March 25, 2019
Keelung is a major port city located in the northeastern part of Taiwan. It forms a metropolitan area with Taipei. It is nicknamed the “rainy port” and we could immediately see why. It was raining on our arrival and remained rainy in the morning and cloudy most of the day. Taipei is the capital of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and its largest city. The population is 23.5 million and 40% live in this area.
We joined our tour shortly after we reached the port. The port itself is very large and many containers are on land and being loaded onto ships. Here’s the view as we sailed in.
Our tour was to the Yangmingshan National Park and the mineral hot springs – a full day tour. Our guide was Jesse. He lived in the US from 1978 – 1992 and is a USC graduate.
He told us that they get 3000 earthquakes a MONTH here in Taiwan and most of them are not even able to be felt by people – they are just detected by the equipment. They did have a very big one in February 2018.
Taiwan is very clean, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Jesse said that we would not find any trash containers on the streets, people have to bring their trash home with them and it is collected twice a day. Imagine that..They have a 56% recycling rate.
People are quite poor in general. A salary for a typical worker is about $1500 US/ month and rents range about $600 US. So there isn’t much left for them to spend once their expenses come out of their salaries. On the other hand, his prescriptions and all doctor’s visits costs him $10 for 3 months.
There are lots of motorbikes here too, on a workday between 8:30 – 9 there are 1.3 million motorbikes on the road. But not too many on weekends.
A Mercedes vehicle costs about $100,000 US here and parking spots cost about that amount too.
Taiwan is #1 in building yachts, but most of the other industries (such as athletic shoes) have moved to mainland China which is a problem for the Taiwanese. There is still a healthy biotech industry.
It took about an hour to get to the park and on the way, Jesse gave us all yellow ponchos to wear in the rain. By the way, the bus was equipped with wifi and usb ports too. I was able to back up my iPhone while we traveled. The buses are quite fancy here, lots of lights and even curtains!
The drive to and through the park was just stunningly beautiful. Forests, mountains and hot springs are all part of this park. Here are some pictures of our walk. The cherry blossoms were still out but at the end of their blossoming. But the azaleas were beautiful.
After that part of the park, we went to the area of the bubbling hot springs. It was pretty overcast still but you can see some of these hot springs in these next shots. There was also a long walkway with lush bamboo on both sides. How do you like the poncho??
After the park we went to the Cal La Yong Garden Resort. Here we had a delicious Taiwanese lunch and then had several hours in the mineral hot springs. There was also a cold pool, high speed hot mineral showers and one pool with jets. Amazing afternoon. We were soooo relaxed at the end of the day. We even had a tea before we got on the bus to go back to the ship.
Yes, we did need to wear those dumb caps!
Here are some pictures as we traveled back to the port after a wonderful day.
You can see that this is an area of contrasts in economic levels.
Tonight in the terrace it was a pan Asian dinner and it was, as usual, fabulous. There were plenty of dumplings and noodle dishes too but I didn’t take pictures of those.
As we sailed away, the Keelung sign lit up the sky.