#Pink and #Undecided's Taiwan Trip : Hualien (Hot Air Baloon!)

9:02:00 PM

Hi, everybody!

#Pink's here! Isn't the title of this entry exciting? Hot air baloon! I feel excited *all over again* when i was cropping and resizing the pictures (or in my language : editing) and couldn't wait to finally get to this part!
But of course, i am (like always) getting ahead of myself. After where we left off in our last entry, we didn't go to this Hot Air Balloon Festival right away (it's only starting around 5 PM or something, so we had plenty of time to kill off still), instead we went to some other places first.

I... really don't know how to describe the next place! I even doubt it has a special name *except like, a road name*. We were quite a bit confused when our taxi drivers (we hired them for three days) drop us off around here.
The taxi drivers didn't speak (not a word of) English, so imagine our confusion of being dropped at a place that seems like an under developement housing estate. Then we were told that it was owned by, errr... like, the richest guy in Taiwan or something? Probably like a Stanley Ho of Taiwan (I've also never heard of Stanley Ho before we went to Macau and got a loud aunty Tour Leader who had the biggest crush on him and kept on mentioning him) maybe? You know, someone extremely rich (and probably powerful too) but mainly well-known by the locals (and maybe people who are very interested in world's business. I am not).

Stanley wHo? Hahahahaha... Admit it, that was funny, wasn't it!! LOL. Anyway, it's my turn to don the Italic-letter-hat, and believe me that the OCD-#Undecided is itching badly to click the Italic button off. I hate writing like this and somehow in order to balance everything out, I am typing this with my head slightly tilted on the side. Oh well, another no-so-fun fact about yours truly to greet everybody. 

Let me continue.

So yeah, we were apparently dropped at this estate of a very rich person. I failed to understand several things at that time:
1/ Why were there so many visitors? Like, is there nothing else to see in Hualien so they come here to admire other people's house?! 
2/ A tour of some stranger's house, really?! Why is this stranger so nice they let everybody in to view for free?! They should start charging!!
3/ Why is the weather so hot?!?!?!
4/ Why is the estate so damn vast?! How rich is this person?! Do they have a single son?!

LOL. I amuse myself sometimes. 

And totally annoy me. Btw, i need to add something, i wasn't even aware if the HUGE place was a house of ONE person (well, one family i guess), i thought it was like a real estate and i got even more confused on why we were taken there. Did they wanted us to invest or something? Hehe. And then there's this episode when we *guided by #Undecided's hubby* scolded Joe for bringing us there. We kept on telling him we have thousands like this in Indonesia and we owned lots of them so what's the use of us seeing something we already own? LOL. Yeah, bunch of nutcases there.

Anyway, get ready. We're being nosy and taking a peek into some stranger's house today. Enjoy!

The pond. Yes, IRL it's as massive as it shows in this pic.
Stupid wind blew my hair. Gah!
I seriously have nothing to say for this pic. *straight face*
Weird looking pine tree.
One of the fruit fell on top of #Pink. Okay, that's a lie. LOL. It was lying on the ground helplessly and #Pink picked it up. No, not to put it to die on the side or whatever, but to pose with it. LOL.
SHUTTUP BB! Lemme tell you something, it was really really heavy! And i've never seen such a big pine errr.... cone???

Photo viewing cut abruptly because then we decided not to go inside hahahahaha... So much for being nosy. 

Next destination. Ugh, this one's difficult to explain, so I'll let #Pink continue :D.

