9/29/2010: I checked out of the hostel in Taichung and caught a 9:15 bus to Chiayi. The ride was pretty slow and took about two hours. In Chiayi, I found that the next bus to Alishan was not for over an hour. So I bought a ticket for Taiwan dollars and walked around the city until 11:45.
On the bus to Alishan, I met a woman with her husband who work in Dallas, and she translated for me a couple of times, like when it was time to buy tickets when we drove through the gate to Alishan. Once there, a woman brought me to a hotel that had a reasonable price for the area, so I stayed there. At 700 Taiwan dollars (a little over 22 USD), it may be the most expensive lodging for this entre trip, but it had a private shower and a large LCD TV, so I can’t complain!
Not long after arriving at Alishan, it started to rain. This area of Taiwan gets rain almost evening. Mornings are usually clear and sunny, clouds start to come in midday, and the rain comes in the afternoon. The hotel provided me with an umbrella, but after walking around for a while, my shoes and socks were soaked (due to having old shoes that are falling apart), so I called it a day and prepared to go to bed early.
I fell asleep at 10 PM, later than I had hoped, since I was to wake up at 4 AM the next morning to take a train to the spot where we watch the sun rise.