Monday, 5 November 2012

Battleship Rock and Sunset in Danshui

Today we went for a nice walk up in the mountains around Beitou, to a place called Battleship Rock and it was pretty cool. The weather was awesome and the views of Taipei and The Danshui River on one side and the views of Mount Danfeng and it's sister peaks on the other side were amazing. This was a really nice hike and compared to last week's nightmare of a hike was quite mellow. It was nice to once again see some peaks connected to Yang Ming Shan on a really nice day as my last hike there was really foggy and rained a lot, the highlight of that hike was Pete walking in the fog and nearly clattering into a cow that was 'masked by fog' in the buffalo meadow portion of The Old Fish Road. Nevertheless, I digress and Mike and I decided that ending the day with a view of the sunset on the river we could see from Battleship Rock would be a nice way to end the day.

This was a nice hike and getting out of Nankan and really getting to feel a bit more of Taiwan before I do head for pastures new feels like a good idea. I feel all too often down on Taiwan due to the daily grind of my 12pm – 10pm working schedule and it's not really the country so much as the job and the working hours that are making me feel negative vibes towards Taiwan. One thing about living in such a foreign culture that I'm not sure I like is the generalising that takes place, particularly amongst the expats I meet. It's something I think we as people ascribe to 'the other', for me in this case being the locals, to justify our feelings. I tend to attribute any negative experience or feeling at the moment to an image of “The Taiwanese” and it's really bad. After all, people are people and despite cultural norms and physical attributes we're not really that different. The only generalised truth I'm going to accept now is that every Taiwanese person is better than me at the gangnam style dance because they really are, even the pensioners and the monks. The last few weeks I have been more upbeat and have found myself greeted with more smiles in the street and I think that projecting a positive vibe is a lot more rewarding than being a miserable tit.

I am now in what I think will be my last five months or so in Taiwan and it really feels like things are coming to a head. I think I'm going to look for work in Thailand next year but before that I need to make a decision on where I'm going to travel next. Laos, Cambodia and India are all attractive prospects to me and so far I think India has pipped to the front of the race. I hope to save enough money to be able to travel there for 2-3 months on a budget before heading to Bangkok with the last of my savings for the last two years and find a job there. Visiting the southeast Asian land mass from Thailand would make a lot more financial sense if done at a later date and visiting India for a long period of time sounds like a wonderful experience with the possibilities of seeing wild tigers and rhinos, tribal groups living in mountains and The Himalayas all realistic prospects.

In regards to the hike again it was really nice and it was a real pleasure to take in the views of Taipei from the mountains. We were also supposed to find ourselves through a place called Hell Valley but that didn't happen. We found ourselves lost in Beitou and once we found a main road, and signs pointing towards the MRT we thought it better to have something to eat and wind down as opposed to getting lost again.

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