One day after waking up early I decided to go for a walk. Off to Liyu Lake, I went. Liyu Lake is in Shoufeng, Hualien. Liyu in English means carp and is also the name of the mountain next to it. In addition, it is a great place to walk and you can see a variety of insects, lizards, birds, and sometimes monkeys.
There are bike and walking trail on the east side and parks on the west side. Also on the East side are trails that lead up the mountain.On the West side of the lake, has boat and bike rentals. Across the street are drink shops, restaurants and stone stores. Tour buses are particularly popular among tourists from China.
Hualien is well known for its stones so you see stores selling stone jewelry, chops, and statues. Lots of stone is exported from Hualien or used as art. It’s very common to see shops here selling stone trinkets to the lower end market and large statues to the higher end market. Many of the statues involve either lucky symbols or animals from the Chinese zodiac.
Probably the most interesting stone market is near Dongmen night market. I actually bought my chop from a stone shop by Liyu Lake because I had not seen the color before. A chop is an official stamp used for signing documents. You can get around without having one but sometimes it makes things easier.
Like many businesses that based their model of the buses filled with Chinese tourists, the stone shops at Liyu Lake are now feeling a pinch. The election of the DPP candidate last year hurt China’s feelings and now there are less Chinese tourists. As the shop owner loved telling me about, Chinese grandmothers buy lots of expensive gifts for their friends and family back home. Judging by the price of some of the statues, it would take a lot of westerners that are buying a chop of a color they like.