Taiwan Day 2: A Midnight Stampede

4 March 2018 400 km / 248 mi (map)

  • Added to Eric Scouten :: Travel on 13 May 2023
  • Taiwan 3

It’s dark. I’m asleep. There are elephants.

Huh?

Elephants. Yes. Definitely elephants. Many elephants. They’re running. Stampeding. Right outside my door.

This … could be bad.

Wait. No.

This doesn’t make any sense.

I’m in a hotel. On the seventh floor.

How would elephants get up here? And how would they fit in the hallway?

Also, I’m in Taiwan. Do they even have elephants in Taiwan?

Maybe it’s a bunch of rambunctious kids? No, they’re not screaming or anything.

I sit up, suddenly fully awake.

Earthquake!

The moment I understand it, everything stops.

Now that I’m up, I have questions: Should I get dressed? Evacuate? Are there going to be aftershocks?

Did I imagine the whole thing in some elaborate dream?

Nothing seems amiss. There are no alarms. I’m intact. The room is intact.

The adrenaline wears off and I fall back asleep.

A couple hours later, my phone bleeps and offers me this confirmation:

Taroko Liiko Hotels, Xincheng Township, Hualien County, Taiwan

The epicenter was 1.4 km (less than a mile) from my hotel.

A little after-party for my birthday. Thank you, Mother Nature!

I kind of wish I had been awake for more of it.

. . .

I awoke again at dawn (this time, without the elephants) and drove back into Taroko National Park. This time, my intent was to spend some time with the Xiangde Temple, which had been too busy for my taste yesterday.

Getting there early paid off:

Xiangde Temple, Taroko National Park, Taiwan
Xiangde Temple, Taroko National Park, Taiwan
Xiangde Temple, Taroko National Park, Taiwan
Xiangde Temple, Taroko National Park, Taiwan

Obviously, I’m here to tell the tale, but I did feel a bit nervous driving under these cliffs only a few hours after that earthquake.

Central Cross-Island Highway, Taroko National Park, Taiwan

I got back to my hotel in time to enjoy their breakfast buffet, which looks … just a little different from what we are offered back home:

Taroko Liiko Hotels, Xincheng Township, Hualien County, Taiwan

My overall plan for this long weekend is to circumnavigate the island. Today’s route took me along most of the eastern coast of Taiwan, alternating between rice paddies and winding mountain roads.

Yuli Township, Hualien County, Taiwan
Yuli Township, Hualien County, Taiwan
Yuli Township, Hualien County, Taiwan
Fuli Township, Hualien County, Taiwan
Fuli Township, Hualien County, Taiwan

A few scenes from some of the towns along the way:

Guanshan Township, Taitung County, Taiwan
Taitung City, Taiwan
Taimali Township, Taitung County, Taiwan
Taimali Township, Taitung County, Taiwan

I arrived in Kaohsiung just in time for a quick sunset photo.

Grand Hi-Lai Hotel, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Grand Hi-Lai Hotel, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Xincheng Township, Hualien County, to Kaohsiung, Taiwan · 400 km / 248 mi
(Mouse over or tap on the markers to see the photos there.)

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