Life Around Yilan

It’s interesting and different to be here in Yilan. The trash truck plays little ditties. For example (not my video)

People here ride more scooters than cars: 

and breakfast is a little different:

Dragon fruit. My favorite!

If you’ve never had Dragon fruit, you really should try it. My room mates and I got into a ‘fight’ about it the other day, when I claimed that I liked it better than mango. It is less sweet, with a soft texture that lends itself well to yogurt (or in my case, kefir, since I can’t find yogurt here….). The scent is lovely and not cloyingly sweet at all.

Lovely.

Oddly enough, I haven’t really been able to find tea here, except in the bottled form. Also everything here is sweetened, something I don’t usually go for. I’m sorely missing my sparkling waters 😦  I found this unsweetened japanese style green tea which is okay when I need a break from regular bottled water or boiled water (as the tap water here isn’t potable) but it’s still caffeinated.

I’m working on finding a tea shop where I can get a cup of regular tea. I thought they’d be abundant but I guess I was wrong.

Whereas at home, mornings are a time when you can count on a little redemption before it gets hot and muggy, here the mornings are the hottest of times. Haze hangs over every vista making clothes cling to you like saran wrap. I kid you not. You know how when you put saran wrap on hot food it perspires? Yeah.

Morning in the sports park

Any sense of danger I’ve had in the past goes away. I cross a bridge with a two foot wide stepping area at least twice a day.

The bridge.

My arms carefully tucked at my sides, I take care never to look for too long into the distance at the scooters whizzing by on one side, or at the river flowing beneath me at the other, for fear I might accidentally step into the road.

Compound like houses

Yilan County is becoming a hot spot for both tourists and upper class people from the city, and houses are springing up like shoots in the countryside outside the main cities. Awkwardly taller than the rice paddies, these houses range in style from compound to full on western style with a twist. Many of them have yet to be inhabited, making them also awkwardly empty.

styled house styled photograph

Apartments

In the city, apartment buildings abound, stacked on on top of another. No two alike.

The building we live in, which oddly I haven’t photographed yet, is in an alleyway. It rises about five floors with a roof on top and we are the only occupants. Out my balcony I can see other people’s laundry whipping in the breeze when it is windy as it is tonight. 

The traditional is woven into the modern here in YIlan. Walking to the Teacher’s Center I passed what was perhaps a funeral. Attendees wore black and white and there were gongs. The procession was blocked with policemen, but I could just see inside to where there was something that looked to be a puppet, dragon, or casket.

Markets here come out at night like bats and line the streets with colourful awnings and pungent smells. 

Above is the triangle market which is housed under the bridge. I went to this market the first night in town which was, incidentally, the only night it has rained thus far!

The locals are incredibly photogenic here and make for lovely subjects, as long as you make like you aren’t taking pictures of them.

And the birds too!

I’m really loving the photographic opportunities here, although I haven’t yet discovered how to set my camera to take photos at night….

Oops.

Pretty, but not what I’m looking for.

Love, Hannah

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