HEH!!!! You keep on giving me the describing the place thingy BB! So annoying!!! I know i am a certified Tour Leader and all, but i'm as clueless as you when it comes to places like this! Alas, let me try. It's actually a carbon factory. (or as i just Googled it-might be bamboo charcoal factory)
Looked like a garage somewhere in suburb (or villages) in Indonesia :p. We were so confused when we got there
Other very "Indonesian" corner
Errrr.... Explanation of the carbon/bamboo charcoal factory and how to produce them?
There was another (small) group listening to an explanation, but i don't think they speak English and nobody in our little group were keen on listening to carbon related trivias too *LOL*, so we just proceed to the indoor part-which is the souvenir shop hahaha. I dunno if we skipped the important part, but to be called a factory (albeit probably the "for show" one like this Cheese factory in Volendam)-shouldn't there be more... you know, medias to show how the factory worked? I just saw that one lone table and another one hogged by the other group. That's it!
Plenty of carbon based stuffs available! Really, the choicest were quite vast! From drinking wares and statues that you can see in this picture...
To this carbon/charcoal-based corsets, underwears and the likes. Ever heard of bamboo-charcoal slimsuits? It's quite the rage in Indonesia. I own one (but it's China made, obvi) and thought the charcoal part was just a publicity stunt, apparently they really made them from carbon!
Yea.... I don't remember what this is. Carbon/charcoal soap? There were quite a lot of beauty related items too!
errrr...
Look at #Undecided sniffing on some... i dunno, carbon/charcoal hand cream-which smelled awful apparently!

Yeah wasn't too interested to browse around this place. All I did was drink the carbon tea and cool myself down. It was air-conditioned and was a nice change from the outside.

Someone then spotted a very interesting looking thing and brought it to our attention. 
Black and round.
And totally edible!
It looked totally unappetizing right?! Like, ew! But apparently everybody in our group liked it! Well yea, everybody except for yours truly! It tasted like chalk to me (and yes, I've tasted chalk! The blue one! Remind me to tell you the story later, k!) so no no no matter how many times hubby tried feeding those round black thingy to me, I refused wholeheartedly.

LOL, leave it to #Undecided for not telling you what that round thingy actually was until the end! It was just a carbon (very safe and actually healthy for your intestines LOL) coated peanuts, like the normal "kacang telur" (errrr, i mean.... THE direct translation would be egg coated peanut, but not really just egg lah it's crunchy and floury too) and it tasted like one too! 

And as any other places in Hualien, the outside view was quite the sight. Here are some of the funny looking plants that #Pink took photos of.
It looks... furry....
Like a butterfly, no???

And nowwww the moment that we've all been waiting for!!! Hot air balloons!!!! You have no idea how excited #Pink and I. I'm not afraid of heights so the prospect of seeing Hualien from up above was something that I wouldn't miss.

Hunny already knew about this whole hot air balloon thingy (it's actually a festival joined by many hot air balloon crews from all around the world) when we were still planning for this trip, he really did his homework and browse for things to do, places to visit and (the most important one) stuffs to eat! I didn't really listen to him (bad wife LOLOLOL, i blank out a lot :p) when he was yapping about it because i thought it'd be very expensive or we wouldn't have time to do it. But when we arrived at Lake Shore Hotel, we were greeted by a big board advertisement and became really interested!'

Oh yeah, it was starting to rain while we were on the way to the hot air balloon place (which was quite faraway, like a few hours from central Hualien) and we were worried that we might not be able to ride it afterall, but the sky cleared up once we arrived! Lucky us!
Like I died and went to heaven. A vast field of green green grass. I'm obsessed with green field like this one.
The red plant formed letters. Too bad we couldn't capture them from above.
Not that we'd be able to read it anyway...
Posing prettily but giddy on the inside hahahaha.

And then of course we had to snap photos with the hot air balloons as the background!
Loved ones. Green grass. Hot air balloons. Mountain. Like I said, I died and went to heaven. 
Closer look at our faces LOL.
Spotted a crazy person.
2013 made from floral arrangement.
Yea, i was so excited i got snap-happy!
And pose crazily...
The view across the street, beautiful no?


Very happy tourists

Hunny and Boss Re's eldest daughter, Tiara! Hey Tiara! (she asked for our blog address when she realized we were bloggers haha, i'm guessing she's reading our blog now *stare*?)
Very energetic and always helpful Joe already ran to the ticketing booth to get our tickets. It was-according to those Taiwanese (Joe and the taxi uncles) very expensive *LOL*. It was TWD 500? Which is like, IDR 150.000-so very cheap in our opinion!
Got the tickets already!
Joe actually refused to join us! I was a bit confused, but apparently Joe's afraid of height! I totally thought it was just an excuse or he was exaggerating, but i realized he wasn't kidding the next day! I'll tell ya more about it in the next entry, okay! Btw, we were rushed the whole day by Joe and #Undecided's hubby who said the whole place would be crazily packed and we'd have to wait super long to ride the hot air balloon (if we get to at all, we weren't even sure we would be able to!), like... four hours queue or something (which we'd never do)-so we had to arrive just after they start to open.

