Thursday, June 21, 2012

Promotions and Gratitude: Friends of the Blog

An interesting thing has happened.  This blog is running between 3,00 and 4,000 hits a month.  Since it has become somewhat popular, (It's still a small blog compared to others), I have received numerous requests to advertise things for people.  A lot of people want me to write posts on their particular website, product or link to their page.  While I’m flattered to be asked I have to say, I’m probably not going to write or post posts that are unrelated to Taiwan, especially if you are trying to make a profit.  

I don’t want to be harsh, but this blog isn’t written to make a profit.  It isn’t written to advertise products.  It certainly doesn’t exist to benefit anyone.  It is written to promote the culture, beauty and people of Taiwan.  There have been times when I have written a post that promotes a local restaurant or something, but those are written in the spirit of helping someone with making a successful living for their family.  Generally, these are people that I care about for one reason or another.  I have never asked for or received any compensation for any posts promoting some place.

So the policy of this blog is that we will not promote other websites or organizations, except the following:

Christian Fellowship Ministries – This is the organization under which I am here in Taiwan.  I feel a great sense of gratitude to The Door Christian Fellowship in Tucson, Pastor Harold Warner, and The Door Christian Fellowship in Colton, Pastor Eric Strutz, because of the investment they have made in the people of Taiwan, through this ministry.

We Blog the World – This blog has carried and promoted the Taiwan Adventure for a couple of years.  Renee Blodgett has kindly allowed us to be a part of We Blog the World, even though, my posts are probably not up to the quality of the others who are professional writers, or at least have a basic understanding of English Grammar. 

The Expat Blog – This blog is designed to help expats to find services, jobs, housing and other needs while living in a foreign country.  There is no charge for their service.  They carry The Taiwan Adventure as a blog about life in Taiwan. Use the link to find out all you need to know to live in Taiwan or other places.

Go – Similar to the expat blog, but is aligned toward teaching and educational opportunities in many different nations.  They carry the Taiwan Adventure in their Top Taiwan Blogs section.

Radio Taiwan International – International radio “The Voice of Asia.”  The Taiwan Adventure was promoted by them on their radio show, “Taiwan Today.”

Taiwan Gongfu Tea – Is a website that I own and use to sell Taiwanese Tea on the internet.

The Bard and the Bears – This is one of the groups that has written to me to write a guest post.  I agreed because they will be competing in the Mongol Rally to benefit Children’s Hospital in Orange County California.  As an infant, Children’s Hospital helped me through a surgery that saved my life.  I’m happy to provide this small bit of support back to benefit them.

There are others bloggers whom I support.  They are small blogs or blogs that promote Taiwan from perhaps a different perspective.  I’ve never personally met any of them but they’re the blogs that I enjoy reading.  They are: – They provide lots of useful information on life in Taiwan for expats, as well as carrying a number of English language blogs. 

Shuflies – An excellent blog written by Catherine Shu.  She is an American Born Taiwanese woman, who writes for the Taipei Times. 

Vagabond in Taiwan – This blog is a photo/written blog by another American Born Taiwanese woman who blogs from her perspective; 16 year old teenager.

Taiwanna Eat A Lot – Kind of cool photoblog about food. 

Taiwan – How to cook Taiwanese food.  I love Taiwanese food.  A couple in the UK does this recipes and videos.  She is the star of the videos, her personality is delightful and food is delicious and authentic.

So there it is.  These are the things I promote on this blog.  Please feel free to write me with things you might want to promote, but bear in mind the criteria that I mentioned.  If it doesn’t promote the culture, beauty and people of Taiwan it probably won’t be selected for a post. 

I want to take a moment to express my gratitude and appreciation to the following individuals. These are  people that have helped and supported me either personally or through promoting the blog or being a faithful reader and sometimes critic.

