Up a narrow, winding, steep road, a farmer’s pick up truck propelled vigorously with me and a few other people in the back. The back of the truck, open to the outside world, with no buckle and nothing to hold on to. It was as scary as it sounds. There were multiple times when I felt my body about to fling out the back and onto the road, but I gripped on for dear life to the tiny ledge of the truck. Exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, the ride was one thing I would never forget and I was bummed out when it came to an end once we reached the top of a mountain in Miaoli. During the ride, the lady driving hollered to us in the back, informing us that riding in the back of the truck was illegal, so immediately we tensed up a bit. However in a nonchalant tone, she calmed us down and told us not to worry because all the farmers ride in the back, and that this area of Miaoli is so rural that police officers do not care at all. No rules. No regulations. I was really enjoying life here!
As our muscles burned from trekking up steep roads and sweat beads rolled down our skin, the beauty of Miaoli took my breath away. The view was so satisfying because there was more green than concrete, not yet dominated by human greed. No engines could be heard, no car horns, and the slight flutter of butterfly wings next to my ear was soothing. Feeling lethargic, we finally reached the top, where a beautiful Buddhist temple was located. A couple monks wandered around, minding their own business as we went into the temple, scanned the complex art and architecture, and said a few words of prayer.
The temple overlooked a big area of farms and houses all in between colossal mountains. Great gusts of wind swept through the trees around us, making a hollow, howling sound and hummingbirds zoomed past, visiting one flower to another. After a calm hour of appreciating nature’s gifts, we made the less-tedious hike down the steep roads, running speedily and holding our arms out parallel to mimic an airplane. We acted like innocent children, competing who could run down faster, and it was insanely dangerous but we were too caught up in the moment to even care about our safety. There were a few close calls when a car drove up as we charged head on to it, but in the end no one got hurt.
Once we returned to the farmers truck, we plopped into the back and prepared to become jello, swaying along with the truck’s motion. On our way back, we stopped at a small food stand and 7-11 to purchase lunch items, which included a typical Chinese lunch box for around $2 and a waffle ice cream sandwich to cool ourselves down. The Chinese lunch boxes were nothing exceptional, but the simplicity of its contents was so satisfying and delicious. All it was was tasty and convenient authentic food for a low cost. Our box contained Taiwanese cabbage, preserved black beans, chicken, pickled celery, dried tofu, sausage, and a hard-boiled egg. We consumed the contents quickly and returned to the elementary school, relaxing for the rest of the day.