I love Taiwan. Really, I do.  I even like Hsinchu most days of the week. But sometimes the weather makes me want to pack my suitcase and take off to a tropical haven where the sun always shines, the sky is good ‘ol Carolina blue, and the wind doesn’t knock you off your feet. This past week of thunderstorms was one of those times. Which, as a side note, especially sucks when you are driving a scooter around town. Why has no one marketed a scooter helmet that comes with windshield wipers?

Anyway, this especially bad spell of weather was poorly timed as we were supposed to head to Long Dong over the weekend so Dan could finish off his lead climbing class. Long Dong is the most famous place to do some outdoor rock climbing in Taiwan, and coveted across Asia as one of the best locations for coastal climbing. Unfortunately, heavy rain doesn’t mix very well with scaling rocks, so we postponed the trip until next month. This left us with the perplexing question of how to spend our Saturday night in Hsinchu. We wanted to do something awesomely out of the ordinary to make up for our cancelled plans, but with crappy weather our options were limited.

The solution? A Scavenger Hunt!

That’s right. We hosted the first annual CruisingCouple scavenger hunt in Hsinchu, complete with a whopping four participants, including Dan and I. (It was sort of a last minute idea.) We set out on the town with a list of ten things to photograph in one hour. The losers had to purchase the beer tower at dinner afterwards, enough of an incentive to get a bit competitive. Here were a few of the things on our list:

1. Photograph at least one Taiwanese person sitting on your scooter. Bonus points for extra people.

Scooter Party, Scavenger hunt

2. Take a picture with a wig

Wear A Wig, Scavenger Hunt, A Cruising Couple

3. Borrow somebody’s ‘fake’ glasses and take a picture with them. Glasses with no lenses are all the rage in Taiwan.

Glasses, Scavenger hunt, A Cruising Couple

4. Find a man with no teeth. (See our note on this one below.)

No Teeth, Scavenger hunt, A Cruising Couple

5. Plank somewhere awesome. Quick note on the picture below: That is Dan planking on the East Gate. You aren’t actually allowed up there, but being the ridiculous climber he is, Dan managed to quickly clamber to the top in time for a snapshot. I still don’t understand how Mr. Stealth did it so smoothly and quickly.

Plank, Scavenger hunt, A Cruising Couple

6. Take a picture on a police scooter, hopefully not as a consequence of planking somewhere illegal.

Police Scooter, Scavenger hunt

7. Eat stinky Tofu

8. Play DDR with a Taiwanese person

DDR, Scavenger hunt, A Cruising Couple

9. Collect at least 5 business cards. (Business cards are a very important thing to Taiwanese people. Often when you meet someone they will offer their business card to you, which you are expected to accept with two hands.)

10. Dance Walk. If you haven’t seen the YouTube video here, check it out. Unfortunately we didn’t have a video camera with us, but we met a pretty awesome dance team that was more than happy to give us some lessons on their dance routine.

Dance Party, Scavenger hunt, A Cruising Couple

In the hour that we designated as official hunting time, we managed to procure 8 and ½ out of the ten items. Ironically, the one time we actually wanted to smell stinky tofu from a few blocks away, the stuff was nowhere to be found, so we weren’t able to check that off our list. The ½ point was because the old man with ‘no teeth’ actually had one tooth, but he smiled with his mouth closed anyway. Regardless, we still came in 1st, avoiding the ever dreadful fate of buying beer.

Our conclusions:

  1. Taiwanese people are awesome. We knew this before, and continue to be reminded daily, that Taiwanese must be some of the most friendly people on the planet. They were more than happy to participate in our activities, especially after we tried to convey in Chinese that we were in a ‘race’. One of my favorite parts about living in Taiwan is the ease in which you can engage with the locals, not to mention the fact that Taiwanese people want to help foreigners living in their country. It’s a beautiful thing.
  2. We need to go bigger and bolder. As we mentioned, this was a last minute-I have a great idea-okay let’s go sort of a thing. But we think it would be awesome to get a lot more people together to do a lot more things on another occasion. So, if you are interested, you should let us know!