day 3: more sml.
Ching Sheng hotel is pretty isolated, but it has an amazing view of the lake and is right next to the Wen Wu Temple. Even though apparently there is no sunrise (or something along the lines of that...) during the summer, we still dragged ourselves out to explore before breakfast.
Anyways, after the leaves were sufficiently wilted, we put them on racks to dry and were rewarded with delicious and refreshing lemon black tea. By the time we finished painting our very own tea containers, the tea leaves were dried and ready to be packaged. It's not everyday you get to take home tea made with your own hands! I love how there are always
day 4: tainan
MORE DIY! After breakfast we were packed and loaded back onto the buses and taken to the Snake Kiln in Shuili ("in water" teehee) and after a video and tour, got to make our own pottery creations. Back in the old days, the Snake Kiln used to make giant water vats that apparently sold out before they were even cooled down. Now it's a family friendly museum with a long kiln snaking through the middle.
After lunch we were off to Tainan. And we got to stop by a rest stop. This is exciting. Rest stops in Taiwan put American ones to shame, always a delight in road trips. Not only is it more than a portapotty or a McDonalds...something really important happened there. My first purchase of the trip. My first trip to a convenience store. HiLife filled the emptiness inside me, the open gap from lack of convenience store food. And then the world was more colorful.
I'm sorry, that might sound like a little too much excitement surrounding one small...purchase. However, I think that it can be fair to argue that convenience stores such as the one described above are an integral part of Taiwanese culture.
Next Stop: National Museum of Taiwan History
It was soooooo hot. And we were a yellow blob. And we had to take a giant group picture. Terrible, I know.
Anyways, we got a brief history of Taiwan (at least...up until the unimportant events that happened in the 20th century), and our adorable tour guide with suspiciously good English came on our bus and also gave us tours of the other historical places we went to, Anping fort and Eternal Golden Castle.
The hotels just keep getting better and better. At least, for the higher buses...not that we slept much. Even though we had a three double bed room for two people, we spent most of the night choreographing and rehearsing for our "presentation" the next day. The air conditioning was not half as strong as it needed to be. The beds were so comfortable afterwards though. Heavenly. Good night.