A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Cihen Pagoda in the morning light, Sun Moon Lake

The lakeshore by my place, early morning

Moorings in morning mist, Sun Moon Lake

Surrounding mountans, morning mist

Road up Mt. Maolan

Tea bushes, Mt. Maolan


Cihen Pagoda Trail

Big snail...yummy!

Cihen Pagoda in the mist

Flower, Sun Moon Lake

Wenwu Temple, Sun Moon Lake

Wenwu Temple

Wenwu Temple

Wenwu Temple

Wenwu Temple

As I walked from the shore of Sun Moon Lake up Mt. Maolan through the bamboo forest early this morning, there was mist and the sound of crickets everywhere, punctuated by the chirupping of exotic birds. I wencarried on climbing higher through the tea plantations, and was admiring the view over the mist-shrouded lake and mountains when it became 8 a.m, and the working day started for the tea workers, noted by loudspeakers playing a mellow jazz track really loudly all across the mountains. This isn't the first time I've experienced mellow music resounding across the countryside, this bizarre business seems quite common in Taiwan, particularly in rural areas, I think to mark the beginning and end of the working day, and midday.

Sadly, not long after that it started to rain, and has been doing ever since, sometimes very heavily. And even worse, everyone tells me that it will continue to do so for a while. On the plus side, it makes the jungley forest very atmospheric, like an infinitely big Kew or Eden Project. The rain is less of a problem for tour bus types, but an issue for me as I am came here to hike, and tomorrow planned to ride a bike round the Lake, so scrap that last plan for sure. Neverthless, despite the rain I did get in some short walks today at various points around the Lake, and visited Wenwu Temple, which was fantastically colourful, unusual for a Confucian temple.

There is a 5 star hotel near me and I felt a hankering for some western food, so I thought I'd check out the menu. On offer that evening was a buffet, sounded good. I misunderstood the price as a fiver, but even when I realised it was in fact 15 quid I thought "fuck it, I'm on holiday, not got much time left, and it sounds good", so I stuck to the plan. And it was rather nice, sat on a lakeside terrace overlooking the marina eating a good range of Ok food, pretending I was a posh person in Cannes or somewhere, all very enjoyable.

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