It was one of those “I don’t care I need a vacation” kind’o things. All in a rush, arranging things with a Taiwanese travel agency I found on the web, I set to meet with some new friends in Chia-Yi’s train-station and take a 2 day tour up Alishan.
We made a few stops in some of the aboriginal villages on the way up and had our selves some herb tea and light break-fast.
After 2-3 hours we made it to the mountain’s recreation center where our hotel was.
We put our things in the hotel and went for the most relaxed forest hike I’ve ever had. All the Alishan trails are fully paved with garbage cans and places to sit. Very convenient, if you’re as lazy as our group.
Between the hikes, we stopped at tiny aboriginal villages that are hidden away in the mountains, with huge temples and interesting craftsmanship.
After having dinner we went back to our hotel only to find out that it was really crappy. Being very tired we just wanted to rest, and some of us already started taking showers and taking a nap, but – thing is – when you’re on a 2000m mountain nights tend to get very very cold. After 10 minutes in that hotel I I kindly asked one of the Taiwanese to call reception and get us extra blankets and heaters. The Taiwanese called reception and after a small exchange told me – “I’m sorry, he said we can’t have blankets”. I was so surprised it took me a few seconds to realize this was actually happening. I made sure I heard right and stormed down the stairs to the reception and said with my bad Chinese – “it’s freezing cold, you give me a blanket and a heater now!”. The guy at the reception looked at me blankly and replied – “no, I won’t, just go and take a hot shower” (!!!). Being the good Israeli that I am – I started cursing him in a combination of Hebrew and English and he quickly disappeared, so I went up and told the Taiwanese I insist that they call the agent and change hotels – I wouldn’t take it anymore. It required some convincing, but finally they did it and we were moved into a much much better hotel with a kind and friendly service. I’ve learned a very valuable Taiwanese consumer lesson that day – insist on what you deserve and you’ll get it.
The next day we woke up at 5am to watch the world famous Alishan sun-rise. On the way, we stopped to see some 2000-3000 years old trees, overlooking gorgeous valleys and wonderful scenery.
Then, we were given some red goggles to watch the sun through…
and then… the sunrise…
On the way back, we met some local monkeys …
and after a long chill-out, a short walk and some lunch, we made our back way to Chia-yi with the very old mountain train.
That was a really fun vacation. Hope to have another one soon… 🙂