26 September 2013, by Mandy Loh
As promised, here’s pictures of the 2nd leg of our Taiwan Babymoon trip:
We started our 4th day in Taiwan by travelling from Taipei to Hualien by rail, and because we were super-kiasu, we reached the station at 8.15am when the train was scheduled to leave at 8.50am. Which turned out to be pretty good because Cristan had lots of time to play with this interesting banner/ art installation spread out on the floor of the railway station!
The train ride took almost 3 hours, and while Cristan was initially excited to be on a choo-choo train again, he soon got bored. So I whipped out my secret weapon – stickers! It worked, and Cristan was happily engrossed with sticking stickers everywhere for close to an hour!
And much to our relief, he actually fell asleep for part of the journey, which meant we could all have some shut-eye as well. (Yes, that includes our fellow passengers who definitely appreciated the peace and quiet.)
Unfortunately, we were greeted by a spot of bad weather when we arrived in Hualien, and it continued raining on and off for the entire day! So we spent most of the day just chilling in the hotel, which thankfully was nice and new, and our room was large and comfortable! They even had a kids’ playroom on the 2nd floor, that Cristan had all to himself.
Very sadly, it happened to be our 3rd wedding anniversary that day, and because of the rain, we had to make do with a simple dinner that Tim packed back from the nearest street stalls. This probably goes down in history as the most pathetic anniversary dinner ever!
But oh well, I guess its the company that matters most! So happy anniversary, dearie! Thanks for braving the rain to get us some food! Muahs!
The next day, we went on a whale/ dolphin watching tour, which sounded really exciting from the brochure and the reviews. The boat ride started off quite alright, and everyone was in high spirits.
That was, until we got out to the open sea and the strong Pacific Ocean currents tossed our tiny boat around like a leaf. Soon, everyone was turning a shade of green, and Cristan started crying and fussing. Before long, he threw up all over himself (and on Tim who was holding him, poor thing). Shortly afterwards, I threw up too, and just as the entire contents of my breakfast resurfaced, dolphins were spotted by our fellow passengers! All I could do at that point was turn my head slightly for a moment, barely catching a glimpse of them as they leapt out of the water. Great. How delightful. The only words to describe this trip would be “unforgettable”, and definitely, “once in a lifetime”. I can only say I’m so thankful that Tim doesn’t get seasick, and that he was the one holding Cristan, not me! Because if Cristan had puked on me, I would have immediately puked right back onto him! That would be quite a disaster indeed…
After that eventful morning, we went straight back to the hotel to wash up, rest and recuperate. Amazingly, Cristan recovered very well from the entire episode and didn’t seem traumatised by the boat ride. He even said he wanted to go again! Well kiddo, not with Mommy nor Daddy, not for a looooong while!
That evening, we decided to explore the Hualien Zhi Qiang night market, as there were pretty good reviews about it online, and they were right! It was much more pleasant than Shilin, perhaps because it was smaller, easier to explore, and there were lots of tables and chairs available. The food was also really good!
Our last day in Hualien was the main event: A tour of Taroko National Park. We hired a private car and driver for the day, which was pretty pricey but it afforded us plenty of flexibility to customise our activities. We knew that Cristan couldn’t do much long-distance walking, so we hopped on and off the car just to take some pictures and explore the surroundings, instead of actually trekking around Taroko Gorge.
The driver also brought us to some scenic areas of Hualien, like the Chishingtan Beach which was lovely, and another lookout point along the coast.
But for Cristan, the highlight of his day was making a furry friend!
Some of the picturesque shots of Taroko National Park:
And that pretty much wraps up our week-long Taiwan holiday! It was fun, extremely tiring, and definitely memorable (in good ways and bad). Above all, we got to spend lots of quality time together as a family, and that was the best takeaway for me!