasn't accessible earlier. The whole time we were here it was pouring rain. All of us had umbrellas or flimsy plastic rain "coats" that kept us from getting completely soaked..

rain rain go away
This park is known for having a lot of old trees mostly cypresses and red cypresses. Some of the trees are a couple thousand years old. Depending on how old the tree was they were named after a famous person from that time. For example we saw a tree named after Confucius. The tree I loved the most was aptly named the Man-Tree...

man tree! insert dirty joke here
Only a few people in our group choose to walk up a steep slope to see this tree. The path was basically washed away by the rain and only a scatter of rocks gave us any traction to keep going. I asked the tour guide who only spoke Chinese how they dated the trees since they obviously didn't cut them down and look at the tree rings. The answer I got back was carbon dating. The fact that I knew what carbon dating was and was trying to explain to a friend how it worked actually made me feel like my college degree wasn't a waste. I felt so smart! It's nice to know I haven't forgotten everything I've learned while in college because most of the time it feels like I've retained nothing but burns and scars from work.

pretty scenery
The fog was nice because it made the forest seem very mystical but it did limit how far I could see into the forest. So you know how in Taiwanese dramas if a girl and boy are walking around somewhere most likely a park or something naturey, the girl will usually trip or fall over something. In those scenarios the guy will usually catch the girl and they will share a moment which will later be the building point of their relationship. Obviously my life isn't going to be any Taiwanese drama since when I fell not only was I not saved by anyone but I slipped on some rocks and then landed into a flow of water. Good thing I was wearing those hideous yellow rain ponchos or w/e that kept me from really feeling the water.Seriously the whole time we were there I was wondering if we were all crazy hiking around in the mountains looking at trees that no one cared about while it was pouring rain...

While there our head teacher bought a local snack and shared some with us. Super delicious!

sesame and green onion cookie

The drive to and from the park offered some great photo opportunities of the Lanyang River. Too bad the rain obliterated the view and I had to take pictures around the rain drops obscuring my shots...

lanyang river
For dinner we had Chinese food as in mainland and not Taiwanese. I didn't take any pictures because my principal sat down right next to me and at this point I was getting pretty disappointed with the restaurant dinners. The food in the beginning of the dinner was kind of ehhh. What saved the meal was the watercress and the stir-fried beef at the end!

NiuSeBing or cow-tongued biscuits - honey flavored
These biscuits are a local snack from Yilan which I bought for my sister when she comes to visit me later. They are named cow-tongue biscuits because apparently they looked very similar to cow tongues which I wouldn't know since I don't see many cow tongues. The ones I bought are manufactured instead of being hand-made. I had some of the hand-made ones but they tasted worse than these.

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