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July 7, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 6 (part 2)

So this was our first half day at Jiu Fen, and I’m already scared out of my wits. Don’t get me wrong- it’s an absolutely gorgeous place. We all stepped off the bus and just dropped our jaws at the view… there are huge mountains and rolling hills to our right, open sea right in front of us and a sort of bayish area carved out by tendrils of land stretching out into the blue waters. There’s one particular hill and a winding path going up it pretty close to where the village and houses seem to stretch to, and it looks like quite a journey- at least a couple of hours hike. The architecture is also unique in its own way… the area is hilly and to get through the village there are a lot of winding, snaking paths around houses- the paths are narrow and go up and down five or six stairs at a time. You see all the nooks and crannies of houses as you go down and around and eventually make your way to your destination.

Anyways, I feel obliged to take pictures of everything I eat in Taiwan, so here’s the lunch that we got packed for the bus-ride here. It was surprisingly good, though most of it seemed to be dessert lol.

 

 

Getting there:

 

There:

 

The school itself seems to be in very good condition… from the outside. There’s a nice playground, a really nice basketball court, and an even nicer view.

We had a short meeting with the principle of the school (she was nice and introduced everything in mandarin, which I honestly only understood about 60% of), as well as the few staff that were there to help lead us and supervise. I only remember the one guy’s name because he told us we could call him Ramen. We also have two additional people there who are from Taiwan that seem to be in their twenties… there’s one guy and one girl (a couple, I think) who are in grad school and are here to be our teacher aids. Their english both seems to be very good, but the girl if very shy and all I know about the guy is that he has a pretty good accent and that his name is Lester.

We also had a meeting with the principal of the school and got to eat a bowl of iced taro balls, considered one of the specialty foods here at Jiufen. They were good, soft and chewy taro balls with a dense texture. They were sweet and paired with red bean soup and crushed ice. Yum.

 

Okay, so after all this, why did I say I was scared out of my wits?  The BUGS. They are all gigantic here.

 

For a guy like me, coming from a place where winter and cold weather exterminates most bugs, stepping into this place is like stepping into the fricking wilderness. Sure, I deal with the occasional mosquito or spider back in Syracuse, and I’ve almost gotten used to the mosquitoes present at the Chientan Center (and Taiwan in general), but this was ridiculous- Kevin, Ryan, and I basically declared all out war on the mosquitoes and wasps in our room and spent a half hour running around with an electric flyswatter playing whack-a-fly.

First kill.

Every time we opened the screen door to go in and out, three or four mosquitoes snuck in and we had to ready the electric fly swatter and prepare for battle. My bug kill count is already past the teens, but that’s not a good enough ratio when you consider how many times I’ve been bitten already. I swear they swarm on my blood or something- there’s gotta be some sort of pheromone that they spray when they bite me that attracts all the other mosquitoes in the area. Kevin and Ryan seem to be doing alright, but I’m constantly swatting and dancing around. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were being bit right now. It gets to a point where there are so many mosquitoes everywhere, and the fact that some of them can be miniscule in size (there are varying types of bites that I see on my body), that I just have to accept the fact that I’ll get bit. My bite count is hovering around 40 right now (I just counted and it was even more than I thought). They seem to prefer ankles and neck areas, but then there are those venturesome ones that sneak up your shorts or down your shirt to bite you in the most inconvenient places.

Mosquitoes aren’t the only problem, though. We’ve seen these huge dragonfly and moth bodies lying around, which is just an intimidation factor I guess. But you should’ve seen Ryan and Kevin and I yell and run when this huge wasp flew into the laundry room. We’re such little girls inside.

But tonight, we became men.

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