The landscapes are littered with goats. 'scape goats, you know.
Haven't blogged because Lanyu. Again. Wanted to try the island during winter vacation. In the summer, Lanyu's predominant color is green, in the winter, silver. It was lovely, but in a more desolate, lonelier way. In the off season the shops are boarded up and the streets are under repair. Things are harder to find. But the people still want to have a beer with you, the sea, sky, and rock are still gorgeous, and the experience still worth it. And a free goat guaranteed with every picture! Click READ MORE to see the whole picture-laden post...
Google Map link). Pros -- clean, nice sized towels, right next to ocean, and right next to decent restaurant serving a limited range of dishes, the only one I know of on the island. Food was ok. Owner was super nice. Cons -- no furniture in room except bed, is 15 minute walk to town of Imourod/Hongtou, though that was a pro for me, since Imourod/Hongtou has sudden outbreaks of noise at night. It's expensive for me, $5000 for 2/3 bdr room in summer, $3000 in offseason.
紅頭) in Chinese.
小吃) with very limited menus are pretty much the only restaurants available in the off-season.
PRO TIP: In the winter there may be long stretches -- like a week, even -- when no planes come to the island due to the high winds. Hence, if you are flying to/from the island, the single most important document on Lanyu is the waiting list for the flights at the airport. If you are coming to the airport on a less than perfect day, the FIRST -- let me repeat that -- FIRST thing you do when you get in the airport is put your name on that document. EVEN IF you have tickets and have booked a flight -- there's no guarantee you will have a plane (goats, however, are guaranteed). Better to put your name again a little further down, everyone local writes it at least twice, sometimes more. Since the plane carries 19 passengers, they leave 19 empty spaces, then add their names. The list urgency is because the airline uses the system of whoever has booked a flight goes on it, then names are taken IN ORDER off the waiting list, and you must be there to hear your name called. You will soon join the ritual of constantly checking the waiting list like everyone else when you come in.
How the list works is simple: if you are on the 10:30 and it is cancelled, you are not bumped to the 11:30. You are CANCELLED. You do not have priority, have no guaranteed seat on any plane, and will be relegated to the waiting list. Hence, it is vital that your name be high up on that list if you want a seat. The 11:30 flight is first given to those who have booked at 11:30, and then if there are empty seats, the waiting list names are called. You must be PHYSICALLY present to answer. If you are not, they move on to the next name after calling yours out twice. The waiting list IS rolled over to the next day and even the next, so you do not lose your priority on that list if a new day dawns. Going on a plane as a waiting list member is all luck, say the locals.
On Thursday as we were waiting, there were lots of no-shows for the early flight, then no planes. The waiting list quickly dwindled to just a few names above ours. Finally a plane! The sound of its engines quickly waned, and it flew back to Taiwan without landing. The wind had damaged it slightly (news report). There were goats on the runway. The official explanation for the failed landing was wind shear, but in my heart I know it was the goats. We wasted a whole day at the airport, waiting for our names to be called, with no aircraft coming in, then wasted the following morning in the same manner.
The ferry, on the other hand, was almost empty and seats are easy to get, as usual this time of year. You can buy tickets at the pier a half-hour before the boat is scheduled to go. Best to call the ferry company and double check, it sometimes leaves early due to weather.
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