Hello everyone, the Taiwan Tales continue! I hope to be done with Taiwan soon so I can start putting together my other trips!
Day 8 – we’re about halfway through the trip…
The next morning, our hostel guy fetches us to Shihlang ?? for snorkelling! We get all togged up in sexy and very fitting wetsuits and masks, before heading out onto this little wooden platform that stretches out into the water.
Our snorkeling guide is a very tanned local man called Jiao Lian ??. He’s a tough uncle with lots of local knowledge – he teaches us how to use these particular leaves to rub against the inside lenses of the masks so as to stop it from fogging up, which is way better and much more hygenic than spitting!
Anyway we jump into the really, really blue waters and it was COLD. Thank god for the long and thick wetsuit. We didn’t even really have to swim a lot really – Jiao Lian basically unleashed a string of hot pink floats which we just hung on to and let him pull us around on. There wasn’t much in the shallow areas – think the snorkellers and divers alike have depleted any coral there. But further out there’s a drop off point, and that’s when you start seeing the fishes and colourful coral.
Unfortunately my mask is pretty leaky and the water gets all up in my nose area, making me sneeze ALOT. It did get really cold after awhile (P had really blue lips at one point!) so after snorkelling for an hour, I was pretty glad to get out and take a nice hot shower!
After the snorkeling, we headed off to settle the car rental (it took half an hour for them to find the car, jeesh. Cars are in pretty low supply here!)
but finally we did and we headed off to lunch at a little restaurant nearby.
After sufficiently fueling ourselves and the car (there is one, just one gas station on the island) up, we take a tour of the island, starting by driving clockwise. Since there’s only 1 path around the whole island, there really isn’t any way you can get lost!
It’s a superrr hot day, so thank god for the car because we actually have aircon. Lyudao is a pretty rural island – we pass through several villages, and at one point even run into a herd of cows crossing the road. “Elephants!” yells P. “Bison,” J decides. Me, I’m just glad I paid attention in Science class and no one yelled ‘dinosaurs!’.
We went out looking for the Historical prison that Lyudao is famous for, and ended up stumbling on an actual real, still in use prison instead, confusing a bunch of guards by barging onto the premises… OOPS. 4/5 of us are drivers (only K, to this day, remains a non-driver) so I take my turn and we head up into the hilly area where we found this lovely lookout point. It’s a little lined path which connects to 2 little pavillions at the end of it, giving an AMAZING view of the sea.
Also, this was the site of the Sleeping Beauty and Pekinese Dog rocks.
It’s pretty uncanny, isn’t it? look at that expanse of blue, blue water.
We continue driving all around the island. We finished the entire drive in about 2+ hours. It’s not a very big island~ After that , we managed to pursuade our hostel owner Ah Wu to let us try out his Scooter to see if we can manage to ride that instead of driving the car. It’s really hard to ride, and really heavy! I manage a really short distance, but P accidentally drops it, but luckily nothing broke~ So much for scootering around~
We take a nap till dinner time and head down to the village again for dinner – to the same place as before. The owner was fabulous – he recognized us and cooked up his specialities for us – the best kind of food is the sort you don’t have to order! Super fresh fish, Ma Po Tofu, Hot Spring Prawns, cuttlefish… yum yum! And it was cheap too~
We worked off the dinner by doing some shopping in the little shops around town. There was a cute little shop called Jungle where I ended up buying a number of hand-drawn postcards and other knick-knacks.
Our hostel arranged a night tour of the island for us, so we zoomed back quickly and it turns out our guide was Jiao Lian, the same guy who took us for our morning snorkeling trip! He drove along in his scooter while we followed behind in the car. The first thing he brought us to see was Sika deer, or ???, a protected species on the island. Interesting factoid – female deer’s eyes glow green when you shine a light on it, and the male ones glow red! How strange~ We totally would not have picked out any of the deer in the pitch dark without Jiao Lian’s super sharp eyes and powerful torch~
Jiao Lian was a fantastic guide – very informative and enthusiastic. He also showed us a green stick insect creature, which floated over from Japan on driftwood and apparently only found Lyudao and Lanyu! He put it on my sleeve as I was the least squeamish and it crawled up my arm. Unfortunately, our particular insect had lost 2 legs in Jiao Lian’s struggle to capture it, oops!
We then headed to the Guan Yin cave where we found a bunch of toads crowded around the lights waiting for their insect meal. These frogs are ‘vain’, as they have black ‘lipstick’ and the tips of their toes are black, like nail polish! Jiao Lian picked up 2 frogs and proceeded to give a live demo on how they mated, hahaha.
Green Island seems to have a lot of mystical rocks. Besides the Sleeping Beauty/Pekinese Dog rocks, the Guan Yin cave also holds one which is supposed to look like Guan Yin (or apparently, also like the biblical Mary, but that’s not something you say out loud there, heh). I couldn’t really see the Guan Yin shape in the rock. We also saw a bunch of other rocks – one which looked like an old man riding a turtle, a fish, a dragon/snake looking rock that smoked (for real! our guide put a cigarette to the hole in the rock and it lit up like someone smoking!)… and a real toad that really looked like a rock. There were lots of coins in the pool – it’s good luck if you manage to hit the toad! Poor toady~ No pix cause it was pretty dark and I couldn’t get decent shots.
On the way back we saw 2 big Sika deer with their horns cut off. C and P were shocked when Jiao Lian said their ‘Jiao’ (Leg has the same phonetics as Horn in Chinese) were cut off to be used for Medicine, ahhaha.) Back at the hostel, Ah Wu showed us the little deer sleeping in the back of the guesthouse. It seemed a tad cruel at first, keeping a deer on a leash at the guesthouse, but we learnt that Xiaowu had rescued the baby deer and raised it by hand, which was quite sweet.
Then it was off to sleep for a very short night’s sleep – we had to wake up at 3am to catch the sunrise at the hot springs!