But well, it was not even packed *LOL*. We did have to wait for a little bit (in which i got to experience the horror of portable toilets -___-. Lemme tell you, regular public toilets in Taiwan are already a total nightmare, the portable ones? Multiply it by 10! EWWWWWWWW. NEVER AGAIN!) but it was a pleasant (and not too long) wait!
A view of a errr... mini lake i snapped on the way to the horror portable toilet, kept on joking on doing another cycle with water bikes (NO!)
The waiting part was quite funny, they would call out your number to enter the waiting area and you'd have to sit in a row of plastic chairs and move up whenever a group's already being led to a second location. There were youngsters (very pleasant and friendly, unlike some of the older generation of Taiwanese we encountered so far haha) staffs holding a placate with the words "Follow Me" in English and Chinese leading each group to their designated hot air balloon (there were a few, like... 10 of them?).
Like that haha, looked a bit like kindergarten students, yes?
The beautiful hot air balloons. We were joking on how with our luck, out of those beautifully colored ones-we'd be stuck with the ugliest one. And guess what... Of course that happened -___-...
Sitting around and waiting patiently to be called to the second location. See that ugly orange Emirates balloon (half obscured by another ugly blue one)? Yeah, that was ours -___-
Excited, excited!
Group photo while waiting to board our ugly flying machine tee hee!
While we were waiting for our turn, there were 2 things that I was severely worried about:
1/ How the f*ck would we climb into that thing?!
2/ How hot will it be being so close to the flame!?!
3/ (okay 3 things and not 2, but this one's super important) What if the flame singe my hair?!?!?! Oh the horror!!!

The answer to the first worry is on below photo.
A plastic chair!! Just stand on it and hop in!
That is one extremely unflattering picture of my back but i post this anyway because it tells the story! I suddenly got really really nervous, not because we're going to go up there but because i was worried about climbing up the stool, what if i fell down and made a fool out of myself??? I'm very bad at climbing things you know! But obviously i made it in without any incident
The inside was pretty packed. There were 5 of us (including the operator - a very nice American named Bruce. Or Jim. Or Brad. Oh well, can't remember his name). And indeed it was super hot. Bruce/Jim/Brad/the operator had to push/pull on a lever to make sure that the flame is big enough to keep us afloat. And every single burst was HOT! You can feel it on the top of your head hahahaha...
We didn't go very high, but look, there we are!!!
Almost down. Those people in blue were prepping to put their weight on the balloon in order to keep it from floating up again once we're all out.
Hubby and I were safely outside, and it was #Pink's turn to get out.
Which was a total drama -___-, i almost cried when they told us we had to climb out of the *pretty high, mind you* friggin "basket" without any support or help from a stool! There's this little hole to hook you feet into and i was wearing a slipper and kept on slipping pffffttt thank God for concerned and understanding BFF who told me to take off my slipper and next thing i know i was out of the basket. LOL. I can't climb things, people!!!
And then it was Boss Re's family's turn!
The hole on the balloon looks alarming, but nobody died, thank God!
See, it's okay! They went up and back down fine :D
All the while we were waiting for our turns until we're done with the whole thing, there was this commotion of people "pumping" (or whatever it is that you do to prep for a hot air balloon to be up and flying!) a HUGE angry bird balloon and finally it was done.
This thing. But it's not really operating, it's just for photo taking purposes where you have to pay more just to hop in and take pictures inside the angry bird hot air balloon
And we're clearly too cheap to pay some more just for taking pictures, so we just took one i front of it instead :p

