Sunday, August 3, 2008
Good morning everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend, we certainly did. Yesterday morning, we got up at 6 a.m. and headed into Hualien to go whale watching. Wen Ping had booked our reservations for us and gave us a map to its location. Everything went very smoothly and we arrived on time. There were probably about 30-40 other people on our boat with us. We were the only foreigners on board, but the guide was very nice and occasionally would translate in English for us. He told us where to sit so we would have the best view. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and there was a nice breeze. I'm glad that we went in the morning, because it wasn't too hot yet. There was only about a 30% chance that we would see a whale, so we didn't get our hopes too high. However, no sooner had we arrived out to our destination in the middle of the ocean, when we heard our guide speaking very fast in Chinese and pointing at something in the water. He leaned over to tell us that he had spotted a whale! Sure enough, but there wasn't just one - there were two! It was absolutely amazing. At one point, the whale stuck its nose and mouth up out of the water. As they dived deep into the ocean, we saw their beautiful fins splash up into the air. About 30 minutes later, we saw another one! This was an awesome experience.
In the afternoon, we rode our scooter about 45 minutes south to the Hualien Sugar Factory. This place is famous for their ice cream. There were many people there, and they had a few gift shops set up, along with some fruit stands. We ate our ice cream and enjoyed listening to a local youth group sing. We thought that they were singing Christian music, and this was confirmed when they sang a song in English. They did an excellent job! To our disappointment, we did not find any souvenirs here. All of the stores were very overpriced. However, on the way home we find an awesome shop. It had many antique looking objects and jewelry. We found a couple of great gifts here, and I can't wait to share them with their intended recipients!!
Back in our room, we were glad to finally get showers and relax. We still do not have any hot water though, but hopefully this will change soon! I will post a picture link to our album from today.