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Towards Alishan

This day was to be a bit hectic, I knew that from the beginning, and right enough, the first few hours left me pretty winded. With the help of my parents, I managed to get my things to the post office in order to send them to Gaoxiong, post a signed version of an apartment contract to my landlord, as well as pay deposit for that very same apartment. Since my sleeping rhythm was rather non-existent at this point anyway, I had decided to only sleep a couple of hours on Sunday night so as to fall asleep more easily in the evening.

Our initial plan after leaving Xinzhu was to go to the train station and take the high-speed rail to Jiayi and then change train station via taxi to take the old, small train up to Alishan. However, the taxi driver managed to convince us that going with him all the way would be about the same price, but faster. He was right and we arrived in Jiayi ahead of schedule and could enjoy lunch before boarding the train.

This train is rather spectacular, especially disregarding the boring bits in Jiayi I managed to sleep through. It was first built to haul timber from the mountains down to the lowlands, but now it’s turned into a tourist attraction. The train runs four hours on a narrow track through beautiful and steep mountains, with plenty of bamboo and other plants. Arriving in Fenqihu, our host picked us up and showed us a round for a while, before taking us down a short hiking trail. The landscape of these mountains is exciting and the peculiar overhanging cliffs added to the effect (see pictures below).

A typical view from the train on the way from Jiayi to Alishan.

Because of a rock slide, part of the railway was out of order, so we had to walk roughly five hundred metres. With a view like this, that’s not something bad, though.

Take a guess, which bag is mine and which one is my mother’s?

A small cluster of buildings surrounding the train station at Fenqihu, where we got off the train.

My mother and our host, Mr. Liu, on a short hike just after we arrived.

More from the same hike.

It looks nice, but it’s pretty demanding to climb these stairs considering that the height isn’t enough even for my mother to walk straight.

Back at the hotel (I’m not sure it’s actually a hotel, but that’s the best word that comes to mind), we were treated to a dinner of local specialties, and showed our room. Everything was nice, except perhaps that the room itself wasn’t at all meant for staying in apart from sleeping. Of course, we plan to spend most of the time outdoors anyway, but I’m still not used to this kind of lodging. The host and his parents were very nice to us and we felt that we were in good hands.

After dinner, we went on a white-faced-flying-squirrel hunt. Armed with flashlights, the host and his father took us up a steep mountain road surrounded with lush trees, turned into looming shadows by the deep night. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what we were looking for, but soon enough, we found a couple of flying squirrels. They have a beautiful brown-red luster to their fur, but since we only saw them from a long way away, I refer to this and this photo, rather than any picture of my own.

In all, the day was much more eventful than I expected. The host took us with him to do lots of stuff where I’d only expected to rest and have dinner. Since he knows almost no English, I also had to speak lots and lots of Chinese, which went incredibly well, I must say. I understand roughly 90 % of what he says on the first try, including descriptions of various plants, landscape peculiarities and instructions and so forth. I don’t know if my listening ability has taken a quantum leap for the first time since I came here, but it seems like that now. Feeling tired, but satisfied, we all went to bed rather early after having some local tea. Going early to bed seemed like a good idea, because we planned to leave in the early morning to see the famous sunrise from Alishan.

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  1. Xhakhal’s avatar

    I think you’ve got the pink bag!

    And oshit. Can I use that stair-photo as a general reference? I really like it, ant it seems like a really cool place! :D