Monday, July 1, 2013

Free Day!!!

This is our only free day for the whole program! So many of us wanted to check out the beach called Fulong, where it was the last day for the Sand Sculpture Contest! We had the plan to meet at 8:30 to then walk to the mrt station, to Taipei Main Station, to go on a train, which would then take us to our destination! I’ve never been on a train before, so that was whole new experience in itself! When the train pulled to the station, there were huge lines of people pushing their way into the tiny train doors. I was looking in the windows of the train when we were in the queue, and there looked like there was already no room for any more people! But somehow we moved closer and closer to the door, so I guess people found room somehow. Our group got separated a little bit, Kim and Kevin were in a whole different car, and some others were in the middle of another car. Richard, Steven, Ben and I were crammed into the entrance stairwell corner for the good half of the trip. It took some muscle to close the train door, and then reposition ourselves again. It was like an extreme game of sardines!!! It seemed every inch of the train was replaced with a person.  After each train stop, we inched closer and closer to the rest of our group as more people got off the train (but were quickly replaced by more!). So the trip there was actually a whole experience in itself!

But we eventually got there! Oh how I missed the beach! The sand was scorching hot on our feet though, so we tried to tip-toe quickly and carefully towards the sand sculptures. There were so many people there, but it was funny because Richard actually found his friend from his university here (small world!). The sculptures were amazing, so much detail.. I can't imagine how much time and effort went into creating these huge displays. "Sand Castle" takes on a whole new meaning. After we couldn't stand the heat no more, we made a dash towards the ocean. Beautiful water! The sand didn't have any rocks, just smooth sand on our feet. The water was such a nice way to escape the heat. We were little kids again, splashing away, doing flips (or attempting), and floating around. We spent some time there at the water. Just relaxing. It was around 2 already, and we all haven't eaten lunch yet, so we packed up, got dressed and dried off and grabbed a lunch box at a store around the train station.

We all had a little bit of time left of our day until we had to make our way back, so someone suggested that we go to a town called "Cat Village." That isn't the proper or official name of the town, but it is notorious for a large number of cats that happen to inhabit the streets in this small mining area. Sure enough, there were many cats that were sleeping under trees and hanging outside the restaurants. I think this small town gets a lot of its business from the tourists that want to see all the cats, so there were a lot of shops and food items that celebrated these animals. Although there were a lot of cats, I was expecting flocks of cats that roamed the street. It was still a cool little town to walk through, not much happening so we decided to hike some of the trails again. We headed back to NTU and got back at a decently good time, because we needed to rest for the next day. Had to get up early for class on Monday, so it was early to bed. To my delight, I had some nice crispy lobster shoulders, as well as some sunburnt along my cheeks and nose. Aloe Vera was my best friend last night. But it was still a very fun day to start our week!

the girls!

after swimming!

the entrance of "cat city"

just messing around before heading back :)

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