Happy New Year from Wulai

What better way to spend New Year’s than in a big tub full of naked guys?

Jessica wants me to clarify that the girls had their own tub, and it involved clothing. We all had so much fun. The guys I was with had a “paper scissors stone” game where the loser had to stand up and get buckets of water from the cold tub poured on their head. It was a great way to relax after the end-of-grad-school/Christmas-performance craziness.

We had an awesome time this New Year’s on an overnight trip with some friends to Wūlái, a mountain village with hot springs. The place where we stayed was a cable car ride farther up the mountain from the village, and ran over a waterfall. The mountains were all covered in dense sub-tropical forest, the air was fresh, and the resort had pools full of colourful fish and hiking trails. Nine of us were there for the hot springs and dinner the first night, and six stayed overnight. We stayed up late eating Christmas goodies that Jessica baked, learned to play cards in a fun combination of Mandarin and Chinglish (great practice for us), tried a bunch of new foods, and best of all got to spend time with friends.

Among that new foods we tried were little whole shrimps in the shell, 3-4 inch whole fried fish, mountain pig sausage, mountain deer, papaya soup (helps make you ‘up’ if you’re a woman), sticky rice cooked and served in bamboo tubes that they slice in half lengthwise with the rice on one side and hot sauce on the other, and hot spring eggs that are boiled and then plunged into freezing water to give the yolk a certain gooey texture, among many other things.

I’ve been sick since before Christmas, and tomorrow I’m getting some regular lab work done. It was kind of funny on the trip because I felt good enough for most of it until the last afternoon. We were going down the cable car to spend some time in the village before heading home. I was dizzy, all my limbs and head were numb, and the cable car was packed. I remember praying ‘Please don’t let me puke in the cable car. Let me get out and find a nice corner somewhere.’ I had a spot on the floor picked out and an action plan ready, who to shove and whose bags to kick if I had to hurl. But I made it out (just barely, I think) and sat down on some steps for a bit.

We had so much fun talking and getting to know everyone better. There are pictures here.

2 thoughts on “Happy New Year from Wulai”

  1. Hey Guys,
    lad to hear you are safe after the shake. I remember my first one I experienced in Mexico. It was kind of freaky for a prairie boy, but for Joel I suppose it is nothing new. The springs also look great, but I don’t know about the part of having a bunch a naked guys. We don’t need hot springs here, we just go down to the ocean, it about that warm. We took Ceara the other day and she loved it, except that she is at the stage of putting her fist in her mouth, and she got to taste salt water, her reaction was funny. The food looked great there too. Do you always eat like that. The video is funny too, Joel’s idea? So how many more weeks there?

  2. Hey Travis. Yeah, you’d think in Vancouver people would be used to earthquakes, but I don’t remember any. As a kid I always thought it’d be cool to experience an earthquake, but that was before I lived in an apartment building surrounded by apartment buildings.

    Normally we eat some kind of noodle dish with soup, or rice with veggies (would be really healthy except for all the oil, and raw veggies are not popular here). Soup with every meal. Fried or steamed dumplings, too. And lots of dofu; dofu in almost everything. And processed fish things (balls, shapes) in the soups. Seaweed is pretty common, too, but we’re not big fans of the seaweed. Pork is the meat of choice.

    That’s funny about Ceara and the salt water. How close are you guys to the beach?

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