I just wanna start by saying that the feeling when you wait at the traffic light, on a scooter, in the scooter area (in front of all the cars), and you see the counter going 3… 2… 1… green light and all the 10 scooters around you start revving their engines and taking off… is simply great.
Left Hualien early in the morning (at noon). Managed to find the right exit from the city… eventually (probably because my map of Hualien is entirely in Chinese) and went off on the Taiwanese Eastern Coast.
The first part of the trip went something like: drive my little scooter, then see beautiful scenery, stop, take picture and repeat. Until suddenly, little scooter wouldn’t start. On and on, the starter tried to ignite the engine, but it didn’t catch. Just to imagine, I was in the middle of nowhere, most of the eastern coast being just mountain and ocean. So I started calling people to ask them to ask around them for a scooter savvy person to give me some clues, until I see a scooter approaching. I wave to the guy, he goes past me, but then he brakes, turns and comes back (did I mention Taiwanese people are EXTREMELY friendly and helpful?). English was (as in 90% of the cases) not an option, so I just show him how I can’t start the engine. He tries it, looks at the scooter, checks the engine, tries again, tries again WHILE SIGNALING… and it starts. Needless to say, I never stopped my scooter in a secluded area afterwards.
So I’d be driving little scooter, when I start to notice the bright red color my arms were getting. “Ooops” I said to myself. So I stop in the first village, go into the first thing that looked like a store (there are no “Store” or “Supermarket” signs here) and start to mime the sun burning my hands. I’m getting pretty good at miming, because the lady understood me and came with the necessary item for any scooter driver here.
Among the places that I’ve seen today there were a lot related to fishing. In one place, I even saw a very nice free outdoor aquarium (although for them it’s just a fish market).
Arrived in the evening in Dulan and searched for a place to sleep. After successfully mimicking the act of sleeping, I follow somebody up to a hostel, he opens the door and puts me in. So I’m inside the social room of the hostel, fans running, an open laptop on a table, but nobody there. I say “Hello”, but nothing. I shout “Hello”, but nothing. So I take out my laptop and start using the net. Eventually (2h later), the guys come back – they were at the hot springs.