Neal boarding the shuttle train in Tainan City to the High Speed Rail station.
After getting our coffee, we are ready to get on the Taiwan High Speed Rail train to Hsinchu.
We arrive in Chubei (North Hsinchu) and unite with our friends from Hsinchu and Taipei. (left to right: Leo Li, Gary Smoke, Henry Liao, Neal Klein)
We arrive in the old town of Neiwan in the hills of Hsinchu County. We are greeting by Mr. Li and given a tour.
Henry and Neal begin their stroll through the historic town of Neiwan.
The gate to an old temple in Neiwan.
We continue to follow Mr. Li and Mr. Li to the center of the town.
Neiwan is an old Hakka town.
We arrive at the center of town, which is now a tourist area.
Because it is Friday afternoon, the tourists have not yet filled the streets.
Mr. Jien (far right) drove our van and is also part of our entourage.
Mr. Jien, Ming-ren stops to pose, while the two Americans take in the sights.
Mr. Li brings us to a local store, where the owner gives us a historic account of Neiwan with photos. Neiwan was administered by the Japanese, and was an important lumber town.
Photos and maps on the wall of the store capture the history of Neiwan.
Creative items can be found all over Neiwan to appeal to the tourists.
Our host guides us to a historic theater, which is almost 100 years old.
The old theater has a gift shop inside.
From left to right: Gary Smoke, Henry Liao, Leo Li, Neal Klein, Ming-ren Jien, and Tony Coolidge
The historic street is lined with many gift shops catering to crowds of tourists every weekend.
A food stand that sells traditional pickled vegetables and sauces.
The old Neiwan train station is still operational.
We stop briefly to let our hosts to make arrangements for our next stop. Everything was well-organized, as everywhere we went, people, food and drinks were waiting for us.
My friends in front of the Neiwan Train Station.
The old Neiwan police station.
Leo Li stops for a photo on his way up to the Neiwan Police Station.
The Neiwan Police Station sits on a hill next to the railroad tracks.
The police station was built during the Japanese era.
The photo shows that during the Japanese era, the high-ranking policemen were Japanese, and they oversaw the other policemen who were Taiwanese/Chinese.
The tree next to the station is over 100 years old.
The friends in our group pose in front of the old police station. The police station will be replaced by a new one, and then converted into a museum.
Gary poses with the police station's two policemen on duty.
Driving deeper into the mountains of Hsinchu County, we stop to take a photo of the valley.
Leo enjoys the view.
Two new friends enjoy the view.
We finally arrive at the top of the mountain, and stop for the views!
We are in Yulao Village in the Hengshan District at the top of the mountain.
The viewing platform in Yulao Village. The skies are clear and beautiful.
A police officer from the Yulao Police Station gave all of us hot tea.
21C = 69 F. Nice and cool!
Look at this! It's almost August, and I am enjoying 21 degree weather! That's 69 degrees F!
On top of the mountain looking back towards Hsinchu City.
We take a brief tour of the Yulao Police Station.
We're almost to Shoulan. We stop to look at an old foot bridge.
We arrive at a small restaurant in Shoulan Village, our final destination for the night. The delicious indigenous cuisine is already waiting for us, thanks to Watan, the restaurant owner.
Old rifles traditionally used by the Atayal warriors and hunters.
We look at the cultural relics around the restaurant before we sit down to eat.
We have stir fried organic cabbage, steamed salty chicken, mountain pork soup, barbecued mountain pork, steamed fish, and more stir fried vegetables.
Henry is happy.
The friends get to know each other better around the dinner table.
Leo practices English with his new friends and learns new English words and phrases.
Neal finds a guitar and starts singing songs. Gary joins in, and the tone of the evening begins to pick up.
After our experience in the hot spring next to the river, we get together for karaoke in our dormitory.
Gary gets comfortable in the entertainment room.
The table is set with drinks and food, including peaches, bananas, lychees, dried squid, and chicken feet.
Henry proves himself to be a very good singer.
Neal and Gary find plenty of English songs to choose from.
Gary and Miss Hsu.
The small elementary school next to the Shoulan Police Station.
The police dormitory behind the Shoulan Police Station. This where we stayed overnight. The black van that transported us is parked in front.
The Shoulan Police Station.
After I wake up at 8:00 am, I take a stroll through town to find some coffee.
The mountain air feels so refreshing in the morning.
A local boy runs by with his toys.
A small residential street in Shoulan Village.
Down by the river was the hot springs where all of us sat and talked under the stars.
The water in the river is very cold.
Watan's cat in his restaurant. He looks pretty satisfied with his life.
Outside of Watan's restaurant. We enjoy breakfast there.
The indigenous village of Shoulan has garbage truck service on Saturday morning.
We return to Yulao Station on Hengshan District.
The main shop in Yulao is open on Saturday morning to serve the many tourists who come by car and bicycle.
The small outdoor market sells organic vegetables and corn grown locally.
The local market in Yulao also sells stinky tofu.
On Saturday morning in Yulao, it is 28 degrees C.
Same view, different day.
Cyclists congregate at the Yulao Police Station for a lengthy rest. Riding a bicycle up the mountain from Hsinchu City is a difficult task. Only the bests cyclists can make it.
Leo tells me why the Yulao Police Station is important to the area.
Our entire group stands in front of Yulao Police Station before we leave.
The view towards Hsinchu City from the mountain top.
One of many waterfalls along the way home. Many tourists were already out enjoying nature.
Our group gets out to take a hike on a mountain trail.
We walk up a mountain trail for 1 kilometer to build up our appetites for lunch. Our host from the area, Mr. Li, guides us.
A fish farm in the mountains is our choice for lunch.
This restaurant and fish farm is famous in the area.
We have a nice view from the restaurant.
Many cyclists and tourists enjoy the fresh food after a rest from hiking and biking.
Our guests anxiously await the meal to come.
We enjoy a Hakka meal of stir fried vegetables, mountain pork, poached fish, fried fish, fish soup, and roast fish.
The owner of the restaurant provides each of us with a complimentary fried fish, and shows us an easy way to de-bone our fish.
After splitting open the back, the entire backbone can be pulled out.
We are extremely full, but we show our gratitude to the restaurant owner by eating his complimentary fish.