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Taiwan: Green Island, the first vacation (#1).

On Friday, September 5 at 11:15pm, I set out from Taipei to Green Island 綠島 with friends Michael, Henry, and Shirley.

Green Island is a prepubescent child of Taiwan, about 20 miles off the coast of Taitung 台東. We took a night bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung, then a train Taitung, and finally a ferry to the island.

We arrived at Taitung at 8am and had a couple of hours to explore the city before boarding the ferry. We biked around the iconic Taitung Forest Park, which trumps Daan Forest Park in Taipei.

Having only ever been on the northern and western parts of Taiwan, I was taken aback by the natural beauty of the east coast. Mountains in the backdrop, beautiful coastline all around, and green fields in between. The Taiwan I know did not have such natural, open space.

The one hour ferry time was my first in a speed boat. No longer was I in a 6-7 knot sailboat, but in a 20-25 knot ferry carrying a couple hundred passengers.

Large boats leave large wakes. And a lot of vomiting passengers.

We arrived on the island and rented motorcycles. First time driving an electric motorcycle. I felt a sensation of nervousness and exhilaration, thinking of how much the relatives would disapprove out of fear if they were to find out.

These green motorbikes brought us to our hostel, where we dropped off our stuff and toured the island. 環島, or riding around an entire island, has been a lifelong dream. The 20-mile long island in circumference isn’t Taiwan, but it’s a great start.

There are some things that can be described in words. There are other things that can be expressed through pictures. Neither can prove sufficient in explaining the feeling of winds hitting your flesh as you ride around magnificent views of cliffs and ocean.

I’ve never been to Hawaii, Bali, French Polynesia, or anywhere with the iconic clear-blue waters. These waters came close to what I see in Google Images. Of what the ideal vacation spots are with sandy white beaches and palm trees, or of the sense of desolate paradise.

With no rush for time, we made our way through the entire island and stopped by places that caught our eye – which was almost every stop.

We visited an abandoned village. To think that people lived here hundreds of years ago, and to think that several hundred people are still permanent residents.

It’s troublesome to take pictures every second, since every sight is picture-worthy. Instead, my GoPro was put to use and captured hours of motorbiking footage.

The next post will talk about snorkeling in a coral reef, and more on some history of the island.

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