Singapore Adventure

Friday, September 30, 2005

Yang Ming Shan
by venitha

Ask anyone in Singapore for recommendations of what to see and do at any nearby tourist destination, and they invariably point you toward shopping, eating, and night markets, which offer a double whammy by combining shopping and eating. So when Sze Yii, a co-worker, mentioned a national park near Taipei, my interest was piqued. And when I spotted Taiwan's mountains from first the airplane, then my cab, then my hotel window, our plans for Saturday were set.

Taiwan's is just a short MRT and bus ride outside Taipei. Thanks to our trusty Lonely Planet guide, our experience on Singapore's MRT, and this sign, which I still can't believe we decoded, we negotiated all with ease, and before we knew it we had arrived in heaven.

The weather was gloriously cool, and we had left the crowds of the bustling city behind. Lushly shaded paths meandered through dense forest. A hilltop clearing offered sweeping majestic views of the city. Tranquil waterfalls and gurgling brooks played a soothing background music to the Ni Hao's we exchanged with our fellow hikers. Delicate pink heart-shaped flowers bowed their blossoms in honor of my I Heart Taipei theme.

The most notable difference from hiking in my beloved Colorado mountains was Taiwan's We don't need no stinking switchbacks attitude. Stone staircases led straight up and straight down and straight up and straight down. An unexpected difference, you have to admit, from mountains called the Rockies.

Back at work in Singapore three days later, my calves were still sore, but I smiled widely as I thanked Sze Yii. My aching muscles have recovered, Taiwan has many national parks, and best of all, we will be back.