Monday, April 03, 2006

Green Expo


Yilan county holds a festival every year called the Green Expo. I think its purpose is to raise environmental awareness and teach about Taiwan's native plants and animals. It's a popular stop on tours and of course a field trip opportunity for the area's elementary and junior high schools. It runs for about a month and a half and is held in a large park about 30 minutes drive from where I live. The students from my church class often talk about going out on the weekends, so I thought this would be a good choice. As it turned out though, only two of my students were free that day ! So on Saturday I went with Andy, an elementary school teacher, and Paddy, a research assistant at the university, to see what the Green Festival was all about.

As we entered the park we saw large displays of dogs made from flowers and other plants. We stopped for some photos before moving along to a small stage where there was a dance/variety show. We watched that for awhile before taking a short tram to the opposite end of the park. From there we were able to work our way down.

The first place we went was the spider house, which had a lot of information about spiders as well as a number of display boxes with live spiders native to Taiwan and from around the world. I was a little creeped out, but fortunately most of the spiders were safely behind glass. Let's just say I wouldn't be so calm if some of them showed up in my room....

After that we got to see a pavillion all about the Amazon and some Brazillian dancers/musicians. I really wanted to chat with them after their show, but they were swarmed with people wanting pictures/autographs, so we moved on.

We had lunch and bought a couple of souvenirs before taking a scenic walk to the other end of the park. On the way, we went through a station displaying artwork from local schools. Actually they were more like dioramas; they were really amazing! I should have taken a picture! Other displays included technology, water plants, and beetles.

It was quite a warm day, so we decided to try some pumpkin ice cream as we walked through the 'Golden Tunnel', which is still green until the pumpkin plants growing up the sides and overhead produce ripe pumpkins.

We stayed there about four hours before heading home. Since the festival is on until mid-May, I may go back again. I had a good time with my students, and was impressed that they spoke English with me the whole day. I'm also impressed at how easily they can switch back and forth between 3 languages: English, Chinese, and Taiwanese. Ta men hen li hai! (They're amazing!)

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