What I thought would be the most peaceful sleep ever, seeing as I was hidden in the mountains in a forest with only birds and butterflies as friends, turned out to be pretty scary actually…I was sure I was going to run into some snakes, or at least a bear, haha. So I was tossing and turning all night with every crunch of a twig or bark of a dog. I awoke, sunk into my mattress, softer than marshmallows. As I strolled outside to use the toilet (it’s outdoors), it hit me. WOW. Nature, my old friend. The flapping and fluttering of butterfly wings, the crunch of twigs and fresh grass beneath my feet, the cleansing sensation as the morning dew tickled my toes, and the air- so fresh, so green, so blue, so free. Just me and the mountains and the flowers. I could seriously get used to this. As I took my outdoor shower, I decided I wish all showers were like this. It felt so natural to be washing in the middle of such a beautiful land. The feeling of the hot water falling onto rocks and grass, my shampoo snuggled in amongst the flowers, a view of the ocean as I embraced another lovely day on this journey.
After this early morning invigoration, I sat myself down on the porch and just listened to all the sounds of the forest. Then I thought to myself, why don’t I go check out their book collection. This was a good idea. Fate, my old friend, was out to play. As if one of my all-time favourite books, impossible to find these days, was just hiding on one of the dusty shelves. ‘The Last Unicorn’, by Peter S. Beagle. I had no words. Of course it was just chilling there, of course. This place is magical.
I spent the afternoon making a video on my Lomokino- a lomography camera that uses film to create stop-motion pictures, which you can turn into a short movie sequence. I decided to dance in the ocean and write how much I love Taiwan in the sand. There was literally no one on this beach and it was ridiculously beautiful! I love the feeling of sand between my toes, especially on a deserted beach. And the ocean was so refreshing. Such a glorious way to spend a lazy Monday morning.
It got to being about time to head to the train station for my journey to Hualien, but not before stopping in at Cheela’s Café for some raspberry Belgian beer and some to-die-for chocolate cake. This café had a really cool, unique vibe. There was a lot of cool art work and innovative use of old wine-crates as tables. There was also a pretty little garden out the back that connected with the old railway line, which I took a walk along. Many old people were chilling on interesting-looking chairs and just kicking back, having a jolly good time doing nothing.
I said goodbye to lovely Taitung and hopped aboard the train to Hualien. It was dark when I arrived and I got a little lost on the way to my hostel- Formosa Backpackers. But that’s OK. Sometimes getting lost just leads to more interesting explorations. I organised my bus for Taroko Gorge for the next day and me and a guy from the hostel headed out to check out the city and of course, to sample some of it’s delicious treats for the taste-buds.
Now, I’m snuggled up in bed, excited for my trek in the gorge tomorrow, Lomo cameras at the ready for some hopefully, gorgeous scenery! Night night, oh pretty Hualien!