With the begging of school approaching and summer coming to a close, on August 20th the Hunt Taiwan series also neared completion with its second-to-last activity—the Minnan and Hakka cultural tour. Students from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and England signed up for the outing, which took them to the nearby scenic and culturally-rich areas of Meinong, Qishan and Tianliao.
The first stop on the itinerary was the Meinoblue Dying Workshop in Meinong. At the workshop, the students learned how to dye materials blue using traditional dying techniques. In fluent English, peppered with humor, the instructor interacted with the students and provided a detailed demonstration of each step in the dying process. Mimicking the teacher’s technique, each of the students was able to successfully complete the steps and walk away—product in hand—with a very satisfying experience. At lunch time the group headed to a market on a lively street at the town center where they enjoyed a bowl of bantiao (thick rice noodles). For many international students, it was their first time to try this authentic Taiwan dish—and they found it to be a real treat.
From Meinong, the tour headed to the neighboring community of Qishan, where the NPUST students would spend some time strolling down the old market street. Before arriving, however, they made a stop at the 100-year-old Qishan Sugar Factory to enjoy some popsicles and hear about the history of the old building. On the market street, a pleasant scent of bananas filled the air, with freshly made banana bread and banana pancakes drawing people in. The architecture along the road preserved a combination of Japanese and Baroquial styles that were used long ago. Taking pictures along the way, the students admired the red brick walls and stone arch corridors that gave off a European feel.
The final stop before returning to campus was the Moon World Landscape Park in the nearby Tianliao township. The other-worldly terrain with its “moon-like” appearance was quite a surprise for the students to see. The very unnatural looking scenery was also, naturally, another very attractive opportunity for the students to take lots of pictures to show to their friends and family. It was also a great chance for them to experience another one of Taiwan’s many diverse and beautiful landscapes.