Astronomy conferences have a very standard form. Five days in length, half day on Wednesday with a tour to some nearby attraction offered in the afternoon, conference dinner on Thursday, half day on Friday with another excursion then or over the following weekend. This time the tour was to Yeliu, and from what I saw before I went, it looked like it would be pretty awesome. But actually it was mostly lame. There are some quite cool rock formations there, but it was so incredibly overrun with tourists that it was impossible to enjoy it. Paths followed a strict one way system, there were long queues to see the most famous formations, and there were wardens wandering about the place whistling at anyone who didn't comply with the system.
Luckily, one of the features of Taiwanese tourism is that people go in great numbers to places that are recognised as being worth visiting, but something equally cool nearby that's not in the guide books will be deserted. With a few other astronomers, I went for a walk out to a peninsula that had some high cliffs and some nice views over the East China Sea.
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