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Rotaract Road Trip: Sun Moon Lake

November 15, 2009
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Scenic view of Sun Moon Lake

Through my Rotary activities, I have been able to come into contact with the Taipei Rotaract Club.  Rotaract is a program of Rotary International, a worldwide association of service-minded business and professional leaders.  Rotaract is an organization for young men and women ages 18 to 30 who believe they can make a difference.  The Rotaract clubs are essentially the youth branches of Rotary clubs.  It is with this club that I was able to travel to the north of Taiwan, in order to clean up beaches.

This time, I was invited to join their annual training camp, whose main purpose is to learn more about the club itself and get to know fellow members amidst great scenery and great food.  Our destination would be Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan’s largest lake.  It is known as one of Taiwan’s most beautiful locations.  It is situated in the central of Taiwan, in Nantou county.

Early Saturday morning, 30 eager Rotaractors and guests boarded a chartered bus and headed south.  Our first stop would be Jiji, Jiji was one of the worst hit towns during the 921 earthquake (it occurred on 9/21/1999).  At Jiji, we saw the remains of the Wu Chang Temple, where residents bravely salvaged the statue of the deity, God of the North Pole after the earthquake had hit the town.  Upon its rescue, they found that the beard of the statue had grown and deemed this a miracle.  The collapsed remains of the temple serve as an attraction site, while the new temple if being built at its side.  The statue is on display nearby and is a popular site of worship.  After eating a traditional Chinese meal, which included chicken testicles, we headed further south.

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The Wu Chang Temple with nticeable earthquake damage.

The local market at Jiji, where all sorts of natural medicinal products are sold.

Upon reaching Sun Moon Lake, we were quickly entranced by the beautiful scenery.  Its crystalline, emerald green waters reflect the hills and mountains which rise on all sides.  We all boarded a chartered boat and road around the lake, making stops at a traditional market town, and a couple of famous temple sites.

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Our chartered was the pink one. As you can see, sun moon lake is gleaming.

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One of the stops was at a temple, where you could take pictures with statues of your calendar sign. Could not resist!

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Great view of Sun Moon Lake from a hill stop.

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Another stop on the boat tour was in a market town. We tried ll sorts of food specialties, including Taro cake and Moshi (glutinous rice cake rolled in crushed peanut).

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The Wun Wu Temple, a confucius temple overlooking Sun Moon Lake

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Inside the Wun Wu Temple

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The main hall of the Wun Wu Temple, so much detail!

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The surroundings of Wun Wu Temple are also beautiful and decorated.

As evening approached, we left the river side to find a cozy and rustic bed and breakfast.  As we were 30 guests, we fully occupied the entire B&B, which was skillfully run by a lovely, doting, grandmother-type women and her daughter.  That night, we worked together to make dinner (although I had very little hand in the process) to enjoy a sumptuous and intensely filling barbecue.  The weather was perfect for a barbecue, as we lounged around stuffing ourselves and enjoying each others’ company.

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Preparing for the barbecue.

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After dinner, we had a grapefruit peeling contest. The peeling makes a funny shaped hat, which you place on your head. The contest is not judged on speed, but on skill, how cleanly can you peel a grapefruit in the alloted time.

The next morning, we awoke early and had a traditional breakfast of “Zhou”, rice porridge, which can be topped with a variety of meats and vegetables.  After breakfast, we had a Rotaract meeting.  After the meeting we began our return trip back home.  On the way, we stopped by the Puli Brewery Factory, also known as the Puli Brewery in the Puli Township.  The Puli Brewery is famous in Taiwan for its production of excellent quality Shaohsing Wine.   At the brewery, nearly every food product is made using the wine, including cake, crackers, ice cream and popsicles.  Nearly every person walking around the brewery museum is toting one of these famous popsicles.

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The ROtaract meeting the next morning. I think this is one of the best meeting "rooms" I have ever been in!

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At the Puli Distillery Museum and Market, enjoying the famous Puli Popsicles.

Inside the Puli Distillery Museum

That evening, we made it back into Taipei, feeling fully accomplished and fully stuffed from all of the food we had eaten.  It was a wonderfully fun and successful weekend!

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Rotaractors and friends in front of Sun Moon Lake

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