What's a group of gluttons to do once they're done with their thing? Attack the nearby snacks booths of course
The sign stated "Frog's eggs" which made me wince, turned out it's just jelly pearls for your bubble tea lah LOL
Roasted Chow Tofu for the Chow Tofu obsessed
Yum drink (it was grass jelly milk tea i think) which was really yum at the top, but super bitter on the bottom -____-
#Undecided with her raw whole garlic. They have this yummy sausages that you should eat together with raw garlic! Garlic itself is not something i'd normally take-let alone raw-but i dunno what got into me that time that i just obediently opened my mouth and let them plop one into my mouth, and i didn't regret it because it really turned out to be very very YUM!
Ending the hot air balloon post with a picture of me hiding behind a totem pole *LOL*
We were then dropped to another night market (which is sadly nowhere near as nice as the one we went to the night before) there weren't a lot of interesting food stalls (there weren't a lot of food stalls at all actually LOL) and we didn't end up sampling a lot of things. But it was still nice to take a look around and see how Taiwanese people spend their free time hehe (hey don't scold me if you're Taiwanese and not into night markets okay, i got the information from a true-blue Taiwanese one :p). I don't know the name of this night market though, it might be Nanbin Night Market as when i browse through the pictures it seems to be the one, but they described it to be the largest and most popular night market in Hualien, well... I dunno, it just seemed a little deserted when we were there.
There were a lot more of those festival games booths than the actual food booths
There's even Japanese style goldfish scooping games available
Also turtle catching, for that matter
Poor turtles *LOL*. The owner seemed to love his turtles though. I understand Chinese a little bit (but i can't speak it) and i knew he was telling his young (teenage boys) costumers the rules of the game. And how to put the turtles down gently. He actually screeched at them when they handled those turtles roughly hehe.
Seriously saw lots of Taiwanese youths in their night markets. They don't seem to like malls much!
The game booths were actually very appealing, with cute and high quality plush toys prizes to win, unlike Indonesia's sucky prizes hahaha
You have to throw those little hoops (more like a bangle actually WTH) into the tiny figurines. I saw people carrying huge baskets of those bangles, determined to win something!
Boss Re and his girls caught the determination bug and played a few rounds of bursting the balloons. They'd keep on playing and spend hundreds of TWD if we didn't stop them *LOL*
Then we finally called it a night, went back to the hotel and chill! I was so worried about #Undecided's hubby not being able to sleep again (because of my hunny's snoring), i fed him my Sweet Dream (herbal sleeping pills). One pill apparently wasn't enough for the big guy, i got even more worried when he didn't even show a sign of sleepiness after a few hours, so i gave him another one and down he went! But then hunny didn't snore too loudly at all. LOL. How ironic.

And that's how our fourth day went down! Sooo much fun, especially the hot air balloon! Definitely one of the highlight of our entire trip! Make sure you keep an eye on this space for what's coming on the fifth day :)! Some major breath taking nature views!

Toodles for now!

#Pink and #Undecided

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9 comments

  1. seru banget naik hot air balloon!!!
    gua juga pengen lho yang naik turun gitu aja sih... hahaha.
    kalo yang pake terbang beneran kayaknya serem... dan mahal... :P

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    1. Iya seruuu hehehe... Kalo yg terbang beneran ga beranii n panas banget booo itu api nya nyala2 di kepalaaaa, gw jg ogahhh hahahaha

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    2. looks like fun, but I could not eat charcoal or ride the hot air ballon. But the pics are great.

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    3. Thank you :)... i take it you're not a great fan of heights then?

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  2. Hi my name is Jeff. I was the pilot of the "ugly flying machine." Hope you enjoyed your ride.

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    1. Hi there, Jeff!! Thanks for dropping by, and everybody, now we know the real name of The Very Nice American! Sorry for forgetting your name, but how did you find us?

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    2. I was looking for info about this year's Hualien Balloon Fiesta and ran across your blog. Sorry about the hole in the balloon. That was a rather breezy day. A gust of wind caught me while up in the air, and I burned the hole. Not to worry - that part is the "scoop" and it's not a structural part of the balloon. We got it fixed later that evening. I think you were there in early August - do you remember the date?

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    3. LOL, no worries! I hope you get that we mainly joke around when writing our posts, we're sure you won't let anything happened to your passengers! We enjoyed the experience very much and it was made 10x more special because you were so nice! Yes, we went there on early August, unfortunately we're super forgetful people and very bad with dates... So sorry! Can't be any help in that department >.<!

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  3. Checking my log and photo files, I'm guessing 6th August. Glad you had fun! I'm awaiting word on our schedule for this summer. If we have the Hualien event again I hope you'll come fly with us again.

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