There are several warning signs along the way about the Black Bears of Taiwan (as well as snakes, wasps, leeches and rock slides) and it’s starting to get on my nerves all those stories about deadly animals, to the point where I completely overreact and jump with fear at the sight of… a bird flying away. So long for my cold sweat followed by my laughter.
Like a family, we took care of each other. We cooked together after our shift. Emma used to help me to separate the white and the yolk to bake chocolate mousses. Vincent helped me getting train tickets out of the Family Mart’s vending machine where everything was written in Chinese. I used to go swimming with Emma at Our Beach. I used to sleep with Vincent at the 7/11 convenient store before watching some hot air balloons in Luye.
The purpose here is to make travel books travel around the world. Each traveller (and even locals!) can write or draw its own unique story. We all have something to share while travelling, whether it’s a story, a picture, an address, a drawing, some dried flowers or business cards.
I still remember the first day we went to our beach. It used to be her beach, the spot Emma chose to go swimming almost every day, meeting fishermen sometimes. I was following her racing her bike, trying to memorize every turn and streets, and was a bit confusing when I first arrived. It’s not a sandy beach. It’s a rocky beach, not really a beach, with a lot of garbage from the Night Market. But there was something extremely extraordinary about having the chance to go swimming every day. Because that’s exactly how it felt: a chance.
I wanted it wilder and more adventurous. This is why I chose to leave Taipei to travel the East Coast of Taiwan. According to my plan, I was supposed to spend two weeks in Hualien and explore the Taroko National Park as much as I could, and slowly make my way down south, stopping here and there.
But you know me pretty well by now, and you know that I suck at sticking to the plan.
When I travelled down from Taipei to Hualien, my main reason was that I really wanted more nature, more crazy-wild sceneries and let’s face it: I was craving to go hiking again. I guess this is why I fell in love with Taroko (and the whole Hualien County) right away.