“Just 15 minutes outside of Taipei, it’s jungle.” A bit of an exaggeration, but we got Anders’ meaning.
The MRT took us 30 minutes from our station to Xindian, where we caught a bus for Wulai, a 40-minute trip on curving jungle-lined road. We followed the river—the ultimate reason for this adventure—the entire way, and its milky turquoise water called to me.
Wulai’s main attraction is its waterfalls, so we huffed and puffed up the paved road to see the wonder. On the way, we misinterpreted the directions to take Lovers’ Pathway, the sign for which was hanging on the wall of a clearly closed-off section of the road. Well, that would be awfully private for lovers, so we hopped the wall and strolled through the eerily deserted patios connected by wooden boardwalks. Colin led the way, brushing spiderwebs and the like away until one wouldn’t brush away ( it actually broke the twig Colin was using). This web could have held an aging, overweight Spider-Man, but instead it housed the biggest spider I had ever seen. It hung over the bottom of the stairs, waiting for passers-by to scare (or prey on).
As a recent survivor of a black widow attack, I was less than interested in hanging out or walking under the thing, despite the beautiful river pools on the other side of it. We agreed that if there was one down here on this deserted walkway, there may be more, so we high-tailed it back to the main road. It turns out that was Lovers’ Pathway the whole time.
The waterfalls were charming, but since we were stuck in the concrete-and-slab viewing area quite far from the base of the falls, I couldn’t get in the water and so I was not satisfied. This has been one of the few decisions I’ve felt strongly about since we arrived—let me in that water.
We took a few moments to peruse the shops, watched over by aboriginal Taiwanese women in traditional dress—bright yellow and pink headdresses and skirts that could be worn long or short.
Back down Lovers’ Pathway, we found a river spot with Taiwanese tourists swimming, and a bit further upstream, we found a spot of our own. It was marvelous, even if I was the object of many a stare in my bikini: Taiwanese women wear T-shirts and shorts if they go in at all.