Saturday we left Taipei on the 7:23 express to Suao and stopped in Fulong. This small summer beach town was our base for a hike over a historic local trail.
An ancient marker from the trail.
We went on the hike with a group of 40 or 50 people, all Taiwanese, except for my good friend Jeff and his daughter.
Up we go!
Although the trail was nothing special, there were occasionally beautiful views.
Taiwan's East Coast offers spectacular mountain scenery.
I've built a website on the trip here (same link as above). For more great pics of the East Coast, go here.
The weekend in Taipei was enlivened by the usual expenditures on food and fun. One shining moment was the old woman who hacked on my wife for being ugly. Locals frequently criticize my wife for her ugly freckles, dark skin, and generally inferior looks. We both usually just laugh, but this woman was really over the top. Another experience, this one great, was being stopped for a moment in the Dinghsi subway station. "Hey! You're famous! I've seen your website!" followed by a friendly thank-you. You guys make it all worthwhile.
Hiking with the locals on Saturday gave me time to reflect on how far Taiwan has come. Everything was volunteer. The guides were volunteer, and the local history guide was a local volunteer, retired. Taiwan is slowly growing a civil society and a volunteer ethos despite the fact that both must be imported, for local culture contains neither. Both augur well for the future despite the authoritarian political culture. Another pleasing thing was watching the locals carefully remove all their litter, along with litter others had thoughtlessly left behind. There's a lot of caring going on in Taiwan that is not obvious, and foreigners here should acknowledge and encourage it.