Monday, 20 August 2012

Yilan, or "camping" in Taiwan

So we all went on a field trip to a campsite about 1 hour from Taipei proper. Now, the Taiwanese and New Zealand versions of "camping" vary somewhat. In the Taiwanese version, you have little concrete or wooden platforms which are raised off the ground, and the tents are not attached to the ground at all. This really, really confused me. There's also no playground, the river is off limits due to being dammed and likely to flood at a moment's notice, and the swimming pool is empty. Oh yeah, and they have things like snakes - someone spotted one! And squat toilets, but those are kinda ubiquitous.

On the plus side, the butterflies are FANTASTIC, open fires are permitted as long as they're in the prescribed area, there's a blowtorch if you need some help getting things going, the river can still be accessed (red tape is a guideline, not a boundary, and all it said was that we weren't liable if we crossed it), the tents and bedding are provided, and there's no cursing about people forgetting poles and pegs or sleeping bags. And there was a rope set-up to show how you can get across obstacles, plus practical tuition on rope harnesses.

AND we had a practical session on disaster medicine with the most amazing tents in the world which sadly we didn't end up using because it rained, and they take typhoon warnings seriously around here. It was serious enough that they didn't bring the line gun because they were all on standby.

This tree is propped up just in case of a typhoon.
This bug was taking the typhoon warning seriously (it was headed inside)
Scenery from the train as we left for Hualien City!

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