Last weekend, my roommate Kate, friend Estella, and I decided to explore the east coast of Taiwan. First, we took the train from Taipei to Hualien, and hitchhiked down to Dulan with many stops along the way.
After arriving in Hualien, we searched for a place to stay. However, things were not to go our way. It just so happened to be the weekend of the Toroko Gorge Marathon. Every hostel and hotel in the area was booked, but we three ladies happened to be in luck: a love hotel, with its blinking, vibrant, 80's colored lights was patiently awaiting our arrival. Thank god for Kate, who was immediately entranced like a moth to a flame.
We checked in and decided to watch TV for the first time in forever. Unfortunately, all there was to offer were various racially charged forms of pornography. We opted to turn the TV off and have an early night, which lead to an early morning, and we were off to our first destination: Jici beach. We barely put our thumbs up in the air, when a blue truck came to our rescue. He was happy to do it. We arrived to the beach, and of course it was closed. So we hopped the fence and enjoyed some time on the beach after outrunning the lifeguard.
Next we scoured the highway, thumbs in air, for a ride to see the Tropic of Cancer. Our next faithful stead was a mini van packed full of middle-aged Taiwanese couples. We struggled to the back in between a man and a woman. They dropped us off at the Tropic of Cancer with smiles on their faces.
After taking in the sights, and enjoying a beer and some whiskey shots with some lovely Taiwanese gentlemen slinging betel nut, we were on our way to Dulan.
We arrived to Dulan in an 18-wheeler. We rode in comfort and luxury. I had the big seat in the front and I am pretty sure Kate and Estella got the young mans comfy bed in the back. In Dulan, we found a rustic place to stay in the forested treetops encompassing the beach.
Dulan is a great town. Every Saturday they have live music playing in an old sugar factory aptly named "The Sugar Factory". So we finished out day dancing the night away, drinking cold beer, and reveling in our successful trip down the coast.
In the morning we hitched a nice ride to Taitung, where we took the train back to Taipei. I was not ready to leave the warmth and sunshine of the southeast and will most definitely be back.
Hitchhiking photo journal below:
|Our first hitch - the blue truck.|
|Beautiful coastline. At times we felt a little bit afraid for our lives, swangin around these sharp turns up a mountainside in the back of a truck, but we had faith in our daring driver.|
|Pictures of my friends taking pictures. I think I'm turning Taiwanese, I think I'm turning Taiwanese, I really think so!|
|We snuck onto the beach and enjoyed about 10 minutes of sunshine before the clouds came. We stayed and sunbathed anyways.|
|Tropic of Cancer... Thank you mini van people!|
|We ate lunch at this harbor. Fresh seafood, delicious.|
|Boats on the water.|
|We hiked up part of a mountain to see this view!|
|Estella, my love!|
|18-wheeler! This guy ended up taking many pictures of us. Spicing up people's lives is what we do best.|
|Tropic of Cancer. Looks like the apocalypse.|
|A long and not-so-lonely road.|
|Kate and Estella scrambling into our trusty stead.|
|Boat on a beach.|
|Dancing in Dulan. Listening to some local tunes.|