Monday, 6 June 2011

Monday 6th June

6th june  2011
The weather here is very hot 34 degrees C and very humid - we are all being told to remember to wear a hat , suncream and drink plenty of water. Lots of the girls are carrying umbrellas for shade and we have changed our itinerary a bit to account for the heat.
Last night we had the opportunity to go into Hualien for a meal then shopping in Hualien town centre we split into groups with the students from Hualien school and they helped us haggle to get better prices on the stalls.
This morning we had an early start we had Breakfast at 8.00 and left at 8.30 our first stop was at a high school where we watched a presentation about dragon boat racing and the dragon boat festival which is in honour of a famous poet. There was a prize for the student who could tell the difference between dragon boat racing in the ‘UK and Taiwan. ( see picture of presentation below). We learned about the banana leaf parcels which people still make on this day and one of the teachers had made some for us to try. We also learned about the legend of the noon egg.
We then split into groups with the Hualien students to answer questions about the festival in school  we found it interesting that all the students had a wooden desk in which they keep their books and a recorder. We then departed from the school and took the pony bus to Carp lake at 9.00 and got a very warm welcome from the announcer who asked the crowd to welcome their visitors from the UK. It was 34 degrees at the lake, students took part in the egg balancing competition and we watched the heats of the dragon boat racing. The boats were painted red green yellow and black and the eyes are painted in by the local mayor. Their prizes were really impressive trophies.  
Then we went on to a organic farm at Shoufeng Township for lunch, there we had a bike ride to the fields where we picked carrots, we visited  a Chinese temple, a Japanese `temple, and some students tried walking barefoot down a path made of pebbles which was very hard on the feet!.  We cycled to another area and  went for a walk around a beautiful lake then headed back – Miss Bowe leading the peloton  whilst cycling and taking these photos – although she was the winner of the yellow jersey by the end. From here we took the bus to our hotel  in Ruei Suei where we got settled in and relaxed in our hot tubs which are fed from Yuan Hsiang Hot Springs.
We then had a Taiwanese meal most students tried the duck, prawns banana leaf rice parcels and spicy chicken.
Students then broke into travelling teams for the quiz, Mr Kent had prepared 40 questions on Taiwan which were answered very competitively - the staff team were disqualified for trying to enlist the help of the spa staff.
Early start tomorrow – we are in schools and they start at 7 am!.

Lois, Luke and Heather

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