Ps. Harold Warner            Ps. Wayne Pelren
Ps. Eric Strutz                   Henry Wang
Renee Blodgett                 Natalie Tso
Jennifer Kalmbach            Mordeth 13
David Reid                        Yvette Pelren
Valerie Gomez                  Julien (

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Taiwan Travelogue: Lala Shan 拉拉山

Lala Shan is located in Taoyuan County about halfway out the #7 Cross-Island Highway toward Yilan.  One word of warning this is not a drive to take if you’re in a hurry.  The drive is difficult with a lot of one lane sections, a speed of about 30 km/hr (20 mph), the good part is that it is through some of Northern Taiwan’s most beautiful scenery.  There are steep cliffs, many waterfalls, bamboo forests and beautiful river overlooks. 

At one point the highway crosses over the river on a red bridge.  Next to that bridge is a walking bridge, which is home to a three-legged monkey, who spends his time bumming food from tourists.  He’s pretty aggressive and will climb onto and try to get into your car. 

Turn off Highway 7 onto the Shang Baling road, follow it up to Baling and then follow the signs to Lala Shan Nature Protection Zone, or do what we did and head up the little road to You German Garden 侑德國 Bed and Breakfast.

The Big Cabin sleeps up to 10 people
This is a beautiful bed and breakfast that's made up of cabins that sleep four people.  They rent for about  $3,000NTD ($100USD) a night.  There is also a large cabin that will accommodate up to ten people that rents for $6,000NTD ($200USD) for eight people or less and $8,000NTD ($267USD) for nine or more.  Please note that these are off-season rates and who knows, they may change. 

If you are a disabled person the place is a bit difficult.  Doorways are narrow and if you’re in a wheelchair you will definitely need to remove the bathroom door to get in.  The beds are mattresses on the floor, so they are difficult to get up into your wheelchair.  Finally, the walkways from the path to the cabin door are made of loose stepping-stones and there are large steps into the building. 

The view here is magnificent, many times you’re over looking clouds in the valley, or watching clouds rim the higher peaks.  The cabins are rustic but modern.  The big cabin even has karaoke, if you like that sort of thing.  My family can sing, I can manage to croak out a verse or two and start the dogs howling and the bullfrogs singing along.

The four person cabin 
In the morning you can have a breakfast of Congee.  Congee is a type of rice gruel.  The rice is cooked in a lot of water until it’s very soft.  Congee is served plain as a side dish to real food or with flavorings, to stand on its own.  Personally, I don’t really like to eat Congee.  I think it bland and tasteless.  But that’s just me.  I’m one who uses liberal amounts of hot sauce when I eat.  I’m partial to Mexican hot sauces, like Chipotle and Habanero, but Chinese "Rooster" sauce is good, too. In the morning we just grilled up some pancakes on the gas grill provided on our picnic table. 

The B&B also provided a charcoal grill for cooking but they are shallow and wholly inadequate for barbecuing.  I would recommend that you bring your own grill.  It took so long to cook shish kabob that we finally carried it over to the gas grill to put some fire to it.  I’m just glad we didn’t try to do steaks.

This beautiful area is also the home of the Lala Shan Nature Protection Zone.  There are beautiful, towering Red Cypress trees there.  Some of them are between 500 and 2,800 years old.  In addition, you'll see yellow Cypress and color changing (deciduous) trees like green maple and Beech.  It must be really spectacular in the fall when the reds and yellows are mixed in with the greens of the conifers. I may have to make a return trip.

The trails here are well developed and easy to walk.  They have stairs that go up most of the steepest inclines.  (Once again difficult for disabled people.)  The trails pass by many ancient trees and the scenery is gorgeous.

 The Lala Shan Nature Protection Zone
Well developed trails

Signs are in Chinese and English

This tree is 1,400 years old

Stairs help you do the steep parts

Caterpillar Trains

The #7 Cross Island Highway

A tea shop along the road

Other posts you may be interested in:

Photo Credits:
All other photos:  Chris, Brenda, Elizabeth, and Emily Banducci