Friday, April 22, 2011

Visit to Taiwan #1

Each year the high school students at CAIS have the opportunity to go on a trip of their choice to learn about another country and experience various cultures.  This year some went to Eastern Europe, Yunnan China, Cambodia, Okinawa Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan, plus there were Team building excursions in Hong Kong for those not going on the longer more expensive trips.  Blaine was fortunate to be able to go to Taiwan with 25 grade 7 & 8 students plus three other teachers. 
The island of Taiwan is located off the southeastern coast of mainland China.  The island is about 348 km long and 144 km wide.  It is very mountainous with lots of vegetation. It was formerly known as Formosa, and has bounced back and forth between China and Japan and the allies, and it's now called the Republic of China.  Many Hong Kong people believe China will get it back, it is just a matter of time.
The team left Hong Kong on April 15th. At the airport.

The first stop after arriving was a small mountain village called Jiufen.   This little village on the northeast coast was formerly a gold mine in the 1950's and is now somewhat famous because it was  used as a backdrop in two  award winning movies, Spirited Away in 2001 and in 1989 A City of Sadness.
The one and only shopping area of Jiufen!! 
Two of the other teachers with Blaine at the entrance to the long winding street which is the shopping area.
This is a block of caramel with peanuts embedded in it.  They shave it off with  a plane and put it in the soft wrap with ice cream and fold it up like and envelope and enjoy!
These next two pictures are at the end of the market street looking down into the valley.

Next was  Yehliu Geopark , a small peninsula that contains wild and crazy looking rock formations.
 Because the rock layer of the nearby seashore contains limestone, it is subject to sea and wind erosion.  The kids are standing in front of one called the Queen's Head.

It is filled with mushroom shaped rocks, candle rocks, and fossils,
One of the teachers at the park.She is a science teacher from Australia.
Last stop of the first day was trying out the bitter melon at the Shilin Night Market.You can't buy bitter melon in Hong Kong. Next week come back for an exciting visit to Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, Chiang Kai Shek memorial hall, the National museum, Camp Taiwan, as well as visits to the central and southern sections of Taiwan!!

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