A friend told me on Friday night: “let’s go visit a place tomorrow”. None of us knew exactly how to go there. We just assumed that it was quite far from the campus. Without asking many questions, I just accepted because well, that’s what people do here. On my own, I was wondering how could I embellish my weekend and she just came with the answer.
During my first weeks here, my friends and my family were always making fun of me, saying that I was acting more like a tourist than a student. It was somehow true. I was feeling like moving at every single moment, perhaps because of this unexpected freedom, which is the main characteristic of my new life, a thousand miles away from my family. Or maybe not staying alone at home was the only way I could be sure that something has changed and of course, I could keep the loneliness away for a while. But there was also a practical reason: Buses are free in Taichung 🙂
So we went to this place the next morning. We were five girls. I had invited my roommate to join us. All the way along, I was worrying. I just knew that I was going to a site called Gaomei, I wasn’t sure what kind of place it was. Someone told me that it was a beach. I forgot to do my own research. So when I realized I left out my swimsuits, I thought all my day was totally messed up.
But actually, Gaomei Wetlands is a preservation area located on the south of the mouth Dajia River. It’s a wonderful place, vast wetlands mixed with soils and sand, with plentiful species. From Taichung Railway Station, it takes two hours to reach there. But it totally worth it and the fare is really cheap. When we arrived around 2 PM, It was really sunny and windy so we went to the tourist area that offers a lot of activities and let people know more about the wetlands. Later we crossed the long bridge and we started walking finally barefoot on the land, trying to avoid the crabs digging the earth to hide from our approach, picking up shells and of course, taking pictures.
As interesting these activities might be, people mostly go to Gaomei Wetlands is to see the sunset. And it’s really something that is worth waiting for. A lot of families, lovers and friends were there, just waiting for the sunset which came around 5PM. At this time, everyone started taking pictures.
When a few weeks later, in my embassy, they asked me to talk about something that impressed me in Taiwan, I indeed talked about this wonderful sunset. Gaomei Wetlands is until now my favorite place in Taichung, for the sunset and everything. And above all, because of these people who came from all around just to see the sunset. I was not used to this kind of behaviors.
This day, it was very crowded. We waited until night fell and at the end, it was hard to find a bus to go back home. When we finally reached the campus, exhausted, at 9PM, I was still grateful for the day I had).