Lessons Learned: February 6th Earthquake in Hualien Taiwan

Lessons Learned: February 6th Earthquake in Hualien Taiwan

Damage caused by the February 6th EarthquakeFebruary 6th Earthquake

At 2350 on February 6th, 2018 Hualien suffered a 6.4 earthquake. This is the strongest earthquake I have experienced and led to hundreds of injuries, a currently unknown number of deaths and multiple building collapses. This is why I advocate that everyone have first aid skills and supplies.  Fortunately, my building did not collapse and I did not have any major injuries. However, I do some thoughts on things I did wrong.  You can see the damage done to my room below.

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Taipei Botanical Garden

Taipei Botanical Garden

Gate at Taipei Botanical GardenTaipei Botanical Garden

Taipei Botanical Garden is the oldest Botanical Garden in Taiwan. It offers a free place to walk around and enjoy nature in southern Taipei. Obviously, the best way to get to Taipei Botanical Garden is to take public transportation. Xiaonanmen station exit 3 is to the north and multiple bus stops are to the south of the Garden. We visited in October but there is always some flower that is in bloom. Taipei Botanical Garden is open from 5:30 am to 10 pm every day.

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Monthly Reads; January 2018

Monthly Reads; January 2018

December and January

I forgot to do December’s books. December was very busy with the end of the school year so I did not read much anyway. None of the books are rereads. One is a play, two are non-fiction and two are fiction. Honestly, it was kind of the two months of let down books as I did not find many of the books to live up to their hype.

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Zimu Falls

Zimu Falls

trail marker to go to Zimu FallsZimu Falls

I actually found Zimu Falls by accident. I decided to bicycle up to the area around Mugumuyu. Mugumuyu has been closed since 2016 when a landslide destroyed the road. Only my original plan was to bike to Liyu Lake. When walking along the small bit of the trail left at Mugumuyu I noticed a trail on the other side of the river and decided to hike it. The trail was at a bend in road 34 in Xiulin Township before it took Tongmen Bridge across the river. So I parked my bike and headed off down the trail. Yes, typical me I found a trail I’m now going to hike it.

First section of trail to Zimu FallsThe first part

The first part is really easy and leads to a tunnel that was bored through rock. If you want to keep walking straight for a little way you can go to where the old suspension bridge used to be. I forgot a flashlight so I got to wipe out a glowstick to light my way. I go through a tone of those glowsticks. The glowsticks do not give a ton of light but it was enough to navigate through the tunnel. After the tunnel, it is more easy walking. This section of the trail brings you to Fei Chi Valley and Fei Cui Stream.

Tunnel that continues to the waterfalls Chemlight being used in a tunnel Trail to Zimu Falls after the tunnel

 

First Waterfall

The first waterfall just requires a few steps and a short climb down to get to. Their is a rope to help you climb down to or up from the first waterfall. For most people, this is as far as they go. This waterfall has a nice pool and is a scenic place to take photos. However, I have never been most people so I continued to follow the red flags north.

The second part of the trail is thinner, steeper and harder. It is still not that hard and I still saw a few groups of people. At one point you are supposed to cross the river but I did not notice the red marker. Instead, I ended up climbing over the rocks in Fei Cui Stream.

First waterfall

Emerald Vally Pool

The second waterfall had a large pool of green water under it. It was not a large waterfall but it was a very scenic one. I decided to go for a swim in the cold water. I saw a few other groups hike up this far the stream. Onn the north-west side of the pool are some ropes that help you if you want to climb on top of the waterfall. It was wet and slippery and I had a cool Indian Jones-like moment of my hanging off the edge holding only on to the rope. It would not have been a long fall but it got my blood pumping as I crawled back onto the ledge.

Eventually, I came down after some careful maneuvering as a group in hard hats, life vests and wetsuits watch shoeless and shirtless me crawl over the rocks to get down from the waterfall. After one more dip into Emerald pool and some crazy foreigner looks, I set off down the trail for the third waterfall, Zimu Falls.

trail to emerald pool Me looking debonair at Emerald Pool Emerald Pool

Zimu Falls

The last section of the hike is the most difficult. It is thin and steep but still nothing that should stop the average person. The last waterfall is the most impressive and the largest. The pools are not as large or as deep hear but there are still plenty of places to relax in the water hear. I only saw one other group of hikers between the Emerald Pool and Zimu Falls.

Zimu Falls was the end of the trail and it proved to be a very beautiful trail to follow. No part of the trail is very difficult, and the average person should have no issues climbing up to Zimu Falls. If you are going to hike it I would suggest you pack water and some good shoes. If you get to hot, just go for a swim in one of the pools.

Trail from Emerald Pool to Zimu Falls Zimu Falls Zimu Falls

 

Rareseed Pasture

Rareseed Pasture

Rareseed Pasture

Some coworkers and I headed down to Ruisui to see some of the tourist sites there. Ruisui is located in the southern part of Hualien County and has some interesting places to visit. First, we stopped at Rareseed Pasture. I mentioned passing this dairy farm during my Chinese New Year bike ride. Dairy Farms are often open to the public for free, with some exceptions. Like others, Rareseed Pasture combines dairy farm with tourist attraction. Later we would visit the Saoba Stones historical site and the Tropic of Cancer. The pasture is located at No.6-157 Wuhe Village, Ruisui Town in Hualien County. 

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Wandering Around Hong Kong

Wandering Around Hong Kong

Hong Kong

I got to bookend my 2017 trip to the USA with two short trips to Hong Kong. These two stopovers gave me plenty of time to wander around the city. The first time I stayed at Ashoka Hostel and went to the Maritime Museum. The second time I stayed at Ah Shan Hostel and went to the Hong Kong History Museum. I also just spent some time wandering around the city.

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The Triggering 2017 NSFW

The Triggering 2017 NSFW

The Triggering 2017

George Takei now living as a straight manHere is a toast, to all the people that disagree with me and are still my friends, to the people I have offended and laughed it off, you’re the real MVP. For everyone else, there are pampers. Let us recap some of my best moments in Triggering 2017.

I have managed to trigger people vie memes, blog posts and opening my own mouth. Now I really don’t wish death on anyone but it’s my way of dealing with things by making jokes about them. I also feel that people are more sensitive and more ridiculous lately. For example this year I was told that phycology is a made up Nazi science and that posting from the following sources are indicative of a fascist belief system;  Vice, The Onion, Reason, Telegraph, Generation Liberty, Gallup, Monocular, Orwell, DailyMail, A and E, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Reason, The Wild East, Change.org.

Someone should make an app that showed you what posts made people block and unfriended you. I can only do so much detective work on my own. I am also on a watchlist now. So it has been a big year.

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