Monday, 13 June 2011

Friday 10th June

The destinatiuon boards look very different in Taipei toi Newcastle

This is the shopping centre that we visited on the last day

We saw these signs in a shopping centre and thought they were a good way to distinguish between british style and Taiwnese style toilets!

On the way to the motorway

Chientan youth hostel

The Grand Hotel

Luxury - a late start we had breakfast at 8am
Followed by time to pack our cases, we all needed to get rid of unnecessary baggage to make the weight limit for the plane. Then we had room checks again to amke sure we had not left anything behind - like the keys. Mrs Mothersdale checked all baggage to ensure that we were not over the limit.
We checked out from rooms 11.00
We then all piled onto two coaches and visited an out of town shopping mall (Taimall) on way to the airport for lunch at food court. Some people were more adverturous than others here. There was also time to shop and the centre had 7 floors of shopping facilites and in the lower levels there was even a runnign track - which people were using for roller skating, basketball courts and a crazy golf course - which we had a go on.
We then went to the airport and checked in for our flights and had some time to look around the duty free. We got some strange looks as many of us were still wearning our Lei's.

We took what seemed a short flight to Bangkok where we had to disembark whilst they cleaned the plane then reboard for the Amsterdam leg of the flight. We were given meals on both the first and second leg and again they served icecream in the middle of the night - I think only Rosie was awake for this at this stage everyone else was trying to get back into UK time.


waiting for the pony bus

At Amsterdam following lots of goodbyes Cockermouth left the rest of the party and got the Newcastle flight - we were home by just after Eleven. The rest of the party waited for the Manchester flight and were home by 2 ish in the afternoon.
Now just got to get our sleep patterns right for school on Monday.

Thursday 9th June

On Thursday we split up into three separate school parties to visit schools
Two schools took the Pony Bus to Yichang JHS, two schools went by school bus to Tzu Chang JHS
And Quegs and Cockermouth took the Pony Bus to Ji-An JHS
We all received very warm and spectacular welcomes from the schools.  At Ji-An it seemed the whole school came out to welcome us and gave us bright lei's to wear around our necks. We went into their school sports hall and were shown a wonderful display of five different types of dancing from traditional  aboriginal dancing to street modern street dancing and the spectacular  big costumed character dancers.
We then went to a classroom where we were taught calligraphy by a master, students learned the symbol for spring and how to write their name in traditional symbols, working in pairs with their Taiwanese friends.
They then went to different classrooms in pairs to discuss the differences and similarities in their lives and education. Some students sang songs to each other – Kim and Claire did a very impressive version of an Adele song.
The students then met up for lunch and were given traditional steamed rice in Bamboo together with their lunch box – the bamboo had to be bashed together to split it to open it to get the rice out. All are now very adept with their chop sticks – Alex had seconds. After Lunch Luke led group singing with the Taiwanese students whilst they worked out what pop songs they all knew.
Our students had really bonded with these students and were sad to leave their school.
The other schools had also had an interesting morning trying archery at one school and craft work at another.
At 13.30 we made an early transfer to the station apparently Taiwan has two days in the year when they practice military manoeuvres and everyone has to be off the street by 2pm.
So at 14.30 we took the TRA to Taipei and the MRT to Jiantan.
We are all now seasoned users of the trains and metro in Taipei and have travelling groups with one student from each school– so even when carrying suitcases and rucksacks a safe transfer was made back to the Chientan youth hostel – our home from home.
That evening we had another celebration dinner with the British council and staff from schools in Taipei. All schools did a presentation on aspects of the visit – Ryans presentation was very entertaining! I will say no more. We were all shattered by the end of the evening so had an early night with a view to packing for the return to the UK in the morning.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Wednesday 8th June

8th june  2011
Both hotels at Ruei Suei were really great but the food critics concensus was that the food was better at the girls hotel where they enjoyed prawns, oysters etc. From today we will all be back in the same hotel.
After an early breakfast we split into two parties and one group went to Ruei Suei JHs and the other went to Dongli JHS. Again we received a very warm welcome from the students who performed a traditional dance for us then allowed us to join in.
After a welcome speech from the head teacher the students were split into pairs and taught how to make Atomo beads necklaces with a vial that can be filled with essential oils. Then we went to Luoshan waterfall and the student s were shown how to make Parched rice cake. They all enjoyed making the rice into rice crispies, rolling the cakes out and eating them.
For lunch we went to Fuli Farmers association where students had a Taiwanese lunch box with their new Taiwanese friends.  After shopping in the Farmers association shop we left the dongle students and took the East coast scenic drive –

The other group took part in a talent show, did leather carving and visited a school fair before meeting up with us on the coast road.
We stopped on the coast road to look at the beach and again to visit the Basian cave visitors centre shops. We then continued down the winding coast road to Hualien where we checked back into our hotel before tonight’s grand dinner.