As I walk through the throngs of people and try to maneuver towards the food court the smell of stinky tofu relentlessly invades my nostrils. The sights and sounds at the ever famous night market is more than I can handle. I am in sensory overload and I know that I am in Taiwan.
Taiwan is known for its tall buildings, generous people, amazing views, incredible strides towards environmental change, and good food. However Taiwan is more than just stinky tofu and huge night markets; Taiwan is a place with a tragic history.
This winter I got the opportunity to join the Tsunah International Cultural Youth Tour of 2011. It's a trip I won't soon forget. Though I didn't know what to expect I know it was an experience that I couldn't be prepared for. The first thing I will share with readers is the living accommodations. It isn't extremely glamourous and sometimes you never know what your room is going to look like it. However I will say that to have a place to rest your head at night is a blessing in itself. I wouldn't call this tour a five star tour in regards to where we stayed but I would say that it was a five star tour in what we learned and what we saw.
The second thing I will share is what we learned. The saddest thing I came to realize is the struggle that Taiwan has gone through to maintain its democracy and it's identity. For many their identity is lost in the typhoons that pass through for some it is rooted in their parents. What I came to learn is that Taiwan's identity is rooted in the past and in its future. Taiwan has never been a part of any country willing. Those that lay claim to this beautiful island did so through violence and force. Taiwan is its own country and the world must come to acknowledge it and so must we. The history of Taiwan is one that not many know but on this tour we learned so much about it. I hope that more and more people come to understand and support the independence of Taiwan.
The last thing I would like to share is the visit to Taroko Gorge. This is what they call the gem of Asia and understandably so. This is an amazing natural sight that I can never get enough of. It is truly breathtaking. As you walk through the gorge you come to understand how small you are on this earth and how much bigger everything else is. The gorge is an amazing feat and if you ever have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. There is also a spa resort near Taroko gorge that I would recommend you stay at. The other highlight of this tour was visiting an indigenous tribe. This is something that not many have an opportunity to do but is something that sets this tour apart. This tribe was extremely welcoming and has a heart beat of its own. This kind of love and openness is not something you will find any place but tucked away. A hidden treasure that you must look for. It is quite worth the trek and if you can find a tour guide to explain to you their lifestyle that is even better.
There are very many things about this tour that make it unique and
wonderful. It's hard to write just a few things but if you have a chance to go, take it.
The cost is low and the sights are plenty. Be sure to bring your appetites because the
food is always good ands plenty. It is a tour that will make you laugh, cry, smile and